'Fourgon' adapted for desert operation.
Some of the best (in my humble opinion) brass rolling stock kits from the past decade were produced by MARC Models in collaboration with Model Rail. Portraying various vehicles from the CIWL Night Ferry train, they may not have been the best in terms of ultra-fine detail and all the bells and whistles that get finescale nuts all excited. But - and it's a BIG but - they are a dream to assemble, especially for newcomers to metal kits. Tab and slot joints, half-etched locating lines, and no-hassle compensated axles. Plus, you got everything you needed in the one box: kit, paint, transfers, wheels and fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions.
Sadly, these were discontinued some years back and we sold the last of our stocks at bargain prices at last year's Warley show (MARC Models still make kits and RTR models though). But I managed to bag a 'Fourgon' van and a reach wagon for conversion to fictional vehicles for my wartime Egyptian layout project. They're also proving useful for demonstrating facets of metal kit construction, such as folding and shaping parts, and soldering etc.
This van has been modified in only a couple of ways, most visibly by adding a row of ventilators on the roof to suit the hot conditions. I'm also in the process of back-dating some of the running gear to suit the 1930s spec (oil axleboxes, basic vac brakes etc). The body, though, is complete save for the ESR (Egyptian State Railways) markings and has been rendered in a coat of BR engineering olive, mixed with a little 'dirty' brown and applied over a pre-shading layer to accentuate the shadows and recesses. It took just a couple of hours last night to get the shell from a primer coat to the finished product you see above. Even with enamels, there are the tricks of the trade that speed things up. But I couldn't possibly divulge them - you'll have to come on one of my airbrushing courses at The Airbrush Company to find out more!