Make yourself a Tralee & Dingle Horse Box (2013)

Bert van Rhijn

Previously published in the 009 News.

Encouraged by Mick Thornton’s article entitled ‘Economic Goods Vehicles for 009’ I started collecting information about the Tralee & Dingle horse box, to build one myself. Several books on the Tralee & Dingle Railway are being offered on the Internet at ridiculous prices, but a few photos sent to me by Dick van Beek enabled me to make a sketch of the end and side walls of the vehicle.

In ‘The Tralee & Dingle Railway’ (D.G.Rowlands, Bradfort Barton 1977), page 74, is a photo showing side details of the vehicle, and another photo of the vehicle’s end. An estimate of the proportions could be made using the photo on page 145 of ‘The Dingle Train’ by D.G. Rowlands, Plateway Press, 1996. As a reference I used the Parkside Dundas model of a T&D van.

The end walls of the horse box are made to the correct size and the side walls are fitted between them. The edge frame of the side therefore is represented by the edge of the end wall. The body will be fitted on a Parkside Dundas T&D van chassis.

The vehicle walls have been made by adding overlays to a basic sheet of styrene similar to Mick’s approach. The base therefore is the actual wall, the first overlay contains the frame details and finally the ironwork is added on to the frames. In order to get the ironwork details right, a photo of the prototype and one of a Parkside Dundas model is essential. The measurements given in the description can be adapted as preferred and if necessary the parts can be given a worn and aged look based on a photo.

• The base sheet for the side walls is 0.5mm styrene sheet, measuring 52.4mm long by 26mm tall.

• The end walls were made of Evergreen no. 4080 sheet – 1mm thick with a 2mm V-groove pattern.

• Note the prototype size of a T&D horse box would be 27mm wide by 29.5 tall. Mine were narrowed to 25mm.

Photo 1:

Diagram 1 & 2 - side walls:

1. The side walls

We’ll make one wall as shown in the sketch. The other is a mirror image. As can be seen in diagram 1, we glue some strips 1.5 x 1mm and 1 x 1mm on the side wall.

Area ‘A’ is filled using a piece of Evergreen 4080 sheet measuring 29.8mm x 22.4mm. This is 11 planks tall. Leave 0.3mm all round – these are the loading doors and flap. For getting the distance I used a piece of shim metal of the right thickness.

Area ‘B’ is again filled with Evergreen 4080 sheet measuring 12.3 x 23.5mm, which is almost 12 planks tall.

Area ‘C’ is the door (see diagram 2). Again, a space of 0.3mm is kept all round, and strip of 0.75 x 1mm is glued in, with three cross pieces at the bottom, the top and the centre of the door. The verticals are 22.9mm long, the cross pieces are 5.6mm long. In the lower panel (D) of the door, a 5.2 x 8.3mm piece of Evergreen no. 4040 sheet (1mm V-groove) is inserted, with 0.2mm all round.

Now the tricky part comes which is the ventilator grille at the top. However, a bit of patience will lead to success... We cut a 1mm wide strip of plain Evergreen 9009 sheet (0.13mm). 5.6mm lengths of this go between the door verticals. I use a piece of brass shim about 0.15mm thick to determine the distance. A tiny brush dipped in MEK solvent is used to fix the ventilation slats, one by one. After the previous one has dried, the next comes along – have patience, there are only four of them. To each door, that is! A piece of 0.75 x 1mm is used to complete the ventilation frame. This also is the top frame of the window. A piece of 0.3mm styrene sheet is glued into the window frame. After drying, a window opening of 4x7mm is cut out.

Photo 2 - side walls & parts:

Diagram 4 & 3 - end wall:

2. The end walls

The end walls are identical except for the position of the vacuum pipes. We start with fixing the buffer beam, which is a strip of 4x1mm, to the base sheet of the end wall. The top is lined up with the top of the second plank. At the bottom, the surplus is filed off to 3.8mm. To the left and right a frame is glued of 1.5 x 1mm, and 23mm long. On top of that we fit a 3.2 x 1mm strip which is shaped to the curve of the roof (diagram 3). Finally two frame uprights are fitted between the top and bottom, each 1x1mm and 23mm long.

On the rear of the end wall, three 1x1mm strips are fitted so the sides will slot neatly into place (diagram 4).

Photo 3 - end wall & parts:

Photo 4 - part completed model:

3. Assembly

The strips on the reverse side of the end walls facilitate assembly of the vehicle body. If all is well, the floor space should match the 52.4 x 24mm floor of the chassis. Set the solebars to the correct width – note I replaced the wheels on mine by 009 wheels similar to the ones on the T&D van conversions described in the February issue. The brake gear can best be fitted shortly before painting, to prevent damage.

I prefer loose fitting of the roof, starting with a false roof of 1.5mm styrene sheet, 52.4 x 24mm in size like the floor, with a 6.3 x 1mm strip down the centre, and a 0.5mm styrene roof on top, which is curved by immersing the sheet in hot water when fixed to a bottle.

The model will now look like photo 4.

