Wednesday, 6 October 2021

More "S" Wagons.

In my second blog on “S” Wagon back in July 2017, (Westgate - South Western Rail: S Wagon ( I indicated there was various lengths, some with 8” X 4” journal that carried heavier loads. Since then I have made three more batches of wagons, many with loads. Yes, I had falling back into my old habits by adding loads, some should be empty, thus another batch to run empty. Plus a new manufacture with a liking to older wooden wagons has been producing some very nice detailing brass parts for their kits and are available separately for guys like me building other wagons.      

Generally, S class wagons only carried a load in one direction, like logs to a saw mill and then the wagon returned empty for the next load of logs. One or two may of carry a load of timber to another destination before returning empty for another load of logs. The class had limitations due to loads they could carry, this lead the class as a go to wagon for quick easy conversation for special traffic. As branch lines closed, timber and log traffic fell off, modifications allowed the class to be adopted for other traffic quickly. Remove the stanchions and you have the base for just about anything. Removing a few floor boards increased their carrying capacity.   

This wagon was in Townsville in the late 1970’s and used as a pollution wagon between Cloncurry and Townsville diesel sheds. The end side boards remain on the wagon and the wagon kept the “S” classification.  

The wagon was scratch built from styrene sheet and Evergreen strip. Bogies buffers, bogies  and brake cylinder are Caintode Flats products. Brake pipe hoses, queen posts and drain pipe are Queensland Railway Miniatures brass parts. Rivets are Micro-mark decals. The wagon was painted with Mirotone etch primer (gloss) and weathered with Vallejo acrylic paints, at first home brew wash of black and grey was applied, followed by dry brushing grey and finally a dusting of various browns with the air brush. 

Another similar wagon was also in Northern Division at Townsville as a water wagon. At first I could not find any plans for the wagon and started building a 30 ft open underframe. Before adding the tank plans surfaced and the underframe was 26 ft. Bugger, start again and find something for the 30 ft frames.

The plan suggest only five were built. Some were classed SWP and carried petrol, I think that must have been many many years ago.   

Construction was similar to the pollution wagon, detail on top of the tank was Queensland Railway Miniatures brass etch parts. The wagon was painted with PGC acrylic lacquer QR Rollingstock Grey. Weathering was light air brush dusting using Vallejo Model Air acrylic paints.

The frames I had started for the above two wagons had underframe detail I did not wanted to hind with a floor. Plus, I normally fill under the floor with lead sheet, the extra weight on the other two wagons was in the tank. Searching the plan books and photos came up with “S” class molasses wagon used in the Northern Division.

Tanks were made from acrylic rod turned in the lathe and provided some extra weight.  

Same construction methods and parts were used as the other wagons. The frame and tank were painted separately with black Mirotone etch primer. To finish the tank off, it was painted silver using SMS acrylic lacquer paint. Weathering was applied aging the wagons differently highlighting different times for workshop visits.   

SJ wagons carry about 10 tons more that the S wagon, the wagons have longer bogies (5 ft wheel centres) fitted with 8” x 4” journals. Some have 2’ 91/2” wheels. Regardless of wheel size the floor needs to be much the same height from rail level, buffers need to line up, loading platform are a standard height etc. The larger diameter wheels are every close to the underside of the floor. On the model there is no room for adding extra weight above the wheels reducing the amount of weight that can be added out of sight. Sure, you can raise the floor height and adjust couplings etc to add weight above the wheels, but the wagon will not look right with other wagons on the train. 

Bolster stanchions are brass castings purchased from Queensland Railway Miniatures.  

This wagon is fitted with Far North Hobbies brass bogies fitted with Steam Era spoked wheels, sadly both are no longer available commercially. Caintode Flats Models has a white metal bogie with either spoked or disc wheels and Wuiske Models produce a injected moulded bogie with spoked wheels. 

To add weight to the wagon a merchant bar load was added. To make the load galvanised tie wire purchased from Bunnings (plumbing section) was used.  The wire is 250 mm long with a 1.25mm diameter, its straight in 1 kg bundles. A jig was made from styrene to form the lengths of wire into bundles, super glue was used to fix the wire lengths together. Cotton thread was used as wire ties.     

The next two wagons are 26 ft wagons with the same construction methods. The Far North Hobbies bogies are fitted with 2’ 2” wheels. The gridgers and corbels a left over from the new bridge on the layout.   

The next wagon has been built using the same parts except the bolster stanchions are scratch built. The wagon is more or less not long out of workshop with a fresh paint work. 

For a change this wagon is the three bolsters version with a weathered floor. Vallejo Model Color acrylic Khaki # 70.988 was used as a base colour.

This wagon forms part of the Breakdown Train (Westgate - South Western Rail: Breakdown Vans and Wagons. (, the queen posts are the hardwood bean version.   

This next wagon is my “What is That” load, something to create discussion around the layout. I’m sure you have observed a passing train and a load goes past and you don’t know what it is. Often, a “one of” plant items were manufactured in engineering works for a project could fall into this group. You may recognise the main body if you have been pulled over at a RBT. It’s the blow tube attached to a breathalyser unit to check alcohol levels in motorist. The tube has been modified by adding rivets (decals), other pipes and lifting rings. The plant has be secured in a cradle for transporting.  

 If you know of something similar your comments would be appreciated.  

The wagon is fitted with double trust rods.

A recent addition to the Queensland Railway Miniatures range is the double queen post. Many of the class and other wagons carrying heavier loads had this arrangement with a truss rod on each side of the sole bar.

Brass detailing parts referred to in the post are available from Queensland Railway Miniatures via Facebook, local SEQ buy & sells and at exhibitions.

Trust you find the information helpful and it assist you with your modelling.

Currently, the wagons are all together on a train and will be part of the next YouTube video.



Arthur H.


  1. Always a good read Arthur. I get inspired seeing all the variety in your wagon fleet - particularly those not covered by kits. The pictures of the wagons, prototype, and model before & after paint, plus your reference to the specialist parts you used, should inspire others to become creative. Thanks

    1. Thanks Rob, Many thanks for your comments, much appreciated. I find knowing what Modellers are doing and using very useful, it can be very helpful in what you can achieve. Stay safe and well. Arthur.