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Brunel's Britzka - part 2




At the end of the previous post I had printed a set of parts, which needed to be assembled into the complete carriage. I must admit that it was a bit of a shock to see how tiny some of the parts can be in reality, when they had looked quite substantial on the computer screen!


2079812036_3D-printedspring.jpg.48b09da269a8d7e99e1f2bf857d3be3b.jpgThe springs were by far the smallest parts but I had chosen to print them separately so that they could lie flat on the printer bed. This orientation ensured that the hollow centres of the elliptic springs would print cleanly. I printed several, for experimental purposes, since they only take a minute each to print.


Initially, I tried fixing them by using super-glue but the contact area was too small and there was no simple way to hold the mating parts in their correct orientations while the glue hardened. I therefore turned to another method that I have used before on several models: using a fine soldering-iron tip set to 200°C. I could comfortably hold the parts by hand since, unlike metal, the resin has low thermal conductivity. A quick slide across the joint with the iron tip and the small parts fused almost instantly, to create a remarkably strong joint.


A better method might be to use one of the 3D printer pens that are now available, Such a pen could also be used to add differently coloured details. Possibly a future purchase!


Fusing Small Parts with 200°C Soldering Iron


I was very impressed by the fidelity with which my rather basic printer had created the complex 3D structures that make up the swivelling fore-carriage, as shown in my previous post.. In my very first post about 3D printing, I wrote “I wasn’t looking for anything particularly sophisticated but wanted to ‘dip a toe’ in the water and explore the possibilities for making various small parts and fittings for the ‘odd-ball’ locomotives and other vehicles that I enjoy creating.” It’s now clear that my choice has met this need very well!


Two small parts that I didn’t show before are the two axles, which are simply tubes through which I could thread a 0.7 mm diameter wire, to form the wheel bearings. I added some flats near the ends of the axle tubes to make them easier to attach below the springs.



3D Printed Axle Tube with Wire Hub Bearing


I attached the front axle assembly to the fore-carriage in a similar way. The fore-carriage itself is pivoted on a metal pin extending down from the hub of the ‘fifth wheel’ on the fixed frame.




Metal Perch Pin for the Swivelling Fore-Carriage


The roof has a simple rectangular plan but I couldn’t decide about curvature. The distant view in Peck’s book: ‘The Great Western at Swindon Works’, assuming it really is this carriage, appears to show a white single arc roof, similar to that on a railway van. The side-on photo, however, on which I based my model shows a black roof, which may have a slight fore and aft curvature. After looking at many more carriage images, I decided to apply a shallow curve across the width, as shown below


This completed the main assembly of the carriage – the wheels turn and the fore-carriage swivels.  I was also pleased that the vehicle sat level on its four wheels.




Brunel’s carriage apparently earned the sobriquet “Flying Hearse”, which presumably refers to its black colour.


I felt that overall black would look rather dull on a model so I decided to paint the wheels red and add a few additional touches of colour to window frames and the box seat. The final appearance of my carriage is as shown below:



My model in black with red wheels


It will need a centre pole to attach the horses, a driver, and carriage lamps, to complete the model.  In 4 mm scale it is rather small and it’s difficult to see all the details once painted black.  I shall have to create a scene where it can stand out!   In the meantime, it's travelling on a carriage truck:




My Model in Transit


I think this view illustrates the great increase in size from road vehicles of the 19th century to a contemporary railway carriage. The accommodation in the Posting Carriage must have seemed extremely spacious to those early patrons!




POST SCRIPT: After placing my Britzka model on a carriage truck, I realised it was rather too wide.  I have now narrowed the body and shortened he rear axle so that the track is the same as the front axle. I think it is now closer to the dimensions of carriages of the period.  Assembly of the small parts was very fiddly and I must improve the design of future models to simplify the assembly task.

Edited by MikeOxon
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  • RMweb Gold

Posted (edited)

Excellent. It looks very good on the carriage truck, maybe just keep it there?


If you're interested, Hardy's do Brunel in 1:76. I've got an unpainted one, waiting for an occasion. The cigar makes all the difference :)



Edited by Mikkel
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Thank you, Mikkel.  Placing it on the carriage truck was a last-minute thought to round off my post but I think you are right - it's a good place for it and saves having to think about attaching horses and so on!


I already have 'Brunel' on order and must think of a scene in which to place him. Now, I have Sir John wanting a carriage to take him to the station.  He fancies one of those new-fangled Broughams that are appearing all over London.



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On 13/02/2022 at 19:57, Northroader said:

You could try gloss black rather than Matt?

Yes, I agree that might be appropriate... edit - I've added a gloss coat and, while it shows up imperfections in surface finish, it also helps the mouldings to stand out:




Edited by MikeOxon
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  • RMweb Gold

I note the interior of the Britzchka in that link. Luxurious!

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