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1/32 Airfix World War One B Type Bus "Old Bill"

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So tickets please and we are off.








Looking at the kit it is showing its age as there is loads of flash but the other thing that sticks out is the amount of injector pin marks. This has got to be the most I have seen in one kit and I have do a few Airfix kits in my time.


So out came my Dremel to sand off the pin marks and the panel lines as I want a smooth finish. I kept the Dremel at low rev's and I also kept it moving on the plastic as to not melt it but using this has saved a fair bit of time.


The wooden window covers that come with the kit are made from cardboard and to me look a touch flat so I am going to replace them with plastic ones. Also I am hoping that the extra plastic will help to add a bit more strength and take out any warping on the side pieces. Using the kits covers as templates I cut the new ones from Evergreen V-Groove styrene sheet 1mm thick with 4.8mm spacing.


Then using the kit covers again as a guide I marked the plastic and cut the vertical lines in the new covers using a Tamiya "P" cutter.


To add texture to the new covers I cut into them again with the "P" cutter.


Using the kits covers yet again as a guide I glued the new covers in place.


The kit covers are not printed on the back, they are just white and smooth. The "V" Groove is the same with the groove only on one side but because you will be able to see in the main bus cabin I decided to add texture on the inside as well.


All I did was to hold the windows up to the light which enabled me to see the groove on the other and mark them with a pencil.



Then using a rule and the "P" cutter I cut the new lines and added a touch more texture.


For the upper windows frames I just took the measurements off the kit covers and cut the from the "V" groove sheet. I cut the planks individually to help remove some uniformity. Then I glued them to the windows.



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With all the windows covers attached I glued three sides to the base and here is what they look like.





As you can see from the photo above there is a poster board and I thought it would be a shame to waste it. So I looked on the internet for some World War One posters and using photoshop, Word and a colour laser printer this is what I came up with.





I measured the poster board and then using photoshop I just resized the image and saved it. Then I opened a new document in Word and just inserted the images. I did a few because I thought it would be a waste of paper to print three small images on an A4 sheet of paper and the extras would always come in handy. The one I was going to used inside would be Lord Kitchener the main reason being it is going to be dark in the back and it was the brightest. So I use a craft knife and steel rule to cut him out.


Here he is just to see if I got the measurements right.



Here is the remaining side and roof as I wanted just check the fit.






I am quite pleased how good the fit is considering how old the kit is so off came the roof and the back again to allow me the paint the inside. I didn't bother to prime the inside as I was going to spray the Tamiya paint neat without any thinners because once its all covered the paint will be protected from chipping, etc.



With the base coats down and before I sealed them with a coat of Klear, I wanted to add the poster. As I have got a few I thought I would test how I was going to do it first. So out came my "buster" as it has a coat of paint from another trail and I proceeded to cut out one of the other posters to see how they look. I used Roket Card Glue to stick down the poster which is excellent stuff and worked a treat. Then after a few minutes I gave it a good strong coat of Klear to see what would happen. The good thing was the Klear was absorbed into the paper and once dry gave a nice shiny finish and there was no colour bleed from the poster.


So in went Lord Kitchener.



Then I gave everything a few coats of Klear and on to the weathering. I did the seats first with a Citadel wash, then I went around everything with a home made oil pin wash and tidied it up with a cotton bud with oil paint thinner on it. Finally I used Flory Models clay wash for the floor. You might not see most of the washes when the roof and the back is on but I wanted to see what the pin wash was like on the window covers.







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Thanks lads. Next on the list is the chassis which comes in two parts which run the full length of the bus. The problem I had was they were slightly bent out of shape. To get around this to square them off all I did was to first glue the rear part of one of the chassis parts first. I only ran the glue about an inch from the rear then I placed the chassis on to the bottom of the bus. Because the underneath of the bus has angles all over the place I couldn't use a clamp so I had to hold the part in place until I glue dried which wasn't that long. Then I ran about another inch of glue and repeated the process until I had done the whole side glued in place and it was square. I had to do this on both sides.





That done I moved on to the front of the bus.


This was straight forward to do ensuring that its square.


This was then glued to the front of the chassis along with the drivers foot well.



There isn't much detail underneath the engine compartment except for the sump which to me looked a bit thin so I added a few bits of scrap plastic to make it thicker and to give the impression of an engine under the bonnet/hood (depending where you are from). To do this I just stuck the kit part to the plastic and let it dry.


Then using a razor saw and the kit part as a guide I removed the excess plastic and tidied it up with a sanding stick. Then I added another layer of plastic and so on until I was happy.


