Scammell Mechanical Horse
Once again we can report steady progress on the rebuild of the Mechanical Horse. When we were driven inside by rain the Scammell and the Thornycroft both received attention. The Mechanical Horse's cab is now complete and all the hard work seems worthwhile. Since the last magazine was printed we were able to fit the remainder of the planking to the back of the cab, complete modification of the cab windows, freeing up the stiff opening driver's windscreen, and fitting laminated glass. Once the aluminium skin was fitted to the roof frame the windscreen was installed and immediately the familiar (from photographs) appearance of a Great Western Scammell came to life. It is every bit as impressive as I had hoped – a real classic looking vehicle.
I did a certain amount of work at home, too. The lamps were grit basted and painted ready for reuse, as was the removable rear light and number plate assembly. (This is designed to unclip from the unit and clip onto the trailer when it is attached). It has a built-in number plate/rear light which provides all the illumination at the back of the vehicle. This is in the form of a single dim red rear lamp 1⅛" diameter – no reflectors, brake lights or indicators in those days! As we are not expecting to register the lorry for use on the road we are leaving the set-up original.
For a little later on I drew out the registration number, the G.W.R roundels, fleet number and owners details onto tracing paper for sign writing onto the lorry once the paintwork is completed in warmer weather. The fleet number is a spot-on reproduction as it is traced from some original transfers I was given by a chap at the road motors depot at Worcester! The others are carefully scaled from photographs but turn out exact inch sizes, so should be right.
The Scammell (and the Thornycroft) are being painted with special paint. This is a very superior coach enamel supplied by Craftmaster Paints of Stourbridge. The range includes the proper coloured undercoats too. I suspect they are now the only supplier of black undercoat in the UK. All the paints go on beautifully smoothly, and the undercoat flats down nicely when new, and continues to harden to form a very tough base for the top coats. No nasty brush marks as this paint levels out wonderfully. Any colour can be matched and mixed specially so we have had no trouble obtaining the correct GWR brown. I see that the new A1 locomotive 'Tornado' has been painted with Craftmaster Apple Green!
One of many interesting jobs was to make a new exhaust pipe. The pipe is 1½" diameter and 1⁄16" wall thickness and so is difficult to bend without creasing. Try bending the cardboard liner of a roll of clingfilm and you will see what I mean! The age-old solution was to plug the end of the pipe, pack it with fine dry sand, then plug the other end. The pipe can then be carefully heated and bent to a fairly tight radius but great care has to be taken to stop it rucking up on the inside of the bend. Once finished the plugged up ends were cut off and the sand emptied out.
Inside the cab the flexible conduit has been refitted ready for the wiring to go in. We will not use ordinary PVC insulated cable – this looks awful. It is possible get to cotton covered cable and cable protected with a spiral of 'D' shaped aluminium which both look just like the originals used on the lorry, but have PVC insulation inside.
Other details in the cab are a clip for the delivery notes and other paperwork, a replica insurance certificate and a Pyrene fire extinguisher which cannot be used, but looks authentic. In the cab window is a replica tax disc of 1939 and an 'A' (carrier) license. There is a third tax disc holder, too (they can be seen in old photographs). Does anyone know what it would have been used for? Maybe it might have been for an exemption certificate for wartime petrol rationing. It would be nice to get hold of a copy of this disc, whatever it was.
Work has now begun rubbing down the chassis which has paint chips and rust all over the place. This work is straight forward but rather time consuming.