Jump to content

* * * * * 1 votes

Low-tech pre-grouping stock

Posted by Mikkel , in Rolling stock 08 November 2009 · 3,164 views

4-wheelers siphons 6-wheelers parcels stock
Posted Image

My ability to build brass kits is limited, but I've decided that I won't let it keep me from modelling the pre-grouping world that I find so fascinating. Instead I try to make the best of whatever skills and means I have available. Here's a few examples of what I like to call "calculated bodging"!

1. Simple kits. Above is a Toplight Composite Slip to diagram F15, built from an ex-PC Wheeltappers kit. These feature pre-printed sides, which gives a quickly finished coach but also means the sides have no relief when viewed close-up. For today's spoiled modeller the latter can be hard to accept, but it gave me confidence to continue with kit building, and a rake of these does look rather good when moving by. Sadly, I hear that Wheeltappers are no longer renewing their stocks. Fortunately there are other simple kits available for the pre-grouping modeller. This includes the Ratio 4-wheelers, and I've written up a brief introduction to these over on the GWR Modelling site.

Posted Image

2. Kit-bashing. The standard features of many GWR coaches allows some possibility for hacking up sides in order to join them in new ways. This W1 Parcels Van was composed of two Ratio brake thirds, following an idea from J. Russell. I've done some notes on the build here. I don't really like pristine white rooves any more, so they are due for a repaint. Edit: For some excellent additional examples, have a look at buffalo's blog.

Posted Image

3. Conversion kits. This is a Siphon C built using the Shirescenes etched brass body kit fitted on a modified Ratio 4-wheeler chassis. The body is brass, but has been treated so that it can be assembled with superglue. You can read how it was built here. The Shirescenes kits offer a number of good conversions of the Ratio 4-wheelers. There are more examples here.

Posted Image

4. RTR bashing. There's something strangely satisfying about sawing up RTR coaches to produce different diagrams. This is a V5 passenger brake van, built from the ends of two old Triang clerestories. Again, there's a write-up of the job on gwr.org.uk. While on the topic of RTR coach bashing, have a look at the current work being done by rovex, which although not pre-grouping shows nicely what can be achieved.

Posted Image

5. Restoration. Bringing old second-hand stock back to former glory is a favourite pastime of mine. This 6-wheel Compo to diagram U21 is a current example. She looks a little sad right now, but there's a warm heart beating in there! The model was originally built by Chris Edge, using what I believe was a very limited production run of kits that he made largely for his own use. My restoration has so far included new step boards (always a weak point) fashioned from strengthened Plastikard, as well as simplified Comet brake shoes, Romford pin-point bearings, Alan Gibson wheels, and gas lamp tops from IKB. I'll also add a new interior, new glazing and give the coach a complete repaint.

At this point you may be wondering what I do for locos. Here again I tend to resort to restoration of secondhand locos. I'll feature these separately later on, but meanwhile there is also the option of converting selected RTR locos to the pre-grouping period. You can find some nice examples here.

Alternatively, if all this bodging is becoming too much for you, rest your eyes on coachmann's blog for the real deal!
  • Like x 1

Not sure about bodging: they look alright to me!
Thanks Neil. By "bodging" I suppose I mean that the standards of this stock is fairly basic (and at times inconsistent) compared to some of the stuff on here!
Before denigrating your work, stop and consider "what the ?
Your coaches look very neatly painted, enhanced by the workaday finish. I agree with the above webber that detail is not so pronounced as people imagine.

Good to see these here, Mikkel :icon_thumbsup2: I have an almost complete V1 that was inspired by seeing yours on gwr.org. I've added brass footboards to replace the too delicate Ratio items and used parts from Mainly Trains etches and an ABS brake cylinder to make a reasonably detailed underframe. The remaining parts of the Ratio sides and a second roof have been cobbled together to make a T20 which has a central guard/luggage compartment and two thirds either side. One day, I'll finish them but I doubt my painting will be as good as yours. Just to prove I prefer building to painting, I've just started on an IKB brass kit of a U28 6-wheel clerestorey luggage composite. For some reason I prefer brakes, parcels and luggage vans to plain passenger coaches, though how I'll make a realistic rake out of them...

