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road vehicles

A few more trailers

Been busy knocking up a few more trailers.

Starting with this offering from Knightwing. Although the cabs they supply are to a slightly larger scale the trailers, or at least this one, is pretty much spot on for 4mm scale. I changed if from a 3 axle type to 2 axles and fitted some spare Base toys wheels but that was pretty much it.

This 40ft flatbed is something I’ve had for a while. Its from RTI, brought when Frank was still with us. It’s a somewhat basic kit with just the bed, bogie and wheels supplied. The rest is knocked up from bits and bobs.

When I built my last batch of tractor units I printed enough registration plates for the trailers too. Do you think i can find them now?

Stobart bashing

Last time I ended with a selection of Eddie Stobart vehicles that looked somewhat nervous, not without good reason.

The simple (or should I say least mauled) option from these is shown on the right. Basically a simple repaint with a new headboard (is that what they are called?) of the DAF 2800 tractor. On the right the same cab mated with the chassis of the much out of period volvo unit. The fuel tank and other chassis details were cut off and transferred over as well.

The left over chassis was mated with an old KeilKraft (now Knightwing) Mercedes cab. Like the Volvo mentioned in an earlier post it was reduced in width by about 3mm.

Finally the tipper truck (the same base model that I have cut about previously) was mated with the Daf 2200 cab and chassis to produce yet another variation. I shortned the body on this one as well but not by as much as my AEC blue one.

In all the vehicles that have logos these were drawn up in Illustrator and printed on Crafty computer decal paper.

My Leyland and post post.

With apologies to those coming here to see trains road vehicles are still drawing my attention. This time let’s start with some Leyland products.

The Leyland roadrunner (1984 version). A combination of cab and wheels from Road transport images, chassis from the Atlas stobart ford cargo and a body from scratch.

Next up a terrier in post office colours. Although a 70s design these seemed to last quite late. Again RTI cab and wheels, base toys this time for the chassis and the body from scratch.

The tail lift is an approximation from a photo I found years ago and kept in my ‘that might be handy one day’ folder.

Sticking with the post office. I did this Roadtrain cab years ago and never got around to the trailer. the source is the Atlas curtain sided one I used last time for my Link51 lorry. This time with the sides replaced and modification to the leading end. It was a faff to cut the old sides away so I would just scratchbuild the box next time…

… which is what i did for this smaller version. Again the tractor unit was finished off years ago although I have recently replaced the wheels with RTI ones.

Overall I have put together quite a fleet of Royal Mail vehicles now.

Next time…

More Atlas Stobart vehicles are lined up for the chop at Jim’s Dodgy Car and lorry dealership. ‘lovely little runners, one careful owner, service history? Yeah I’ll just write one up for you!!’

A few old and a few new

Lets start with the humble Austin Maxi. A recent-ish release from Oxford Diecast. My first impression was ‘they have used their oversized tyres again but on looking at the real thing I think what threw this one off was the track was too wide with the wheels filling the arches much like a more modern vehicle. So with the track was slight reduced, inner window frames picked out in black. matt varnish and weathering I can call this one done.

Added a bit of a load to one of my smaller trucks. The wheelbarrow is a nice 3d print from 3D Printing Corner. click here

One of my early kit builds that has never been quite right is this Volvo from a Knightwing kit. Its always looked out of proportion to me so I have had another look at it.

I binned the chassis and used a spare from one of the cheap Atlas Stobart models you can find on ebay. for the cab itself I cut about 2mm out of the width. I am happier with it now.

Back to the new. The trailer that came with the chassis used on the Volvo was stripped and resprayed. I used a different tractor chassis and a cur down Base toys roadtrain cab. The windbreak is also a spare from an Atlas ford cargo.

I came across this livery wile looking at old shots of Brierley Hill for Brettell Road. I thought it nice to tie the 2 layouts together a little. The logos were drawn up in illustrator and printed on crafty transfer paper.

A couple of AEC products.

A very brief history

AEC (or Associated Equipment Company) was a fairly early producer of vehicles being founded in 1912 and lasting up until 1979. Initially focusing on buses their first prototype commercial vehicle was based on a bus chassis but with the outbreak of the first world war they were ideally placed to produce lorries for the army. After the war lorry production continued right up until the companies last days.

