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Same but different - early 1900s GWR wagons

Posted by Mikkel , 07 January 2018 · 557 views

GWR wagons kit-building red livery

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For the past year or so I’ve been adding to my fleet of early 1900s GWR wagons. The idea is to make each wagon a little different. Here’s a summary of some of the detail differences so far. First up is this gang of Iron Minks.


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The Iron Minks were built from ABS kits, with replacement roofs from MRD. The grease axleboxes on 57605 were scrounged from another kit, and the deep vents on 11258 were made from styrene. The unusual hybrid livery of the latter van is based on my interpretation of a photo in Atkins, Beard & Tourret. See my workbench thread for details.



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Next is a brace of three-plankers, seen here at rest in the still rather bare sidings at Farthing.



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David Geen does whitemetal kits for both the round- and square end 3-plank wagons. The 5 inch "G.W.R" insignia was moved from left to right in 1894, but wagons still carrying left-hand "G.W.R" occasionally appear in photos as late as 1905.



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No. 1897 of the 1854ST class shunts a pride of 4-plankers in the sidings.


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The 4-plankers are Coopercraft kits, with modified floors and running gear. The rarely modelled Thomas brake gear on 71508 was fashioned from handrail knobs and wire, while the DC1 brakes on 781 is from a Bill Bedford etch. The irregular font of the Tare numbes on 64493 are based on a prototype photo, as with most of the wagons.



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All good fun. Having said that, I've had enough of building little red wagons for the time being, so now it's on with the layout.

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They look fantastic. Duncan

A fine rake of wagons Mikkel. All  the slight differences really add to the character and period feel. 

Awesome. Thank you for the updates, fantastic.

Stunning you will have to make some for my new N gauge layout, so on you know you want too :)

Always a pleasure to see your progress and the detailing of your stock, thank you.

Great modelling as ever Mikkel.


Never knew about the Thomas brake...


Looking forwards to the next instalment..





That is some fantastic work there Mikkel! All the best, Castle

Thanks for the kind words all, much appreciated.


No doubt someone will shortly discover that GWR wgons weren't red in this period after all! :-)

Hi Mikkel, very nice blog and nice to see variety of details added to similar wagons, also the photo's are very good, may I ask what camera you have used ?.



Thanks for the kind words all, much appreciated.


No doubt someone will shortly discover that GWR wgons weren't red in this period after all! :-)

Are you happy with them in red ? 

I think the answer may well be yes, just look at the above comments, you won't find anyone doubting you Mikkel.


( Mind you, I'm sure I saw one with pink spots once, or was it spots of gone-off lime ? )

Lovely work as always Mikkel. They really look the part.





No doubt someone will shortly discover that GWR wgons weren't red in this period after all! :-)


Oh I do hope not!


Excellent modelling as always Mikkel, I always enjoy an update from Farthing


Best wishes




Always nice to read another of your updates!  Once again some excellent modelling and attention to detail.


I agree that a mix of wagon types and liveries adds a lot of interest and is usually prototypical.  I look forward to seeing developments on the layout :)

Many thanks gents and ladies for the comments and likes  :)


Yes I'm happy with them in red, it's just that going back to the original sources (see last post) was not entirely convincing and made me feel a litle uneasy! 


The camera is a Nikon Coolpix 7000. It has two advantages, namely manual focus and a reasonably good macro, which are things I value. However it is by now outdated and  frankly not a very reliable camera, which serves me right for not investing more.

Job's Modelling
Jan 09 2018 11:56

Great informative blog entry with nice pictures.

Jan 09 2018 14:51

The red with large GW is growing on me. If you're feeling uneasy, take a b/w photo with an orthochromic filter...

Very nice indeed sir. I'm most impressed with the buffer stop also! Looks a very hefty beast.

Lovely work Mikkel and as ever a pleasure to read.

I really like the photographs too - the blue background is simple and doesn’t detract your eye from the main event :good:

Thanks gentlemen!  :)


The bufferstop is a standard GWR type built from a Lanarkshire Models whitemetal kit. The blue background is photoshopped, but I'm painting the actual background almost the same (a little lighter).


Now off to look up "ortochromic"!

Jan 11 2018 17:37

Fantastic modelling. The little differences really do add up to a great effect in the final photo.

Jan 11 2018 19:55

Beautifully subtle differentiation! :)

Many thanks both! I'm glad others think the differences were worth doing - I've had doubts myself  :)


PS: Just realized that all the three kit ranges seen here may be lost to us soon. ABS seems to be winding down, Coopercraft is a sad story, and I understand that David Geen will be retiring soon. End of an era, perhaps.

Miss Prism
Jan 19 2018 11:48

How long did those round-end 3-plankers last in service?

How long did those round-end 3-plankers last in service?


The 3-plankers were first introduced in 1879, and were built with the round ends until 1883, after which new builds were square ended. According to Atkins et al (GWR Goods Wagons 1998 edition), "many" of the original round ends were subsequently cut down to square ends.


So presumably not many would have survived with round ends beyond 1900, but I have found photos to show that some did:


* There is one to be seen near the tip of the crane in the wonderful photo of Vastern Road yard in GWR Goods Services Vol 2A, pages 18-19.  This has small pre-1904 GWR insigna. The photo is from 1905 or later, as a few wagons have the 1904 large "GW", including an O2 7-planker built 1905.


* In the same volume on page 16 is a photo from Kings Meadow yard, which clearly shows a round-ended wagon that looks like a GWR 3-planker to me (extreme right). The insignia cannot be seen though. Again, the livery on other wagons are a mix of pre- and post 1904.


There are one or two other photos showing possible candidates around the turn of the century, but I am not certain of these. Photos from afar are especially tricky as they may be confused with e.g. LSWR round-ended wagons (though they were 3-arc), which lasted much longer.

Miss Prism
Jan 20 2018 13:42

Thanks, Mikkel. That's helped me decide what I need from David Geen.

How long did those round-end 3-plankers last in service?


Just found another one in my newly acquired GWR Goods Services Vol 2B, page 301: Superb photo of Devonport Goods Depot, no date but the shed was opened in 1903.


* The photo shows three-plank wagon No. 3661, still with round ends.


* Also at least 10 four-plankers (and 2 I'm not sure of). Of these, 4 have cast plates, 6 with small right hand "G.W.R".


* Also 2 iron minks. 



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