Britains Miniature Vehicle Series
No.1879 Gas Cylinder Lorry & Trailer
Issued 1939-1949 Length 135mm 'OO/HO' scale (1:76)
The essential companion to the Barage Balloon was the Gas Lorry and Trailer carrying the hydrogen cannisters. Both models were based on a real Dodge Truck which was built at a factory at Kew, London from 1937 onwards.
When they designed the Gas Lorry, Britains were likely planning further models using the same castings and construction. The heart of their innovation was the chassis which, like the Balloon Truck, fitted into the cab with two parallel rails, but on the Gas Lorry Britains added X-shaped cross braces and incorporated a rear axle holder which were both later used for the Articulated Lorry (LV/603).
The flat-bed of the Gas Lorry was rivetted onto the chassis with a separate casting of fuel tanks inserted between them. In order to lengthen the wheelbase, the rear wheels were attached to the underside of the flat-bed instead of the chassis, and at the back a towhook was added for the trailer. Overall, it made a very innovative model.
The Trailer, which was unique to the Gas Lorry, was the same casting as the Lorry flat-bed including the rear wheels, with an added pair of wheels at the front on a central pivot with a cast towbar.
Both trailer and lorry flat-beds had corner holes into which lugs on the cylinder units fitted to hold them in place. The cylinders were single hollow castings with details of holding straps and valve ends.
The wheels of the whole model were either painted lead on crimped axles or push-fit grey plastic with 'Britains Ltd England' cast around the centres.
The entire model, lorry, trailer and wheels, even the inside of the cab, were all painted in olive-green Army colours with no additional trim. The cylinders were either all-red or silver with red valve-ends.
Boxes for the Gas Lorry were a bit more humble than those of the Barrage Balloon being rough plain card with a paper label across the lid. The labels however included a neat line drawing of the model which Britains used for many years in catalogues and promotions. The labels came in various colours including mid-blue, pale-blue, yellow, cream, and even pink.
Production of the Gas Cylinder Lorry was likely to have been distrupted by WW2 but Britains included it in a catalogue in 1945 and for a model which started life more than 70 years ago, it is still possible to find examples in excellent condition.
No.1879 Gas Cylinder Lorry and Trailer
Olive-Green Lorry, Trailer & wheels
Red or Silver+Red Cylinders
Painted smooth metal or
Painted grey plastic treaded & imbossed wheels