I haven't spent much time modelling as I have set myself a number of jobs to do around the house, too many my wife says. I have though had another look at a David Geen kit I have that is rather wobbly on the track. The kit is for the outside framed van and whilst the detail is excellent I found having separate axleguards for each wheel did cause some problems. The problem arises as white metal has no "spring" and one of the wheel sets was very loose in the bearings. Try as I might I could not close up the axleguards. Most kits have the axleboxes on each side as one casting or moulding.
Having another look at the instructions (I never throw these away) it was mentioned that both grease and oil axleboxes were provided and sure enough I found the unused grease ones in my wagon spares drawer. This meant I could sacrifice the oil axleboxes fitted, another bonus was that this was going to be a red wagon so the earlier grease axleboxes would now be correct. There are very few kits that could legitimately be painted GWR wagon red but this is one of them.
I thought the best way to approach this would be to connect the axleboxes for each wheel set with a piece of scrap metal, I used a piece of etching waste turning up each end to locate against the axleguard. By holding the axleguard against a flat surface and using LMP solder I was able to fix them firmly to the etch scrap. I hope the photograph attached shows this. Although I used a wheel set to obtain the correct positioning, I had to take this out as I couldn't get the soldering iron in. However the etch scrap allows the axleguards to be sprung open slightly to pue the wheelset back in.
My intention was to Araldite this assembly to the floor and solebars but another problem. For some reason the axleguard is fairly deep and intrudes beyond the floor. I didn't want to dismantle the whole assembly so hacked a hole in the floor to allow the springs to sit correctly on the solebar. Once I put the Araldite on I set the wagon on a piece of glass to ensure it sat level with all wheels in contact with the glass.
I have to say this was quite simple and allowed me to use a wagon that might have been consigned to the bin. Shame about having to hack the floor though.
The next job was painting. I only use paintstripper as a last resort but after about four coats I realised that GWR wagon grey was going to be difficult to hide. The Wiko paintstripper therefore came out and worked well although the roof also came off. A good clean up and a coat of primer followed by one coat of Humbrol 100 followed by a mix of Humbrol 60 and 100. I used my Iron Mink as a guide to getting the shade right although I may give it another coat. The roof was reattached although I have now noticed that it is slightly off centre, the overhang one side being slightly more than the other. As you can't see both sides at the same time I'm not concerned about this.
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted in the attached photo that the solebars of both wagons and black notwithstanding my earlier thoughts. Trawling through Google I came across a number of illustrated articles by a gentleman in the USA who is clearly interested in railways. One extract included a colour postcard, probably from his collection, of Badminton station soon after opening with a line of wagons at one of the platforms. Most of the wagons are red (which does tend to confirm a late change in the colour as the photo must have been taken in 1905 at the earliest) and all the red wagons are black below the body (i.e. solebar, axleguards etc.). The few dark grey wagons do appear to be that colour below the solebar so whoever coloured the postcard was not necessarily following the general practice at the time.It would be difficult to draw any conclusions about the shade of red as the colours seem faded but the brick / red oxide which most people seem to have settled on seems a pretty good approximation.
I haven't lettered it yet as I have run out of Pressfix transfers and they're not very generous with pre 1904 G.W.R (note only two full stops). Looking at the Iron Mink though and I think I need to dump the 15+ year old Pressfix transfers and try again. Using transfers is the bane of my life but struggling with very old Pressfix sheets which don't now stick is one reason why it must be difficult.
I'm quite pleased with this wagon as considering the chopping it received it still looks good. Yet another pice of rolling stock for Blagdon 1902!