I then looked at the drive train which I thought I could improve a touch.



I measured and made a note of the lengths of the prop shafts and I cut them off. For the middle and rear boxes I did the same as I did for the sump. Gluing them to a piece of plastic and cutting them out.




For the joint from the prop shaft to the flywheel I was going to tidy it up but I thought I would have ago at making my own.


I used a small piece of brass tube and a brass washer, also because the inside diameter of the tube was a bit too big. I used a plastic tube which started its like as a cotton bud stem cut to size. As for the flywheel I had to enlarge the centre to take the brass tube.


I joined the brass washer to the tube using a soldering iron and solder paste.


For the prop shafts themselves I used a piece of cooper wire.


Here I test fitted on the chassis to see how it looks.




The middle box looked a bit too thick so I sanded it down to my it thinner and I added the rear springs.



When I was happy I glued the plastic to plastic parts with Tamiya glue and metal to plastic with CA glue.




I thought I would show you how I straighten the copper wire I use. To take out the large bends I used flat smooth nose pliers to produce a roughly straight piece of wire.


Then I just press down using a metal rule and roll the wire under the rule.


And thats it.


I used the piece of copper wire to make a new exhaust pipe producing the bends with a pair of smooth flat nosed pliers.



For the end of the exhaust I used a piece of bent brass tube.


I cut it to size and glued in place.





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Brilliant to see someone going to town on this worthy kit. I have a book from the London Transport Museum about WWI buses which has a huge amount of detail about their use, maintenance and apperance. Full of pics and first hand testimony. Well worth getting (although I have to say I only paid £2 for mine in Oxfam). Ward, Dr. William "Old Bill: London Buses and the First World War"


I notice a lot of the eyewitness testimony says that the interiors kept all of their pre-war advertising posters (often much defaced)- like a modern tube train, the insides of the toplight windows, and the curve of the ceiling and the insides of the staircase 'modesty screen' were all covered in paste-on adverts. The upper deck sides had warning stickers between each row of benches too. Can't quite make out what they say, but probably something about not dangling over the side I suppose.

Bet some little details like that would look good in 1/32 scale!

Edited by Killingholme
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Brilliant to see someone going to town on this worthy kit. I have a book from the London Transport Museum about WWI buses which has a huge amount of detail about their use, maintenance and apperance. Full of pics and first hand testimony. Well worth getting (although I have to say I only paid £2 for mine in Oxfam). Ward, Dr. William "Old Bill: London Buses and the First World War"


I notice a lot of the eyewitness testimony says that the interiors kept all of their pre-war advertising posters (often much defaced)- like a modern tube train, the insides of the toplight windows, and the curve of the ceiling and the insides of the staircase 'modesty screen' were all covered in paste-on adverts. The upper deck sides had warning stickers between each row of benches too. Can't quite make out what they say, but probably something about not dangling over the side I suppose.

Bet some little details like that would look good in 1/32 scale!

Thanks mate. I couldn't find much before I started and I never thought to search for London Transport. Lucky someone put me onto the London Transport Museum which has restored a bus to World War 1 livery and has posted loads of photo's on their flickr page. The warning signs next to the top deck seats are saying keep your arms in, etc so your are spot on the money. Thanks again for the advice and reference about the book which would of come in very handy.

I heard that the iconic Kitchener poster was actually created after the war.

No the poster was first produced and used in 1914 but according to the IWM it was after the war was when it took on its iconic status.

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No the poster was first produced and used in 1914 but according to the IWM it was after the war was when it took on its iconic status.

haha, well that could also be true. It was just something my history teacher once mentioned in passing, and may not be true. Anyway, it looks good, so it matters little :)

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Thanks Greg. I was about to assemble the front axle until I looked on the sprue at the track rod and noticed part of it was missing.



To me it looks like they have had problems with the mould when they took this sprue out. I thought I would use the track rod from an old kit but the plastic was that brittle it snapped as soon as I touched it. I could get in touch with Airfix's spares department which are pretty good and fast but I thought I would have a go at making my own. First I bent and cut a pin to make two right angles. For the rod itself I used a syringe needle with the internal diameter to take the pins. I used the needle instead of brass tube because they are stronger and cheaper. The only drawback is they are harder to cut than the brass so I used my Dremel with a cutting disc.



I then tested fitted them as normal.


When I was happy and the rod was central I glued them all together using CA glue.


Then I just glued the whole assembly to the chassis.



I had a look at the front mudguards and I decided to strengthen them by making my own brackets using the same materials as the track rod. First using smooth flat nosed pliers I bent a pin to shape.



