N Scale Freight Pallets Part 1 – Australianizing Micro Engineering (Part No. 80-144)

Australian Standard domestic freight pallets measures 1165 x1165mm and are designed to fit perfectly into the RACE (Railways of Australia Container Express) container of the Australian railways. 1165mm scale down to 7.3mm in 1:160 scale.

Micro Engineering Part No. 80-144 is a `kit’ for 24 `skids’, which are like pallets without the bottom cross boards. They come moulded onto a sprue with six skids on each side of the central sprue. Our task therefore is not only make sure they have correct dimensions but to also add some bottom cross boards.

The ME skids measure out at 7mm wide, close enough to our desired 7.3mm.

ME pallets sprue & ruler

The skids measure up one cross board too many for a 7x7mm pallet.

ME pallets sprue & ruler 2

The boards on the underside of the pallet were made using 0.020×0.030”styrene strip from Evergreen. Rather than cutting off each skid before applying the styrene strip I made use of the sprue holding them together to stick the strip to six skids at once and save a lot of fiddly work. The strips were glued on to the underside of the runners so that they lined up with the first, third, and fifth upper cross boards, as counting from the end furthest from the sprue. See the photo below:

ME pallets applying strip to underside

When the glue has set, and that means waiting an hour or two as you will need a good strong bond, you can start trimming the styrene strips to match the length of the upper cross boards.

ME Pallets trimming underboards

Then you can trim the pallet from the sprue by making the cut on the outside edge of the fifth cross board from the non-sprue end. Wise folks will paint their pallets before doing this cut.

ME pallet boarded, trimmed and painted - comparison

The ME pack of 24 skids cost about A$10.00 plus postage.

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