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47137

VGA Van from Electrotren Hbillns 302 (British H0)

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My holiday project is to build a representation of a British 'VGA' sliding door van in H0 scale. The donor model is a DB Hbillns 302 by Electrotren:

post-14389-0-85167900-1451161964.jpg

 

This is the correct width for a British model, but about 5 mm too high. The side doors are shortened from top to bottom to make room for a working door mechanism, which makes the panels closer to the proportions of those on a VGA. The tops of the door mouldings extend a fair way inside the existing roof, hopefully enough for a VGA but I could make them deeper if I have too:

post-14389-0-08335300-1451162563.jpg

 

The main details of the underframe (wheelbase, length, suspension) are reasonably close, so I need to make new ends and a new roof, and alter details on the underframe.

 

Can anyone help with a drawing or a square-on photograph of the end of a VGA, which I could use to prepare the ends? The end of a Bachmann 00 model would be fine. Something I can print out and scale from to make the ends.

 

Thanks,

 

- Richard.

 

(Edited to change the topic title to something clearer)

Edited by 47137
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I am much indebted to David and to another member of the British HO Society for a drawing of the VGA by T J Mann, which appeared in the December 1986 issue of the Model Railway Constructor. Having taken the Electrotren Hbis to pieces, it is quite uncanny how the main parts line up with the VGA - perhaps they were designed by the same team?

post-14389-0-01684700-1451334298.jpg

post-14389-0-80362700-1451334315.jpg

post-14389-0-09568700-1451334344.jpg

 

This all encouraged me to make a start on the body.

 

On the floor, I trimmed off the door runners along the edges.

post-14389-0-75275800-1451334386.jpg

 

The cuts are easy to do from underneath, with the knife against the rebate in the moulding.

post-14389-0-74170100-1451334507.jpg

 

Then I added two lengths of styrene, 0.125 x 0.060 inch along the edges. Its nice to do something constructive early on.

post-14389-0-43406200-1451334667.jpg

 

The doors went on next, cemented up against the two strips.

post-14389-0-22505100-1451334742.jpg

 

I put a strip of styrene behind the doors to hold them straight and to make a support for a false roof.

post-14389-0-15642600-1451334761.jpg

 

The false roof is 0.030 inch styrene, something thicker would be better but this was the thickest I have. Putting this assembly against the drawing was encouraging.

post-14389-0-15616200-1451334863.jpg

 

The original ends have plenty of detail in the right places, but they are rather thick. So I cut two new ends, 0.030 inch sheet again.

post-14389-0-32562000-1451335017.jpg

 

The roof is the only difficult part so far. I lined up the original on the drawing and cut back both edges equally. Then I filed off the end detail and trimmed the ends to match the drawing.

post-14389-0-74368300-1451335138.jpg

 

The cut-down roof fits nicely over the new ends.

post-14389-0-70863900-1451335219.jpg

 

And so, apart from a huge solvented thumb print to polish out of the roof tomorrow, this project has started well. I've put it all to one side to set hard overnight.

 

- Richard.

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I do wonder if the door/roof assembly was bought in as an aluminium fabrication. I made a 'Danzas' bogie ferryvan using one-and-a-half Roy Gould VGAs, as I realised that that was pretty much what the prototype did.

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Hi Richard,

Most interesting! Many thanks for starting this, it's always nice to see some British H0 modelling.

Cheers,

John E.

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Hi Richard,

Most interesting! Many thanks for starting this, it's always nice to see some British H0 modelling.

Cheers,

John E.

Thanks for this. This is the kind of model making I enjoy the most - making a model from the parts of something else. It always seems more satisfying than building a kit, and usually easier than making something from scratch. It's getting harder to do in 00, because most everything I want exists as a more accurate model made by someone else.

 

I've done the two ends today:

post-14389-0-38074400-1451406740.jpg

post-14389-0-62981300-1451406756.jpg

 

There is some licence here because the doors are too shallow, but the main dimensions are still reasonably close to the drawing:

post-14389-0-17014600-1451406815.jpg

 

At the end of the day, the character of the model is probably set more by the sides than the ends. I shall represent the recesses below the ends of the roof with dark grey paint, or miss them out altogether.

 

I have cut the bottoms of the ends to line up with the tops of the NEM coupler sockets on the chassis. These droop too much to use them with Kadees (this is quite an old model) and I may end up glueing them up to the proper height, or taking them out altogether.

 

- Richard.

