Phil's Practical - Build a Wickham railcar shelter

04 June 2020
When they're not carting Permanent Way teams around, Wickham Trolleys were housed in specially-built shelters. We build one for a 7mm scale model, but the techniques will work just as well in OO if you have the Bachmann model, or just want an interesting lineside detail.

First, we need some track for the trolley to sit on. This is at right angles to the running line - the trolley would be run out to the edge and then lifted into place by the gang. A scrap length of track with some sleepers removed is perfect. Trolley track isn't really ballasted, it just sits on the earth. A bit of dirt might be packed around the sleepers to stop them moving, but it certainly doesn't warrant ballasting properly. Here, we use Chinchilla sand, glued in place the same way as the proper ballast.

Here's the plan for the shelter. All the dimensions are in mm and scaled for 7mm scale. Divide all the measurements by 1.75 for 4mm scale.

The hut is made from Daler board, a 2mm thick cardboard sold from art shops. To check the model's size, we cut the walls out and Blu-Tack them together so they can be seen in the scene. If you own one, check the Wickham trolley will fit in both length and width ways and adjust to suit. Huts were built locally, so feel free to tweak the dimensions.

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Planking can be scribed into the surface of the card with a round-ended tool, such as the one I'm using or a worn-out ballpoint pen. Each corner of the building is a sleeper and measured to match those in the track. Between them are planks, which I made 4mm (2.5mm for OO modellers) wide for easy marking out.

Inside, more strips of card beef-up the corners and add bracing to the sides. We don't have any pictures for guidance but assume the structure is very similar to a wooden fence with two rails. Obviously, if the doors are shut, you don't need to do any of this. Talking of the doors, they should be cut so they just clear the rails when closed. These are glued in place, but working hinges would be possible.

Roof coverings seemed to be either corrugated iron or felt. We've gone for felt with overlapping strips of cheap masking tape to represent roofing felt. Cheap tape tends to have a coarser surface than the good stuff, ideal for the job here.

Huts tended to be black so a spray of matt car paint gives a good base colour. Dry-brushing the woodwork with Humbrol No.69 (Tank grey) enamel highlights the scribed lines and interior detail. The roof colour is mixed up from green and grey paints, then dusted with weathering powders to add a variety of tones. Then set in place with some weeds growing around the bottom of the walls.