Series: AM WESPE/ STOK Foundation
Item: WES 48130
Material: Injection plastic
Col. Robert Stout: Tell our British cousins to hustle up some Bailey crap….
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: When you refer to Bailey crap I take it you mean that glorious, precision-made, British-built bridge which is the envy of the civilized world?
That exchange in the movie A Bridge Too Far
was my introduction to the legendary Bailey bridge. An ingenious design of modular heavy engineering equipment, in World War Two soldiers said the three best-known names were Eisenhower, Montgomery and Bailey. Indeed, the Bailey bridge is still in use in hundreds of locations around the world.
While not normally associated with railways, Baileys were used for mainline rail traffic in emergencies. Baileys could support two 2-8-0 steam locomotives with 72,000 lbs-per-foot uniform train axle loading per Cooper's standard E-72 train loading.
The system was the brainchild of Sir Donald Coleman Bailey. The English army entered the war with bridges of only 17-ton capacity. Sir Bailey created a modular portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge design of 35-70 tons capacity that could be carried on light trucks and erected manually.
Bailey bridges continue to be extensively used in civil engineering construction projects and to provide temporary crossings for foot and vehicle traffic. There is even a company in Alabama that builds Bailey bridges. The design was even used during Desert Storm, by SFOR in Yugoslavia, and even in Afghanistan.
WESPE/STOK Bailey Bridge
Wespe credits this model to Mr. Joris Stok and family, in memorial of the late Mr. J.M.G.L Stok, who developed this model.
The model is packed in a stout lid-opening box, decorated front and back with a montage of Bailey bridges from around the world. Inside are 83 injection molded parts on four identical olive sprues of bridge structural members, seven identical tan road deck pieces, and a 16-page booklet. Each sprue is protected by a foam sheet. The parts are:
7 x Deck Pieces
12 x Transoms
40 x Panels
8 x End Posts, Male/Female
4 x Base Plates & Bearings
12 x Bracing Frames
The parts are cleanly molded without flash or noticeable seam lines. Many pieces have shallow ejector circles that are visible when the bridge is built. I also found a couple of very faint sink marks but these are not on every piece.
The assembled structure is five panels long with a ramp on each end, for an approximate length of 70 feet.
This seems to be an early Bailey. I measured the width of the chess at 10-foot 10-inches. Another thing to determine is whether the kit is a standard width Bailey, a Wide Bailey or an Extra Wide Bailey. The two wider versions were introduced during the war as main battle tanks and vehicles got wider and wider. The early bridges would not handle a Pershing or Centurion I tank.
The parts are cleanly molded with a faint texture that resembles metal. Except for the end posts Bailey components were welded, lacking rivets and bolts.
The timber decking, called chess, lacks wood grain detail. The ribband (curb) beams do feature nut and bolt detail. However, most of the bolt stems are broken off above the nuts.
One problem is that each base plate & bearing has “STOKVAST” molded onto the face! Unless you intend to hide it with dirt in a diorama, it will take some careful chiseling to remove it.
The 16-page booklet is very impressive, lavishly illustrated with artwork and photographs of the model and prototypes. The text is good although the translations are imprecise in some sentences, and even though I do not see anything to be confusing, take your time reading it. It features three sections, A, B, and C. Section A is nine pages of history and system descriptions, very well illustrated. Section B is three pages of text and photos of the model guides you through the assembly process. Wespe includes building tips and warnings. It even discusses what is needed should you decide to build a triple truss Bailey. Several more pages discuss building of ramps, and longer, more elaborate Baileys. Wespe lists how many kits you need to construct the different categories of Baileys out to their maximum length (9 kits to build a 200-ton TT class 40 Bailey).
Additionally, it advertises that WESPE/STOK offers separate bridge piers and abutments for your model.
No painting information is provided: If you are building an American Bailey, you can need to paint it all US olive Drab, not the green and khaki of the parts in the kit. All US Baileys were OD.
If you are building a Commonwealth Bailey, then you need to paint it all SCC2 Brown as all Commonwealth Baileys were Brown, no matter what theatre or what year. This was to prevent American parts from being mixed with the British parts. Although nominally to the same design, the parts were
Civilian Baileys can be in a host of colors, as you can see for yourself at the various Bailey picture sites.
The last page hosts section C: Further information and thanks
. It directs you to the website of former Bailey Bridge instructor Mr. Patrick Claeys, owner of a Bailey bridge website (please see RELATED LINK: Baileybrug
in the SUMMARY section, below). Additionally it acknowledges the Stok family.
Your reviewer also found a link to a 1986 US Army Bailey Bridge Field Manual. Its 300 pages can be accessed via Click here for additional images for this review
Finally, a detailed photo feature of a Bailey is available here on KitMaker: Bailey Feature
WESPE/STOK has created an impressive model for O scalers and quarterscalers of any genre: railroading, military, and civilian. The parts are cleanly molded and appear to be in-scale. Components are molded in color. The instruction booklet is excellent despite some imprecise translations.
The main drawbacks are many ejector circles and broken bolt stems above the nuts on the curb planks.
Overall, I think this is an interesting and good looking model and I look forward to building it. Recommended!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling
* Thanks to Paul Roberts, Past Editor Boresight, Armor Modeling and Preservation Society