Massey-bodied Guy Arab II
From the Little bus Company
- Kit No. UHM1

Review by Alan Purssey

During WW II the Ministry of Supply along with the Ministry of War Transport set strict controls on the building of bus chassis and bodies to make the best use of non-essential materials to a basic utility design.

By the mid forties the end of the war was in sight, and the ministry had an over-supply of Guy’s ordered for manufacture. London Transport was pressured to take more utility buses to meet their shortfall. Among these was the Guy Arab II that featured a projecting radiator to take the 6- cylinder 6LW Gardner engine: despite requests from London Transport for the larger engine, none of the Guys destined for London received them.

London Transport started to receive these Guys in May 1945 in four batches, G174-193, G258-268, G312-318, G358-368. A total of 49 eventually reached London and were confined mainly to east London, the first batch going to Barking. The second and part of the third batch went to Enfield and all the others went to Hornchurch.

The first batch had no side destination display; this was provided on later batches, together with a shallow valence over the entrance. (PHOTO 1)

Due to shortages of red pigment Massey resorted to painting the bulk of the bodies in a chocolate brown (Humbrol Matt no.29) with red oxide roofs and wheels, a colour they were to retain until there first overhaul (PHOTO 2) in 1947-48 when they were to receive red panels with white window surrounds. By the early 50s they were due for another overhaul that was abandoned after only four were completed, as the timber supplied for the frame was particularly poor and to expensive to replace. The majority were relegated to driver training and were early candidates for withdrawal. By February 1952 all had been disposed off.

The interiors were quite lavish for the times. All the visible woodwork was finished in a dark red Mahogany, and the seats were finished in a red leather cloth rather than brown found on most utility buses of the period.

Due to the constraints imposed on the manufacture of bus bodies The details around the cab area were angular in steps rather than curved. These less than neat lines were highlighted when the vehicles were painted with white window surrounds.

Obvious detail was the deep roof meeting in a sharp line at the front corners and the retention of the lobster-backed dome at the rear made these Guys the most easily recognisable from the other utility buses plying the London streets. (PHOTO 3)

This model from the Little Bus Company has been carefully designed to allow production of either the Daimler or Guy. The model represents one of the versions supplied to London Transport and comes in a stout box with two colour illustrations on the box lid, one of the later all over red livery with a cream mid-height band, the other of the more familiar red and white livery. The instructions also contain a brief history of these vehicles. The model is in the now familiar format of a two-piece body shell with a chassis-seating unit. Other parts include a separate staircase in resin, platform pole, a base plate containing the lifeguards, steering wheel, headlights, and a radiator, in white metal, clear glazing, and push on wheels.

Cleaning any flash file down the pips on the underside of the upper body shell ensures a snug fit to the lower deck. On the Guy the side window ach of the door needs to be cranked inward for the best affect. Many of the Masseys had the offside half of the platform window frosted for the decency of female passengers using the stairs. This is achieved by gently rubbing the glazing with fine sandpaper. Due to the delicate nature of the resin care is needed when handling the lower unit; place the chassis unit in for support whilst working with it.

The model is from a Master made by Rod Blackburn, and having built his previous models I expected something special and I was not disappointed.

The attention to detail Rod has lavished on this model is quite evident. The lobster back high domed roof with its sharp pointed front corners must have been quite a challenge. Other fine details include the rain strips over the windows, moulded grab handles, a used ticket box, (PHOTO 4) counter sunk filler cap, drivers step and door handle complete with hinges, all of which make this a superb model that really captures the look of the prototype and is Rod’s best to date.

Both Tony Asquith and Rod Blackburn can be justifiably proud of this model as the beauty of resin means none of these fine details are lost.

It is a must have for London collectors covering a period between the mid 40s and early 50s. At the time of writing (October the 12th 2007
) I see LBC has sold out, so get your order in for the re-run.

My two models depicted are finished with period posters from the Fox range of transfers. The destination screen, registration and fleet number representing G259 registration number GYL398 working from
Enfield garage (E) on route 102 to Chingford are from the MBC. range. (Photos 5 and, at the top of the page, 6)

Alan Purssey