I’ve reached a rare milestone in my hobby journey: I have finished building all of my kits.
Okay – let me qualify that: All of my kits for one scale / gauge / era / interest in the hobby – namely, the Great Western Railway in 7mm / British 0 scale. The last of my in-stock kits were these two – both from Walsall Model Industries.
The prototype for this cattle truck was a one-off experiment by the GWR – a modification of the railway’s ubiquitous “Iron Mink” goods van. According to the kit manufacturer, it was built in March 1888 and was condemned in March 1935. I’m not sure why the experiment was deemed a failure.
There’s a common piece of wisdom in the hobby that we should model the typical. Since the prototype was unique, this definitely qualifies as a novelty – but I do like livestock equipment and I thought the kit would be a fun challenge to build. It was, and I’m glad I did it. To further draw attention to it, I painted it in the early “red” scheme that the GWR applied to its goods wagons.
Whether they moved individual wagons into position for loading or unloading in a goods yard, or hauled a cart to collect and deliver packages in town, the GWR employed a lot of horses. And all of those horses needed to be fed and stabled.
Hay and bedding straw is bulky but lightweight, and hauling it in a regular open wagon was difficult and inefficient. To address this, the GWR designed special provdender wagons – high-sided open vehicles – and built a dozen examples in two lots. This model represents a batch of six built in 1903. Compared to standard opens it’s huge. It even hulks over a standard enclosed goods van.
With these two models, I’ve now finished an impressive (for me) batch of rolling stock: 17 Walsall brass kits plus a plastic cattle truck from Slaters, all in less than six months. These wagons join the four Slaters passenger cars I built in 2019 to give my GWR steam engines something to pull.
So what’s next?
Already, I have more 7mm kits on the way: Earlier this year I placed an order with POWsides for some more typical cattle trucks in brass and some preprinted Private Owner open wagons based on plastic Slaters models. I understand POWsides had some issues earlier this year but are now working through their backorders and look forward to receiving those. I also foresee ordering more Slaters passenger equipment at some point.
Meantime, I continue to think about what sort of layout I’ll build for this fleet – and as previously noted, I’ve returned to my S scale Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway freight motor project. Building these GWR kits improved my soldering skills, which is definitely helping with those freight motors.