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SDJR Road Van


Mikkel

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Last year we had a discussion about SDJR Road Vans here on RMweb, which revealed that – contrary to what one might think – these vehicles travelled well beyond the SDJR on a regular basis, including foreign destinations right up to London. For details, please see Buckjumper’s notes in the thread.

 

I thought I might justify one of these vans making an occasional appearance at Farthing, perhaps carrying small consignments of cheddar, cider and other Somerset delicacies to satisfy the palets of Wiltshire’s gentry.

 

 

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The SDJR had at least two designs of road van, one of which was based on the Midland Railway diagram D363 vans. Slater’s do a kit for the latter MR van, so I thought this would be a good basis for a kit bash. As it transpired, the project came to involve a lot more scratch building than kit building!

 

 

 

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I began with the chassis. As can be seen here, the kit comes with oil axleboxes but my photos of the SDJR vans show Ellis grease axle boxes. So I removed the axleboxes and W irons, and also filed off some of the solebar fittings, to be replaced later.

 

 

 

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I bought in some MJT compensation units and and Ellis grease axleboxes from Dart castings.

 

 

 

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To make space for the MJT units, parts of the underframe from the kit was cut away, using what I call the “salami method”.

 

 

 

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Plastikard packing under the MJT units to get the right ride height.

 

 

 

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Then came the time-consuming part. As can be seen above, the Slaters kit has a sliding door type which is wrong for the SDJR vans. To make matters worse, the door is off-set to one side, meaning the Vs of the framing aren’t actually symmetrical. So I decided to scratch build new sides.

 

 

 

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For the new sides I used plain Evergreen 0.5 styrene, and did the planking with my new scribing tool. This makes a neat V-groove, whereas other methods – eg the back of a scalpel blade – tends to make an unsightly ridge along the groove.

 

 

 

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The framing was a bit tricky. The joins with the van ends are mitred, and the bottom framing is sloping in order to let rainwater run off. It helped to fit the ends to the chassis, so that I could offer up the sides to the van and check that everything fitted as I went along. I trust my fettling more than my measuring!

 

 

 

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The framing all done.

 

 

 

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For the strapping I used a general etch from Mainly Trains. Having done a full side, I realized that the strapping should have rounded ends. I decided to leave it, but next time I’ll use plastic strip instead as this can be fashioned as required. Door hinges and locking mechanism were made from plastic rod, wire and chain.

 

 

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Bolt heads were added using rivet transfers. The lower framing “dips” where each bolt is mounted. This was replicated with plastic putty filed to shape.

 

 

 

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Sides checked against drawing. The perspective makes the side look a little too long here, but it fits in reality (honest, guv!).

 

 

 

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My glorious reward for scratchbuilding the sides was that the ends now looked a bit coarse by comparison! I decided to leave them as they were, except for a bit of modification to the strapping (lower left is as it comes, lower right is modified as per the prototype photo).

 

 

 

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Ready for primer with brakes and various other fittings now added. The headstocks were extended a little to be flush with the lower framing, as per the photo in Southern Goods Wagons. The roof seemed a little short to me – even for the original kit – so I extended it by 0.5 mm at each end.

 

 

 

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The paint job did not go well. Unfamiliar with the livery, I first sprayed on a light grey, then tried a darker one, then the light one again, etc. As a result, the grooves in the sides started filling in and revealed that I hadn’t cut them all to equal depth. Lesson learnt, the hard way! I couldn’t find any available SDJR lettering, so used individual letters from various HMRS sheets (the SR pre-grouping sheet is particularly useful). Number plates are a print from the original photo, with the perspective changed in Paintshop. The split spoke wagon wheels are temporary till I get some new plain ones.

 

 

 

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Thankfully, the slightly heavy paintjob is not really noticeable in a layout context. One thing puzzles me though: Most SDJR wagons seem to have had distinctive black ironwork, but the 1896 photo I was working from shows no. 1038 in all-over grey, with only the number/works plates picked out in black. It’s an official photo taken at Derby works, so perhaps not to be trusted? For the time being I’ve left the strapping in plain grey but if anyone has further info I’d be interested.

 

Thanks to all involved for helping out with the info used in this build, very much appreciated!

  • Like 22
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2

35 Comments


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...... I sometimes find that having a kit as an outset helps to give the confidence and impetus to get a project going.

I agree with that.  I'm sure that my own attempts at scratch-building have been based on what I've learned from building kits.  There's an extra buzz from having something unique at the end of the process.

 

Mike

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Hi Mikkel,

Happy new year to you!

