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88 Seater Railcar in NZ 1:120?

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

A while ago I was approached by a fellow modeller who asked me "can you make a shell for a Vulcan railcar", being a rather ambitious person (at times) I said "yes", since then this has led me down the very narrow road of NZR railcars. In my spare time i have found my self wondering about the 88 seater railcar and contemplating ways i could go about recreating the shape of this railway icon in CAD and then printing it in 1:120, it wasn't until a few days ago after a brief discussion with Lewis Holden from 3foot6 models, that i actually sat down in my CAD software and started researching, i very quickly found myself stumbling through of which i found an awesome technical drawing of the 88 seater, since then i have been a man possessed to make this 1:120 railcar (that's what this post is about).


Given the railcar's length, it was necessary to divide it into multiple parts for printing. Additionally, to ensure accuracy, I opted to print it vertically. This decision, although time-consuming, resulted in a total print time of 17 hours—making it one of my lengthiest prints to date.


The unique weight distribution of this locomotive across its three bogies posed a challenge in terms of motorizing the railcar. To tackle this, I began by using the chassis of an N-scale Like-Like f40 Locomotive. I removed the rear bogie (which would be used for another railcar) and proceeded to attach the motor and front bogie to a piece of plastic, effectively creating the front chassis.

Once the front part of the chassis was securely attached, I moved on to the middle bogie. I repurposed an old Graham Farish passenger car and fashioned a strip of brass with a central hole for the bogie, preventing rotation. I then drilled holes at both ends of the brass strip, which would align with corresponding holes in the chassis—acting as rotation points.

Now onto the front bogie. This is the same setup as the rear bogie except that there is no motor. Its just of matter of drilling holes and screwing the rear chassis onto another plastic pieces (may i just state, that these plastic pieces are of appropriate length to fit inside the shells of the railcars). As you can see in the below photo, those two wires will be routed back to the motor so that this railcar has pick-up on both ends.

At this stage, you have the freedom to customize the railcar according to your preferences, be it for DC or DCC operation, directional lighting, or even interior seating. To fit the shell onto the chassis, some minor cuts were necessary to allow it to slide over the chassis. Although the fit isn't snug but rather slightly loose, this design choice enables compatibility with a wide range of N-scale chassis.

In the following days, I plan to paint the railcar, apply decals and sort out some under frame detail, giving it the finishing touches it deserves. I understand that many of you are eager to learn more about these 3D printed 88-seater railcar shells. While they may not currently be available on the website, feel free to reach out to me via email at, and I'll be happy to provide you with further details, including pricing.

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