Rolling Stock

Making Wagon Loads

Written by Glenn. Posted in Rolling Stock

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

{timg title:="The new empty wagon." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-load" }

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.

{timg title:="The balsa wood load platform." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-load" }

First a balsa wood platform is made so that the top sits about 5mm 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.

{timg title:="Underneath the balsa wood platform." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-load" }

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.


{timg title:="Gluing down the load." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-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.
{timg title:="The completed load." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-load" }

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.


{timg title:="The completed load adding realism to the wagon." thumb:="" img:="" gal:="wagon-load" }

Remove the cling wrap from the dried load. Do this gently as PVA sticks to plastic quite well (but not as good as wood!) . Place the load back into your wagon and the job is complete.

With a load the wagon looks more realistic as it has some purpose.


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