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1840 wagon kits by 5&9 Models

Ian Simpson

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Chris Cox has recently been working on easy-to-build 4 mm whitemetal kits of some of the small and distinctive wagons of the early 1840s, as well as his better-known kits for the LBSCR. He has produced masters for three Birmingham and Gloucester Railway wagons (ballast, mineral and a fascinating general goods wagon with slatted sides), as well as two early London and Birmingham Railway wagons. He was kind enough to send me samples to build, and they are all very impressive.

 

The first thing to say is that they have been designed to be as easy as possible to assemble. The BGR wagons and the small LBR wagon all have the axle boxes moulded onto the side, so that building the kit is essentially a matter of fitting the two ends and the two sides together to form the chassis. Chris has even added clever notches along the sides that hold the ends in place (although a set square is still needed to ensure the parts really are set at right angles).
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The photo above shows the small London and Birmingham wagon under construction. Yes, the wagons really are just two inches long, so one can produce a very impressive freight train in say eighteeen inches! (The Birmingham and Gloucester was an important freight line linking the workshops of Birmingham with the ports of Gloucester and Bristol, but the steep Lickey Incline meant the goods trains were still limited to a maximum of around 15 wagons.)
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The Birmingham and Gloucester wagons have the ends cast with the buffer beams, with the sides added to the chassis after it has been built up. The model supported on the paper pad and pile of plastic cards in the photo above is the B&GR general goods wagon. The models on the left are the small L&BR wagon and, in front of it, the B&GR ballast wagon that is still waiting to have the sides added. The kits do not have floors, so I used my usual Lottery plasticard with a ready-scribed veneer of plasticard on top. (In the photo I used 1mm planking - it should have been 2 mm!)
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I used my usual Poundland superglue to assemble the kits, and found that it only worked on the white metal if I first primed the surfaces to be stuck with a thin coat of superglue and allowed it to dry before adding a second layer and joining the parts. Holding the pieces in place for half a minute was enough to start the setting process, although I would suggest leaving any super-glued joint for at least an hour before moving it.
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For OO modellers, I found Bachmann 12 mm spoked wheels are ideal for the kits. Chris included pin-point bearings with the kits, which fit into the holes in the axleboxes to produce very free-running models. Since I'm modelling in 3.5 mm I used Alan Gibson's 10.5 mm wheels instead (4 mm modellers use these for Lowmacs). Because they are small models (only 5 cms long) and relatively narrow, they don't look over-scale next to Bachmann's HO Norris loco.
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These were all well-designed, easy-to-construct kits that I really enjoyed building. I finished by painting the Birmingham & Gloucester wagons with Humbrol Brick Red paint - no one really knows the B&GR goods livery, but it may have been a red-brown colour. The London & Birmingham wagons were probably painted light grey. (In 1840 few if any railways put their name or initials on the sides of their wagons - usually a wagon plate was the only proof of ownership.) There's a couple of excellent photos that show Chris's own painting of the wagons on his blog.

 

So it is now possible to model an early British railway, the Birmingham and Gloucester, without scratch-building! And that seems even more unlikely than Leicester City winning the Premiership or the US electing a reality TV star as president ...

 

BTW, if people aren't familar with the lottery cards they look like this:
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One thing I have found useful is to use a map pin for marking out lines to cut on the card, rather than a pencil: the point of the pin is thinner and allows a bit more accuracy than even a sharp pencil line. I make a small hole on the surface of the plastic roughly every 1 cm / half inch, then I just cut along the dotted line:
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- 5&9 wagons - BGR wagons 02.jpg

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Well that's different and interesting.

 

Just a thought - with those early locomotives with no mass and hardly any driving wheels, and whitemetal rolling stock, isn't tractive effort a bit of a challenge?

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Many thanks for the comments, much appreciated!

 

Thank you very much, Chris, although the praise really belongs to you - the kits practically build themselves!

 

Neil, the bottom photo is the layout at the moment (well, except for an 18 inch length of PECO Streamline that acts as the off-stage fiddle yard). But Chris's kits have made me want a goods yard as well ...

 

Thanks, Gary. I'm afraid the new job did rather get in the way of posting, and even modelling, at the end of the year. But I will make a New Year's Resolution (with fingers prudently crossed behind my back) to post a bit more this year.

 

Ian, the simple answer is yes! But I console myself with the thought that the prototypes sometimes struggled with their loads as well. The Norris locos were pretty powerful for their time, but the inexperienced drivers and fitters of the new railway didn't always keep them running in prime condition.

The completed wagons weigh between 20 grams (the ballast wagon) and 28 grams (the mineral wagon) before any load is added. The Norris loco can slip a bit as it starts to pull away with a train, although with just the four wagons it's not a problem once the initial inertia is overcome. I don't think it will damage the motor and in fact I rather like the effect. But my suggestion of an eighteen-inch-long train might need reconsidering if a layout has a challenging gradient. Perhaps it's best to avoid modelling the actual Lickey! 

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Thanks for sharing this Ian, I had not heard of these kits so it's good to see them. They look great and nicely cast. And what a delightful train it makes.

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Thanks, Mikkel. I think Chris will be announcing their launch soon, and I'll update here as well.

 

Update: the wagons are available, and they are listed on Chris's current (Nov 2017) price list available from 5 and 9 Models. But not on his website yet - so don't be put off if you can't find them there!

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Some great modelling there, Very original and well implemented.

 

I have always been interested in the early years of of the railways, my Edwardian era stuff could well be described as modern image if we take a real view of history. However two things strike me when I look at early railways ; fixed engines for rope haulage on inclines and horses to assist . I accept both are hard to model, but I think both were far more common then we sometimes think. 

