Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Milk & Hobby Shops


Just received a package of Austrains 4 wheelers from Micro Models Hobbyland at Hornsby.

Before i go any further in this posting i feel obliged to give this hobbyshop a plug... I have been trying to track down the availability of some 4 wheel offerings from Austrains.  The Austrains site has scant reference to some wagons & as i did not go to the Liverpool exhibition due to work comitments,  I was certainly out of the loop. ( No Pun Intended )

I did ring the manufacturer three weeks ago...but was told that apart from the exhibition...the wagons i was wanting were unavailable from them & i would have to wait until the website was updated & order forms made available.  I will say little else about this phenomena...suffice to say the site has not been updated & I only became aware of the availability of said wagons through trolling the web...

But i digress...I rang the above mentioned hobbyshop on Sunday & was greeted with a warm welcome & a genuine understanding of my dilema.  I knew the types of wagons i was after...but had no knowledge of how they were packed & pack details, numbers etc.  The person i spoke to was Darlene & she spent a fair amount of time sorting out my issue & indeed while i was on the phone i also took the opportunity to purchase a couple of IDR MLVs for good measure.

And so it was... that this morning's mail contained a box from Hobbyland with a pack of SRC Refrigerated Vans, 2 Packs of LV Milk Vans ( Milk Van Pack C & D ) & the MLV kits...all wrapped to within an inch of their lives.....Brilliant service, delivery & packaging....Thanks to all at Hobbyland.

Now to the wagons themselves.....At first glance they are nothing short of superb.  The bar has again been raised & one can't imagine what the future holds for Aussie outline modellers regarding detail & quality. The underfloor detail, crispness, and attention to finer detail of the bodywork is quite amazing.

I must admit to not being an expert where LV Milk Wagons are concerned. Each pack contains 2 double roof versions & 2 canvas roof versions. If i am correct & they were canvas...then i will resurface the roofs of these wagons to better represent these wagons in service. I guess i will also research the internal tank details & add any detail i can to the inside that may have been visible from the outside.....Then go crazy with the airbrush & weathering mediums...

Are there any downsides.... Well nothing of any great consequence that i can see apart from one brake hanger & shoe was dislodged during transit somewhere along the line & was in the box under another wagon & one of the double roofs on an LV was a bit loose...If that is the sum total of flaws then i am one happy modeller....I will see how the couplers go on these wagons...but i can see a conversion coming on.

While i cannot work out the marketing strategy of this manufacturer...the present 4 wheel offerings are an absolute watershed moment for the hobby & i cannot wait for the "Ultimate" S truck & one would imagine an updated K would be not too far away.... I just won't bother relying on manufacturer websites for my info...


  1. Hi Rod,

    I am glad to see that you have seen the light and come away from the dark side.

    Yes, the new 4 wheelers from Austrains are just what the steam era RTR modeller has been wanting (needing?).

    You will need to get a steamy to haul these beauties (diseasels are just too modern).

    I am waiting on a group order to get mine. I must put aside some time to have a cuppa with you and a close inspection of your acquisitions.

    The aforementioned website problems are a real dilemna. You can't sell models if there are no order forms or details! The ICV/SRC/LV (and CW,CV,PV and GSV too) are still showing as future releases.

    Maybe as JE says he needs time for other pursuits. The Austrains business must be his part time hobby. LOL.

    Happy fourwheeling,


    1. I think that JE often takes a few weeks break following Liverpool although in the past he has advised this on his web page.

    2. John...

      The Dark side UNCHRISTIAN ( Back me up here Col.. )...I have many pics of first & second generation DE locos on a string of 4 wheelers...mind you i don't own a fleet of NRs either...You should not have divulged that fact!!!...BTW i am having a bit of quiet time just give us a call & i will put the jug on...We need to have another prgress meeting on the kits...


  2. Rod,
    I have not seen the models in the flesh, but based on your photos the LV is essentially a 1950s version and a later one. The various railway GA drawings I have seen carry an ammendment that the "shade roof" was not required for future work with the change coming in from sometime in 1957. This means that if a wagon received major workshop attention and the shade roof required major work it would be removed but i do not think they would have removed a sound roof for no reason (my opinion). hope this helps.


