The Thunder Models 1/35 scale Case VAI Tractor was the company’s first kit. The Case VAI was an industrial tractor built between 1942 – 1955. It saw both civilian and military use during that period.
The kit was a relatively quick and easy build. It’s well designed and has excellent fit, except for the PE parts. There are no positive locators on the plastic for the foot rests and their placement is vague in the instructions – it’s mostly a best guess. The tires are made from a very smelly vinyl or rubber and they stink, even after they’ve been painted.
I thought about making the front wheels movable, but it was too much work. I ended up giving them a slight left hand turn.
I painted the tractor in post-war civilian red. The only scratchbuilt parts are the flapper valve on the exhaust, the distributor wiring and a short length of sprue that was missing, based on pictures of the tractor.
The weathering, dust and rust was kept to a conservative minimum; maybe it’s relatively new. The kit comes with nice decals for the instruments and the technical specs plaque.
The Bruce Willis (or Michael from “Hot Fuzz”) – look alike head is resin. It’s a generic bald head that I used to replace the heads available in the ICM kit. The rest of the figure is made from several donors from the ICM “Russian Army vacationing in Afghanistan” set. Actually, no – it’s from their “ICM – No. 35331 Soviet Motorized Infantry” but their relaxed poses makes it seem that way. I use this figure with other built models to give them a sense of scale.
The base is an AMM8351 AMMO by Mig Diorama Base – Stone Mountain Ground – probably a generic model railroad base. I left the engine cover is loose; it fits well enough that it doesn’t have to be glued down.
Updated August 5, 2020