For the first time in nearly 30 years, Lambing Flat can once more transport horses in more salubrious surroundings than a cattle wagon. Lambing Flat's first horsebox was an old MRC offering that was cast in the translucent plastic material that was used for kits in those far off days. I did manage to capture it (accidentally) in a photo of something else, back in 1980 when both I and Lambing Flat were very much younger!
Thirty one years ago, Lambing Flat had code 100 track, not much scenery and very few buildings, but it was already showing signs of being a secondary line. My original MRC KKG horsebox stands in the dock as 3041, a Bergs brass 30T, stands in the loop, waiting for an opposing train in the lounge room of my rented flat in Bexley North. This was the already the third version of Lambing Flat, the current version is the sixth!
This is the only photograph I know of showing one of the
Next step was to paint it. As this is a clerestory roofed vehicle, I decided to paint it purple brown, as my conclusion was that this was the most likely colour scheme carried by the prototype. But what does purple brown actually look like? The colour scheme disappeared long before colour photography, but luckily, some colour samples, plus other information, has survived. Two shades of purple brown were released as a standard colour in a range of paints available briefly in the late 1990s (was it Bakers SRM? I can't read the brand on my bottle anymore, it is covered with paint!) I purchased a bottle of the Light Purple Brown over ten years ago and it had sat on the shelf, unused, since then. When I first opened the bottle my heart sank, as the thinner had sublimed away and there was just a sticky mess at the bottom of the bottle. However, as this paint is no longer available (as far as I know) and I had nothing to lose, I filled the bottle with universal paint thinner, stirred it thoroughly and left it for a day or two, stirring it every now and then. Imagine my sigh of relief when, a couple of days later, I had a bottle of viable paint!
As mentioned above, the purple brown colour scheme disappeared so long ago that there are no colour photos of cars in that scheme... or is there? This photo has always intrigued me...
was undercoated with SEM self-etch grey and then painted with the Light Purple Brown. Once the purple brown was dry I masked off and painted the interior cream and the underframe and bogies SEM self-etch black. The black details were handpainted with Badger Engine Black and then when that was all dry, ILM KKG decals were applied and the model sealed with Badger Flat Clear. Weathering was done using my dilute acrylic paint method. First various details, such as the springs and brake blocks were picked out with a very dilute mix of Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown and Isocol alcohol, then the airbrush came out and my ‘roof muck’ mix of Tamiya XF-10 Flat Brown and XF-1 Flat Black and lots of Isocol alcohol sprayed over the roof, and then the underframe and lower edges of the body sprayed with a very dilute ‘mist’ of Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth. When that had dried I went over the body and solebars/bufferbeams with a very dilute ‘wash’ of Aqueous Hobby Color H343 Soot applied with a large brush. Then I hand painted ‘oil’ (semi-gloss black) around the axleboxes and flat black on the Kadee ‘tangs’ and the clear plastic windows were glued in with Aquadhere and now KKG 1831 is ready to do some useful work! I aimed for a worn, but reasonably well kept, vehicle which is only a year or two away from overhaul. Here it is from the other side...
While it is a bit out of period for the normal 1950s operating period on Lambing Flat it does look nice and serves the purpose of transporting valuable horses. During operations, it appears form time to time attached to a passenger train, in transit through the modelled section of the line. It does open up some intriguing operational prospects though, the most obvious of which would be a country race meeting, which would involve the operation of a special train of dogboxes (or even end-platform cars) with horsebox(es) attached to convey the locals citizens to the racecourse, which in the steam era, were often a couple of miles outside town. The railways department would often provide a special train for the conveyance of racegoers and racecourse staff in country areas.
Here is the KKG in service, attached to the Mail, circa 1930.