BR van to VR B van conversion (or similar)

  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Is it possible to kitbash old OO gauge Hornby or Lima 4-wheel vans into something similar to the Victorian B vans, or would the scale difference (1:76 to 1:87) mean that the donor model would be too large? That said, even if this van does end up being too large due to the scale difference, I will still be running it.

I am part way through converting a Lima van (originally a McCain Beefeater billboard van) which was otherwise junk due to having a broken end on the body and a snapped and missing W guard/axle box on the underframe (e.g. it had no wheels on one end; I have since swapped the underframe with a similar Tri-ang one I had lying around, which has had the buffers and tension lock couplers removed, and has been extended to fit the van body, and Kadee #5s fitted).

I have filed the ends of the van flat to remove the louvres/bumps but still need to add the small vent at the top (the UK vans have much larger vents compared to the B vans) and add the vertical supports; I have also removed the diagonal bracing from the sides.

Hopefully the wooden sides can be smoothed out with putty/filler to look like sheet metal prior to painting. Eventually I will need to add a sliding door but for now the original moulded wooden swinging doors remain, as does the underframe detail which is of course different between the UK vans and B vans (which used plain old I wagon underframes).

Either way, the end result will be painted into a dirty looking wagon red so hopefully any odd-looking details might be less visible.

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  allan Chief Commissioner

Steam Era Models sell a kit of a B van ($20.50 rrp). I'll suggest that you make one up, and then compare it to the 00 scale vans that you have at hand.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Lima also made the British range in HO to start with and then found it would not sell so changed to OO instead. Now having said that the HO wagons might be better actually if you want to do some thing like this. The open wagons come out pretty close to SAR NG wagon size actually. But you would be better spending the $20 for the SEM kit, these kits are not hard to make if you take your time and do it in a logical progression as set out in the instructions. I have built plenty of them over the years, SEM kits not B vans but all are nearly the same construction wise though. If you are using Hornby or Lima then you are able to run on code 100 rail and SEM kits will run nicely on code 100 track.

Just a thought as it would save a lot of time. But if you want to go on with that conversion then go ahead but personally I would get the SEM kits. It comes complete with wheels but you have to provide couplers of your choice and paint as well. Also put a weight into a SEM kit to keep it on the rails as once built they weigh practically nothing and without a weight the will run but you will have more success with a weighted one. Just do not go over board with the weight though. For a small 4 wheeler about 1.5 ounces up to 2 ounces would do nicely that is 42 grams to 56 grams any where in that range should get you a wagon that stays on the track.

Place weight as low as you can in any wagon, stuck to the underframe top or inside the body. But you be the judge of how much you think it might need, use coins to check and test it though to find a good weight to put in it!

The wagon you have could be parked in a siding somewhere as a wagon that has been in a prang or something and has been shunted to the end of a siding and left and forgotten. It has happened.  Years back in South Australia there was one open 4 wheeled wooden wagon that escaped Webb's purge. It still had buffers and link type couplers and sat at the end of a Siding at Peebinga until it was taken somewhere and restored or at least saved anyway.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
This is mainly a bit of fun with some old junk that was otherwise unusable, it doesn't really have to be 100% identical - I wouldn't be surprised if it's miles too big anyway (the length of the Lima van body is 69mm, no idea what the SEM B is). The SEM kits are awesome and don't cost a fortune - for $20 you'd be lucky to get an empty box on eBay (if it even arrived due to AP's incompetence) and not much change due to parcel post costing $8 these days.

I have seen the British HO scale wagons/vans for sale in a couple of model shows, the size difference is immediately noticeable, especially when they are put together. Lima usually mixed HO and OO in their train sets (e.g. usually the short wagons were OO with two longer HO scale European cars e.g. Shell tanker and Coca-Cola van - the buffers were higher and further apart on the OO models due to the scale difference).

As or code 83, 75 etc., I run mostly metal wheels and filed down the remaining pizza cutter flanges on my plastic-wheeled Lima cars to near RP25 spec long ago so that isn't a problem, they have no trouble at all on code 83 turnouts and actually make the clickety clack over the frog instead of riding on the flange like they used to.

I flattened a lead wheel weight and added it between the underframe and body two days ago, it weighs around 50g instead of the ridiculous 20g of the other Lima vans. I also swapped the huge Tri-ang spoked wheels with 36" Athearn wheels and it now sits the same height as the other Lima cars, I don't even need the Kadee shims anymore. The next step is cutting off the edge clips of the roof (which also forms the rectangle vents on the van), as it has to be flat so I can put a smaller vent on the end instead of having the huge rectangle at the top. A bread tag was the same thickness as the wall and was cut to size, which means I now have to glue the roof on once everything else has been completed. The curved ) ( markings on the sides of the roof have also been removed, so any miniature people loading or unloading this van in the wet will now get soaked.

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