By Andrew Mawer
One of Andrew’s Hudson-style ammunition wagons is seen here with WDLR Simplex and Baguley locos.
One of my areas of interest in 16mm scale is military railways, and so when I first ordered a white metal Hudson Rugga chassis (with brake) from IP Engineering, it was destined to become a decent representation of one of the ammunition wagons supplied to the RAF during the Second World War. At Peterborough in 2013 I picked up a pack of Hudson bolster chassis from Binnie engineering. I know they’re a different chassis from the IP one, but including the price of each individual chassis, the price of a wagon works out at around £6; who can complain at that? I’d first seen a few pictures of a model of one of these wagons done in 7/8ths scale in Gardenrail magazine.
The three completed wagons await action.
Anyway, the IP chassis was assembled with superglue the day it arrived in the post. Due to my not-so-perfect construction it’s not 100% square, but it rolls fine. It was painted in a few coats of Revell paint that I had spare (number 45, from a Fairey Swordfish kit).
The planks were in the meantime made from wooden spatulas sourced from my local model shop, Pastimes. I didn’t know the exact length, height and width of the wagons, so was building it to “look right” with other stock.
The metalwork was made from biscuit tin, cut into thin strips, then bent in half longitudinally. Once roughly bent to 90°, the metal was further shaped by hitting it with a hammer while it was on a piece of rectangular steel bar. The bolts were fabricated from Plastikard scraps (I had to make about 150 of them). The bolts were then glued to the metal angle, the positions having been marked beforehand. Once the glue was dry it was all painted.
The IP Engineering chassis, with wooden floor constructed on top.
On the chassis, the floor had been constructed from the sprues from wooden kits, with planks glued on top. The ends of the rest of the body were assembled first, the planks and angle being glued together then fitted to the wagon. The end next to the brake standard was easy as extra glue was put on the support to hold the planks, but the other end took a couple of attempts before it was secure. The sides were fabricated before fitting as well.
In the foreground, a body side is assembled, while behind the ends have been added to the chassis and floor.
As originally built, the wagon had hinged doors but this gave problems when running, so after a few unsuccessful attempts at a locking mechanism, I glued the sides on permanently (a year or so after it first ran). The wagons built on the Binnie chassis were built in the same way although the sides were not hinged and brake standards have had to be made. I have also added extra internal strengthening in them.
The first wagon is complete and the Binnie chassis for the next one has been assembled.
None of the wagons I have produced are the exact same, the two Binnie chassis ones being of different widths, and the IP Engineering chassis one being larger (and more like the prototype). For loads in the wagons, I generally use spent shotgun cartridges or bullet cases, although small wooden boxes are also used.
Text and photos by Andrew Mawer