Wagon Construction - Freightman 7mm Scale BR Standard Van Kit

Prototype History

Following Nationalisation, BR built some 23,912 of these vans. Although described as 'Standard', they were anything but because there were numerous variations, depending on where they were built and which batch they were built under. The only thing 'standard' was the basic dimensions, the use of 3-hole disc wheels and the fitting of vacuum brakes.

The first variation was the ends. While they all had corrugated ends, BR had three sets of press tools to produce these ends. It is probable that the first two sets of tools had been inherited from the LMS and LNER. Both of these produced a 15 corrugation end made up of three parts but the joint line on the top panels was in a different position - this gave either 3/4/8 or 2/5/8 corrugations.
Most of the early batches were built with one of these combinations.
The third end was made up of only two pressings with 16 corrugations, consisting of equal (8/8) corrugations on each sheet.
BR continued to use the original pressings on some batches up until 1958/9 and in one particular case, Lot No 2990, the first vehicles built had two part ends but by No. B773786, the vans were built using the 3 part ends in a 2/5/8 configuration.

The other obvious variation was the body sides. The early batches were built with planked sides and doors, however, a change was gradually made to plywood sides and doors. A separate diagram No. 213 was issued to cover this.
Faverdale and Ashford started building vehicles with plywood from 1952, whilst Wolverton did not use plywood until Lot No. 2990 in 1957 and then only the doors were plywood. The sides continued to be planked. It was not until 1959 that Wolverton built 'all plywood' bodies.

There were other minor variations which included the rainstrips over the doors. Early batches had a single curved strip over the doors whereas later batches had three straight strips, one over the doors and a shorter length strip either side.
Other variations included the use of different axle boxes, both plate and the RCH split type as well as different buffers.

The most common brake gear type was the 4 shoe Morton type with some later batches utilising the 8 shoe clasp type with Oleo pneumatic buffers and screw link couplings instead of the standard Instanter type.

The Kit

I purchased this kit back in the early 1990's. At the time, it was one of a range of BR wagon kits by 'Freightman'. I'm not sure what happened to the company, but shortly after I purchased the kit, they disappeared from the market and have been unavailable ever since.

The kit is supplied as plastic parts for the body and roof, while the chassis is white metal parts, which I believe, were supplied by ABS who were another manufacturer at the time and are no longer available.
By today's standards, this is a good kit. It goes together easily and squarely, but I would suggest that the white metal chassis parts are a little 'chunky' by modern standards, but still quite acceptable.
Neither brass bearings or wheels were supplied with the kit, so these were the only additional purchases necessary.


I model British Railways as it was in the early 1960's. At that time, these vans were painted in BR Bauxite which was the standard colour for BR brake-fitted wagons.


HRMS wagon transfers were applied.

The Completed Model

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Graham Plowman (Created 19/09/2020, modified on 5/10/2020 4:55:16 PM +11:00)

Transfers made by: HMRS Logo   and supplied by: Tower Models Logo

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