16mm Projects

Roy Plum : B Type Bus

A total of 900 of these buses, built by AEC, were used to move troops behind the lines during World War I.

The B-Type could carry 24 fully equipped infantrymen and all their kit.

The glass windows on the lower deck were prone to breakage mostly from contact with the men's rifles, so the glass was removed and replaced by planks nailed to the sides of the vehicle.

Some were converted into mobile pigeon lofts to house the pigeons used for communication along the front.

They served until the end of the war when they were used to bring troops home.

Details of the bus build

First test run


When I was working on the lower deck and chassis, I thought "This would make a cracking Railbus", so I decided to make the drive unit and steering "modular" so it could be quickly replaced to switch from road to rail.

This approach "sort of" worked, but the road springs at the front got in the way of the bogie swiveling (I could have used smaller wheels, but I though it would run better with big wheels). The Railbus rode too high and was very top heavy too.

Railbus test run


So..... I decided to build a Mk2 Railbus without the front road springs and an adjustable ride height to experiment with.... and this is coming on fine.

I found a smaller battery pack too, to help keep the C of G lower and further forward to throw more weight onto the bogie.

I've attached a photo of it, now with working front lamps.

As if all this wasn't enough, some of the real buses were also used as mobile pigeon lofts.... so I'm working on that right now. I made a big breakthrough yesterday when I found a source of approx scale pigeons in China... 40 birds for £6.30.... (pigeon) post free... Can you go wrong? The Hudds "Zoom Group" decided that a pigeon in 16mm scale should be just over 16mm long... and these seem to be 19mm long. Wikipedia says the average pigeon is between 12 and 13.5 inches, beak to tail... so that's 18mm. Might have to clip the pigeons' tails a little.

October 2020

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