I needed two of these one from each mudguard.


I test fitted to check they would be ok and cleared the wheel.



For the rear bracket I removed the plastic peg and sanded it smooth then I replaced it with a cut piece of syringe needle. The photo's I have seen of this bracket it is lower on the mudguard but I decided to keep it in the kit location to make it stronger. When I was happy I glued them with CA glue.




Job done. The front bumper had snapped on the sprue so I made one from copper wire. I could have made a "D" shaped one but I have seen pictures of straight ones so being lazy thats the one I used. I also made the crank from a bent pin.




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I have done a bit more work on the bus by adding the upper deck, wooden side boards and stairs. After I cleaned up the top deck parts I made the wooden side boards the same way as the window covers from plasticard. Then it was just a case of holding the deck sides with tape and gluing in place. Once the glue on upper deck was completely cured I started on the stairs. Once again the parts required cleaning up a bit due to the age of the kit and once I was happy I first tried test fitting which was a pain due to the shape of the stairs, I glued the small platform supporting the stairs to the rear of the bus ensuring it was as level as I could get it. I then glued the stair treads to the rear outside stair side. Once dry this enabled me to fit the stairs to the rear of the bus and platform. The reason I haven't attached the small inside stair wall was because it requires fitting and sanding to the back wall of the bus where I have attached a window cover and I thought I would get the main stairs attached first. With the main stairs on the bus I glued the remaining small inside stair wall in place and I left it overnight to cure.











The railings on the top deck weren't long enough so to get around this I cut a small scrap piece of plastic and used home made Tamiya filler to bridge the gap. Once the filler has gone rock hard it was sanded.










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Thanks Gremlin. Here is the latest on the bus. The home made filler cured on the ends of the handrails on the top deck and I sanded them down and here is the result.



Continuing with handrails I had a look at the rear platform rail and I wasn't impressed with the kit one.


So I thought it time to get out the copper wire again. I used the kit part as a guide and I made my own using smooth flat nose pliers as before to straighten the wire and put some of the bends in. For the curl at the bottom end of the rail I used the shaft of a 4mm drill bit as a guide to bend the wire around.



I must be getting good at bending wire as the fit was spot on and it was just a case of attaching the rail to the bus using CA glue.



Next I glued the rear platform barrier. The instructions don't give a good view of this so I used some reference photo's from the web to give me a better idea of how it is attached.


I didn't want to use the steering column from the kit so used a syringe needle and a pin as they would be stronger.


To attach the wheel I drilled a hole in the centre of the steering wheel to take the pin.


Then using CA glue I attached the pin to the steering wheel.


The syringe needle is going to act as the new and stronger steering column and it was just attached to the bus via the hole for the kit column using CA glue. Again I used reference shots to get the length and angle right. Well sort of.


Now the steering wheel with attached pin just drops into the syringe needle.


As with the steering column I wanted the make the foot pedals out of stronger stuff so for the pedal shaft I used a pin and for the pedal foot plate I used metal cut from a mackerel tin. The third pedal is made from copper wire as is the steering column support.



With the pedals done I moved on to the handbrake and gear lever. The larger of the two levers had the locking lever handle missing, so to get around this I glued copper wire the full length of the lever to give more strength and to add a locking lever handle. I have tried to get the levers in the right position for the bus to be stationary but to do this one of the ratchets is in the wrong position but I can live with that. I also added the connecting rods from the levers along the body to the rear wheel hub made from copper wire.







I also added the support bands for the silencer made from lead fishing weights.


My next little job was to add the step for the driver. That kit part I think could do with a bit of improvement.


For this I used brass from a photo etch sprue for the foot plate and brass rod for the support. I bent the brass rod and cut the sprue to size and joined them using my soldering iron.




I cut the rod to size and glued it to the bus.




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Oh boy, this brings back some very old memories!

Looking darn good too.


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Thanks chaps. I looked at the lights provided in the kit and I wasn't impressed so I decided to have ago and make my own. The kit lights are carriage lamps fitted to the bulkhead behind the engine so I had a look at what bits I had knocking around and I decided to use brass tubing as its stronger than plastic and it roughly the right size I was after. Using my pipe cutter I cut off a small piece of tubing.


The pipe cutter is easy to use all you is decide where you want to cut on the tubing and tighten up the grub screw until it just bites. Then you hold onto the cutter in one hand and turn the tube with the other. If you can't turn the tubing then the grub screw is too tight so just loosen until the tube can be turned. After a few turns you will find it gets easier to turn then you tighten up the grub screw and carry on turning the tubing until again it gets easier. After a few minutes of doing this the cutter will give a clean even cut.



