Review of 4mm Scale Luggage / Parcels Vans

The Southern Railway made extensive use of passengers vans which had a style of their own, remaining faithful to timber-planked bodywork. The Southern built 4 wheel and bogie versions of passenger brake vans and luggage vans. Brake vans always had a centrally placed guard's compartment equipped with electric lighting and a steam heater; some were also fitted with a stove.

I have generally used below the Southern designations for these vans with the later B.R. coding in brackets. Many remained in service well into the 1980s migrating all over the B.R. Network and also saw departmental use.

The notes below are a review of some of the available kits to produce the variety of Southern luggage / parcels stock.

Bogie Stock
Bogie Luggage Van, 'GBL' (Parcels / Miscellaneous Van, Cor-PMV)
Roxey Mouldings Detailing kit for Tri-ang / Hornby
This kit is designed for the Tri-ang R226 Bogie luggage van that a couple of years ago was re-released by Hornby. I have only applied this to the Tri-ang version although the re-released version is generally identical but with, I think, slightly finer under frame detail finer scale wheels. I am sure that the kit can be applied to both versions
The Tri-ang / Hornby luggage van has poor underframe detail, incorrect bogies and the wrong roof profile. The three pairs of side doors on each side are oversize in thickness and the mounting points un-prototypical as they have been made so that they can be opened.
The detailing kit is such that it reuses the doors, however Roxey do sell separately etched replacement doors complete with separate strap hinges that can be used if required (this etch also contains footboards to save making from the plasticard supplied with the kit).
The Tri-ang body moulding represents the Diagram 3099, 53ft 3ins corridor luggage vans that were built during 1930 and 1931 on old LSWR coach under frames, with a further batch being built in 1937. Originally these had wooden centred Maunsell wheels later replaced with disc wheels in B.R. times

Triang The Triang Bogie Luggage Van as supplied.
Transformed! View one of 2356. 2356
Detailing Kit as supplied
LSWR white metal Bogies
Under frame details comprising; Battery Boxes, vacuum cylinders, Vee hangers, Dynamo, handbrake wheels.
Roof ventilators.
Wire, Plasticard and glazing.
An optional extra, supplied separately, are the Roxey Mouldings etched replacement doors.

The roof, body and coarse under frame detail are all separate mouldings and are easily separated. The bogies on the Tri-ang version are riveted on and need to be carefully drilled out; these can then be discarded as new bogies and bolster are provided in the detailing kit.

Carefully remove the doors, and then remove the hinge pegs although not mentioned in the kit instructions it would also be worth reducing their thickness slightly. The hinge locations on the body need to be removed. The doors should be refitted and extended by one plank using plasticard (or use the Roxey etched doors). Footboards should be added under each pair of doors.
Replacement cast corridor connections and buffers are included in the kit and therefore also need to be removed from the original body prior to being replaced.

New detailing parts are supplied for vacuum brake equipment, dynamo, battery boxes, queen posts and brass wire for the trussing.

The supplied Roxey LSWR etched brass and white metal bogies were made up in accordance with the instructions.

The roof profile of the original Tri-ang version is slightly incorrect, it can be left to personal preference whether to correct this or not (a diagram is included in the instructions to aid this). As there is enough thickness in the moulding to file to the correct profile I feel it is well worth the additional effort to get it right. Once I was happy with the corrected profile I added replacement rain strips using micro strip and the cast ventilators.

This is good detailing kit resulting in a nice model. As can always be expected from Roxey kits the supplied components were well cast / etched and came complete with a detailed single sided A3 sheet of instructions including line drawings and location plans for the under frame components.

Bogie Scenery Vans (GUV)
Thirty 50ft bogie scenery vans with high arc roofs and end opening doors (similar to the Utility vans on page 2) were built in three batches of ten in 1925, 1930 and finally in 1949.
I believe that a Chivers etched brass kit was produced for these vans but I am yet to add one of these to my collection.

Triang View two of 2356.
Close-up of the centre section of 2356. 2356
For pictures of the bogie luggage and scenery vans click here.
Bogie Guards Van, 'Van B'
Ratio kit ref 592
First built to diagram 3093 in 1937, 50ft over headstocks, steel framed with mixed 6½" / 3½" planking on the body side. The standard Southern 8ft bogies were used. The kit can be made as stove or non stove fitted (only real obvious difference being the chimney, and in Southern days the livery as the stove fitted versions were not for working off the SR and were identified by orange painted squares at the top of the sides at each end and the lower part of the Guards door.

The kit comprises of a large number of parts rather than relying on moulded on details. The majority of the parts are injection moulded plastic but also nice white metal or etched brass detailing items such as pipes, grab handles, destination plates and window droplights.

A dimensionally accurate kit which I enjoyed building. Certainly in my mind one of Ratio's best produced and detailed kits to date. Three double-sided A4 sheets of comprehensive instructions and diagrams including livery and prototype notes make assembly and part identification easy.

Van B with stove A Van 'B' with stove, showing the orange panels.
A Van 'B' without a stove. Van B without stove

For pictures of the Van B Bogie guards vans click here.

All photographs are copyright Graham R 'Muz' Muspratt

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This page was created 22 June 2004

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