Building a 4mm scale 1970s/80s period Dustbin Lorry

Following on from previous lorry conversion articles this will be my last one on this subject for a while to re-focus on some winter railway projects. The humble 1970s/80s dustbin lorry is the subject of this article and is surprisingly quite overlooked by the manufacturers.

For this conversion you will need a Base Toys short wheelbase 4-wheeled lorry chassis with a cab of choice (I have used the Ford ‘D’ type, Leyland  and A.E.C Mercury cabs) and two Matchbox Superfast refuse trucks (ref. MB 38). The latter are readily available from toy fairs, car boot sales and charity shops for no more than a couple of pounds. The only important pieces required are the rear plastic refuse bin parts (two pieces).

The chassis and cab require no modification, however the chassis will require measuring up for the body fitting. One can add a driver figure and matt varnish the cab paint finish if required. How to do this has previously been covered in other articles.

The rear refuse section needs to be extended by 18mm. This is achieved by cutting the box sections as per the photograph and regluing together. A straight cut with a razor saw here will pay dividends when it comes to regluing black together and should result in minor filing to fill the joint. Another way is to cover the gap with a small slither of micro strip.

At this point ensure the body fits onto the chassis. There will be small gap underneath that needs packing with a suitable piece of plastic square section to level it up. The curve of the rear of the refuse section should fit nicely against the curve of the rear mudguard.

File and smooth off the ‘CELECTOMATIC ‘moulded wording from the front of the rear section and add an equipment box (again from the scrapbox) to cover the small recess at the bottom.

Inside the refuse unit, glue the rubbish pusher piece (the red coloured plastic part) as far to the rear of the unit as possible allowing for the swing of the rear section if you stlll want it to move.

The unit can then be sprayed/painted with a brushed steel/ aluminium colour and left to dry. The inside I have painted matt black.

I have found that the rear of the refuse section benefits from a slither of plasticard either side to help eliminate ‘daylight’ issues showing through.The rear body can now be glued to the chassis, ensuring you get it both straight and square to the chassis/cab .

This conversion can easily be achieved on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

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