The Sword of Damocles

The sudden arrival of the ‘official’ Peterbilt 389 in American Truck Sim came as a huge surprise to most of us. It seems to have caused some consternation. Is this a make-weight for the long awaited map rescale? – a gift to forestall complaints if the new map isn’t delivered before Christmas? Or is it given now as a taster for the new map before Christmas? SCS have promised that there is more to come for this truck with the next major code release – which would presumably be the map rescale. It leaves us all wondering if the rescale is just around the corner or delayed till post-Christmas.

So, speculation out of the way… The newly available and free to game Peterbilt 389 is a bit of a beast and a truck that has a huge following in the community. There is a fly in the ointment though – Viper2 provided a very nice mod version of this truck some time back and a lot of people are already using that version of the truck. I tried out the Viper2 version some time ago and it’s very nice – I just haven’t made it part of my fleet because the pricing is not in line with the game economy. The key to the SCS version is the fact that it is licensed by the manufacturer, PACCAR, and I would hope that it is very accurate in its details as a result.

Looking closely at the truck, the outside areas capture the appearance of the truck very well. SCS have given a choice of radiators – a retro-grill version alongside the current grill (a first for them I think). You can have low, mid and high-roof sleepers but some of the customization options are not available on all versions. I have gone the traditional route of retro-grill and low roof sleeper.
There are only 4 engines offered – 2 from PACCAR and 2 from Cummins ranging from 370hp to 550hp – along with the usual range of Eaton-Fuller and Allison gearboxes. I opted for the 550hp Cummins ISX 15 and an 18 speed E-F gearbox with retarder – making her the most powerful vehicle in the fleet.

The 389 cab with Walnut dash and SCI traditional wheel.
The 389 cab with Walnut dash and SCI traditional wheel.
The interior is very good and even has the ugly strip down the front of the dash that connects the two halves in real life. Apart from a little hexing of the circles in the air nozzles in the roof of the cab, it is very neatly executed. Two variations of dash are provided with a choice of walnut finish or plastic. The gauges are well represented though the smaller ones can be hard to read. There is a choice of steering wheels from Peterbilt plus the Steering Creations wheels too. So you have a good range of customization options to make the truck your own.

A good selection of paint options comes with the truck. You can have a standard manufacturer’s color or choose your own in a choice of plain or metallic. There are also a number of special paint jobs including cowboys, eagles and surfing. I opted for the pinstripe scheme, changing the background color from metallic green to a dark blue. I’ve christened her ‘Nightshade’.

Nightshade in her metallic blue pinstripe colors.   When the man with the truck meets a yield sign... it's the sign that yields ;-)
Nightshade in her metallic blue pinstripe colors. When the man with the truck meets a yield sign… it’s the sign that yields 😉
In service, the truck is nice to drive. It feels almost as nailed to the road as the Kenworth W900 but the steering is a bit more twitchy. The 18 speed gearbox requires a bit of practise to get the best from it especially when lightly loaded. The engine sound is a bit disappointing – it is very quiet except when the engine brake is activated. I note that other players are looking to bring in the sounds supplied by Kriechbaum for the Viper2 version of the 389. I did some research into how the 550hp Cummins sounds and SCS seem to have it pretty close except there is some low crankshaft clatter that seems too muted compared to the real thing. In the cab of a real life 389, the engine sound is definitely quieter than expected – a guy commentating on the gauges and other dash items while advertising a truck for sale was clearly talking naturally rather than having to shout to make himself heard over the noise of the engine. So SCS’ sounds are a little lacking in the base end plus a little too quiet whilst Kriechbaum’s sounds are great but probably unrealistically loud! Given that we drive our trucks for fun and part of the fun is hearing the glorious engine sounds – I guess most people will be looking to upload a sound mod for this truck 😉

So that’s the new Peterbilt 389. I called this post The Sword of Damocles and you may well wonder why. In the first paragraph I mentioned the impending map rescale. Unlike adding new states or countries which expand the available areas you can work in, the rescale will fundamentally change the basic game. It should bring a host of new locations and job opportunities as well as enhanced realism. The upshot is that it will to all intents and purposes be a new game. That begs the question – should I carry on with my existing company and my fleet of trucks or should I start out anew? If I choose to do the latter, and I’m leaning towards that option, I will be back in the job market driving whatever jobs are available until I can afford my own truck again. This means that Rolled Gold, Purple Rain, Autumn Gal and Nightshade will all disappear. They are literally going to be for the chop. However, with all the experience behind me of building this company and my current Euro Truck one, I think I will be buying an old second-hand truck to start my new business and that will probably be the Peterbilt 359 though I will maybe go for a more traditional paint scheme than the metallic purple that gave my current one her name. So come the map rescale it will be farewell to the trucks you’ve met over the last few months. I’ve noted the configuration of each of them in my worksheets so I can replicate them again in a new game if I so wish – I can promise you that Autumn Gal will certainly reappear at some stage 🙂  Until the rescale… It’s carry on up the canyon 😉

Nightshade heads for Tonopah NV
Nightshade heads for Tonopah NV

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