This piece is going to be the main body of the lamp. As the lamp is going to be suspended I used a piece of scrap brass from and old photo etch sprue as the base.


To attach the base I decided to use solder but you could use CA glue.


I could have cut a brass disc out the diameter of the tube but the small size would have been a nightmare to solder so I soldered the tube to the base and then cut around the tube to remove excess brass. It was just a case of filing and sanding to tidy it up.


For the lens holder I used the same size brass tube. Using a small half round file I filed a round "dent" in the end of the tube big enough to go half way round the lamp body.



Then using the pipe cutter I cut this off the tubing.


Now using a pair of sprung tweezers to hold them in position I soldered these together.




While I was thinking how I was going to do the tops of the lamps and how I was going to attach them to the bus I thought I would have to look at a few photo's. After looking at old photo's of buses in the First World War I decided to add one thing the kit doesn't provide and that is headlights. The carriage lamps can wait. I had to also workout how I was going to make them but this is what I came up with. I looked at what brass tubing I had and I picked the one with the biggest internal diameter then using my trusty pipe cutter, I cut a small of tubing 1/8" in length. I then soldered it to a piece of brass sprue as I did for the carriage lamps.


I cut off the excess brass as before.





Now I had to make the headlight mounts. I used small brass rod which I first bent around tubing the same diameter as the lights.



Then I cut the rod to size.


Using pliers I gave the jaws of the "U" a nip so they were a touch tighter touching the light.


Now using another piece of the brass rod and a scrap piece of MDF with right angles marked I arranged the "U" and rod and temporarily suck them down with Blu-tak. Then I joined them using solder again.


The first one was easy to make but the second was a pain as the solder kept snapping as I didn't get it all the way around but I got there in the end.



Now it was just a case of shortening the brass rod and drilling the holes in the bus. Then I glued in place using CA glue.


They aren't exactly accurate but I think they do the job and it passed an hour or two. All I have to do is paint the interior silver and make the lenses.


For the carriage lamps I used plasticard for the tops. I also added a small piece of small diameter brass tubing to the back of the lamp. I cut off the kit mounts and made new ones from bent pins and I drilled small holes in the side of the bulkhead or dashboard and I glued the pins with CA glue. To attach the lamps I just hung them via the newly added tubing on the back of the lamp on the pins and then I glue them to make them secure. I am going to do the lenses the same as the headlights.





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Just caught this thread Ian great job so far,I built this kit last year and as you say despite it,s age fit is generally good.I love the extra "engineering"

you have lavished so far taking it way beyond the norm we are looking museum quality here! I replaced the cardboard pieces as well and noticed

on the very few Photos of these buses in the field that the driver's improvised ways to keep out the cold and rain with tarpaulin which I tried to


Look forward to the rest of the build.

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Thanks Lads. I have attached the extinguishers and horn and I then used Badger's stynylrez to prime everything. To protect the interior I used bits of sponge to cover the windows and door.







I left it over night for the primer to go completely dry and the following day I sprayed the base coat. I did't attach the seats for the upper deck until I had sprayed the seats and the upper deck but once I had and the paint had dried I glued the seats in place.








Once the paint had dried I decided to add the "Putney Common" sign from an older kit and I added the "via Berlin" using a white gel pen. I have made my own decals before but white lettering would be a right pain to do. So I decided to try gel pens to see if they would do the trick. I had a practise first on a scrap piece of plastic sprayed with the green paint and it looked ok. Plan B was if it didn't look right I could over paint with white paint using a brush but as you can see I stuck with plan A.




So I thought I would add a bit more.



I also added the wheels and I painted the chassis.













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Looks superb.

If I was being super critical (and this is from the point of view of an armchair modeller, who certainly couldn't replicate such a model himself!), I'd say your handwriting is a bit modern for early 20th century. The style was much looser in those days- as someone who reads old documents for a living I find British handwriting circa 1890-1910 the hardest to read! The 'Merry Christmas' is most certainly a convincing early 20th century hand. Excellent!

Chalking large letters and numbers on vehicles would be a common thing for working people in the Edwardian period. On the railways for example, most goods wagons received chalked marks indicating the contents, destinations, weights. Photos from the time show quite perfect calligraphic handwriting used for this sort of thing- you'd pay a fortune for a graphic designer to do the same for you today!!

I doubt anyone would notice on a model though...

The white gel pens work well- I'll be nicking that idea!

Good luck on the final stretch. Will you be weathering/ placing in a diorama?


Edited by Killingholme
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