This is an update on progress with building my GWR 6-wheel coaches. I have printed the sides, using the Silhouette cutter, but there is still work to do on the upper sides - why did I have to choose to build clerestory roofs!
I have, however, built the Cleminson chassis from the 'Brassmasters' kit, so will share my experiences with this, so far.
The kits are very well presented with detailed instructions and the 'extra bits' needed to complete them - wheel bearings, nuts and bolts, and brass rod. The etches themselves are very crisp and of an appropriate strength and thickness. I have scratchbuilt a simple Cleminson chassis before, so was able to appreciate how well thought-out this kit is. The way it can be adjusted for wheelbases from 18 feet to 27' 6" is very clever and I think the instructions do well to recommend using a highlighter to mark the options for the model under construction. It would be very easy to look at the wrong row of figures, otherwise!
I suppose it is fair to assume that anyone making these will know a fair bit about what they are doing, but a few points could usefully be explained in the instructions. The two plates at the ends of the chassis have to be registered with marked slots and orientated correctly but it is not explicitly stated to which side of the chassis plate they should be fitted. Once you are into the swing of things, it becomes obvious but it would be good to be sent in the right direction at the outset. Some explanation of the function of the three 'pips' on the strengthening bars would also be useful.
A minor problem is that many of the holes in the etches are fractionally under-size - better that than the other. I found it was necessary to ream them out a little for the (supplied) wheel bearings to fit and, also for the various 0.9mm brass rods to be inserted. I had already folded the parts, when I realised this and it is quite tricky opening out the holes in the very fragile brake shoes. I used a 0.95mm drill in a pin vice but it could still snag sufficiently to bend the brake hangers and mess up my careful alignment with the wheels. The small slot in the centre section also needed easing a little to let this part slide freely.
I strongly recommend that anyone following in my footsteps should check all these clearances and open out wherever necessary before removing parts from the fret - I shall certainly do that next time.
A final minor caution - put some loctite (or similar) on the nuts that hold the end pivots - they fall off in no time, if you don't!
I'm pleased to see that the result does its job perfectly under my coach so, all in all, I think this is an excellent and well thought-out kit.
Next job is to build the clerestories