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3 plank Open in GWR red



The whitemetal wagon kits from David Geen have tempted me for many years, so I thought it was time I gave them a go.




I began with this round-ended 3-planker of 1881 vintage, for use in my “out of period” running sessions.





The good stuff! Nothing like a bit of research to start off a new kit. The round ends were not long-lived on the 3-plankers. From 1883 the GWR introduced square ends, and many of the existing round-ended wagons appear to have been cut down to square ends within a short period. Perhaps to allow for extended loads? Or possibly an early EU regulation smile.gif.





The parts are nice and reasonably crisp. Some had flash but it was easily removed.





The kit was built using Araldite. All very old school but I find it less stressful than soldering when it comes to whitemetal. Which says more about my soldering skills than anything else! I added wheels from Alan Gibson, running in Romford pinpoint bearings.





I rarely regret being an OO modeller, but this is one of those occasions when the gauge issue raises it’s ugly head. That's no fault of the kit, though, but of the gauge! No doubt I will soon have forgotten all about it and go back into the usual state of denial wink.gif.





I went for a slightly worn look. We tend to imagine Victorian liveries as completely spotless, but I can't bring myself to believe that it was really like that at all times and in every case. The 3-plankers were originally 9-ton wagons, although those that retained grease axleboxes were downgraded to 8 tons by the 1900s.





The wagon on "The bay". There is still some debate over the exact period of the red wagon livery. 





This was a straightforward and enjoyable build. A square-ended version has also been purchased, for future use on "The depot" within my more normal 1900s timeframe.

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Hi Mikkel -


Lovely work as usual! I've got a couple of DG kits - for the 6-wheeled tankers - which are 'on the go' (or rather 'stopped') at the mo'. Like you I find his mouldings excellent - but I do have issues with the tankers' instructions (not that it will appeal to you as you model a much earlier period)!





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Very nice Mikkel... As Ullypug asked, how did you paint this - did you use a car primer (such as we might - Halfords) and then was this brush or airbrush painted... the end result is wonderful.

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  • RMweb Gold

Agreed - lovely work Mikkel.


It looks very 'at home' on the bay too.


As ever, a joy to read the blog :D

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Mikkel, looks great and continues to be inspirational!


What colour is the 'red' that you've used? I was aware that GW wagons were this colour before they standardised on the grey', but they also reverted to a 'reddish-brown' in 1942 as an austerity measure. This looks just right for my purposed as well.


Keep it coming :D

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  • RMweb Gold

Lovely work Mikkel.I too have a DG kit to build somewhere,a Y3 fruit I think.I would like to learn the 'art' of whitemetal soldering as gluing them seems too easy. ;) That book is one I really need to get though.

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That's very nice, Mikkel :D I've a couple of wagons with the early G.W.R lettering in grey and one, still in primer, that is intended to be red. After reading all the arguments about how long the red lasted I've come to the conclusion that it we should be able to justify some red wagons in the first few years of the 20th century. If not, then there's always Rule No 1. :lol:



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Thanks all, it's nice to be working on some stock again.

Glad to hear that others also have good experiences with the DG kits, white metal hasn't quite left us yet! (although I did consider replacing the brake lever, which is perhaps a little chunky). BTW I agree Rob, glueing does feel a bit like cheating sometimes!

The Atkins, Beard & Tourret book really is good. I especially like the introductory chapters, which give a very down to earth description of the key components of a wagon.

Yes, the wagon was primed with Halford's, and the rest was brush painted with thinned down Vallejo acrylics, of which I am a great fan. There isn't to my knowledge any data on /samples of the GWR wagon red, so it's inevitably an interpretation. I've never really considered that the 1942 austerity red would be similar, that's interesting! For what little it's worth, I used 3 parts 70908 Carmine Red, 2 parts 70829 Amarantha Red, and 1 part 70918 Ivory for the basic colour. Then dry-brushing, light greyish wash and a dusting of baby powder.

For the interior I just used blending, ie brush-painting slightly different nuances onto each other while still wet. That doesn't always seem to work for acrylics as they dry so quickly, but this was done in small patches at the time and worked OK. Base colour was Vallejo 70847 Dark Sand, then various mixes of lighter colours, then darkish wash and weathering powders. Vallejo actually have a colour they call Natural Wood. But it's not!

As for the livery dates, it's a bit frustrating to be looking at all these wagon photos from the turn of the century and not knowing whether they were red or grey! Is there really no way that modern technology can tell the difference between these colours in monochrome?

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  • RMweb Gold

Nice little wagon. I agree with your comment regarding the condition of the paint. Yes the Victorians cleaned the loco and coaches with more care but wagons? Perhaps a hose down or similar but not polishing.

Regarding the round ends it occurs to me that a load of timber which was slightly long and rested on the end would tend to move to the edge and poke out.


