My previous post in this series about modelling early GWR coaches ended with the comment: " All that remains is to try and establish some dimensions and start cutting."
Since there are several good side-on photographs of these early coaches, it is only necessary to establish one firm measurement and then scale all the other dimensions to this known 'yardstick'.
Rather perversely, I have decided to model a different coach from those I illustrated in the previous post I was looking at a photograph of New Milford, dating from about 1873, which appears in 'Great Western Way' and noticed a line of coaches emerging from the train shed. I scanned a small section of this photo to show these coaches in more detail.*
The coach (arrowed), immediately next to the brake van, appears to be very similar to a composite coach that also appears in a good side-on photo in 'Great Western Way', so I have now decided to model this coach.
I chose to take the diameter of the wheels as my reference measurement and my method was to super-impose a dimensioned drawing of a coach with similar wheels and then to adjust the relative sizes, until the two drawings matched up.
All this was achieved by pasting the known drawing as a 'layer' in 'Photoshop Elements', over the photo of my chosen coach.
Once the layers were aligned, I adjusted the overall size of the image, so that 100 pixels represented one foot in the real coach. I then printed the image at a scale of 250 pixels/cm, which resulted in a 4mm scale image of the coach.
Now that I had a scale colour image, I could import this into my 'Silhouette Studio' software and add the cutting lines around the windows. (In my case, because I prefer to create an 'industry-standard' drawing, I actually drew the lines with 'Autosketch' and imported the result into 'Studio' as a .DXF file.)
However one chooses to do the drawing, the 'Studio' software is used to add registration marks and the colour image is then printed on good-quality photo paper. I also created an inner layer, with smaller cut-outs for the drop lights in the compartment doors. The printed sheet was then cut out, by means of the 'Silhouette' cutter. Lastly, I cut a second copy of the inner layer in 20 thou plasticard, to provide a support for the two printed layers.
As is well known, the 'Silhouette' cutter cannot make clean cuts through 20 thou plasticard, so it was necessary to 'punch out' the individual windows. To do this, I placed one long edge of each window over the edge of my cutting mat and pressed down firmly with one of my wax-carving chisels. This produced a hinged 'chad' that I could then bend, to break it free from the rest of the side.
The final step was to spread a thin film of bookbinders adhesive on the innermost layer and add the next layer, carefully adjusting its position for exact registration of the windows. Then repeat for the top layer, which comprises the coloured coach side. I decided not to cut another layer for the very fine panel edge mouldings but may try adding these with plasticard microstrip, later.
The end result of this stage is a pair of complete coach sides, with recessed drop-lights in the doors. Next step will be to complete the box body, with a pair of plasticard ends, and then I shall build the 4-wheel chassis.
* The 1873 photo of New Milford (also in Wikipedia) was presumably taken shortly after gauge conversion. There are many other interesting items of rolling stock, including several different types of cattle wagon, in the foreground.