In world war 2 they produced something like 10,000 vehicles for the war effort and readers familiar with Airfix kits have likely come across the Matador model at some point. the company acquired a fair few other companies during its time with Crossley Motors, Park Royal and Thornycroft being just a few of them. They were taken over themselves in 1962 by Leyland Motors.

Leyland fitted their own ‘Ergomatic’ cabs to the AEC line of lorries but they retained the AEC branding. So Ercomatic is a type rather than a model covering Madator, Matador, Mercury etc (the lorry models always began with the letter M).

The Models

So the victims both picked up cheaply from ebay. On the left Atlas editions and on the right from EFE. Both are similar in a way. Both have nicely done cabs with rather rudimentary bodies and slightly odd looking wheels. The proportions of the Stobart example look a little odd as well.

Having looked at pictures of the real things I decided to shorten the chassis and tipper body. The ribs were beefed up a little and a new hood fabricated from plasticard. The hydraulic ram came from my spares box.

The livery was stripped form the cab (as its all metal nail varnish remover is ideal for this and the wheels replaced with some from RTI. Below shows the model after painting and weathering.

The body on the Mammoth was metal and to be honest im not sure what its supposed to represent. I think its some sort of pressed steel effort but I binned it and made up a new body to represent a planked body instead. The strapping is from the mainly trains etch.

I decided to keep the livery on the cab this time and just gently sanded the sign writing off. Wheels again are from RTI. The usual matt varnish and light weathering finish it off.

Just some of Brettell Road’s vehicles.

A simple little project

A simple little project using a left over base toys trailer.
This is what I started with. which is, lets face it, a bit naff
Using the Langley models kingwheel kit you can turn it into something half decent. The kit caters for single and twin wheels so that’s all to need for both axles. In reality you could knock up the tailer bed from bits of plasticard in a leisurely 10 minutes!
The finished trailer after a spot of weathering. The reason for posting such a simple little project is to demonstrate that anyone can have a go at something like this for very little money. There’s no need to attack your latest RTR loco as a first attempt as this can teach a lot with ultimately very little to loose. We have the modification of the plastic bed. Use of white metal components (Have a crack at low melt soldering) adapting kits for your own uses and weathering. Sure its tempting to go for a headline loco if you are new to the hobby but something this simple will also teach a lot of skills. Plus if it all goes horribly wrong you can just throw it away, the lessons learned never follow it into the bin!

A few more road vehicles – Back to the defender.

Of the 3 cars i did last time the Land Rover defender was the easiest. That’s before I encountered the phenomenon of the Land Rover enthusiast. At least as bad as the VW enthusiasts and enough to give the most ardent P4 modeller a run for their money I was (in a very polite way and from several sources) informed that it was wrong as in a too late version.

Friend and fellow Calcutta Sidings operator Brendan supplied the above image of (one of) his. Turns out the Oxford one is a ford engined one and you can tell by the different bonnet shape (not sure why i didnt notice this). These were introduced in 2007. Also Brendan’s didn’t have a sunroof and the roof ribs were different.

So the bonnet ‘hump’ was ground down and the new raised bits added from 5 thou plasticard. The sunroof was filed and new ribs added from microstrip. The wheels came from a RAC version again from Oxford Diecast.

A few more road vehicles.

Been tweaking a few more road vehicles starting with fitting better wheels (from RTI) to a couple of old cargos. The WH Smiths lorry seems to draw a lot of attention at shows and for many people sets a time and place quite specifically.

Next up another little batch from Oxford diecast waiting form my usual treatment…

… which is to paint the inside of the window apertures and wheel arches black and a quick spray of matt varnish before some gentle weathering. I might see if i can get some more standard looking wheels for the Land Rover.

The Volvo (760) required a bit more effort as out of the box (on the right) it did not capture the look of the real thing very well at all. The solution was to file the windows so that they are much deeper. I enlarged the windows of the Rover 3500 too but not by anything like as much. Wing mirrors are just a bit of microstrip.

More vehicles

In the absence of Scalefour North I have finished off a few vehicles that have been lurking near my workbench for a while now.

