Top model: scaling down the Scania R 500 Topline

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When his remote control helicopter crashed, model maker Hugo Markes decided to turn his hand to truck building instead. His choice: a scaled-down version of a Scania R 500 Topline.

Hugo Markes has had a passion for Scania trucks since his early childhood. “I remember being impressed by these big vehicles as a young boy,” he says. “I began to collect truck models and dreamed of travelling the world in a real one some day.”

Over the years, Markes discovered another passion: the development and construction of model helicopters. Today he runs a model shop near Zurich, Switzerland, as well as a model helicopter flight school.

Back down to earth

At some point Markes came up with the idea of building a model that would remain on the ground. “It was after a valuable helicopter had crashed,” he says with a smile. The question was, what to go for? Building an ordinary car would have been too boring…

“Then the idea of the truck came to me. I remembered the models from my childhood, and I knew that was it!”

Markes found a suitable partner in Hermann Auer, a professional model builder living in South Tyrol. Auer then began drawing blueprints for a Scania R 500 Topline tractor and looking for suitable materials for a model.

“We knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get hold of everything,” says Auer. “Even the tyres were a problem. We found them in China.”

Powerful enough to tow a car

The scale of 1:2.3 was established based on these tyres. The result is a model that is over seven metres long and one metre wide, weighing over 800 kg: a truck with enough power to tow a small car.

In retrospect, the pair agree that the project was “insane”. Each wheel had to be turned in aluminium using Auer’s , components had to be shaped using a 3-D milling cutter, and the cab was made from carbon fibre. The clutch, closures, hinges and tank… Everything was accurately rebuilt. Where no original data was available, information was researched on the internet. Powerful software was used for planning and construction. It took some 4,000 working hours to install EUR 50,000 worth of materials.

One of a kind

The vehicle is driven by remote control. Smaller people would theoretically fit into the driver’s cab, but the model is not made for that.

“There is nothing like it and there never will be,” Markes says. “It’s absolutely unique: one of a kind. That’s why it’s so valuable. It’s also my first and last truck.

“When the model was finished, the question arose: what next? I’ll stick to helicopters in the future.”

Model on the market

Markes is now trying to sell the unique Scania R 500 model “so that someone else can enjoy it.” And what’s the asking price? If its value were calculated in terms of working hours and material costs, it would be priceless. The aim is to get EUR 65,000 for it.

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