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I think you're right Don, that's probably the explanation for the demise of the round ends.


Come to think of it, I wonder why the round ends were adopted in the first place.



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That really does look fab :) The interior is as good as I have ever seen


I've always assumed that the round ends were either something to do with the sheeting of loads, so as not to get puddles of water on the sheets; or simply a hangover from "horse n cart" technology - Im probably miles out on both points though.....

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Which book is that? I don't recognise it. I know there is one book on GWR wagons that I do not have on my shelf I was told by a railway bookseller. He described it as 'difficult to get hold of and quite pricey'.

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  • RMweb Gold

Just google GWR wagons Book Rich. Its the AB&T one I forget how much it was when I bought it but well worth it.


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Mickey, interesting theory about the rounds being for sheeting purposes, that would make sense.


Rich, the Atkins, Beard & Tourret book seems to be hard to get at the moment. I just googled some of the usual sources and it was sold out all over. You could try Nigel Bird - he doesn't have it in his catalogue at the moment, but perhaps he can look out for it for you (no connections etc): http://www.nigelbirdbooks.co.uk/html/catalogue.html


Or you could see if the older versions are available cheaply - it was in two volumes at one point I believe, although I cannot say whether the earlier versions were as good as the latest one.

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Nice model - it's on my list to try to build one or two in 2mm scale sometime soon, but with square ends as I'm aiming for about 1905-1910.

Colours: I am using Phoenix Precision Paints for my models, and currently experimenting with various mixtures of Red Oxide, Signal Red and Buffer Beam Red for my interpretations of GWR red - needs a bit of fading still. Fortunately the various descriptions of it as “dark”, “light” and “warm” leave plenty of scope for variation!

The Precision Paints "Untreated Wood" seems far too dark for me - approximately GWR grey - so I am trying various shades of light brown. "Dark Sand" sounds more like what I would have expected, so I will see if I can find something similar.

Ends: I think I have seen it suggested that the rounded ends were to help with sheeting, as Mickey assumes, but I can't find the reference now.

Book: I assume it is "A History of GWR Goods Wagons" by AG Atkins, W Beard, DJ Hyde and R Tourett. I think there are different versions - I have Volume 2 (drawings and photos) of the David & Charles version, which was about £10 recently. I think Volume 1 (general description and lot numbers) generally goes for about £20 - I don't have a copy of it yet. I don't recognise the page, so I assume it comes from Volume 1 (or the combined edition), but similar photos can also be found in "Great Western Wagons Appendix" by Jim Russell.



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Mikkel -<BR><BR>Interesting comment about 'modern technology' being able to discern the difference between 'red' & 'grey'. Unfortunately our forefathers may have anticipated that... I think I read somewhere that new stock was actually painted in'photographic grey' - to overcome exactly that problem? I'm guessing that it was a kind of undercoat? I'll look up a reference when I get home.<BR><BR>Regs<BR><BR>Ian

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David, would love to see the GWR red on a 2mm wagon. Yes it's very convenient that the sources speak variously of dark and light shades :) . BTW, the version of the Tourret book I have is the combined volume.


Ian; I've always assumed that it was just a single wagon (if any at all) from each new design that was photographed in works grey for later reference (ie like the locos) ?


Perhaps, if there is even the slightest difference in the shade of a red and a grey wagon in a black and white photo (not visible to the human eye), it would be possible to generate some kind of result by scanning a few hundred wagon photos from the 1870s - 1910s, and then have a programme analyse and sort them by date, thereby giving a clearer picture? Or is that science fiction?

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I hope to have some pictures of 2mm GWR red wagons sometime soon - at present my pictures are rather too blurred for public display (though that has its advantages, in disguising their faults...).


I suspect that any attempt to distinguish between red and grey wagons by analysing old photos is going to struggle if the variation in shades of red is as wide as we are led to believe from the "light/dark/warm" descriptions, and presumably there would also be variation in shades of grey, as it faded with age and/or darkened with pollution.


However, that does suggest a couple of other possibilities that we could try:

1) Start with a monochrome photo of a wagon that we believe would have been red, and recolour that photo into red, to get an approximation of the original colour. Unfortunately my experiments haven't been very convincing so far.

2) Take a colour photo of wagons in our interpretation of GWR red, decolourise it (ie convert to monochrome), then compare with some old photos.



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I have copies of all the books mentioned thus far. My A,B,H&T are separate volumes. I believe they are first re-prints, ie. second edition.

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That is a sublime wagon Mikkel - at first I thought it must be at least O gauge - the detail is phenomenal.

Your idea of dusting in baby talc is an interesting one.


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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Chris. Yes, the David Geen kits are pretty good on detail. I have another couple on the go and after building a number of plastic kits it's quite satisfying to be working with the "mass" of whitemetal again.


The baby talc thing is an Ian Rice trick. It does raise some eyebrows when people see it on the workbench :D

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