Homemade Scale Model Tractors

Time, skill and accuracy invested by makers scale model tractors

| November 1998

  • Ralph Henderson takes a turn on his John Deere 110 mower conversion.
    Ralph Henderson takes a turn on his John Deere 110 mower conversion.
  • Jason Turnbull drives the John Deere model L model tractor built by his father
    Jason Turnbull drives the John Deere model L model tractor built by his father, Jim. This tractor has been to more than 30 Midwest shows, with Jason often giving other children a ride in a model trailer.
  • Scale models built by Patrick Prom are a labor love, sometimes taking up to a year to produce
    Scale models built by Patrick Prom are a labor love, sometimes taking up to a year to produce. Show at left: a styled John Deere D. At right: a 1923 JD spoker D.

  • Ralph Henderson takes a turn on his John Deere 110 mower conversion.
  • Jason Turnbull drives the John Deere model L model tractor built by his father
  • Scale models built by Patrick Prom are a labor love, sometimes taking up to a year to produce

Building scale models can be enjoyed by both the young and young at heart, whether you're a modeler or a rider. Riding's easy, but experienced makers say to take your time, and make it more of a hobby than a business. 

Jim Turnbull, for example, makes scale-model tractors for fun, while his son Jason has ridden and helped show them at more than 30 tractor meets and fairs. Jason spreads the fun by giving other children rides in a small trailer pulled by a one-third-scale model John Deere L. The models generate a lot of interest at shows.

"I have had many offers to sell, but the kids say 'No'!'" says Jim, who lives in Rushville, Mo. "People at shows like to set their kids on it to get a picture."

Jim is a second-generation modeler.



"I've built a pedal tractor, and I have a garden-size tractor that my dad built in 1957 that used a lot of Ford car parts," he says. "He built about 10 or 12 of them back then."

His keys to success?