By John Quilter
John’s photographs of his conversions may be seen at the end of the article.
There was a partworks issue of vehicles in James Bond 007 movies and one of them was a circa 1980 Sherpa van in telephone service truck livery from the movie “The Spy that Loved Me” as seen above. Since these are interesting diecast models in accurate 1:43 scale I have collected a number of them over the past years although they have to be purchased from Europe via EBay since the partworks series is not offered in the USA. The Sherpa range was a product of British Leyland and was made in many versions for many years and in fact there is an Auto Review book on them by Rod Ward. AUTO REVIEW AR61 The Sherpa Story.
There were minibus versions, a pickup plus others. Since the partworks models are reasonably priced I acquired a few extras and converted one into a minibus and one into a pickup. They were distributed by GE Fabbri Limited and these particular ones were made by Universal Hobbies although others are IXO products. One of the things one has to consider with the this series is some come with “movie damage” and the Sherpa was one of these with a dented bonnet and right hand door as the picture of the unmodified van shown in the picture. When I did the conversions I “repaired” this damage bringing the model to as new condition. The minibus conversion required drilling out the side and plenty of filing the holes into the correct shape windows. The glazing was with clear plastic shaped to fit. I was lucky to have a few Sherpa sales brochures to assist me in accuracy. The interior needs to be modified to include some additional seats which I made out of styrene plastic. Most of these 007 vehicles come with figures and if you are not using them in a particular project they make great additions to other models.
The Pickup required cutting off the upper rear body and fabricating a tailgate, bed floor and cab back. So now I have three versions of the Leyland Sherpa small commercial vehicle to add to my British vehicle model collection.
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