Thanks for these comments gentlemen.

The footboards are made from brass L-section (3x1.5mm, 0.38mm thick) cut to length, axle box clearance filed out and suspended on flattened brass wire brackets. I forget where the L-section came from, though Eileen's do it in this size.


The footboards are made from brass L-section (3x1.5mm, 0.38mm thick) cut to length, axle box clearance filed out and suspended on flattened brass wire brackets. I forget where the L-section came from, though Eileen's do it in this size.


Right then, I'm off to Eileen's website! Thanks Posted Image

Welcome to Farthing!

Attached Image: farthing2.jpg


This blog chronicles the building of "The Farthing layouts", a series of small OO layouts that portray different sections of a GWR junction station in Edwardian days.


Intro and concept
How to eat an elephant
Design principles
State of play


Gallery (1900-1904)
Four o'clock blues, ca. 1902
What really happened in the Cuban...
The honourable slipper boy (Part 1)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 2)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 3)


Gallery (1904-08)
The trials of Mr Bull
A most implausible arrival
A parcel for Mr Ahern
Blue skies and horse traffic
The Remains of the Day
Motley crew

Edwardian daydreams


Gallery (1914)
All in a day's work, Part 1
All in a day's work, Part 2
All in a day's work, Part 3
All in a day's work, Part 4


Out of period
Undecided sky (1867)
The sleeping giant (1887)
Bunker first (1927)
Fitted fish and piles (1947)


Once Upon a Time in the West
Summer silliness
The unbearable lightness...
Across the years
The Sidelight Job
Painting coach panels

Traverser testing


Low-tech pre-grouping stock

Short trains for short layouts
Short trains with a twist
Hand-me-down coaches
Low-tech coach restoration (1)
Low-tech coach restoration (2)
Low-tech coach restoration (3)
Low-tech coach restoration (4)
Low-tech coach restoration (5)


Sprat & Winkle couplings
3 plank Open in GWR red
Outside Framed 8 Ton Van

In the red: GWR 1900s wagon liveries
In loving memory...
Scratchbuilt one-planker (1)
Scratchbuilt one-planker (2)
MSWJR 3-plank dropside
LSWR 10 ton sliding door van
SDJR Road Van
LSWR stone wagon
Fake news and wagon sheets
Same but different: 1900s wagons


GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (1)
GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (2)
Shiny domes and safety valve covers
Backdating the Oxford Dean Goods (1)


C+L underlay and Carr's ballast
Experiments with C+L track
Comparing track
Messing about with track panels
Laying track on "The depot"


GWR horse-drawn trolley
GWR 5-ton horse-drawn vehicle
Parcels van and coal trolley


Fun with crates
Barrels, baskets, bales
Small crates and tea chests


Andrew Stadden 4mm figures
Backdated Monty's figures
Footplate crew
HO figures for an OO layout
Lesser known whitemetal figures


Constructing the Branch Bay
First bite: "The bay"
Simple structures for "The bay"
Platform trolleys and barrows
Signs, posters and adverts
Six lessons learnt


Constructing the Goods Depot
Second bite: "The depot"
Shunting Puzzle
Sketches of The depot
Soft body, hard shell
Kit-bashed roof structure
Dry Run
Dusting off the cobwebs
Playing with mirrors
Mezzanine floor
Progress on "The depot"
4mm slate roofing
The treachery of images

A roof for "The depot"

A tall bird from Paddington
Cranes for the depot
Shoulders of giants
Flight of the bumblebee


Constructing the Old Yard
Third bite: "The sidings"
Wagon propulsion
Progress on "The sidings"
Rising from slumber
The Biscuit Shed
A shed and a lock-up
Agricultural merchant's warehouse
Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall
Stops, levers, plates, gauge, wall


Constructing the Stables
GWR Park Royal stable block
GWR stables - an overview


Railway modelling and Art
Moving Pictures
Season's greetings


Layout ideas
A flexible layout
Kicking back in Gloucester


Pre-grouping livery clippings
Journey to Didcot
Detail hunting at Didcot
Here's looking at you
The mists of time (and all that)
My friend the operating chair
Ready-to-plonk freight
GWR Modelling website


RMweb Workbench
Flickr photostream

Recent Comments