[This is my third attempt at posting this - both the previous two having been wiped and returned to an incomplete draft entry by the software correction]
Progress so far is shown below . Put simply - we have a bodyshell.
I'm not sure it's absolutely perfect but as this project boils down to a bodyshell on a Replica MLV chassis with trimmings, it's a decent start.
Bodyshell assembly has been slow . You get four half-sides, two cabs and a roof. The roof has to be cut to length , and then - as I found - you have the fun and games of making sure the cab ends fit square to the roof in both planes, and filing back the roof a millimetre or so in order to match the length of the sides - which at this stage are being dry assembled in a dummy run as a check
It is possible that Charlie has a niche market of Hindu gods residing in West Yorkshire and modelling Modernisation Plan BR multiple units - ideally this assembly process would require 3-4 hands and I come with only two. The instructions recommend that you build down from the roof, and that all the vertical joints between the half sides and the cab are only glued together at a late stage. In other words you have lots of bits of ABS hanging off the gutter and waggling about in the breeze.
The instructions suggest that you assemble the lot on a flat surface. This should be excellent advice: unfortunately I can't quite see how it can be easily combined with building down from the roof using ABS and Plastic Weld. Quite simply by the time you've got the brush to the joint you're frightened there won't be enough solvent left to weld anything, and by the time you can turn it upside down and get it to a flat surface you're irretrievably committed with the joint. There is zero adjustment time.
In short I have a bodyshell that, despite my best efforts at adjustment when welding up the vertical joints, is about 0.5mm out of square diagonally across the corners. Under normal circumstances I'd just shrug my shoulders and reflect that the bogies hang off the floor and flex, it will stay on the track, and nobody will ever notice the very slight twist in the body. However this body is going on a dead square chassis block with a protruding solebar :
I'm hoping that the spacer pieces which I've added inside the bodyshell will push the sides out and straighten the body, and that there will be no visible misalignment against the solebar
A word of warning - the MLV chassis is surprisingly fragile in places . When I tried to pull the coupling out of the NEM pocket the whole coupling assembly came away and one of the mounting rings broke . I've reassembled it and it seems to be holding. Since the maximum load this unit will take is 1 x GUV/NRX + 1 x CCT drawbar pull should be limited and I'm hoping the coupling will be okay
More seriously I found that one bogie was tilted. When I attempted to snap it back into place I found that the mounting bracket above the bogie pivot had broken on one side. The plastic is hard and shiny and I reckoned that superglue was the only option, but it was necessary to force it over with a jewellers screwdriver to get it into place against the break, and it seemed to take an eternity before any bond started to form
eventually, in desperation, I dropped a sliver of microstrip into the joint - and the whole lot bonded firm in about 20 sec.
Presumably this bridged the joint , and meant that there was only a thin layer of cyanoacrylate to bond