This is a Dinky Mercedes LP 1920 Truck, code 3’d into a race car transporter. It is inspired rather loosely by the Lancia picture above, but with added features that I felt would suit the Mercedes model better. I had been looking for something for a while that was a little more modern than the builds I’d tried so far, and that could hold some of the larger cars that Dinky made. Having said that it should also suit others model makes, and I’m sure I’ll be trying different liveries and makes as and when I get the chance.
I make my Code 3’s as a hobby and the purpose of this article is to show anyone who wants to have a go at their own, some of the solutions I’ve found to making this one, or should I have one up for sale, potential buyers what has gone into producing this type. I make my models in three stages, the build, where the basic model comes together. The painting, where it’s look comes together, and the fitting out, where the logo’s and accessories come together to produce the finished article.
This build is a little more complicated and time consuming than others I have listed so far in this workshop section, and I will try to outline it here as simply as possible. It took a while to work out how to accomplish, and is a mix of existing diecast, plastic, brass, steel & aluminium, which hopefully which gives it nice balance of detail and quality, as as much of the metalwork as possible has been left unpainted.
If you do fancy having a go at this build yourself, it is in some ways it’s a rather nice one to do. The truck itself doesn’t require any major cutting up after it’s been disassembled, and as the transporter back is entirely scratch-built no other donor models are needed. Also, the main components can be worked on separately right up until the model is complete.
So this is the starting point, one old play-worn Dinky Mercedes LP 1920 Truck (minus it’s cargo back in this case), and a Dapol model girder bridge. The main part of the bridge that will be used is the track bed, along with a few other items. It is possible to use sheet pre-molded styrene for the car decks, but price wise it wouldn’t be much different and I like the detail and the gap down the center on this kit, as it will give both decks a more fragile look, and the bottom deck much more light when finished.
After the initial stripping down of the model and paint removal, this Code 3 can be split into three sections, Cab, Chassis & Transporter back. As the cab is a straight forward repaint I’ll not go into it in any great detail, but instead try and show the main points of the other sections.
The chassis on this model is more detailed than most earlier Dinky Toys, and as such I’ve tried to make the alterations in keeping with what was already there. The main need was to raise the height of the chassis to accept the new back, higher than the rear wheel arches, and also to fill out the space this would leave between the lower deck and the ground. Also, some way of fitting the new transporter back to the chassis would be needed.
Here the chassis can be seen stripped down and ready for alteration. The solution to fixing on the new back I found was to use an old Dinky idea, and insert two bolts through the new body, and fix them to the chassis via the two rivet holes left from the old cargo back. I’ve used larger bolts, so the rivet holes were widened to take them.
Here is the chassis a while later, after it has been heightened. This was accomplished by adding two crossbars between the wheel arches, and then using some styrene right angle to follow the line of the origonal chassis back, raising the height by about 7mm. I have also added some thin brass right-angles to the crossbars holding a ‘t’ shaped strip, which will eventually be the mounting for some side bars to cover the void left by the heightened deck. Behind the rear arches I’ve also added some tire storage sections made up from parts of the girder bridge kit, again to fill out the chassis a bit more.
The Transporter back
First things first, have a look at the track bed parts of your model bridge kit, they comprise of a larger and smaller section. Taking off any molding burs you will notice that as they are, they are very thin plastic and way to flexible to support any die-cast vehicles that may be placed upon them, so they will need be to strengthened.
I did this by fixing brass strips along the underside, strong enough that they cannot be flexed by hand. At the same time, along both the top and side edges and on the front of the upper deck add a surround of half centimeter right angle strip. Leave the back ends bare as these are where the cars would be loaded on from, and look more practical that way.
The smaller (bottom deck) molding is obviously not quite long enough for a car space and front storage shed, so extend the side strips as required. If you are following this design without any alterations, the bottom deck should fully measure 16 cms in total, 6 cms of storage shed and 10 cms of car deck. The extra gap created can be filled with a thin styrene section cut to the size of the enclosed front section. This will become the floor of the ‘storage shed’, and as it will only be seen from underneath on the finished model is purely decorative, and so doesn’t have to be particularly strong.
Next on the upper deck, mark up where you want the guard chain posts to be. I used four posts per side which meant I could line the rear two guard posts up with the support pillars underneath, which I would suggest is the best position them. With these marked out, tape the bottom under the top so that it lines up at the back, and drill through the deck with a bit just wide enough to take a 2.4mm rivet. On the rear two posts on each side, continue to drill down through the bottom deck as well. I use a bench drill for this, but if you haven’t got one make sure the holes are drilled as vertically as possible., as this will effect the lining up of the finished top deck support and guard posts.
On the underneath you will need to fix two plates that give the bolts something to grip. On the bottom between the 2nd and 4th cross spars from the back, and on the top from the 3rd and 8th at the front. The front bolt hole will sit right on the 5th spar, so this will have to be removed. As can be seen from the picture, holes will have to be drilled to allow the bolts through. These are best measured and drilled before mounting them. These plates will bear the pressure from the bolts, which do not need to be overly tight, but to give them a bit more strength a layer of milliput to help hold them in place is worth considering.
