LITTLE BUS COMPANY
Dennis Lance -K3 (Dennis O6) Version
This model represents the 40 Dennis Lance 3s (K3 version with Dennis O6 7.6 litre engine) with East Lancashire Coachbuilders L25/26R body, which entered service with the Aldershot & District Traction Co. Ltd in 1949 and 1950. Their styling was generally similar to earlier bodies built from 1944 by East Lancashire for Aldershot & District to replace the Strachans bodies on pre-war Dennis Lance 2s. Most of the K3s remained in service until 1962, when they were replaced by new Dennis Lolines.
The model is based on a drawing by Gerry Bixley, who also provided photographs of the preserved 145 (GOU 845).
Acknowledgment is also due to Tim Stubbs, part owner of preserved 145.
The following fleet list is derived from details published on Peter Gould's Transport Histories website:
The Dennis Lance
Dennis Brothers Ltd. originated in 1895, when John Dennis set up the Great Universal Stores in Guildford to manufacture and sell bicycles. In company with his brother Raymond, John Dennis established Dennis Brothers Ltd. in 1901, and expansion progressed to the manufacture of motor cars and later commercial vehicles and buses.
Dennis Brothers' first purpose designed double deck chassis was the H type, introduced in 1927, with further developments including the HS and HV type. Aldershot & District purchased about 40 H and HV type double deckers between 1928 and 1932.
The H type was succeeded in 1930 by the Lance, suitable for lengths up to 26 foot, which was developed almost immediately into the Lance 2. The Lance achieved moderate sales during the 1930s. A significant early purchase was that of 25 Lances by London General for its Potters Bar based Overground subsidiary, which, together with a further eight buses taken over from independents, formed London Transport's DL Class.
In 1936 Aldershot & District purchased two diesel engined Lance 2 prototypes for evaluation. These were followed in 1937 by a production run of 41 buses with Dennis O4 engine and Strachan L22/26R body, followed by a further six with Gardner 5LW engines in 1940. 22 of the 1937 batch were rebodied by East Lancs between 1944 and 1948 and lasted in service until 1958. The remainder were withdrawn by 1951. The 1940 batch were all withdrawn by 1953.
Production of the Lance resumed after the Second World War as the Lance 3 with a lower bonnet and restyled radiator grille. Only one hundred were built, with three chassis types:
19 with Gardner 6LW engines for Lancashire United in 1947/1949
Dennis then withdrew from the double deck market until 1958, when it introduced the Loline, its own version of the Bristol Lodekka, built under licence. Aldershot & District purchased 34 rear platform Loline 1s in 1958 (East Lancs), followed by 107 forward entrance Loline IIIs between 1961 and 1965 (Alexander and Weymann).
Aldershot & District Traction Co. Ltd.
"Tracco", as it was affectionately known, had its origins in the Aldershot & Farnborough Motor Omnibus Co, founded in 1906. In 1912 the British Automobile Traction Company (BAT) invested in the company and a new Company was formed, "The Aldershot & District Traction Company", which expanded to cover much of North Hampshire and South West Surrey, with major operating centres at Aldershot, Guildford and Woking.
The Tilling Group and the Southern Railway subsequently obtained shareholdings and in the split up of Tilling/BAT interests in 1942, Aldershot & District became a BET Group Company.
Typical fleet size was 347 (buses and coaches combined) in 1952.
The "Tracco" ceased to exist in 1972 following the purchase of the BET Group Companies by the National Bus Company, when Aldershot & District was merged with former Tilling Group company Thames Valley to form the "Thames Valley & Aldershot Omnibus Co", trading as "Alder Valley". There never was or is a River Alder or at least not in that area! The Guildford and Aldershot area operations are today part of Stagecoach South.
Throughout its existence, its preferred chassis provider was Dennis and, as can be seen from the preceding section, this company accounted for almost the entire double-deck requirement. All Tracco's double deckers were to lowbridge or lowheight configuration. The only exception to the Dennis chassis was during the war years, when the Company had to take what was available, in the form of 2 "unfrozen" Leyland TD7s and 26 utility bodied Guy Arabs.
