- Bricking it -

A simple conversion of a toy to a prototype

by Tony Richards

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The donor model

Produced in thousands, with slight variations, between 1959/67 and 1970/73, the Triang and then Triang-Hornby bogie brick wagon would have been a familiar sight on many model railways across the UK [and in Canada and Australia too, for special editions were also made for those markets]. From the body up, this model was actually quite an accurate representation of a Great Northern Railway 50 ton bogie brick wagon, one of 25 built for it in Leeds, and used to carry bricks between Fletton in Cambridgeshire and London. After the first grouping, The LNER built a further 50 of these large wagons which continued to carry brick for many years until their ultimate and ignominious relegation to carrying domestic waste, north, out of London. Incredibly, the maximum load for these wagons was 20,000 bricks: loading and unloading must have been an arduous nightmare, especially in poor weather.

The header picture shows the last release of this model, in the fictitious London Brick livery. Over the years though, most of these models were released in brown [other colours are known] and without a load. Between 1959 and 1961, a variation with an attractive brick load was made available however, and that load features in the conversion shown below. Similar OO bogie brick wagons were made in tin-plate by Hornby-Dublo and Trix Twin: these are suitable for three-rail running only unless their wheels are changed. A plastic kit is also available in OO from Parkside Dunbar. In N gauge, Graham Farish once produced a model also. All of these are usually quite easily sourced through eBay.

The conversion

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This is an extremely easy conversion, in total it probably took no more than three or four hours and is well within any modeller's grasp. It simply required:

  • removal of the existing coarse and underscale bogies, to be replaced with a Cambrian kit for LNER Diamond Frame bogies
  • fitting replacement metal wheels [in this case, Gibson]
  • fitted improved sprung buffers and brake pipes.
  • the paint used was Halfords' Red Oxide
  • the lettering was by Pressfix.

The wagon awaits weathering and I've added a little additional ballast by attaching 2x5gm. self-adhesive tyre weights above each bogie, under the bricks.


The underframe livery is conjecture. There are no photographs [that I could find] of the original in NE livery and models on-line have both an all-black underframe and that as shown in the photographs above and below. I opted for the latter as it is far more attractive. A further Triang [damaged] original is shown above also for comparison.

Incidentally, the asymmetric lettering is prototypical. Once you get used to it it doesn't jar!

Total cost was less than a tenner.

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