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Converting a Triang Royal Mail Van

Warren Kerfoot

WARREN KERFOOT converts a Triang Royal Mail Van to run on modern track.

I read an article regarding Royal Mail coaches being modified by using the standard Hornby and much earlier Triang TPO units and it got my interest up. Not least of all, because these models are so cheap to buy, so if you end up with a terrible result it isnít too hard on the pocket if they look better in the bin!

This particular set of jobs means the destruction of a few Triang R23 units, but hopefully the result is model thatís a lot more pleasing to the eye and actually runs on modern track

For this first project using these redundant old vehicles all thatís needed in terms of tools is the GM679 Universal Razor Saw as it has a deeper cut, GM676 Aluminium Mitre Box, GM608 Bent Nose Pliers, a square and some files.

Remove the bogies first. These are fixed originally by a soft brass fixing, so just nip the rolled over edge in a few places on the bogie underside and collapse the walls inwards using the bent nose pliers... all a bit brutal but effective as these parts are scrap. Then remove the underframe. There are two generations of these it seems, one is retained by the roof fixing screw and the other is clipped in place, though I did come across one that had been bonded. Whichever you encounter it needs to be removed and you may want to re-use it, so gently does it.

Converting a Triang Royal Mail Van

The roof is a straightforward removal and then the inner workings are exposed. The mailing unit is simply held in place by four lugs along the top of the vehicle sides... just ease the body sides apart gently and the unit releases pretty readily.

For this short sorting vehicle there is only one modification requiring the saw where the door recess is made. Keep the roof in place while you cut, so thereís continuity in the cut profile for later. The moulded traductors are carved off initially with the trusty GM knife and then filed smooth. The trickiest part of this procedure is making the door recesses look right as thereís a fair pit of shaped plastic to removeÖ so patience here!

I fitted a strip of 40 thou plasticard for the sorting bins side and made two infills for the new doorís reveal. The small window in the door is to depict a security modification when the nets and traductors were removed on the Ďrealí thing.

For regluing I use Deluxe Materials DLAD-70 Plastic Kit Glue for these as the type of plastic responds really well to it. When all the joints and so on are cured a whip round with Deluxe Materials DLBD-44 Perfect Plastic Putty to fill in collateral damage and any random gaps in the final fit. Two strips of microstrip run down the solebar to give it a more realistic appearance.

The roof ventilators are filed off, weather strips added from microstrip again and some proper whitemetal ventilators refitted.

Converting a Triang Royal Mail Van

Then quickly prepare for repainting with the Gaugemaster fibre glass pencil... the GM633 red one is best and gives a brilliant key for the repaint.

For this particular model I used Ratio LMS (ex LNWR) bogies. The initial deciding factor for picking these was the mounting hub fits pretty readily to the underside of the original Triang monocoque bodyshell. Not the easiest kit to assemble and make robust and reliable, but with a bit of effort, they can work very well for a reasonable price and ready availability.

Converting a Triang Royal Mail Van

The modelís primed and then topcoated when anything too bad is dealt with. If you like the windows to look flush as I doÖrun Deluxe Materials DLAD-55 Glue N Glaze in over the acetate windows youíve fitted behind and the effect is tremendous.

Then using HMRS PX1P LMS Coach decals for my beloved LMS, what was an unusable and crude vehicle takes on itís new guise. Not designed to be a slavish copy of any particular diagram, just to give the feel of a different unit in a Royal Mail TPO running set.

Converting a Triang Royal Mail Van

Thereís going to be a few more of these vehicles in the pipeline to make tender vans in the coming weeks to make what I hope will be an attractive TPO train.

We asked Warren, our northern rep, if he could do a few Southern Region conversions. Unfortunately his reply can not be recorded here...

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