Starting with a couple for New Street. A Ford Fiesta and Range Rover from Oxford Diecast. These follow my now standard approach of blacking in the window frames and wheel arches before a coat of matt varnish and some subtle weathering. On the fiesta i turned the wheels down a little and binned the little plug in numberplate as it stuck out to far. For the Range Rover its worth chopping off the mounts for the screws that hold it into the box.

Moving on to Brettell Road. On the left a BMC FG lorry. This is a combination of 2 FG lorries from different manufacturers. The body and chassis come from a Chinese company called Best Choose. Initially these look a lot more detailed than the base toys version but there’s something not quite right about the proportion of the cab so I replaced it with a detailed Base toys one instead.Wheels are from RTI and i don’t fancy doing the glazing again any time soon.

The van is a ford 300E from the Classix range.

Finally a Fordson tractor (Oxford Diecast) modified with a front loader from the Dapol JCB kit. Quite a neat little project this one.

End of the year – end of a sub project

With 2017 drawing to a close I have also (nearly) finished off the road vehicles I will need for Brettell Road.  Despite having 5 bridges over the railway I’ve resisted the urge to do any buses to put on them and I also haven’t done any cars either.Above is the latest and last batch.

Starting with some kits. On the left a resin Ford Thames 400E from Road Transport Images and on the right a white metal ex military Austin 3 ton dropside from MMS.  Unfortunately MMS have now closed so this kit is no longer available.

I found this part built Langley models kit on eBay for next to no money. Its a 45cD tractor unit from the very late 30’s and once disassembling the more sketchily assembled bits I decided that it once belonged to one of the business owners. Some sort of engine fire meant it got dumped but with the intention to restore it to its former glory. However it ended up forgotten and is now rotting away. The tarp is from a black latex glove and I attacked the inside of the front mud guard with a burr in a minidrill to depict the rust working its way through. The rear mud guard is hanging on for dear life as well and some parts have now long gone. Finally a Leyland Steer from a combination of base toys bits.   I find these lorries quite intriguing with their (to my mind) odd wheel arrangement.  The base toys Steer has a different cab to this so I swapped it from an ‘8 legger’ box van.  If you look at the inset picture you can see that I’ve widened the wheel arches and reprofiled the front windows to get something looking more like the pictures I found of the real vehicles. I could have done more with the chassis but where its going you wont see it. Wheels are from Road transport images.

Some more road vehicles

Oxford diecast continue to act as lifesavers in the world of road vehicles for more recent layouts.  Yes, they do tend to go for the more exotic (or chavvy) versions but when it’s that or nothing we can’t really complain a great deal.  Hence the Vauxhall Astra – supplied as the Mk2 GTE but still very handy for New Street, the Mk2 being first introduced in 1984.  The middle one shows the quite nice casting once you strip the caked on white paint off!  I know I have gone on about this before but the super thick paint really does the toolmakers no favours. White seems to be the worst culprit.   On the right a more standard version achieved by cutting the spoiler off, filling the vents on the bonnet and tweaking the radiator a smidge.   All finished in a fetching shade of mud brown (why did people buy this colour?)

Also from Vauxhall the Cavalier, also a Mk2 but i think this is the post 1985 face lifted version.   I’ve picked out the grill in black and outlined the window frames. Some light weathering and a blast of matt varnish as is my standard approach with all vehicles.  I also removed the rather naff looking sunroof which was literally just a printed on silver panel.  It seemed to withstand efforts with thinners and IPA so I sanded it off in the end.

Similar treatment for the Volvo which would be a fair bit older on New Street.  A Volvo 300 series would be a nice addition to the range if Oxford are listening!!

Finally an EFE Bedford TK which cropped up really cheaply on Ebay. I brought it just because it was orange as much as any better reason, being in GM buses livery.  The livery elements on this one responding well to IPA.  I’ve just fitted new wheels from RTI and weathered it with a mixture of enamels and gouache.

moving stuff around

I want to depict some sort of activity within the current building or at least evidence of it either about to occur or that it’s just occurred (luckily the vans will block the view when the place is the most active) . So I need some way for my mini workers to move stuff around.

