BR(S) Instructional Coach – Can’t beat a bit of Bulleid…pt.2


Always on the lookout for interesting or inspiring “one offs”, I decided to carve one of my many stashed Bachmann Bulleid coaches in to the Instruction Coach for the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students.

ADB975375 spent most of its post-revenue earning life stationary at Eastleigh and Stewarts Lane depots. However it was moved around the BR(S) network a few times and underwent many conversions and upgrades during its time in the M&EE fleet. My model captures it during the late 70s, in the livery it wore until withdrawal in 1996. The real one survives, and is now part of the immaculate fleet of Bulleid passenger carrying coaches at the Bluebell Railway, restored to BR Southern green livery and carrying its original number 2526.

The model started life as an immaculate boxed Bachmann semi-open brake third. There is actually quite a funny story about that. I saw it on a local swapmeet table and the owner went to great lengths to tell me how well it had been looked after and what great condition it was in. I went on to tell him that it didn’t really matter as it was going to get carved up and shortened as part of a 4SUB EMU build. On hearing this he took it off me, laughed and said “you’re not having it then!”. I asked “what if I was to just convert it in to the Stewarts Lane Instructional Coach?” and showed him a photo on my phone. He seemed quite ok with this and money was exchanged.

The thing I love most about these old 1990s models is how easy they come apart for working on compared with modern items. Six clips that don’t require four people and a team of horses to remove and the body is off. Moulded handrails and toilet water fillers were removed from the ends with a scalpel, along with the corridor connections. The corridor connections were replaced with plasticard panels to represent the plywood blanks on the prototype and the handrail holes . toilet filler pipe holes drilled with a 0.4mm drill and new pipes and handrails made up from 0.38mm brass wire. At this time, the mounting brackets for the named train boards and the upper rain strips were removed from the roof. The easiest way to do this is to simply shave them off with a scraping motion of the scalpel rather than try and cut them off. A final rub down with 1500 wet and dry paper leaves no trace.

Curiously, as is the case with the Tunnel Inspection Coach described here, the coach featured a handbrake midway along the solebar. This was drawn in CAD and 3D printed in resin.

By far the most awkward/ difficult part of this conversion is the removal of some windows at the former guard’s end, along with the addition of a new large window (luckily without a sliding ventilation window).
I would normally advocate the use of plastic window plugs to blank off unwanted windows before applying filler, but as this was a one-off and there weren’t many windows to plug, I opted to do the base work with plasticard. Regarding filler, I have tried most on the market and my go to these days is Valejo Plastic Putty due to its quick drying time and fine chalky nature, which sands beautifully. Revell Plasto is also a good second choice but it does take a while to harden.

The guard’s compartment on the prototype appeared to have been removed entirely in favour of a partition and storage area which is visible one of only four photographs I have of the prototype. This was fashioned from 20thou plasticard and the whole interior sprayed pale grey with brown seating.

Metal wheels and my own 3D printed NEM couplings were fitted to the bogies and the whole chassis sprayed with Halfords “Camouflage Black” spray paint. This paint has an incredible matt finish and looks superb on coach and wagon chassis.

My own NEM pockets for converting models to modern coupling standards can be bought on Ebay by clicking here.

My own 4mm scale head and Tail lamps for using with fibre optic cable can be bought on Ebay by clicking here.

Please share this article with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Translate »
Verified by MonsterInsights