By Brian Torrens

I had been invited to exhibit at a local Model Railway Exhibition; my only problem was that I didn’t have much rolling stock, having only recently returned to 16mm scale after a time in 4mm. I had read about making rolling stock from card, so I decided to try it. I found plans for coaches online, in the files area of the 16mm Narrow Gauge Modelling e-Group: they’re Ffestiniog Railway “bug box” types.

I printed out 2 of these, and glued them to cardboard: cereal boxes mostly. On one of these I cut out where the glazing would be, while the second has the framing cut out. These are glued together so the coach side will then have a ‘texture’: framing, droplights etc.

“Inner” side with the windows cut out

The “outer” layer for the framing

For strength I used a sheet of Balsa with the ends, using one printout for the end shape, and the other for the framing. With a thick balsa base, the four sides were glued together. Using the windows as a guide, I made an interior wall. The real strength comes from the glazing, which is the same size as the sides, glued in with the interior over that, and finally a cardboard roof. The chassis is two pieces of strip wood, and Binnie wheels, axleguards and couplings finish it.

One carriage body almost complete, and the second being assembled

Trial run for one of the carriages

As my confidence with working with card grew, I decided to try something like a W & L brake van. I had always liked the look of these, and it looked ‘beefy’ enough to handle my line’s hopper wagons. I obtained plans, I think via the 16mm Facebook group. At the same time, my Dad had found an LGB chassis from when I modelled 16mm 20 years ago, which fitted the plan almost perfectly.

Starting with a piece of card, I cut it to the size of the main body, scribing out the planking. Using strip wood obtained from a craft shop, I cut these to the sizes to represent the exterior planking. Repeating for the other 3 sides, I had the main body ready. The LGB chassis had a representation of a platform at the end, and this was used to build up an end balcony, using another card/wood ‘endpiece’.

The brake van body, with strip wood framing

Adding the balcony end

The tension lock couplings were removed, also the rectangular buffer, I found a metal button to be a better representation of a normal centre buffer/coupling. A roof was cut from card.

The finished brake van