These barrows and sack trucks are from Scalelink and depict items of Midland origin. I thickened up the wheels on some using old handwheels from various etches as a single etch didn’t seem thick enough. On the larger sack trucks I couldn’t figure out how the mount for the wheels was supposed to fit, you can see my best guess on the one lying down. On the others I just mounted the axles on plasticard blocks as mounting them on blocks seemed to be more in keeping with a picture of something similar in LMS miscellany bu H. N. Twells. the wheels on the last barrow were supplied as a flat etch so I used some of Colin Craigs handwheels instead as they had a better look. I think the rear wheels are actually too far forward now its built mind you.

Incidentally the brown used for these is from Halfords range of camouflage spray paints and would make quite a good basis for general track colour if you are looking for something for this.

forkliftA spot of research showed fork lift trucks to be a lot older than I thought they were so I figured that the owners of the building had got hold of one to move stuff around. My idea is that the building was originally a factory of some sort but now being used as a warehouse so a make do approach seems more sensible than everything being designed for a purpose.  Anyway this is a JPG Models kit backdated to look like a generic earlier forklift. I ditched the safety cage and added a grill on the side and some vents on the back as it seemed that the earlier fork lifts tended to be more like this.

Sherpas ticked off

sherpas-finalMy 4 Sherpas are now done. Aside from the Royal Mail one the transfers were all drawn up in Illustrator and printed on crafty computer paper. I decided that the paragon models wheels that I used for the minibus were too big so swapped them for the wheels from and Oxford beaver tail transit. As supplied they were no smaller but by changing the types for some from their mk3 escort they look much better. Its worth doing this even if you are keeping them under the transit to my mind. On the subject of tyres I tend to paint them Humbrol 67 grey rather than black. You only really see black tyres in car showrooms or at car shows. sherpas-rear

The Sherpa can take it!

sherpas-batch-2Long time followers of my efforts might recall a batch of 4 Sherpa vans I did from the kingfisher Miniatures kit. I said at the time that I wanted to do more and after a long wait the kit is back in stock so a second batch has been started.

Sherpa’s were a common sight in my childhood as they were produced locally at Washwood Heath. While my travels didn’t take me over there often I tended to see rows of brand new ones parked up between Tysley and Small Heath waiting for shipment by rail. Public bodies were urged to buy British and BR, the Post Office, BT and schools used them extensively over the (better) Ford Transit. The suggestion was that Ford couldn’t make Transits fast enough to meet demand anyway!

Unlike the last batch which was relatively simple (the conversion of 2 to sliding door variants was about as adventurous as I got) this batch is a bit more involved.  On the left a BT version with swappable body/ The body being a simple plasticard box. Second along what will become a minibus in the livery of my secondary school. This is a bit of a best guess as I cant find a picture of one. We definitely had them and I am pretty sure they were long wheelbase ones. The back of the BT one was used to stretch the body but minibuses were wider than vans so the whole model was cut in half (2 cuts down the bonnet on the panel lines and spread with microstrip before gluing back together.The wheels are from Paragon models.

Third along is how the kit was intended, this one is destined for British Gas livery. Lastly another port office one, this time long wheelbase and high roof. I remember PO vans being slung round the streets of the midlands with the driver’s door wide open. Careful consideration of where you cut the van bodies mean you can get 2 long wheelbase vans from a single spare shell.

This is the basic surgery stage. The detailing stage starts next.

Kingfisher Miniatures

One of those finished things posts.

The advantages of working on more than one project at once is that, firstly, I don’t get bored and secondly every so often you seem to finish a lot of things together.  This is one of those instances with several things that have featured recently have reached the finish line sort of together.

