Iron Minks coming in N gauge

15 December 2023
Following the success of its OO counterparts, Rapido Trains has announced the Iron Minks and Not-Quite-Minks will be available in N gauge.

The range covers a selection of tooling variants of some of the different guises the ‘Iron Mink’ had throughout its existence. These include plated or vented ends, wooden or gunpowder van metal doors, and numerous brake configurations. There will be a selection of livery options too, including many of the same liveries that featured as part of the OO ‘Not-Quite-Mink’ range.

The models are currently in the design stage, and you can pre-order your triple packs (RRP £69.95) and individual G. Fawkes wagons, which is the most popular OO model, (RRP £24.95) directly from the Rapido Trains website or from any of its official retailers.

Proposed liveries

  • Iron Mink - GWR (Early) Triple Pack
  • GWR (Inter-War) Triple Pack
  • GW at War Pack A Triple Pack
  • GW at War Pack B Triple Pack
  • SR at War Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - LMS Acid Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - Scotland & Borders Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - Northerners Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - Welsh Railways Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - Cement Vans Triple Pack
  • Iron Mink - BR (W) Triple Pack
  • Not Quite Minks - G. Fawkes Gunpowder

About the prototype

The Great Western Railway’s V6 ‘Iron Mink’ is one of the most recognisable designs that came out of the Swindon wagon drawing office. What made these wagons so recognisable was the fact that they shunned traditional wooden construction and were made from metal instead. Shortages of timber forced the GWR to investigate building vans from metal but it wasn’t until 1888 that what could be called the ‘Standard Iron Mink’ appeared. This boasted a 16ft 6in underframe and a capacity of 8 tons. Over 4,000 were built up to 1901 when the GWR reverted to wood bodies. 

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With war looming, the ‘Iron Mink’s’ metal construction made it an ideal gunpowder van. Wooden doors were replaced with thick metal ones and the end ventilators were covered with a plain panel. After the First World War, these ‘Iron Minks’ were converted back to goods traffic. 

The ‘Iron Minks’ were long lived with examples surviving through until British Railways days in revenue and Departmental service. They could be found all over the UK railway network and some were recorded as far north as Inverness. 

Luckily, four complete ‘Iron Minks’ (alongside several van bodies) have survived into the preservation at the Severn Valley Railway, Didcot Railway Centre, Swindon and Cricklade and South Devon Railway. 

Though the GWR pioneered the ‘Iron Mink’, the basic design was adopted by not only private wagon builders but other railway companies. Other railways and builders would use what was essentially the ‘Iron Mink’ body but use underframes and fittings to their own design. Whilst not quite right, Rapido decided to offer ready-to-run ‘Not-Quite-Minks’ that represent railway companies and private owner organisations where the pickings of RTR models are quite slim.

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