    1. Craig,
      Thanks for your to are suggesting that the wagons with the khaki roofs are just later versions following removal of the shade roof... If that is the case why are they depicted in this colour by Austrains ??? ....The plot thickens...ANY INPUT BY OTHERS WELCOME!!! I always find that when i purchase a wagon i end up on a research "bender" for a few days....mind you i am not complaining!!!

      Regards & Thanks Again


    2. Rod

      I would go with Craig on this,I have no idea about the navy roof & single roof either, as all the 4 wheel milk vans I can remember seeing still retained the outer roof.

      While the 50's is my era of modelling, the milk vans are not on my list to obtain. Certainly 4 wheel wagons lasted a fair while, but it also depends very much on the types, the GSV's went out relatively early the longest survivors were a few at Wallangarra for Pig transport to the Abatoirs.

      Also the 4 wheel milk vans did not last too long into the 2nd half of the 60's & that is from my reccolections, they were gone from the Illawarra, & only a couple for Moss Vale on the South. The NCL had 4 wheel R/S totally removed before all others & again IIRC it was in Shirleys time.

    3. Col,
      There is reference to a Lima conversion to LV in Branchline Modeller 2...which refers to canvas roofs on the LVs...I have seen another article on these wagons...but cannot remember where???

      There is also a photo of both the single & double roof LVs albeit before they had the "washout holes" & in milk service...

      The article refers to them being used as "out of vans" which would seem likely.

      I must keep looking for any more info because if they ( some ) did have canvas roofs...then why???


    4. All,

      To now add some more mystery to this LV saga...
      In AJRM issue 11 there is an article on conversion of the LV to milk service & a statement contained regarding the prototype in the article reads...
      " The actual number of these vans in service is not known & the only road number that has been identified is LV 11707"
      This fact seems astonishing & begs the question...who is the research person for Austrains & if someone knows him...could he be asked to fill in any gaps that have been raised & how he arrived at the numbers available & variations in the packs...



    5. Rod

      I will dig out the AJRM & have a look later, not likely for a couple of weeks though.

      I was doing some searches last night, & just noticed this updated/reply & its aprropriate to mention what I found. It appears the 4 wheel MV's were quite common on the Camden line with the daily milk train having one bogie & usually 2 of the 4 wheelers, at least that is what I found in photo's.

      The use of them from MV, was where I remember them, & photographed in the distance, I do not reccolect them being used at Bowral although its possible. Photo's of them on the Saturday afternoon train from Picton shows an MV as a regular on the train, thus the reduced speed of it.

      Its also likely they may have also been used out of the Campbelltown dairy.

      Anyway & perhaps this is a stab in the dark & I know I'll probably regret it without seeing the orginal article.

      It is possible that as 4 wheelers were being replaced by bogies in the milk traffic that the particular wagon was surpluss thus spare & in reasonable condition, perhaps the 2nd roof may have become too rusted & therefore it needed replacement if kept in milk traffic.

      Out of traffic in the 60's & in the past was an important business, & usually placed in S, K or when LHG vans, the OO wagon was usually placed near the front of the train as it was the firemans job to assist the guard in unloading when reguired at unattended stations/locations.

      The OO wagons were always tarped, but some items could be damaged in adverse weather conditions, as such by the late 60's & early 70's there were more louvre vans used for the traffic, I found that on 401 south as well as when at WCK in 69-71, that the down pickup also had a louvre OO wagon. Just a thought.

  3. Rod, apologies for not getting back earlier. I just noticed that the single roof version has planked ends rather than louvred ends. I would suspect that this would just as likely have been fitted with a double roof pre 1957. Not sure about the roof colour either! A book that might be worth looking at is "Pansy the Camden Tram", as Colin points out LVs were used quite a bit on there for milk traffic. One quick point, are the bodies on these wagons 18' or 20' long? The buffers look like parallel shank ones which are more typical for auto fitted wagons.

  4. Craig

    Not sure about the body length but the question regarding the buffers on the series of 4 wheelers is one that I have asked before regarding them, as some seem NQR