By Alan Hodgson
Tram engines in their many forms have fascinated me for a long time and when Regner released their model “Paul”, I had to buy one. I searched, without success, for kit carriages that (in my opinion) matched the style and scale of the delightful “Paul”, hence this attempt to make a couple of suitable partners. They are not based on any prototype, just a mix from many web pictures of horse trams.
Original version of the body, before replacing the horizontal members
The carriage sides and ends were to be cut from 3mm ply, but the various spars framing the windows looked flimsy on my home brew drawings, so I decided to set spruce verticals into the lower sides, and make the cross members in the same stuff. The first effort looked somewhat crude so I removed the horizontal members, replacing them with thinner spars, notched to fit around the vertical window frame parts. That looked much better; stronger, too.
Under the floor, a length of timber carries the wheels
The chassis has a 3mm ply top and 8mm thick shaped ends glued underneath. After cutting the step recesses, 3mm ply glued under the chassis ends completed the steps. The wheels and axles (Binnie) simply run in brass tubes pressed into lengths of timber secured beneath the main platform. As the end balconies looked bare, strips of wood were glued to the floor. After painting the chassis, sandpaper exposed the bare timber of the floor strips, and a spot of wood dye and varnish completed the effect.
Revised bodywork with thinner horizontal members, and the balcony floor planked
Railings round each end were a problem and fiddly to make. Timber wouldn’t look right, nor have sufficient strength, so an attempt to make them in brass was needed. The materials were 2mm brass rod and 4mm brass tube.
Jig for making balcony railings
A jig was made to set out the holes in the balconies, drill the handrails, and also hold the component parts whilst being soft soldered. It has a wooden base with a curved slot, into which an annealed and shaped piece of brass tube fitted. The top layer is a steel plate having 2mm holes spaced for drilling for the vertical members. Locating pins and a couple of bolts held the whole thing together.
Completed balcony railings
Angle support brackets for each side of the roof are largely cosmetic – just made up from lengths of brass beading left over from a 5”gauge loco, and rings cut from copper tube. I’m not too happy with the result as the components could have been better fitted and soldered together, but they do the job.
Roof support brackets
Each end platform needed a roof, preferably with its top surface shaped. Each has two layers of ply with a curved profile at the body end. Lots of glue was added and the layers pressed together with clamps to a cling film-covered piece of flat timber. An M3 screw, epoxy resin’ed in place, is used to hold the roof to the body. With hindsight, it might have been better to carve the roof from solid wood?
The final component was the carriage roof. Now, I’m not very good with roofs – mine never seem to fit well – so I made a jig/press that is probably “over-the-top”, but it worked and the roof pieces fit fairly well on my 2 carriages.
Completed carriage ready for painting
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the result and think the carriages go well with the Regner “Paul” and, coincidentally, gave me a lot of fun making them.
One of the completed carriages