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Yes, working horses are a problem! Although a cameo with a shunter hitching a stationary horse to a stationary wagon at the end of a siding could look pretty good.

 

Mention of rope traction reminds me of another early railway company. When the Canterbury & Whitstable opened in 1830 it had rope haulage on several steep sections, but it also used horses and a Stephenson 0-4-0 loco Invicta which was similar to Rocket. It would be reasonably easy to bash the Dapol Rocket kit into Invicta, while Smallbrook Studios' chaudron wagon is suitable for the C&WR's wagons (it was primarily a goods line linking Canterbury to the coast, although it also carried passengers). Whitstable harbour in the 1830s would make a very attractive layout.

 

I'm also fascinated by a third alternative to loco working that had a brief vogue in the mid-1840s: atmospheric railways. On my Bucket List is a model of Croydon station in the 1840s, possibly with the London & Croydon railway's atmospheric line included. The pipe between the rails would probably be 5mm plastic tubing, and I might use an aquarium pump to provide the power ...

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Hi Ian,

 

Hang fire on scratch building the atmospheric tube, a master is going into my next mould so you can have as many 4mm scale white metal Croydon atmospheric tubes as you want! : D

 

Chris

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What are the lottery cards you refer to as planked flooring? I am in Australia so perhaps we have a different term?

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Sorry, Lancs, I have been a bit insular! They are simply pieces of stiff plastic the same size as a bank or credit card, and they are given away in shops that sell lottery tickets. They aren't the actual ticket, just an aid that lets players make a note of their numbers and carry them around in their purse, wallet or pocket until the draw takes place. Luckily you don't have to buy a ticket to pick up a handful of the cards.

 

I haven't been able to add an image to this reply, so I've put a couple of extra photos at the end of the blog entry to show you what they look like. Unlike bank cards they are completely smooth, and underneath the glossy colours on the surface they are essentially 0.030 in (0.75 mm) thick plasticard. So they are great for modelling.

 

Unfortunately they don't do planked versions, but Slaters make thin plasticard with 1 mm and 2 mm planking and so I simply paste a piece of this over the rigid Lottery card floor to prevent the bad language that is always involved in my attempts to cut parallel lines.

 

BTW the videos on your blog really are excellent! I think even I could build a colour signal gantry after seeing your last one!

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Id have some of these for sure,  Im working on the perfect loco to pull them 

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And now  @Killian keane has produced that perfect goods engine not only for the Birmingham & Gloucester, but also the London & South Western and the Manchester & Birmingham as well!591052714_KilliansSharp0-4-2parts02.jpg.1f4b00477edf38ef56a5f7005cdbccd9.jpg

 

It's a Sharp 0-4-2 goods / luggage engine, designed for 4 mm but @Knucklesat Sparkshot Custom Creations kindly agreed to resize it to 3.5 mm for me. :)

 

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I'm sure Killian will be very glad to give more details to anyone who is interested.

Edited by Ian Simpson
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They look very sharp as a set of prints. I will watch the build, my concern would be mass, but I may be proved wrong. 

 

Interesting modelling anyway. 

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Looking forward to the final result. :)

 

Always been a fan of pre-Grouping stuff.

 

lately BR seems to predominate.

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Those prints look pretty good Ian. Have you got any plans for motorising it?

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I think the quality of @Knuckles's print is excellent too! It's from his Photon resin printer, and is very crisp.  It is also quite light, @Dave John, but the hollow boiler and tender has plenty of room for ballast.1137432929_KilliansSharppossiblemotor.jpg.af30489fb0faba030f120e8cdfc43e27.jpg@Mikkel, I think @Killian keane planned that slot under the boiler as a site for the motor. But since I've had the print reduced it to H0, the small motors I have are too wide for the 3.5 mm boiler. A Lawson micro-motor would fit, but I think I will use the hollow tender instead. So I've got a plan, I just need the skills to acheive it ...

 

BTW @BlueLightning has offered to build the model for one of his marvellous Sunday night "Let's Build!" webcasts when I buy the wheels. I'm just trying to find the money for that now, following the unexpected expense of emergency work on our sewer here. You definitely don't want to see a photo of that.

 

 

Edited by Ian Simpson
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Hello Ian, All,

Lovely wagons there but oh my! What a stunning looking loco, well done to all involved. As soon as I can, I will simply have to have one.

I imagine this will be powered by a motor in the tender, driving the loco through a thin cardan shaft?

This is how my little Taff Vale 0-6-0 is arranged and the cardan shaft is not too glaringly obvious.

Cheers,

John.

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That would definitely be the best way to do it, @Allegheny1600. TBH I'm just not sure about my ability to couple together two separate bits of kit like this and make it work.  I've never built or motorised a loco chassis before, so I may have to go for the simplest solution rather than the best, and to sacrifice performance for simplicity.

 

(Of course if my nerve, or my skill, fails completely I guess there's always the option of a powered van behind the tender.)

 

 

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WAIT! ...   "I'm afraid the new job did rather get in the way of posting,"

 

I'm your brother and I find out you've got a new job through RMweb!  Where's the familial loyalty :-)   

 

Congratulations

 

Oh! and good modelling with the wagons. 

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What are you, @Spodgrim,  my work coach now? :)

Actually I posted that comment about 30 months ago, so that particular job finished a long time ago!  My fault for being lazy and using an old blog entry to add new material.

I'll update you on what I'm doing now when I see you tomorrow. Many thanks for the compliment, especially when your own kit-building isn't so shabby either!

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One thing I have to apologise about is the lack of slots in the outside frames to accept the extended axles for the outside cranks,  I remember doing these cytouts but evidently that was after I sent out the files 

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