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IP Engineering guards van kit

by Mel

Having recently done a lot of work on a rake of Hartland chassis goods wagons, I wanted a nice guards van to finish the train off. I came up with a few different ideas, but then I saw IP Engineering's Vale Of Rheidol matchboard van at the Stoneleigh show and couldn't resist buying one. Luckily this van matches the size of the Hartland conversions perfectly.

The prototype was supplied to the VoR in 1923 and was used both in freight and passenger trains (as well as mixed trains of course). The design was so successful that the GWR ordered more in 1937, albeit with windows in the ends rather than duckets (this version is also in the IP range). These guard vans are still in use.

It's been a couple of years since I last built an IP kit and I have to say that they have come on in leaps and bounds during that time. This kit almost fell together, the fit of parts being pretty much perfect. The standard of laser cutting is absolutely outstanding, you only have to look at the unpainted examples of their models in the catalogue or at shows to see the standard of detailing in these modern kits. Another example of this progress are the excellent footboard brackets provided with the VoR van. In the last IP coach kit I built you were given a bag of 1 inch nails to do this job!!

I still have some reservations about the quality of the wheels supplied by IP, but this van has run OK so far and replacement isn't the biggest job in the world.

I fitted a loop coupling at one end for coupling to the Hartland wagons.

The opposite end has the standard IP buffer and hook, together with a Chuffed2Bits lamp bracket fitted with a Brandbright lamp. You should be able to make out the rivets in the solebars. These are just lasered dots on the original kit and I was concerned that they might have disappeared when painted. So I added "real" rivets made from dress maker's pins fitted into drilled holes.

The van was hand painted using Revell and Humbrol enamels. I hand painted as I was a little concerned that my clumsy spray painting might obscure some of the excellent detailing. The lettering is a mixture of transfers and hand painted. I've wanted to try the Lt Rly idea for some time after seeing photos of the brake vans used by the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway (just up the road from me) that were lettered in this fashion. Finally the whole van received a light weathering using Tamiya acrylic greys and khaki applied via an airbrush.

I've included a view of the roof as Graham and me were discussing white roofs the other day. Hopefully, this looks as if it was white at one time, but I can't see how a roof would stay white for very long? I've tried dry brushing white roofs, but I think that airbrushing looks much more convincing.

All in all, this kit has been a pleasure to build. Congratulations to IP for the amazing strides that they have made with their kits over the last few years. I made the mistake of picking up their latest catalogue from Stoneleigh ....... this could get expensive??