Making Wagon Loads

Categories: Model Railway Tips and Resources.

When ore wagons and the like are obtained often they are empty. While this maybe a real situation for part of their lives often they are loaded to the brim with ore or coal etc.

This tip came from The Buffer Stop hobby shop in Preston.

Modelling Ore/Coal Loads


Ore wagon out of the box. Modelling wagon loads.
Ore wagon out of the box

The wagon as out of the box. It is a BHP Billiton Ore Car made by Bachmann and was bought from The Buffer Stop in Preston. 

Without a load the wagon is quite bland and it could do with some weathering too. There are some supplied ladders that are yet to be fitted.

The balsa wood load platform. Modelling wagon loads.
The balsa wood load platform

First a balsa wood platform is made so that the top sits about 5 mm below the top of the wagon. The platform needs to fit as close as possible to the edges, otherwise the material will fall into the wagon.

Underneath the balsa wood platform. Modelling wagon loads.
Underneath the balsa wood platform

Underneath the platform I glued a nail to facilitate the removal of the load with a magnet. I found that a normal magnet was not strong enough however.

Unless you have access to a powerful magnet the nail can be left out; although the extra weight is handy to have.

Gluing down the load. Modelling wagon loads.
Gluing down the load
  1. Firstly to prevent the glue from messing up the wagon it is a good idea to place plastic cling wrap inside the wagon, ensuring that it clings to the bottom, sides and ends. It does not matter if it creases on the corners or elsewhere.
  2. Place the platform into the wagon ensuring that it fits correctly and that it is positioned on the floor of the wagon.
  3. Next pour a small amount of coarse ballast onto the platform. As real loads are made by a chute for realism create a small heap that runs from end to end as shown.
  4. When satisfied with the shape of your heaped load use an eye dropper to drip diluted PVA (white wood working glue) onto the load. Do this one drop at a time. It is important to only wet the load to the point it looks like breakfast cereal in milk (like Cocoa Pops in this case!). A few drops of dish washing detergent will help the glue “wet” to the ballast/ore/coal.
  5. Leave the wagon to dry overnight.
The completed load. Modelling wagon loads.
The completed load
The completed load in the wagon. Modelling wagon loads.
The completed load in the wagon

After several hours the PVA glue dries clear just leaving your ore load. Using the cling wrap gently remove the load and place it somewhere safe.

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