In my OP in this Blog, I referred to the need for plenty of horses and the facilities to support them. As part of "Turning Back the Clock", I decided that an essential railway vehicle would be the Horse Box, so I chose to build the Wizard Models/51L etched brass kit of the GWR diagram N6 box.
I felt that the N6 was a suitable design for a beginner in etched-brass construction, as the prototypes, dating from 1890, were of a particularly simple, straight-sided construction, albeit with quite a lot of panelling on the sides and ends. The panelling is, of course, taken care of by the etching process but this model did not need any 'tumble home' to be formed, so everything looked pretty straightforward.
I decided to start with the chassis and puzzled for some time over which was the ‘groom’s end’, when looking at the chassis parts. I eventually realised that the fold-out steps on the solebars are the key to this, though not mentioned in the instructions. Next, I realised how little I knew about brake gear, so had to give myself a crash course on 'safety loops' and the like.
I struggled for some time to understand how to bend the handbrake lever stirrup and realised (too late) that it is necessary to fit this before fitting the pivoted axleguard assembly, as it is then impossible to solder the tab on the inside of the chassis, without removing the axleguard assembly again!
Once the chassis was complete, I built the body as a separate item. this proved straightforward and the detailed overlays fitted easily over the inner body shell.
I had some difficulty in persuading the roof to sit flush to the ends, near the centreline of the body, so I soldered a pair of small right-angle brackets inside the body, to hold the centre of the roof in place – easy to do with the body and chassis assembled separately.
I added the various white metal fittings and found that the spring and axle box assemblies tended to foul the rocking compensation of one axle. A fair bit of filing down was needed to keep everything working! Eventually, however, I had an attractive model to play its part in generating the 'feel' of the of the earlier period I am trying to represent.
That's one more small step on the road back to the 19th century.