by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Athearn's 1968 Ford F-850 Grain Truck is a ready-to-use HO model of a very popular heavy duty truck found throughout the agricultural areas of North America.
Ford Motor Company offered several classes of trucks with the F-8 class being the heavy duty offering. In fact, for a time the 800-series were known as the Super Duty series. These were conventional trucks of the 20,000–22,000 Lbs gross vehicle weight rating. Powered by 401, 477 and 534 cubic inch V-8 engines with a 15-Speed transmission, the chassis was used for many different purposes. Ford 850s were used for firetrucks, box vans, stakebeds, tow trucks, cement mixers, tractors, and boom trucks. Athearn offers these models, too. F-850 grain trucks can still be found in use around the country.
Athearn advertises this model as a 1968 version. Ford used the Super Duty script and the Ford emblem with the model number from 1963 through 1967. In 1968 Ford replaced the logo with a chromed 'spear' with integral reflector.
Athearn packages the model in a blister pack that extends through a heavy card "box top." The model is molded and assembled to a high standard. No sink holes or mold marks, nor flash are visible. The model features recessed panel lines for the doors and hood. The door handles are appropriately raised.
The cab exterior is well detailed with side mirrors, windshield wipers, signal lights on the front fenders, and the distinctive Ford grill and bumper. The signal lights are out of scale. The headlights are clear lenses and have the concentric circle design that I recall from childhood. Five cab top running lights are molded on, the lenses simulated with paint.
The cab interior has basic detail with seats and a steering wheel. Because the cab is deep, windows are relatively small and the interior is black, not much can be seen unless you use a flashlight.
The chassis is detailed with the frame, a basic engine bottom and transmission, drive shaft, dual fuel tanks, dual exhausts, differential, and rear axle. The tires are rubber and feature sharp tread detail.
Atop this is the large grain box. It features a simulated wood floor and detailed sides.
paint and markings
Some parts are molded in color. The cab is painted. The painting is smooth from the "three-foot rule" but grainy when examined closely.
The detailing is fantastic! Athearn did not paste on decals, they printed the markings. The decorative scrolling on the grain bin is incredibly fine and sharp, even under magnification. The front of the hood features 'FORD' and the Ford logo, the sides of the hood sport Super Duty and another emblem. The lettering is sharp and legible, and the emblems are recognizable. Impressive!
This grain truck is a great offering. The painted detail is excellent! Though the fender lights seem out of scale, the rest of the molded detail is good. It would be appreciated if the running lights were all clear or colored lenses though that would get pricey. Overall a great addition to your HO scale layout or diorama. Recommended!