Having learned a lot from building my first Bedford ‘MG’ Race Car Transporter a while back (see the article on it in this ‘from the workshop section), this Commer was my second experiment in scratch building a Dinky inspired race car transporter from two different models.
The finished combination in this case has worked so well, that I have now gone on to make a few of them, and to modify the build slightly a I’ve learned better ways to achieve the finished process. Due to the ongoing popularity and feedback I’ve received so far, hopefully I’ll be make more in various liveries for a while yet.
For the prototype model I used a Dinky 955 Commer Fire Engine seen in the pictures below, and a Matchbox K-11 Transporter again making up the back of the new model. Having looked at this Dinky 955 I thought it’s shape a lot more streamlined than the 259, and for a Racetrack Vehicle I felt this would be an obvious plus. Also on a trip to a toy fair, this trial example came from a junk box for a pound, and although it was missing a base-plate it had a good condition window set.
( The first Dinky Fire Engine in this cast was the 555 and it ran for many years in production. It however had no windows, introduced only later in a re-issue, the 955).
As with the MG Transporter, the paint on the models was stripped and the dreaded hacksaw came out, the aim a merging of two different sized vehicles from two different companies. If anything the width difference between the Dinky front and the Matchbox back was greater than with the MG Bedford, and for the first examples I decided to use rivets on either side of a brass strengthening bar to ensure a strong join.
These pictures show one of the first models made in various stages.
Other than the obvious gaping cavern into the back of the cab section, a point worth noting in the two pictures is the extra cutting away of the rear wheel arch. As I said these first models were a learning curve and I had already found from the ‘MG’ Bedford model that the wheels from the origonal needed to be bigger for the look of this stretched vehicle, and so I had fitted Foden size tires. The Dinky front wheels worked well in this new configuration, however the Matchbox rear being a smaller scale struggled to fit the new Dinky baseplate and wheel sets. I did experiment with cutting parts from the chassis away and padding out the rear section however I was not entirely happy with the results. In the end I went back to the drawing board and reworked the rear entirely, raising the rear deck by 3mm and using a more flexible metal putty instead of fixed rivets, to allow for fine adjustments to be made as the two parts were joined.
These pictures below show a more recent model in production. I’ve now made up a basic jig to ensure all models now are a precise length, so that I can produce the new side panels to match and that their wheel arches can be pre-cut on a bench drill, with little chance of the rear axle being out of line. Also it gives the rear wheel set a much more professional look. The higher rear deck also allows the wheels to fit nicely under the model.
The picture above also shows the interior made up ready to be fitted. The Dinky Commer model never had an interior and as such is quite dark to look into. Hence the interiors are painted white for visibility and don’t have to be to detailed, as they give an impression rather than need to be an intricate part of the model. The interior is made up of the interior of the matchbox donor model (switched to right hand drive of course) and seated in a scratch built plasticard shell.
These final pictures below are a library of some of the finished transporters made so far, and I’ll try to add to it as more liveries are made. One other item worth mentioning are the two air horns on the roof. These were last minute additions on the first made, but they worked out superbly and I’ll be adding them to any future models in this line. Also the ‘Castrol’ Oil can, actually a model railway drum painted up but I hope it adds to the effect, as do the spare tires stacked at the rear of the cabin.
Dinky produced many fine car models in race form, so I’ve many liveries yet to experiment with, and have already received some requests for commercial versions. Hopefully this Commer Transporter model will keep me busy for some time with new versions.
I hope you’ve liked this article, and if anyone fancies a go at building one and needs any tips or has and suggestions or comments, I’ll be happy to hear from you