Also on the top deck I have added some right angle strips where the top deck sits on the storage shed. These will stop the top deck sliding sideways when in place, and negate the need for glue in the final assembly.
At last the first to large parts are ready to be tried together, and as you can see from the picture above, all that has been done so far should now make some sense. Here you can see I’m checking that the bolts fit correctly, and have fixed the first of the storage shed side walls, with the other ready to be added. These consist of relatively thick foam-board sheets, as these walls will provide the main support for the top deck. The corner strips are 0.7 styrene right angles, as they will form the thin rear walls that are the surrounds for the shed rear roll up door. The shed itself could have been built seperatly, but by doing it this way the side walls should line up perfectly with the main body.
Also as can be seen a hole has been cut in the shed area floor to allow the front bolt through. This hole doesn’t have to be to perfect as it cannot be seen on the finished model, also note the bolt is just passing through the floor, and should not be fixed to it.
The other side panel and a front panel have been fitted now, and the top deck fitted (loosely) and the guides for the lower deck column’s and the top deck guard chain posts are in place. These are 2.4mm rivets, around which thin aluminum pipe will be fitted later. For the top deck I made the posts 2cms high when finished, so the guide rivet stems will need to be a half centimeter shorter. On the front four posts the rivet collar (the soft part that normally compresses), will need to be trimmed and the stem cut short so that they don’t protrude underneath the deck. The rear four posts need to be the same height as the front ones, but don’t cut them underneath as the bottom of these posts will act as a guide for the top of the deck support columns. The bottom deck column guides will also need to be trimmed so they don’t protrude below the bottom deck, but can be left on top as long as possible, as long as they don’t actually touch the stem coming down from the top deck.
This is pretty much the complete build for the deck section, now separate them, sand and filler whatever needs it, and get ready for the painting.
The paintwork on this model is fairly straightforward. The cab is all one colour so other than masking the grill while painting to keep the detail, nothing else is needed. The chassis also is all one colour, (satin black) so nothing fiddly there either.
In the picture above the top and bottom decks can be seen during the painting stage. The car decks have been painted a matt grey, and masked off while the main colour is applied. For the top deck this is the main Henley Blue colouring. The ‘shed’ part of the bottom deck has a large white strip to accomodate the livery, so in the picture the bottom car deck has been greyed and then masked, then a white primer and Ivory White gloss finish has been applied. Once dried this will also be masked off, and the lower deck will then be once again coated in grey primer before it to gets it’s main Blue colour scheme.
Top tips during the painting would be try to keep the rivet posts as free from paint as possible, as the aluminum tubing that they are there to hold will be awkward to fit otherwise. The posts are smooth steel, so any paint that does get on them can be relatively easily removed after spraying. Also on this model the wheels and tires present a slight issue in that the tires are very tight to get off and near impossible to get back on, certainly without damaging any paint applied to the wheels in the mean time. The best solution I have found so far is to hand paint the wheels with the tires in place. Any over-paint onto the rubber tires is fairly easy to remove once dry.
Fitting Out … ( Final Assembly).
Nearing completion now and my favorite part of model-making, the fitting out stage, where all the parts are complete, the paintwork is done, and it’s time to add any trim and accessories and see the finished model come together.
The Cab & Chassis.
The cab has now been attached to the chassis and some finishing touches added. The side safety bars are aluminum box section cut to length and their ends filled and painted. Two spare tires have been added to the section behind the rear wheel arches. These as can be seen have been cut to size to fit. With the car-decks added only the outer sides will show and so they will not look out of place. Wheels have been put back on new axles, and number plates and lights highlighted. The front lights are moldings and so have been painted. The rear lights have been replaced by 3mm coloured gems to represent indicators and night lights. The moldings are still there so can simply be painted in if you cannot find any similar items.
The Bottom Deck.
The bottom deck has had white lines added to highlight the car track borders, and black lines to highlight the top and bottom of the white stripe where the logo’s will sit. This has been done with Model Technics ‘Trimline’ kits, available in most good model stores and a very handy way of enhancing a model.The door to the ‘tool shed’ storage area has been added and as can be seen the support posts for the top deck have been cut and are being slid into place. No glue is required for these as they will be held in place by the support posts already there. The logo’s have been prepared and as also can be seen are awaiting placing. These decals are home made and if you wish to know more about how, please have a look at the ‘how to make decals’ article in this same section of this site.
The Top Deck.
Again the top deck has been finished with a model trim-lining kit to produce the two white lines that show the edge of the car runway. Also as you see it here, I am just in the process of adding the aluminum guard posts and chains. This is done by cutting aluminum tube into 2 cm lengths and sliding it over the steel posts (now cleaned of any paint). The chain is metal model chain finished in white, and it is held in place by inserting a brass OO scale track pin through the required link and then fixing into the pipe end.
Finally all the parts are together, and all that remains is to cut the fixing bolts to size and add them to hold the sections together. The screws can be painted to match the surrounding finishes once all is tested to make sure of a perfect fit.
I hope this has been of help if you are interested in trying our this design for yourself, or if you are looking to buy one of these advertised somewhere, it has given an idea of what has gone into creating this rather eye catching Code 3.
The rest of this article will be a library of any alternate liveries or colour schemes that I may make.
Alfa Romeo Livery