Rozendaal replica

In September 2023, Mini Big Rigs5 MinutesBy Carl KirkbeckOctober 21, 2023

With a long-standing driving career in the rural sector and heavy haulage, and a couple of restored classic trucks in the shed, Neil Shayler’s passion has its beginnings as a young fella sitting at the model-truck building bench.

For Neil Shayler, the transport industry is much more than just a form of employment. Neil has been an avid truck and trucking industry fan for as long as he can remember. So when thinking about a new model truck project to build, he didn’t have to look too far – the answer was standing right in front of him every day. He was in charge of the Rozendaal Heavy Haulage K100E Kenworth, complete with MTE three-rows-of-eight widening low loader trailer – and it was just the subject matter he was looking for.

The first step was to build the tractor unit. Starting with an AMT/ERTL K123 Kenworth kitset, Neil shortened the chassis to match the New Zealand spec, and then set about heavily modifying the K123 cab to match the K100E. The interior was reconfigured to right-hand drive, with the dashboard and centre console also modified to resemble the distinctive layout of the real truck. Also in keeping with the build is the yellow Caterpillar iron you will now find between the chassis rails that replaced the old Cummins.

The 1:25th-scale replica built by Neil, complete with its bush-spec Caterpillar D8 on the back of the scratch-built MTE three-rows-of-eight swing-wing low loader.

Neil’s attention to detail is spot on, from using the genuine fleet colour to paint the model through to his layout of the livery and signage. His truly is a very realistic representation of the old K100E. One area where Neil applied a little creative licence was on the roof. This was achieved by custom building a full set of Australian Outback road-train style, over-the-roof air intakes and plumbing. It is a look Neil had discussed with his boss Tony Rozendaal, with both liking it.

“I thought, ‘What the heck? I might as well add them to the model and see what they would look like,” says Neil. When looking over the completed model, Tony asked Neil if he could manufacture a 1:1 full-scale setup for the real truck. It is not often that a full-size truck is modified and made to look like a model truck. Thank goodness for those model-building skills!

Finally, it was on to building the matching MTE three-rows-of-eight swing-wing low loader trailer. Those who have been around model trucks for a while will already know that there is no off-the-shelf kitset for this style of trailer. The only way to make a trailer like this is from scratch. So starting with a sheet of 2mm sheet plastic, Neil cut out all the required elements, using measurements and sketches he had drafted from the actual trailer. “The build was mostly straightforward,” he says. “The hinge mechanisms that control the widening of the trailer were a little challenging, but it all works perfectly.”

The trailer was also painted in the Rozendaal fleet’s shade of blue, this time from a small automotive spray gun. “There was so much area to cover and so many parts, if you used an airbrush you would be forever refilling it,” explains Neil.

The finishing touch was to add a little realism by lightly weathering the unit. “I wanted to achieve that used look, but not bush-bashed, you know, as if it has been washed, but there are still dirt stains in the welds of the trailer and the chassis of the truck, just to show a bit of wear and tear. Yeah, it has come out pretty good, really.”

We could not agree more. Whether it be 1:24th or 1:1 scale, Neil has an eye for detail built on years of passion for the transport industry.