Getting started in 3mm FAQ:  Plastic Wagon Kits;  N. Brown

Plastic Wagon Kits

There's a very wide range of wagons available include plastic, etched and cast kits, and few are difficult to build.  However, the easiest and best are the plastic kits by Parkside and other reputable manufacturers which have been introduced in recent years. They include examples from almost every period of railway history, and no matter where your interests lie you should find something to make a start with.

Parkside wagons
Here are three Society Parkside wagons from the early 1930's under construction: a GWR van, an LMS 3 plank wagon and an LNER van; they lasted until the 1970's or later. Start by forming a box of sides and ends, then drop in the floor.  Add bearings to the solebar/W-iron units,  glue on axle boxes, glue the solebars to the floor, then drop in the wheels, and you've arrived at the stage shown here.  Now just detail the underframe (these can be built as fitted or unfiitted wagons), add buffers, couplings and roof, and you're ready for painting and lettering.  Each kit will produce a number of variations.

Cambrian wagons
For those fascinated by pre-Grouping railways, there's also plenty of choice, such as these Cambrian-produced GWR wagons from Finney & Smith: a wooden bodied van pre-1886, an iron bodied van post-1886 (the gunpowder variety shown here was built until 1909), and an O2 or O10 7-plank general merchandise wagon from around 1906; they all had long lives, and the vans could still be seen until recently as grounded bodies.  They build the same way as the Parkside kits, and also include chasses.

Wagon chasses
Most plastic wagons include Parkside chassis kits; these are highly detailed and include most variations, including the common RCH types and the distinctive Dean/Churchward pattern, and also both steel and wooden solebars.  Here are the 9' and 10' frets (these come in pairs), and an accessory fret which gives even more variations.  The chassis kits are also available separately, for improving older kits or scratchbuilding.  If you feel you need even finer detail, there are some excellent etched chassis kits available, including Andrew Thomas's kits from Finney & Smith, Fencehouses kits from the Society, and Worsley Works kits.

Here are three completed Parkside wagons.  The transfers are from 3SMR's Modelmaster-produced waterslide range.