I always recommend that modellers refer to photographs to check details of their chosen bus. However there were no significant changes, apart from the livery, to the K3s during their service with Aldershot and District.
When doing the glazing, note that the front windows on the upper deck have half-drop panes, which could be represented by a transfer line or by a separate piece of glazing material with silver edges. The windscreen is divided with a top opening part 5.5 mm deep with radiused inside corners.
For added realism the guardrails at the foot of the skirts can be opened out (on the master these were built up on a backing of 10 thou styrene). First drill through the corners adjacent to the mounting brackets with a small drill and then carve away the backing, using a very sharp knife. The handrails on the rear platform could be treated similarly, or could be cut off and replaced by wire.
Livery for the K3s was overall light green. Precision Paints do an Aldershot & District green or alternatively Humbrol 131 could be used.
The centre panels of the roof, between the first and last panel cover strips, are painted aluminium.
There are three cream bands round the bus, edged in black. The top cream band is 1.5 mm deep and runs right round the upper deck below the windows, with the top black edging aligned with the beading. The deeper middle band runs right round the bus at "between decks" level. On the model the top black edging follows the thin beading at the foot of the upper deck casting and the bottom black edging follows the beading above the rain shields. The black edging continues round the foot of the front and rear canopies.. The bottom 1.5 mm deep cream band runs below the lower deck windows and continues round the front dash to the radiator, across the nearside front bulkhead to the bonnet and across the nearside rear bulkhead to the saloon opening.
Mudguards. lamp bodies, wheel centres, guard rails and the edge of the rear platform are black, but the covers over the chassis dumb irons and the little apron, which supports the front number plate, are light green.
The staircase and inside walls of the stairwell, up to upper deck window level, are light green.
A number of details need to be picked out in aluminium - the radiator grille, kick panel and step below the door, fuel filler recess and drip panel below and kick panels on the stairs. The frames to the opening windows should also be picked out in aluminium, but note that the horizontal bar on the driver's cab signalling window is green. Silver should be used for the lamp rims, the front wheel rings, the handrails on the back platform and the driver's door handle, to represent chrome.
Interior finish is gloss white for the ceilings, polished wood for the window cappings, light grey rexine for the lining panels and light brown lino for the floor. Seats are upholstered in brown patterned moquette with grey leather trim. The rear of the seat backs are covered in dark grey rexine. The top edging of the seatback and the top corner grab handles should be picked out in silver. A matt finish is recommended for the rexine, moquette, leather and lino surfaces.
The Aldershot & District gold scroll fleet name - about 24 mm long - is displayed centrally on the lower deck side panels. A transfer is available from Fox Transfers for this. The fleet number is in small gold seriffed figures on the front dash above the headlight.
The livery was slightly altered from 1954, when the bonnet and the lower
deck panels below the waistband were painted a darker green. In this livery
application the near side of the front bulkhead was painted dark green up to
window level, with no cream band. Precision Paints do this dark green, but
Humbrol 3 would also be suitable.
Fox Transfers do a sheet of service blind transfers for Aldershot and District.
The service blinds consist of a destination blind 10 mm x 1.5 mm with an intermediate and service number blind 10mm x 4.5 mm almost immediately below it, separated by a very thin (0.5 mm) green panel. The destination blinds overlap the upper cream band by about half their depth, so should be applied after the cream bands have been done. The intermediate blind displays a large (2.5 mm) service number on the left and up to five lines of intermediate points in very small print on the right. Note that the blind apertures have square corners.
The blinds should be applied:
- centrally on the front upper deck panel
On the subject of blinds, a suitable display would be for the Farnborough Air Show, displaying the somewhat archaic FLYING DISPLAY as the destination blind and SPECIAL as the intermediate blind. The show required the use of up to 50 double deckers to provide transport between Aldershot Railway Station and the airfield.
Principal references for this model are:
Dennis Buses in Camera - Robin Hannay - Ian Allan 1980.
Best of luck with your model.
Master for Model © Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW 2061, Australia - September 2013
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