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Wood Magazine

Fred Heim, big toys for big boys


Man by semi truck

Models: a growing concern

As he prepared to hand over the construction business to his sons, Fred Heim decided to revisit a childhood hobby: model-making. The first models he tackled in "retirement," 1/16-scale wooden trucks, were incredibly detailed, made completely out of wood, and apparently unsatisfactorily diminutive. Looking at those models one idle day in his shop office, he decided it was time to scale things up a bit.

Fred built his first half-scale model, the Peterbilt truck, left, out of fiberglass, mahogany, and plywood on an aluminum chassis. And—get this—it runs. Powered by a 26-hp diesel tractor engine, the cab just fits Fred's six-foot frame thanks to a removable steering wheel. The truck features working lights, 12" trailer wheels riding on golf-cart axles, an air-bag suspension system, hydraulic brakes, and a high-gloss automotive paint job. The fittings, mechanisms, latches, and trim had to be hand-made to fit or repurposed from smaller cousins of the real thing.


Wood Magazine