Having used my imagination to create a non-descript building supplies/scrap dealership at the far end of Freshwater goods yard that I have not found photographs of, I decided the business needed a better means of transporting its wares than the old bicycle. I purchased an Autocraft white metal casting for a 1930's Reliant three wheeled van.
This is a nice casting, but there are a couple of omissions. First, there is no interior detail, or floor. Second, are the wheels. Representing spokes in this scale is obviously not practical and the etched bicycles I use do not have them either, which is fine. However, in photos of real Reliants of this period, the ends of the rear axle, and in particular the brake drums, are plainly visible, and needed to be added.
So, I cut out a floor from a piece of spare brass etch surround and added a chassis using the staples from the Autocraft packaging (waste not want not). A length of brass rod formed the axle and a couple of etched con rod washers were just right for the brake drums. A lump of plastic formed to represent the engine cover was glued inside the body, and another piece of plastic was glued inside the back doors for the floor to sit against. Getting the right position for the axles to sit centrally in the rear wheels took a bit of care.
Above the floor, I added a representation of the driver's seat, and a steering wheel, using a small etched wheel from N Brass. A 12BA bolt was soldered into a hole drilled in the floor. This will be used to glue the vehicle to the layout.
Now it was ready for painting. The layout is very green at the moment, so I wanted to add a splash of colour. It may not be a prototypical colour, but I went for yellow. The roof and mudguards seem to be always painted black on these. I printed my own transfers, which is simple for black lettering on transparent film. Before wetting them, I varnished them using Johnsons/Pledge Multi-Surface Polish (used to be called Kleer) which is actually a cheap way of buying acrylic varnish. This protects the printing while applying the transfers.
The windscreen was cut from a tray that had held some bakewell tarts. The 'cups' are used for mixing and thinning paint. Fitting the windscreen, fixed with Kristal Klear cockpit glue, took some patience. Fortunately, the side windows are not glazed.
I added an etched roof rack from FKS Modellbau, and a suitcase from bits of plastic, and Totland Independent Trading Co was born.
Any similarity between this model and any other yellow three wheeler van is, of course, entirely coincidental. 😎