On Steve Jones’ late lamented Electric Nose blog, he came up with the context of “placeholders” – models you know bear little or no resemblence to the real thing, but stand in for want of a better model. These two beasties are examples.
The china clay slurry tanker on the left is an old Peco wagon repainted in ECC blue with some Fox transfers. It’s not that close to the converted caustic soda TUA it’s supposed to represent, but ironically it’s as accurate as the Peco tank I repainted – that was supposed to have been a representation of those original caustic soda tanks.
On the right is one of the Graham Farish Tullis Russell PAAs which they made in the mid-1990s. The prototype is supposed to be one of the eight wagons used to transport china clay between Cornwall and Scotland for use in the paper industry. Although they’ve got the livery right, the actual model is something of a compromise, being one of their existing aggregate hoppers with a lid.
If you look at a photo of the real thing (from Paul Bartlett’s excellent website), you realise the model looks nothing like it apart from the fact it’s the right shade of blue and has four wheels.
These wagons were signature items for Cornwall in the 1980s, given the rarity of the prototype I can’t see anyone coming up with a better version any time soon, and scratchbuilding replacements would not be an easy job. For the time being, they’re going to have to do.