Crafting the Arch Laser TT 120 Scale SR ex SE&CR CCT Type Covered Utility Van

Crafting the Arch Laser TT 120 Scale SR ex SE&CR CCT Type Covered Utility Van

Crafting the Arch Laser TT 120 Scale SR ex SE&CR CCT Type Covered Utility Van

Are you ready to embark on a model railroading adventure? Delve into the intricate world of the Arch Laser TT 120 Scale SR ex SE&CR CCT type covered Utility Van kit. This craftsman kit presents an opportunity to showcase your assembly skills, as it features laser-cut and engraved components that ensure a precise fit when combined with careful adherence to the instructions.

Your Kit Essentials:

Gather your toolkit for this creative journey:

A sharp craft knife
Sanding stick (emery board)
Soft Grip clothes pegs (for clamping)
A small paintbrush
Glue: cyno and PVA glues are a must


Prototype Information:

Dive into history as you recreate the basic Maunsell SEC&R design, which became the Southern Railway's standard Utility van post-grouping. This versatile van, produced in batches into the BR era, Examples lasted into the 1980's in revenue traffic after which many ended up used in departmental services. They were general multi cargo vehicles and were used to carry parcels, mail, passenger luggage and some variants, (other than this body style), even motor vehicles. They were employed on both branch and mainline passenger services throughout the system.  


Getting Started:

The first job is to paint the body and vent hoods. In this case I used a light dusting of Humbrol acrylic #30 you may prefer it in olive or BR (SR) green

To construct the model use a good quality PVA applied from a small ammount dispensed into a milk bottle lid, or similar with a old small paint brush. Clean the brush frequently with water and only dispence a small drop of PVA at a time.

Start building the body carcase. Note this is handed and align everything to the ‘B’ end as marked on the floor piece. All the partition pieces should be facing the ‘B’ end (line up the * symbols facing the ‘B’ end). TIP sand off any ‘pips’ with an emery board. Glue in all the partitions, (push fully home into the floor piece). Next glue on the 4 central roof supports and leave the outer 2 roof spars for now to facilitate adding the glazing with ease. Note they are all marked ‘B End’ to ensure they are all facing the correct direction. Wipe off any eccess glue. Wipe the brush over all the joints. When fully set sand off any protrusions that are projecting below the base of the floor. 


Attach the 2 ends and one side hard up against the projecting roof supports and clamp up to set. I use as quick clamps the gardening clips as sold in the likes of Poundstretcher, (or use the equally as good soft grip clothes pegs).

Now the glazing can be added by glue application then sliding into place and pressing home, Each piece of glazing fits it’s relevant ‘compartment’. Make sure the engraved bars are to the inside of the body and the area of glazing with the least engraving is at the floor of the body. When this stage is complete add the final 2 roof spars and when set sand off any high spots that would show and distort the roof. This sanding is most important along the joints between the sides and the compartment roof overhangs. Turning to the roof now, score the underside 1mm in from each long edge and bend up. Follow this by rolling the roof to shape over a former. Dry fit until fully satisfied with the fit. Glue in place by spreading glue all over the spars and on the top edges of the body. Add the roof with equal overhangs in each direction. Hold firmly in place for about a minute for the PVA to ‘grab’. The next stage is to add the card ventbonnets. Place a small bead of glue along the top curved edge and glue to the body. When this has set prize up the bottom edge of the vent to form the required angle. Add the 4 torpedo roof vents in the holes provided. Put this sub-assembly aside for now.



Turn now to the chassis build. Lay the parts out as in the photo below to familarise yourself and then using the exploded diagram for reference get started.

Note some parts are very delicate prior to being incorporated into the finished chassis so take care. Start with the MDF chassis block laid on a flat surface and fabricate the 3 part vacuum cylinder and glue over the circle etched into the chassis. Then insert the brake gear. Make sure they are fully ‘home’ in their slots followed by the ‘V’ hangers. Next add the solebars. Align by eye and make sure they are parralel with each other. Clamp up once both sideframes are attached and leave to cure.

Now pop in the wheelsets and check for running. Adjust the sideframes if necessary. When satisfied take them out again for now. Continue the construction by adding the 4 axleboxes in position (by eye). Avoid cloging the axle hole with surplus glue as this will have to be removed again for free running, Next add the footstep frames (4) at the locations etched into the solebars, followed by the steps, (with the wording facing downwards and out of sight). Add the vacuum and steam heating pipes. Note the steam heating pipes will have to be omitted if they impinge on the copuplings. 

Now spray the entire chassis assembly a dull black. The easiest way to do this is to use a Humbrol acrylic matt black rattle can and give it a light covering followed when still wet with a misting, (also from a Humbrol spray can), of #67 Tank Grey. This process takes the stark and unnatural jet black and turns it into a more realistic colour, (see below).

Test fit the body to the chassis. This will also highlight areas still to be painted including the exposed edges of the laser cut ply. Do the painting adjustments before combining the body and the chassis e,g. the backs of thebuffer beams in the illustration below.


Now fabricate the Peco NEM sockets. Note these sockets will also accommodate the Dapol N Scale Easi-shunt couplings if prefered to the TT NEM365 coupling. Glue these pockets into the apertures in the chassis base. Use a spot of Cyno for this. Now pop in the NEM365 couplers provided. Next, while you have the cyno handy, glue the brass buffers into the holes lasered into the buffer beams. These will have to be hand painted matt black now. Pop the wheels back in and again test for running. Clean out the axle holes if need be. Basically the wagon is now complete but you may wish to hand paint the roof and weather the wagon to your taste.