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Airfix Mineral Wagons - part 1

Posted by halfwit , in 16T Mineral 09 September 2011 · 1,125 views

Bill Bedford 16T Mineral Airfix EM
Inspired by Fen End Pit I'm building four old Airfix mineral wagons using Bill Bedford sprung w-irons.
The first job has been to replace the floors with a piece of .040" plasticard 29.5 x 63mm, partly because the original floors are undersize and partly to save me the effort of cutting away the moulded ribs. Axle positions and centre lines were scribed on the floor before the body sides were glued in place;

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Then I could use these lines to position the w-irons, helped by a Brassmasters jig;

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The non-door end bufferbeams have been glued in place, after drilling for MJT buffers, and I've started adding weight;

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On its wheels, note that the hinges have been cut away;

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The Bill Bedford units were built up and the bends strengthened with a light fillet of solder, although I'm not sure if soldering is necessary. Kean-Maygib waisted bearings are being used. I've had to bend the w-irons in further to take out a lot of slop - the axles had up to 1mm of sideplay. Down to bearing choice perhaps? I'm using the supplied .012" wire - anyone know what are the recommended weights for .010" and .012" wire sizes?

The next job is cutting/filing the w-irons off the solebars.
  • Like x 2

Captain Kernow
Sep 09 2011 11:58
Looks good - I would recommend the fillet of solder on the BB 'W' irons - it does help.
They look good indeed!

I'm building one of these too and had a hard time with the floor. Couldn't understand why it didn't fit properly, I guess I'm not a total idiot.


Sep 09 2011 19:07
I recommend the solder too, use it on my own underframe kits too. Bill Bedford has had sheets of little washers with the coach kits to account for variation in axles and bearings.

Personally I use Kean Maygib too for consistency and along with their wheels there is a slight bit of slop but i've not had as much as 1mm. Might want to try some Gibsons with those wheels, they usually cause splay so might be right in this case.

50g with 012" i'd say, you'd have to go a bit lighter if you used .010" on BB units.
Thanks for the comments.

I'll try Gibson bearings next time (I've got four Parkside unbuilt minerals waiting in the wings...)

I might have to try some .010" wire, its always difficult getting any amount of weight in open wagons.

Fen End Pit
Sep 13 2011 22:24
That looks good to me. I'm not used be being a cause of inspiration! I'm in the process of building another 5 myself. Watch out for the brakes. I followed the kit first time around and then had it pointed out that they would have gone the wrong way when you put them on! It is pretty easy to cut the lever on one side and make some kind of representation of the morton clutch.

Thanks David.
I'm not sure what I'm doing with the brakes yet but the I probably won't be using the Airfix parts, the brakes themselves are rather chunky (although they can be thinned with some deft scalpel work) and too short, and I've never liked the levers, the shape is good but I find the ratchet a bit unconvincing. Hmmm.


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A blog about making wagons, all sorts of wagons, from the mundane (16T minerals) to the exotic (slag ladles), from kits, mostly to EM, from plastic, brass, whitemetal, resin. All chosen for their interest and not part of some great plan.

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