As of Fallout 3 and onward, you’d get the impression that merchants solely travel from point to point by loading up brahmin with barrels, crates, and satchels as much as they can manage. Well, in old Fallout 1, I was struck by how they portrayed caravan wagons as delightfully retro-post-apocalyptic by virtue of consisting of the back end of a retro car (complete with really BIG FINS) chopped off and its trunk laden with gear, then a couple of poles up front and a couple of handles that presumably could either by hauled by a team of determined wastelanders, or else maybe leather straps or whatnot were run through them to hitch up to a yoked brahmin.
We never actually got to see the caravan wagons in action – they were just stationary decorations, even when an encounter happened while doing an escort mission with the caravan – but I liked the look and feel. It’s a pity they didn’t show up even as background/furniture elements in Fallout 3/NV/4.
So, here is my first take on the concept. The first challenge would be to find a toy car somewhere around O-scale (normally listed as “1:43,” but 1:50 or 1:48 should work as well) that can be chopped in half to serve as the trailer.
Toward that end, I made use of some old McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, circa 2006 (Pixar Cars). They’re PLASTIC, so they’re a lot easier to cut than metal O-scale cars. In particular, “Flo” seems perfect for the task, as this car has big, pronounced tail fins. I managed to get a “grab bag” deal on Ebay of a few assorted Pixar Cars toys from this set, and in such an assortment that I didn’t end up with too much that was grossly out of style. (Most of the character-cars in the first movie were classic cars, though going up to the 1960s, whereas the aesthetic of Fallout seems more grounded in the 1950s, roughly speaking.)
The toy was rather low to the ground, which probably isn’t all that befitting of a cargo trailer, so I added some larger wheels from a bag of model bits. They don’t need to (and actually SHOULDN’T) turn, so there’s no worry about making sure they fit on the same axle.
For added fun, I cut out the trunk panel, so that I could display an OPEN trunk, and stuff the interior with a bunch of cargo items (small crates, barrels, jerry cans, etc.). A couple of craft sticks serve as the forward supports. I put a small plastic spacer underneath the rear bumper area, since this model is very back-heavy – especially once I add in the cargo bits – in order to keep it balanced for when I have it “yoked up” with a beast of burden.
I didn’t happen to have any cow minis handy (two-headed or otherwise) that weren’t already burdened with cargo. On a whim, I took a Reaper Miniatures “Brass Bull,” made a rough “mold” of the head (out of Japanese plastic clay), then made a crude copy with epoxy putty, and then attached and blended it in. Tada! Brahmin BULL. Not that it’s necessarily directly related to the regular brahmin, but, hey, maybe these cows come in different varieties in the wasteland. (Mutations, you know?)
I modified the “not-quite-brahmin” mini to have a yoke on its back, fashioned from some bits of plastic sprue, wire, and putty. It’s not actually attached to the cart, so I can treat the cart as “scatter terrain,” OR I can include the bull and give it some stats and have a “protect the caravan” scenario.