Home Guard 1940 — Milk van conversions

By Rob Morgan

Not all “Dad’s Army” platoons waiting for the Huns will have had a Corporal Jones with a butcher’s van, but of course you can use the Merit Lineside “Thorneycroft” motor delivery van kit for that. It barely needs touching, bar a lick of paint and a military driver. Detail as you wish, this is intended as a kit for model railway scenarios, of course, and so more expensive than most plastic kits.

But maybe the platoon had a milkman?

I invested in a £4.50 Merit Lineside horse-drawn delivery van kit, rather more English Home Counties, 1930s style! It has a single strong horse pulling in the traces, and is nicely sized at 25mm, though for those of you with the 28mm “bug,” it will fit that scale too.

“Neddy” pulls an easily assembled box body, which sits on four 10mm rubber tyres, and is 30mm long, 20mm wide and 25mm high, with a squared-off roof. Halfway along on each side, I added a 10mm square window from plasticard covered with “cloth” for blackout purposes. The original van doors will do nicely for access for Captain Mainwaring or whoever’s in charge, and I added a rolled length of “canvas” and laid it on the rear edge of the roof for a lean-to. The driver’s cab is remarkably roomy, and will take two sitting figures with ease, along with a few ammo boxes, and odds and ends of platoon kit, rifles, etc.

That’s it. Add detail as you wish, spray khaki overall and with whatever markings you fancy. I assumed that rather than possess a precious RT set, the Home Guard would tap into local telephone lines, and so I gave them a short ladder, 25mm long, hanging on one side. It could have been laid on the roof, of course. I also added a small staple as a step down from the rear door, and that’s optional too. You could even open up a roof hatch and have a Lewis gun aimed at any passing Stuka.

Or the milk van could be parked, in which case lose the horse, lay the traces on the floor, and surround the van with a few bits of kit, maybe even a camouflage net. In “command post” mode, it looks fine in the pub car park or under the village oak tree.

There you are. Simple.

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