Although the vast majority of my model mineral wagon fleet is kit- or scratch-built, I’m not averse to throwing in the odd RTR vehicle, especially Bachmann’s various 16tonners. But what about Hornby’s 21t steel and wood bodied wagons?

The bodyshells on these are pretty good; it’s only the underframes that are a bit clumsy. But, for around £5, you can swap the chassis for a much more realistic Parkside Dundas plastic kit and a set of fine-grade wheels and bearings. Having had a half-dozen of these Hornby 21t wagons lying around for some time, I resolved to get the necessary underframes and wheels from the Parkside stand at Model Rail Scotland back in February, plus a few sets of brass buffers and instanter couplings to complete the job.

The difference in appearance is startling and offers some welcome variety to my fleet. The job is also great fun and very rewarding. Although a repaint is not necessary, I wanted a few more internal user NCB wagons for my colliery layout.

Being a very simple swap, the Parkside 12ft wheelbase chassis makes a massive improvement to this Hornby 21t mineral. Note that Hornby have applied the white diagonal stripe to the wrong end – it should identify the end door... (This has been corrected on subsequent batches).

Another modified Hornby product, this BR brake van, has received new wheels, bearings and axle guards. Lamp brackets, handrails and wood veneer floor boards have also been added, along with a new BR livery, complemented by later NCB branding and yellow veranda ends. This is a fictional recreation, loosely based on other brake vans in use at various collieries for long propelling moves.


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