Diagram 5 & 6 - first overlay:

Diagram 7 - loading doors:

4. Adding details (first overlay)

Starting with the side walls, we begin adding the doors above the loading flap (diagram 5). We use four 1 x 0.75mm strips, 15mm in length, another four 14mm in length, four of 8mm and finally four of 6mm. Note the space between the two doors. The diagonals are about 9mm long – then ends must be made to fit into the corners. The next step, adding the ventilators, is a bit tricky again but simply a repeat of the ventilators made in the compartment doors. They are made of four strips of Evergreen 101 (0.25 x 0.75mm), each 5.9mm long and glued between the door frames, followed by a 0.4x0.75mm strip. The ‘hinges’ are made of 0.7mm round section styrene - 1.5mm sections are glued next to the doors.

For the record, up to now we used 105 pieces of styrene, excluding the Parkside Dundas chassis.

Next is the loading flap, starting with the four hinge plates, made of 0.4x1.5mm strip. A length of 2mm is used for each hinge, with a 0.7mm round section piece of 1.5mm glued to one end. Four 11.5mm strips of 0.4x1.0mm make up the door straps. The top corners of the hinge plate are rounded off as shown in diagram 5. Finally, two 2.5mm pieces of the 0.4x1mm strip are used as loading flap latches.

Between the straps of the loading flap short lengths of 0.75x1mm strip serve as supports when the flap is down. The upper ones are 7.5mm, and the ones between the hinges are 7mm.

The handgrips on the loading doors and the compartment doors are made of 0.4mm brass wire. Those next to the compartment door are 3mm, the others 2.5mm. They are made by gripping the rod in pliers and bending it at right angles. If necessary remove a rounded shape of the item by flattening in pliers. The door handle and window bars are of the same 0.4mm wire. After painting the vehicle, all have been blackened with Carr’s Metal Black, then fixed into the location holes with superglue.

The step below the compartment door is a piece of 0.5mm styrene, cut to 8x2.2mm. This was glued on two brackets made of 9mm staples. One end was cut off and the remaining short end shortened to 2.4mm. The short end is the base for the step, the long end is glued behind the side wall, in a hole drilled in the vehicle bottom.

Next, to the middle frames on the end walls, extra 1x1mm strips are fitted. These are tapered down, starting with the third plank, see diagram 6. They pass down over the buffer beams.

5. The iron strapping.

Finally there is the iron strapping and the bolt heads which are so characteristic of the vehicle you cannot very well leave them off. A photo of a T&D vehicle is essential to capture this well.

For the iron strapping we use 0.25 x 0.75 Evergreen strip. The four corner brackets at the top are 9mm long and folded around the edge. Around the edges of the buffer beams there are two sets of brackets. Those next to the loading flaps at one end of the vehicle are shorter than the others – shorten where applicable.

The top brackets are two 9mm strips folded in half round the edge. The lower brackets are 8mm, folded twice, starting from the end wall, then around the end of the buffer beam and on to the rear of the buffer beam. On the buffer beam next to the loading flap, the top bracket is shorter by 1mm where it touches the hinge of the flap. The lower one is folded round just like the one at the other end.

The two middle verticals on each end which we fitted with taper overlays (diagram 6), are each fitted with a 9mm strip of 0.25 x 0.75 Evergreen. At the top a short piece of 2.5mm is fitted at the height of the third plank. The top of this is rounded off. At the top of the middle verticals a T piece is made up of pieces of 3mm strip.

For the ironwork on the loading doors and flap (diagram 7) we use four strips of 15mm, four of 14mm, of 3mm and twelve of 2mm. The horizontals are aligned with the bottom of the horizontal 1mm members on the doors, but the verticals are in the centre of the vertical members. Use the diagram as a reference.

Finally, the bolt heads. These are drops of PVA glue, applied with a very thin wire – about 0.3mm. As soon as the glue starts to dry a little (i.e. form a ‘skin’) add a drop of water. The idea of using PVA glue for bolt heads comes, I believe, from the late Reinier Hendriksen.

Photo 5 - vehicle in primer:

Photo 6 - completed vehicle:

6. Painting

I used a spray can of Humbrol acrylic primer no. 1, followed by various sorts of Humbrol grey. The bottom and running gear are matt black and the windown in the compartment door is brown. After painting the handgrips and window bars are applied using CA glue. If necessary, the vehicle number is added and finally a piece of transparent plastic is glued behind the windows.

7. Conclusion

If I have counted correctly, 239 styrene parts were used in this model, excluding the Parkside Dundas chassis, the vacuum pipes and the couplings. The latter are of course up to yourself....

As they say, practice makes perfect, as I learned the hard way. When I built my first horse box (now residing on Ted’s C&DR) I forgot to take photos, so when I wrote this article I had to build another vehicle to take construction photos! The up side of this was that I had to study the prototype photos again which made me discover several details I hadn’t noticed before.

Building a vehicle like this from scratch isn’t difficult – you can make almost everything yourself, it only takes time. Have fun modelling!

Enlarged photos