Converting a tiny diecast Ford Transit mk2 mini bus into a British Rail crew bus

British Rail Ford Transit mk2 minibus

As usual, wanting something a little bit different means endlessly looking for conversion opportunities. This article covers one such opportunity, the tiny diecast company mk2 Ford Transit, ideal for layouts set in the 1978- 1985 period.

Tiny Diecast are a Chinese company offering a range a differing scale models, including a OO scale Hong Kong Police mini bus that can be picked up from that well known internet auction site or more select model shops for around the £14 -£18 price tag.

It is slightly under scale at 3.8mm to the foot but certainly does not look out of place on the layout.

Easily dismantled with two screws underneath, remove the base plate (still with wheels in place) drop out the interior and the glazing. The glazing may need a little work to remove, on mine I had to slightly grind the holding pip with a grinding disc to remove the edge.

If you wish to fit a driver and crew members, this is an ideal time to butcher some figures and glue in place, otherwise no other work is needed on the interior or chassis as it is already right hand drive.

The roof has a blue light and siren. Easily removed it does however leave two small holes. A quick smidge of filler (remembering to put something inside to stop the filler falling through) leaving a few hours and then smoothing off with some fine wet and dry. It is also advisable to use the wet and dry to remove the Hong Kong Police transfers. I’m not one for unnecessarily stripping the body back to bare metal unless of course the casting or paint is in poor condition, merely just giving the body shell a light wipe of very fine wet and dry just to give the primer a key surface. I have done many diecast models this way with no effects of later paint flaking or similar.

The radiator grille, front and rear indicators will need masking. The grille and front indicators are easily done with masking tape. For the rear light clusters I used Humbrol Maskol.

Two coats of white primer were applied, with an extra light blow coat on the roof where the light filling has been done. Left to dry overnight, several light coats of Halfords Vauxhaul Mustard yellow (a very close match ideal for BR road vehicles) was then applied.

Once dry remove the maskol and masking tape, retouching up any areas of paint leakage on the radiator grill and lights and repaint in the black bumpers. British Rail logos from Fox transfers (ref.F4000) were applied and as the finish is already gloss the transfers go on easily. After two light coats of matt varnish the model is ready to re-assemble once dry. The final item to fit is a rear step. This was from a thin slither of black plasticard 23mm x 4mm in size, slightly rounded on the outer edges and applied with superglue. The wing mirrors on mine are from an etch from Langley Models, and are not part of the original model. These are easily fitted with a tiny dab of superglue depending on what level of detail you require but they are fragile.

All that is left to apply some British style registration plates and its ready to be parked in the depot yard.

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