Models with Dan Murphy
Drake is no doubt the Rolls-Royce of trailers in Australia and it continues to excel in excellence in the smaller world of model trucks. Daniel Murphy interviews Drake Bruce Hay.
Since, 1960 Drake Trailers has built trailers that deliver on their promise of quality, reliability and durability. They are well known for being the Rolls Royce when it comes to heavy haulage trailers. In recent years Drake has invested a lot of time into die-cast models to promote different products and for the enjoyment of thousands of model collectors. There is no doubt that Drake’s models are made to the same renowned quality as that of the real trailers. This makes the models stand well above most others in quality. In Bruce Hay’s own words: “The die-cast Drake trailer is the only trailer you should buy out of China.” Bling’d Up Trucks was at the Melbourne International Truck, Trailer and Equipmet Show (ITTES) for the official release of the Membrey’s Transport & Crane Hire 1:50th scale model Kenworth T909 of the truck 4-ROWAN. The truck was made in memory of Craig’s son Rowan who suffered depression and took his own life a few years ago. Both the original truck and its miniature were present. It was an emotional moment as Craig recalled his son’s difficuties and the last conversation they shared. However the moment was also an opportunity to spread the word about the danger of depression and raise money for Beyondblue, the charity devoted to making people aware of depression. Roughly 200 people watched Craig speak and I doubt there was a dry eye in the room. Prior to the release we had an opportunity to talk to Bruce about the Drake Collectibles products, including 4-ROWAN, which are due for release this year. Model lovers are in for a treat with a worthy collection of equipment available.
Q. What gave you the idea to start making your models?
A lot of customers collected model trucks and kept telling us that no Australian models had been made. We did a PR training exercise with Drake Trailers and this in turn spawned the idea of a model Drake Trailer set being sold.
Then we got the idea of having an Australian truck combination with the trailer set. So we struck a deal with Kenworth to make the T908 model.
Q. What is next for Drake Collectibles?
We have signed a license agreement with Kenworth to tool the entire current model range. We have also decided to make other types of trailers that weren’t a competitor to Drake and have a diverse range
of trailers. Being the only company in the world to make die cast models of its products we actually have enough trailers in our own range to make die cast models of just Drake Trailers, but there was no reason to make only Heavy Haulage models when collectors want a variety.
We have also recently signed an agreement with MaxiTrans to expand the trailer range into general freight. With Maxi-Trans we can make different combinations of tippers, flat-tops, skels and vans. Making more trailers means making more trucks and making more trucks means the price can go down for the buyers.
With now over $750 million in tooling for future model trucks, trailers, combinations all with brand new ideas, liveries, ready to go into production the next two years will be huge.
Q. Will a parts division be set up? Along with real working trucks like the NQ Heavy Haulage truck from the original run?
We started with a model which is a generic model simply because it is cheaper for the customers to buy rather than making each model differently which would make the cost of the models up around the $900 mark due to us having to make different parts for the truck and stopping the production line to make 150 different trucks which bumps the production cost up. We have looked at the new models we are tooling and we are looking at making interchangeable parts between the future model trucks we are currently making. We also have restraints on how we can and can’t do our models due to PACCAR having to approve the models before the model can go into production. With the K200 it was used as a marketing tool for Kenworth as a basic range truck which made us not have much of a say in how we could make it unlike the T908 which we had a fair leniency on tooling with.
Q. Will Drake be making kits and going into different scales?
You can expect a 1/24th scale model kit of the Kenworth K200, Kenworth T908 and a Drake 4x8 Swing Wing low-loader with 2x8 dolly all in a drake branded box. We also want to try to go into the 1/87th scale model market to expand our model range for a younger audience, which is affordable for anyone.
Q.What models can we see this year or early next year?
We will be releasing 2500 K200’s with a dragline bucket trailer with liveries and some basic colours later on in 2014. Two C509’s will be released one 509 with a 5x8 with hydraulic gooseneck exciting new liveries and the other will be a day cab road train. After we finish the models that we are currently making for Kenworth we will be going back in time to the older models of Kenworth along with old Drake Trailers. We have gotten approval to make a body tilt tray model which we are looking at using a Kenworth 409 with. We have been trying to get an agreement with Mack to make some of their Super Liners and Tridents which may include all sixteen 1988 Mack Bicentennials which would be released three at a time as prime movers. The heavy haulage ones maybe released with trailers. We have even been talking with Western Star about making some models and got really close to closing a deal with them. They gave us a 4900 which we measured up and got dimensions from along with drawings of the whole Constellation range. Also in 2014 we will be releasing some more cranes from different liveries all with good reason for them. You can also expect two new McAleese trucks this year along with two new Membrey models and so many more new liveries that have never been seen before of long term customers of ours and recent customers.