I tram what I tram

Having developed an interest in VBCW which includes lurking over at the Gentleman’s Wargame Parlour where everyone is frantically developing armies including armouring everyday 30’s vehicles, I thought an armoured tram would make a good start, especially as no one else seems to have realised the beauty of this regular piece of transport with boiler plate rivetted onto it. So I picked up a couple of Lledo “Days Gone By” trams from Ebay and set to work. Now I realise a lot of folk collect diecast vehicles of this type, and like the ones I bought, keep them in the original boxes as part of their collecting fetish. If you are such a collector I strongly advise you don’t read much further, I take these toys out of the box and modify them. However if you’re looking at bashing together some really cheap pieces for 28mm read on.

First it’s time to get rid of the seats on the top deck, which is best done by wiggling one end up and down as seen above.

It’ll soon snap off revealing the metal below. The hole is where the metal pole sits, you know the thing you’d grab if you were boarding, like that on an older London bus. Do this to both ends.

These are the pieces which will come off. The black piece is for keeping, it’s the rod which powers the tram from overhead power lines. The rest is for the scraps box.

That will leave you with this. Now I base 28mm figures on tuppences, and thanks to the gaming gods a tuppence fits this top deck. So I want to put in a new floor, and then I’ll be able to get four figures on this top deck. So the top of the spiral steps and the “nipple” at either end have to go and being cast metal it’s time for some dremel action. Now a fresh cutting disc is too large to fit in, so use one which has seen some cutting and is therefore smaller.

Once you’ve managed that it’s time to put a couple of styrene or plasticard strips in to ensure a level floor. Notice anything different about this picture and the previous one?

In simply handling this model the pop rivet on one side has popped loose. Just as well really as closer inspection reveals how the driver’s cab this end doesn’t sit totally square with the bulk of the model, and in gentley coaxing it back to perfection it’s eventually snapped off. No wonder Lledo collectors don’t take them out of the box! So I’ve taken this opportunity to remove the front bumper, which is also an automatic brake in case someone should fall in front of the tram. However the other bumper, the series of parallel bars forward of the wheels, stays as it’s the auto-brake for items which might derail the tram. For an armoured version the first isn’t really wanted as it would allow the tram to be disabled in game with a stout kick, whereas the latter is rather important.

So what I now have is this collection of pieces, but for the next one I think I might do this to start with as it makes the cutting off of the top of the staircase a lot easier.

So back to the top deck. I’ve cut a planked floor from grooved plasticard and rounded it off to fit neatly, and included a pair of hatches for the top of the staircases.

And then glued it firmly into place with superglue gel.

Next is the plate for the “front” of the tram. Trams typically didn’t have a front, but this one will have a highly armoured front and a not-so-armoured rear. I’ve made measurements and cut a flat piece of plasticard with a slit for the driver, a space for the destination board, and a firing port at the top. Then I’ve wrapped the card around a former and sat it in boiling water so it’ll curve. Remember how a tuppence fits really neatly onto the top deck? I’ve used a pile of them as the former.

This piece has then been glued and clamped into place, once I’d fixed the cab back into place as well as fitted a strut along the railings on either side at the top. This part of the model is now rock solid.

Next is the side plate, which has been measured and had three hatches cut into it.

And the same for the other side, the rear is next, but with more of an easy access to it.

Like this. Here you can see I’ve painted it and applied rivets with blobs of superglue gel. I’ve also put the upright pole back and glued it in.

I’ve added some plates purely because they look right on such a beast. Also set the hatches open to various degrees and glued them into position.

A lick of paint and varnish, as well as replacing the rest of the chassis and the “K6 tram with (patent applied for) Calveley non-spalding armour” is ready for delivery. The additional hatch above the bogies is for the handcrank for the added in-built turntable, but that’s top secret so best I don’t mention it.

The Anglican League proudly take delivery of their latest tool in the fight against the fascists.

Even if the driver has reservations about the safety of the rear cab.

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2 Responses to “I tram what I tram”

  1. Vampifan Says:

    That’s a fantastic conversion, Phil, and a great “how to” tutorial. Many congratulations on a stunning model!

  2. A very British motor pool « Says:

    […] for the weapons of mass transportation, namely my first VBCW conversions the armoured tram, two buses in East Kent Road Car Company colours (including decals!), and a delightful French […]

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