L class wooden open wagon

Wasn't planning on modelling these, but while trawling online for bash and useable OO scale items, I came across the Dapol un-painted wagon body range and amongst them a 5-plank that looked alarmingly like our old wooden L wagons.



Dapol OO scale "L wagon" bodies,
as purchased from Hattons, UK


On checking measurements against the scale drawing of an L-4 in "NZR Freight Planbook Vol 1" by Fred Lee, and the NZ Model Railway Guild drawing, the Dapol body is spot on, being a scale 16ft long by 7ft 6ins wide. Even the door width is correct.






So just add a 10ft chassis, handrails, move the door catches down a plank, remove the top plank of the doors, and this will make a very acceptable L-4 class.


Other versions?
From reference to many old photographs of other L versions, they seemed to vary in detail quite a lot in their later lives so it's either pick a particular example, or use modellers' licence to create "generic" L wagons.

Then having obtained Guild plans out of curiosity, these bodies can easily be converted to very good representations of L-1 (four-plank), L-2 (five-plank) and L-3 (five-and-a-half-plank), all 15ft bodies using an 8ft 6ins wheelbase chassis.

Because all need to be 15ft bodies, the Dapol "L-4" body needs shortening by one scale foot, or 4mm.

To be toatlly accurate, they also need narrowing by 2mm or six scale inches. I don't think this will be noticeable if left as-is.

Shortening was acheived by taking a vertical 2mm slice from each side, from the edge of the doors. I.e. the doors keep their width but each half is shortened by 2mm and the resulting three sections of body are glued back together.

Then for the L-1, lop off the complete top one row of planks. Kept this layer for the L-3 build. Add the door latches to the now top row of the doors.

For the L-2, lop off the top one row of the door planks only. Add the door latches to the now top row of the doors.

For the L-3, lop off the top one row of the door planks only. Add the door latches to the new top row of the doors.
Then add an aditional row of planks on top and when all set, file down that row by half so you end up with a "5 and-a-half plank" wagon. I just used the layer sliced off the top of the L-1 build.

The only modellers' licence taken here, is that these three bodies were eight inches (scale 2.67mm) narrower than the L-4, and the corner vertical irons are more narrow. I can live with that.



Clockwise from top-left - L-1, L-2, L-4, L-3 bodies ready for cleanup




So what to do about an older style 8ft 6ins chassis then?

In best West Country or Yorkshire accent, "The answer lies in the brass!"


More to come. . .