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The Electrotren chassis is pressed-steel tray, with the two axle units and the central bracing detail held on with folded tabs. It is easy to unfold the tabs and lift out individual sections. The wheelbase of the model is about 5.5 mm short for the scale distance of 9 metres - I will live with this, but I expect it would be possible to fit the axle units onto a new chassis, the proper distance apart.

 

I made a new centre section for the underframe, designed to fit with the under-scale wheelbase:

post-14389-0-04894800-1451472263.jpg

 

I also added some microstrip to fill the gaps below the edges of the roof, and then put the whole model together for a final photograph. Buffer heads will have to wait until I can find some the right size. Painting will wait until either I learn how to do it or get/pay someone to do it for me - this applies to all of my growing collection of H0 models.

post-14389-0-99646700-1451472641.jpg

 

Here is a repeat of my photo in my first post to show the differences:

post-14389-0-05039700-1451472628.jpg

 

And also a view beside a Roco ferry van:

post-14389-0-79518800-1451473135.jpg

 

I could try putting some more detail onto the underframe, but I don't really see the need. Maybe those horizontal pipes. Maybe after painting what I have so far.

 

Finished  :)

 

 

- Richard.

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Hello Richard,

 

  good job. If I had time, that would be what I would be doing. Should you need decals to go with it, just ask ;-)

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Hi Richard,

Wow! That's lovely!

Such a difference from the original, I can see that I shall have to emulate you - if you don't mind?

Cheers,

John.

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If I was doing this again, I would put some 20 thou styrene shims vertically between the doors on each side. This would make the gaps at the ends of the doors more even. The ends could be 15 or 20 thou styrene instead of the 30 thou I used, this would look better and you could reinforce on the inside if needed. I would also trim the top runners off the doors while they were loose, before glueing them onto the floor. They have got to come off to fit the roof on.

 

Thanks Lorenzo for the offer of transfers. I'm pondering what to do here - I am tempted to put something like "Railfreight" over the DB logo, but keep the other lettering as it stands. It is very neatly done and it seems a shame to lose it.

 

- Richard.

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The Electrotren coupling pockets droop quite badly (photo posted above). I have added supports with piano wire glued into wooden blocks, the blocks glued onto the steel floor. I couldn't manage to drill holes into the floor:

post-14389-0-80505700-1451821570.jpg

 

The NEM coupler pockets protrude beyond the ends of the wagon because my new ends are thinner than the originals. So the wagon gets the short #17 Kadee couplers. These will still be ok when I add the buffers. The couplers are quite a sloppy fit in the pockets so the couplers are shimmed up with styrene.

 

The original Electrotren wheels ran ok through Peco code 75 turnouts and my own 00-SF turnouts, but bottomed out on the rail fixings in Peco block and beam track (SL-106F). Exasperation? The axles seem to be yet another unique length, so I have kept these, pulled off the wheels and pressed on some Gibson wheels instead. The axles are splined and hopefully these will hold the Gibson wheels in gauge.

 

The Gibson wheels are 10.5 mm diameter not 11.5 mm, so the wagon drops another half a millimetre but the couplers are still just about ok after bending them upwards. It's the small jobs that take the time.

 

- Richard.

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I lost the original body fixing clips when I trimmed the sides of the floor.

 

Might as well make the most of the steel chassis tray - so two magnets glued onto the body floor, to hold the body onto the chassis:

post-14389-0-00425800-1451900004.jpg

post-14389-0-03680200-1451899980.jpg

 

These magnets are 7 x 2.5 mm, something a bit smaller would still be plenty strong enough. These two are actually recessed into holes drilled in the floor.

 

This is my first use of magnets this way. I can see further uses for wagons, for example for open wagons with plastic chassis, glue a steel plate to the underside of the floor, and put the magnets into the chassis.

 

- Richard.

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The original Electrotren wheels ran ok through Peco code 75 turnouts and my own 00-SF turnouts, but bottomed out on the rail fixings in Peco block and beam track (SL-106F). Exasperation? The axles seem to be yet another unique length, so I have kept these, pulled off the wheels and pressed on some Gibson wheels instead. The axles are splined and hopefully these will hold the Gibson wheels in gauge.

The completed van proved impossible to run smoothly over Kadee uncoupling magnets, because the original Electrotren axles stuck to the magnets. Two axles of Markits 10.5 mm disc wheels (24.5 mm axles) are a drop in replacement. Fault cleared.

 

The magnets holding the body in place are not a problem with uncouplers.

 

My drawings of the VGA do not show the wheel diameter, but I'm sure someone here will tell me if its not 36 inches :-)

 

- Richard.

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