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NZG Mercedes NG 1632 with Schelling three-axle trailer: Henry & James


Trucks & Construction - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 1/2020 vom 10.01.2020

The Swiss Television network followed two long-distance truckers from Oberer Transporte Reinach on their trip to Norway, similar to the programme about Edy Annaheim. One of the two truck and trailer sets has been modeled in 1:50 by René Tanner …


The title picked for this TV documentary which was also sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, was only the simple first names of the protagonists, Henry and James.

The documentary shows how on a cold winter’s day during the oil crisis of the 70s the two longdistance truckers cross the old border post of Basel-Weil Otterbach to proceed in transit to Oslo. For this, James, ...

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... the only driver employed by Oberer, has to manoeuvre his Mercedes NG 2232 with a jumbo trailer close to the side ramp of the Customs House so that they can confirm his load of cigarettes. For this, some of his valuable load of cartons of cigarettes are ripped open and checked, then his TIR log book is stamped and the truck’s load is sealed. However, Henry, self-employed driver under contract to Oberer is searched right down to checking the diesel fuel in his two diesel tanks with a measuring rod to ensure that he is not exporting more than 200 litres of the fuel. The customs officer glances quickly into the driver’s cabin. After all customs formalities are completed, the two get on the way for their long trip northwards. Coffee stop in Frankfurt, then the Elbtunnel (tunnel under the river Elbe) in Hamburg and then the ferry from Frederikshavn to Oslo. In reality, the romantic of the longdistance driver is in short supply on this trip.

While James reaches his destination during a snow squall in Oslo, Henry has to drive further inland on snow-covered roads. The snow chains he had to mount in order to get going are going to fall off and damage the rear right-hand fender. Henry exits his cab swearing a blue streak about the very bad condition of the unplowed road.

In the 70s and up to the 80s, the Oberer Transporte Company, situated in Reinach, Canton Basle Land, was a pure freight agent with many self-employed drivers contracted to make trips to the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia and the Benelux states. The company ceased to exist at the end of the 80s. I do not know for whom Henry drove after that.

Rear view of the wonderful three-axle Schelling trailer with all details correct for the period.


No detail was left out, even at the hitching area.


The very nicely done NG cabin from NZG after being detailed inside and out (below).


Everyday heroes

As a youngster, knee high to a grasshopper, I was daily on the road with my father. And while my friends were having fun at the swimming pool, I envisioned my future in the driver’s cabin. By coincidence, it happened one day that Henry S. Schatt appeared at the freight hauling company for which my father worked. He collected consolidated goods to load and to take to Holland. I will never forget the picture of the small but strong-looking Henry with his blue long-distance driver jacket and the wooden clogs descending from his brand-new NG’s cabin.

Of course, there are more things to talk about, sequences that could have been written down. But much of it certainly encouraged me to become a long-distance driver after finishing an apprenticeship as a car body builder. But this is not the story we want to talk about today, today we talk about making a model of Henry’s NG.

Memories that create a model

As a starting point I used the very well-done copy made by NZG, at that time an extraordinary model. It was sold in a pleasing cardboard box, about the size of a scale 40 ft. container, and was available at every larger Mercedes- Benz dealership for the extravagant cost of Sfr. 38.00. Years would pass until I could buy one and call it my own; today I always have at least two on hand.

To install the correct interior for the cabin, a new interior room had to be made. The cabin is made to be removed. A back wall made from 0.5 mm thick aluminum sheet stock was the basis for designing the interior. Curtains were made from paper strips, folded and then painted. The old-fashioned coffee maker was turned from a piece of aluminum pipe. TV, air retainer lever, gear shift and further small details on the dashboard followed as well as Henry’s sleeping bag made from painter’s tape. The Norwegian flag on the front window shield and the cargo manifest on the dashboard were important details, not to be omitted. A new bumper bar was made from 0.3 mm aluminum sheet stock and the headlights’ blinds, painted in Picasso’s style, gave the NG the typical face. The engine and prop shaft were improved in several spots on the chassis and also the braking system was modeled. Two new diesel tanks made from aluminum blocks and matching tool boxes were placed behind aluminum sheet stock fenders. Small details included the newly-installed rear lights brackets and the tilting Swedish spare tire compartment. Tekno tires were mated with rims from HeavyGoods. On the front axles, the typical Swiss Trilex adapter disks were built in.

The trailer got a new under ride protection guard as well as new brake lines. The typical ratchet hand brake on the front wall was made from fine 0.3 mm aluminum sheet stock and a jagged filed plastic disc. New fenders from 0.3 mm aluminum sheet stock were made and the snow chain brackets rounded out the details.

Both upper chassis parts were made from a block of cedar wood. Plastic and aluminum sheet stock of 1.5 and 0.5 mm respectively were used and glued on to imitate side doors and stakes. The tarps then were applied in the method already described in earlier articles.

Somewhere in wintery Norway stands Henry’s Mercedes-Benz NG 1632 at a ramp, waiting to be unloaded.


The company logos were first drawn by my friend Hans Witte on a piece of A4 paper to ensure an accurate replication, then, using a photocopier, they were reduced to the required size, to ensure that the contours remained sharp. Finally, Venlo made the decal sheet with all the letterings to scale.

The model was painted with rattlethe- can spray paints in RAL 6001 Emerald Green. The custom’s seal was made using a small brush and the tariff tape was made from selfadhesive tape, painted brown.

René Tanner is an independent truck driver of a DAF CF and is one of the best truck model builders.