loading-gaugeMy loading gauge has been painted for a while but now its been planted too. I love stuff like this as its one of those things that I hope disappears into the scene and becomes unremarkable. Perhaps once in a blue moon someone will notice it but, much like the real thing I like stuff like this just to be ‘there’. It’s not supposed to get people’s attention. (don’t worry about the big gap under the wall – that’s not been permanently attached yet)Thames-and-AustinMy Ford Thames and Austin A40.  The colours of the Austin have a somewhat obvious Birmingham influence. Cartwrights was a furniture store in Brierley Hill but I have no idea if they used Austin vans or even if they had any road vehicles at all. ex-coke-wagonThis was a quick win project – Started life as a Bachmann Coke wagon which I imagined was sold to Round Oak and had the coke rails removed. I just liked it because it had a local livery and i’ve never done a distressed private owner before. The lettering was attacked with one of those brass brush wheels in a mini-drill and then the wagon was weathered. The w-irons needed a but more work with the mini-drill and a burr to get the wheels in but this was really minimal effort modelling! DE2-paint-1And so to the big project of the last few weeks – the DE2 shunter.  I have to admit I didn’t relish the thought of painting its striped livery but by using some 4mm making tape from a company called Jammy Dog it wasn’t too bad at all. (click here for their website)      A few more pictures below.DE2-paint-3 DE2-paint-2coal-emptiesThis is the sort of train I had in mind for the loco – Pushed up the hill with the loco at the rear and no brake van. I will need to add a shunter to the front wagon at some point.

van-train-bwFinally another moody shot of the Jinty heading out of the yard on a train of vans.

Abandoned warehouse, nearly there!

painted-building-CSMy abandoned warehouse is nearly there now. A spot of paint, Brassmasters windows and roof tiles kindly supplied by Mr Horn. These images show it roughly positioned. You can see a glimpse of the canal which I have also decided to depict as derelict and ill come back to that in a future post.

painted-building-YSUnusually for me the more interesting side is actually the side that people will see! The yard has been suitably strewn with waste from plastic strip and Scalelink bits. The 2 tanks are from Unit models.


More wagons

wooden-opensWhat you see above is a variation on a theme, both started out as Parkside kits for the same wagon (although different generations of the same kit) and both have been built to represent something slightly different to what was intended. On the Left a clasped brake version achieved by substituting the supplied chassis for a PA16 chassis kit from the same supplier. On the right the supplied chassis modified with vac cylinder and tie bars (0.7mm L section from Eileens).

steel-opensA selection of steel opens built pretty much as intended. The far left is a Red Panda kit the others are Parkside with the usual extra detailing. It’s good to see that the Red Panda kits have reappeared from Parkside although the example shown here remained available continuously.

abandoned-lorry-2I decided I quite likes the idea that when the building shown in the last update was abandoned an unfortunate lorry was left behind too. Perhaps it wouldn’t start or its been dumped there?  Having mooched around for a suitable victim I quite fancied a kit rather than ready to plonk and I havent built a vehicle kit for a while. I settled on a Coopercraft Bedford ML and set to work.

The kit is quite poor if i am honest. There’s loads of flash and the fit of the parts isn’t great. I also decided that the windscreens were far too small but being all plastic it’s not too much hassle to fashion something presentable and as I’ve mentioned before I find poor kits strangely rewarding. I attacked the bed with a circular saw in a mini drill to gouge out some of the planks and simlulate rot.  The above is the more presentable side!

abandoned-lorry-1On this side I cut off a wing and cut down the tires to simulate flats. The rubber at the bottom was added with filler. The lorry was first weathered with a light blue to simulate fading, varnished and then gouache was used for the rust. another coat of varnish and washes of enamels were added to simulate dirt and grime. Finally the whole thing was dry brushed with Klear to make it look wet.

On the subject of road vehicles I will be doing a demo at Scaleforum this month so please stop by for a chat if you are going.


Tanks and Trucks

Not the sort with tracks and a large gun sticking out of the front but storage tanks
These are resin kits from Unit models with a bit of extra detail added. If you are not familiar with Unit models they are a little company with an extremely useful range of bits and bobs for scratchbuilders – well worth checking out their site.

A pet peeve I have is really nicely modelled layouts with ever so shiny road vehicles that are clearly tipped from the box. These are usually done by quite skilled modelers who wouldn’t accept such a thing if it was a rail vehicle but are happy too for cars, trucks and vans. Odd then that ive just done a lorry for Brettell Road that is deliberately shiny!
You may have thought that the tanks look shiny too and you would be right. Part of the plan to model Brettell Road is to model it in the rain. I’ve seen layouts that depict snow but never rain which is a tad odd when you consider that in the UK on average it rains for 1 in every 3 days! This lorry is effectively a freebie, using left over bits from lorries done for New Street.

