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Converting an LGB van into an ÖBB Dienstwagen

By Bruce (H&DLR).
LGB has had a bad press over use of the so-called "rubber ruler", essentially playing with scale ratios to get, for example, models of 750/760mm gauge prototypes to fit 45mm gauge track - which, of course, represents metre gauge at a scale of 1:22.5 - or to make them "look right" alongside models of metre gauge stock. But notwithstanding that, quite a few of the models are very good representations of the real thing, and are often scaled accurately. You might think this only applies to more recent models, but some of the very early models of Austrian prototypes are, gauge aside for a moment, pretty good. Now, we all have a view on how far to compromise on scale, proportion and gauge, and I don't propose to open that debate here. On the H&DLR, we take the view that a good representation, and a decent underframe, are always a good starting point. I'm not keen on scratch building the chassis, because I find it very difficult to get it really square and adequately strong for the purpose. So, if, like me, you're prepared to start from something that you feel really looks the part, a little bit of paint and a few transfers can make all the difference and allow the production of some slightly different vehicles for your line. The H&DLR has always had a chronic shortage of brake vans (it only had 9 at the last count...), and so this page describes one conversion undertaken from a standard LGB van (a 4035 type, acquired second hand) to a brake vehicle.
The objective was to reproduce a van from the Steyrtalbahn.
According to "Schmalspurig durch Österreich", it should look something like this:
Remember the brown van... we need to create some new windows, fill in some old vents, reverse the door...
Make an entrance(!) and add some grab rails...
Obviously, you can take the detailing as far as you wish. Coat of paint next, I think.

To my mind, what really makes a model is having decent lettering applied. The donor body, in this case, had been hand lettered - quite well, but obviously hand painted. It had been anglicised, and the original Deutsche Reichsbahn lettering had been rather crudely removed. Tip, by the way, LGB lettering comes off easily with very fine wire wool - 0 grade or finer, which will leave no noticeable marks. For this vehicle (and the brown van in the first photo), I obtained some water slide transfers from Michael Troeger in Germany. Why? Well, really because he appears to have the relevant fonts and letter shapes for German and Austrian railways. Getting them designed, printed and shipped from Germany isn't the cheapest option, I realise.
Waft over the finished paintwork and transfers with some satin varnish - I've found Vallejo satin varnish to be excellent (it's the only acrylic paint I use - exclusively enamels otherwise) - re-assemble, and the job's done.
This can get quite addictive. From left to right, we have D/s 6495, the Steyrtalbahn brake van described in this article. In the centre, D/s 6485, the Steyrtalbahn freight shunters' coach (converted from a brown Zillertal coach) and finally on the right D/s 6461, another conversion, this time based on an LGB Post van.