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.
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.
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 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.