Although I had seen photographs of Gunnells, I had never seen any in rural East Anglian until on one of my visits to Ely in around 2005-6. I saw a rake on it’s way to Whitemoor Yard with ballast spoil. Well, what a diverse rake that was, many liveries and lots of detail differences, some were very clean, others were almost rust coloured. I saw this rake about six times in those years, then they stopped coming.
I took several photographs for reference and also had a good look on the wagon sites. I made the decision to build a prototype top out of plastic card of what appeared to be the most common type. Unusually I was quite happy with the result first time, I then made a mould and cast eight tops.
I had already decided I was going to use the Lima PGA as a donor and eight were purchased. After stripping them down and working out what was to be retained and what could be discarded, I cut the very tops of the hoppers off so that the right height overall was attained. After gluing the resin tops on, I then turned to the variances of the build so that I could do the same. Some differences are subtle, others more obvious.
After the rake was undercoated, I turned to liveries and tried to match liveries to variations and condition. The resin tops had flat insides and I filled this space with spoil ballast.
Another nice rake to have, and although not totally accurate, better than nothing. I found the research on these wagons fascinating and was amazed at the differences, and have to say I think there are even more types that could be options.
Transfers were homemade.