I realised that the picture of the double slip that isn’t in an earlier post is a bit confusing. However once a spot of paint is added it becomes much more obvious which bits are used and which bits are not.
Finally a start has been made on the scenic side of things. Its early stages at the moment but the below picture gives a good idea of the effect I have in mind for the layout.

Transit, nearly there

20140920-232312.jpgWell thats another transit van nearly done. Just need to add a tax disk and wing mirrors.

The smart little car with all the extras…

…is what ford claimed in a 1988 advert for their Fiesta.  In 4mm scale the Oxford Diecast Fiesta has been out for a while now (and is an earlier version but it’s still very suitable for New Street.

First Impressions

Looks like a Mk1 fiesta to me. Comes with the usual manufacturing compromises of 2D printing on a 3d object and the now standard oversize wheels. I kind of hoped that Oxford had stopped doing this when they abandoned the separate tyres and produced the Marina model and while the fiesta hasn’t got separate tyres either the wheels are way too big.  On the upside it’s probably easier to fix now.

fiestas-compared-1On the left, out of the box and on the right after a few easy tweaks. The model is held together with a screw and the rear licence plate as a sort of plug in wedge (bit weird!) so disassembly is a doddle. A spot of black paint on the widow frames and bumpers and a coat of matt varnish is all that’s needed.  I decided this one would be parked so didn’t fit a driver. The wheels were pulled off the axle (you need to do this to get them out) and then remounted one at a time for turning down in a minidrill with some sandpaper.  Take your time as you need to avoid them getting too hot.

fiestas-compared-2Finally a very light weathering and its done – I’ll change the registration at some point and add a tax disk.  Reading up on fiestas the Mk2 version was essentially a facelift mk1 rather than a new car.  They seem to look about the same proportions, any Ford experts care to advise if that’s the case?

Volvo FL6 part 3


Well that’s another lorry all but finished.  I was quite pleased with how this turned out considering the castings that greeted me when I opened the box.  You sometimes get a better sence of achievement building a poor kit than one that just falls together.  Still to add are the windscreen discs, a driver, number plates and the mirrors.

Volvo FL6 part 2

I have to  admit I’ve quite enjoyed getting to grips with this.  The beauty of a white metal kit is that you can tweak it with low melt solder used as a filler.  You don’t have to wait for it to dry and it doesn’t break away when you attack it with files and filler.  I decided to do a solid sided box and do away with the windbreak in the end.  I also replaced the marker/indicator lights and added the rainstrips from wire. The front panel, below the windscreen was filled with solder, sanded smooth and the panel re-scribed so that it was the same height at both ends! Below is where it is now.


Volvo FL6 from BW models

In the mid 1980’s Volvo developed a new medium sized lorry, the FL6 and a slightly lighter counterpart the FL4.  the FL6 cab is quite a familiar shape and many were produced as Fire engines.  For a long while I have been aware that BW models do a kit for the FL6 with a curtain side body and on hearing that they are planning to wind down the business in 2014 I ordered one.

Previously white metal road vehicle kits I have built have been very good. With the likes of ABS, Doug Roseman and Langley Models all setting the standard quite high.  Sadly the same cannot be said for this kit.  BWM-fl6This is the kit as supplied.  The parts all fit reasonably well although there’s a lot of flash to be tidied up and some parts (main floor and roof) need to be bent back to shape.  I replaced the front axle with a straight piece of bar as it sat too low as supplied. I soldered the kit together.

BWM-fl6-cabClose up of the cab.  While the bumper is pretty cleanly cast the cab itself is pretty awful as can be seen.  I decided the best approach was to assemble the kit and then set to work on tidying it all up rather than to try and work on separate parts.

BWM-fl6-rearThe canvas is not much better with a load of imperfections in the kit.  To be fair to the manufacturer I did nt contact them with regard to replacing the parts I was not happy with so I don’t know what their customer service would be like in this regard. The side is held in place with blue tag for the picture. Options are to replace it with adapted sides from the Hornby Curtain sided van (which you can tell is how the master was produced) or do a solid sided version.

More to follow…