Friday, March 16, 2012
Continuing with the vintage theme this week, another refuge from a box of bits is this TT wagon that arrived in a job lot of 3mm scale bits.
The body appears to be cardboard with a wooden floor and a Peco chassis - yes the Beery model makers produced quite a range for the scale back in the the day.
Knowing nothing about the model but suspecting it was a bit more special than all those Triang examples that hang around on second hand stall, I posted the query to the 3mm Society e-group. After a few suggestions, John Sutton came up with the definite answer:
I suspect it may have been made from one of the ERG (E Rankine Grey of Bournemouth) "kits" - in TT this was a very large sheet of paper, with drawings of the sides, ends and the like of a variety of Grouping and pre-Grouping wagons on it - several layers in the case of an outside-framed van (there was certainly a Midland one on the sheet).
The idea was to glue these to 1/32in card with Seccotine (wow! ancient history), scribe the planks and glue on card framing layers and paper strapping, after which the thing was shellacked, assembled and eventually stuck to a chassis and painted. The results were good for their time (sixties) and I still - somewhere - have the Tredegar coke wagon, SR 8-plank and RCH 7-plank I made as a teenager. The idea was to make boltheads on strapping by prodding with a darning needle. It took ages (by candlelight in t'olden days, of course, which folk who have never known anything but inside toilets will find hard to imagine.... You were lucky etc etc).
So not scratch built so to speak but the next best thing. Of course in those days we didn't expect the level of trade support enjoyed by modern modellers. The concept of carefully cutting out bits of card and then riveting them with a darning needle wouldn't go down too well now. Come to think of it, I doubt many household own a darning needle !
So it is a bit special. Someone made this the hard way and as such I feel duty bound to look after it. Maybe one day there will be another TT layout in the Parker collection. One with kitbuilt items from the 1960's. OK, they might not be perfect, but there is a style about this model that you just don't get from the mass produced items. It's certainly too good for track testing anyway. What track ? Well that's for next week...