Impressive work as always, but as I know you like a bit of observation I'll say this...

What Bill Bedford refers to is known as "stop chamfering" and it's one of those classic "little" details that omitted can make all the difference, and as you went to pains to reproduce it on the underside of the van body's bottom rail, I wish you had "seen" it elsewhere as in my view it produces a distinctive architectural character and level of refinement to the van frame.  It produces the effect of shadow and detail as well as giving the illusion of more slender components. 

Whether it was also considered by the makers as an equally practical exercise to reduce the risk of splintering, I'm guessing a bit of both.

On a micro detail note, looking at the reference photo, I would say that the bottom rail had a sloped top as well as being stop chamfered, as an attempt to discourage capillary action of standing water.

Now having said all that, would you end up with a massacred pile of styrene shavings it you had tried the whole frame?!

You have the bridge commander!

All best, and getting coat,

 

Matt

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  • RMweb Gold

I agree with that.  I'm sure that my own attempts at scratch-building have been based on what I've learned from building kits.  There's an extra buzz from having something unique at the end of the process.

 

Mike

 

Yes. although I have to say that building a couple of seemingly simple van sides like this has made me appreciate what we actually get in a kit. Lots of little things we don't really think about before we have to build it ourselves (as we've discussed before).

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Mikkel,

Happy new year to you!

Impressive work as always, but as I know you like a bit of observation I'll say this...

What Bill Bedford refers to is known as "stop chamfering" and it's one of those classic "little" details that omitted can make all the difference, and as you went to pains to reproduce it on the underside of the van body's bottom rail, I wish you had "seen" it elsewhere as in my view it produces a distinctive architectural character and level of refinement to the van frame.  It produces the effect of shadow and detail as well as giving the illusion of more slender components. 

Whether it was also considered by the makers as an equally practical exercise to reduce the risk of splintering, I'm guessing a bit of both.

On a micro detail note, looking at the reference photo, I would say that the bottom rail had a sloped top as well as being stop chamfered, as an attempt to discourage capillary action of standing water.

Now having said all that, would you end up with a massacred pile of styrene shavings it you had tried the whole frame?!

You have the bridge commander!

All best, and getting coat,

 

Matt

 

Happy new year to you also Matt, and thanks very much for these useful comments. It's one of the pleasures of this hobby that you begin to appreciate the details and functions of things.

 

I had never really noticed "stop chamfering" before, but now that I had to replicate it, it suddenly seems very distinctive as you say. Having just Googled it, I now also realize and recognize it as a common enough feature in wooden construction - in fact one of our beds has it. We live and learn! 

 

I did actually try to make a sloped top to the bottom rail/framing, although it's not as apparent as I had hoped. This has been one of those projects that is more about the learning than the result!

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Thanks Maurice. It would be great to see one in S, I'm sure it would be quite something with your skills.

 

Incidentally, the other, smaller type of SDJR road vans (with the X bracing) were also rather nice and would make an interesting model too I think.

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Catching up, catching up...

 

A range of emotions about this one Mikkel, from delight to disappointment!

 

Delight in the lovely model you've created - all those little niggles about chamfers and paint end up lost in the overall scene, and that last shot with the van waiting for attention is perfect.

 

Disappointment? I thought converting one of my 7mm Midland kits was just going to be a case of building new doors. You know, one of those single evening jobs after the kids were safely shovelled into bed. Discovering that the Midland van sides aren't symmetrical (how did I ever miss that one?) has put the kibosh on that and has demoted the job into the less important pile for now. Bah!

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Thanks Adrian, couldn't have done it without the top class information from you and your very knowledgeable contacts!

 

Yes the off-set doors does make it a much more time-consuming project than I had thought, too. I suppose it's debatable whether it's worth it, as this van design isn't in itself uniquely interesting. But I like the story behind them, ie the info that you dug up on how widely they travelled.

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  • RMweb Gold

Mikkel,Can I revisit this to ask if you'd measure the distance between the MJT W irons please.I want to try them on a Parkside kit but need to know the clearance.

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  • RMweb Gold

Mikkel,Can I revisit this to ask if you'd measure the distance between the MJT W irons please.I want to try them on a Parkside kit but need to know the clearance.

 

Hi Rob, here are some dimensions and pics from another conversation on this - hope they are of use. I really should get myself a caliper!

 

I've measured some fitted ones and they are 24 mm. Over the bridles they are approx. 25mm. I also measured a scrap one, and that was closer to 23,5 at top and bottom inside the bridles. I assume it has to do with how "sharp" I got the fold.

 

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