First I removed the motor and gearbox from the railcar and wired a connector plug to the headlight lead; this to connect to a corresponding socket on the van.
The basis of the van is an IP Engineering freelance laser cut goods van kit. I only intended to use the body, some of the floor and the headstocks; the running gear was put in the oddments box.
As luck would have it, the internal length of the van is the same as that of the chosen Playmobil power unit, which I had in stock. The power unit was prepared by removing the pick ups, painting the red wheels with black acrylic, and then attaching the headstocks from the IP kit along with my standard Accucraft chopper couplings.
I did not stick to the kit instructions when it came to detailing the van, I used vertical bracing on the sides - made from offcuts of the laser cut material - instead of the diagonal bracing supplied. The diagonal bracing on the doors, and vertical bracing on the van ends was glued plain side out, as I did not want the laser cut bolt heads showing. GRS wagon corner strapping was added; I used some thinner wood strip for the solebars, rather than the material supplied; this was to ensure the large cast dummy axle guards (GRS) were not too close to rail level. The axle guards were glued in place and rivets inserted in the solebars above these to represent fixing bolts. Some bits of paper clip represent door handles.
At this stage the body was sprayed with acrylic matt grey paint applied with a rattle can. The solebars, axle guards and headstocks were then painted matt black. Rub on lettering and numbers is from Letraset.
The corrugated roof was made from a piece of Brandbright roofing material; in order to achieve the correct size, I used the roof material supplied in the kit as a template. The roof was submerged in boiling water for a few minutes, and then strapped to an aerosol can for a few days, to form it to a curved profile. I made some formers from the IP roof material and glued these to the underside of the roof: this not only helps maintain the roof shape, but also provides a rigid structure, like a lid, which can be easily removed and replaced.
Brake shoes from GRS and Accucraft (for the handbrake) were attached to the power unit: V hangers, made from scratch, and a brake handle from IP, were added to the body. The chassis and body were then united by glueing the underside of the van ends to the top of the headstocks. Vacuum pipes were fitted and the whole was given some light weathering by spraying a waft of matt acrylic olive drab over the van.
Once the van was cosmetically complete, it was time to fit the electronics.
I made a control panel for the on/off switch and charge socket, from a bit of scrap MDF; this was fixed in place with wood screws so that it can be removed for maintenance/battery replacement. The lead for the headlight connection was wired to the on/off switch.
The various electronic bits were then wired up as per the diagram supplied with the sound unit. Before fixing them in place, I tested that the set up worked: I switched on, nothing happened; then I noticed the polarity of one of the connections was reversed - oops! - this was soon rectified; still nothing, but replacing the 3A fuse solved the problem - always fit a fuse, it could save your expensive equipment when things go wrong.
I am very pleased with the result, the diesel sound: including start up and shut down is superb, there is a horn too. Speed control is smooth and the top speed with the 9.6v battery pack is a very respectable scale 25mph.