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GWR 4 wheel coaches - nearly there! (and a bit of Broad Gauge)

JDaniels

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Having assembled the two brakes, I turned, with some trepidation, to the composite. This uses the Ratio sides and I was concerned that as these were thicker than the etched brass the problems with clearances might be more acute. Also as they were plastic I couldn't be so carefree with the soldering iron and I was concerned that gluing might not give as good a bond as solder.

 

With the brake thirds I soldered the sides to the ends and then, allowing for the slight overlap of the sides over the solebars, located the L shaped bracket that would take the fixing screws securing the body to the chassis. As I was concerned that the plastic sides would not take kindly to the heat, I soldered the brackets to the ends first. By using the roof as a guide, I estimated the correct position of the sides against the ends and allowing for that slight overlap of the solebar soldered the brackets to the end without the sides in place. Locating the roof showed that the sides were at the very limit of the width allowable by the roof so I filed the end of the sides down to reduce the thickness where they located against the "wings" and therefore the overall width. This had the advantage that the ends would more closely match the brakes which used the thinner Shire Scene sides. The next step was to Araldite the sides to the ends, I was grateful that the Shire Scene ends had the wings that folded out to give a greater area for the adhesive. Once again I located the roof in position just to ensure the sides and ends were located in the correct position.

 

Once the Araldite had completely set I then tried locating the body assembly to the floor. This was the point I had problems before, I can only think the width of the MT floor is greater than that in the Ratio kit as the body tends to sit on, rather than slightly overlapping the floor. Oddly the problem more or less resolved itself as the "wings" to which the sides are secured were at the top and halfway up the height of the body. The bottom of the ends, which weren't fixed, bowed out slightly to fit over the solebars. With the sides and ends in the correct position I filled the gaps at the bottom of the join between the ends and sides with Araldite whilst the body was located on the chassis. Having satisfied myself that the body was correctly located on the floor, I marked the holes for the 8BA screws, drilled the holes and soldered the 8BA nuts to the top of the bracket, ensuring the soldering iron did not linger longer than was necessary. Whilst I hadn't intended to fix the compartment partitions in place at this stage, I thought that as the assembly only relied on adhesive rather than solder, fixing the central partition would add strength. The photo shows the body at this stage, the internal soldering looking a little neater than on the brake thirds.

 

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Now the time came to fix the roof, as will be apparent it would be impossible to solder the nuts on the brackets with the roof in place. The one slight hiccup was the partition, this was slightly too wide causing the sides to bow out slightly in the centre. This was simply solved by cutting a section out of the partition and placing a new piece of Plasticard over the gap once the roof was in place. As it was the roof only just covered both sides but once fixed with plastic glue (sides) and Araldite (ends) the whole assembly was quite rigid. The photo shows the coach virtually complete. For once, this coach was more straightforward than I expected.

 

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Apologies for the focussing but a macro lens is out of my budget.

 

I had wondered just how much the MT chassis kits adds to the appearance of the Ratio sides so for comparison I attach two photos, broadside views of the unpainted composite and another of an old Ratio kit (in the livery for 1902) assembled as per instructions.

 

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I think from most viewpoints there is little difference between the two. IMHO the Ratio kit can be improved by just two simple steps, adding the gas lighting pipes (as will be evident from the photo, something I am doing on all my old coaches) and paring off the end handrails and substituing them for brass wire looping round on to the carriage roof. I also have a set of the same three coaches in post 1927 simplified chocolate and cream and these do have basic brake rigging added. Again though from most angles this underframe detail just cannot be seen. To my mind the ends are the biggest drawback of the Ratio kit, not the underframe. There is no doubt that the etched ends, whether MT or Shirescenes, look better with the pipework etc. added separately rather than moulded on. The stepboards of the Ratio kit are also a drawback, not because they're not realistic, they are far too fragile.

 

I don't know what other GWR modellers do but I'm never sure what colour to paint the roof. Yes there is the odd photo of a pristine white coach roof but more usually they seem to be shades of grey depending on how long the coach has been in service since its' last repaint. I've alternated between painting the roof white and then weathering it or just painting it a light shade of grey. Common sense dictates that the roof started white and would weather unevenly (i.e. with blotches and streaks) but photos show an even grey colour.

 

Finally, recent blog entries by MikeOxon prompted me to search out a photo I took of the side of a BG coach at a Bristol Museum (I think it's called the "M Shed" now) which I had forgotten about. It's remarkable that this has survived for so long and gives us a real insight into the liveries and construction of coaches built over 150 years ago. The coach was probably withdrawn in 1870 and is in the same condition as it was then.

 

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Because this is not on a preserved railway it is probably not as well known as it should be.

 

Hope this is of interest.

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Good to see another one of these. While you are probably right that there is little visible difference between the original chassis and the MT one, your point about the fragile stepboards is important I think. I vividly remember several attempts at glueing those broken plastic stepboards together! 

 

Like you I have been undecided about the roof colour, but I've now settled on medium grey and will repaint my white roofs at some point. I think they very quickly turned grey in reality, and somehow the coaches also simply look better with a slightly dark edge to highlight the livery - in my opinion. 

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Re the 'M Shed' coach - here's a link to the Bristol Museum page for it:— http://museums.bristol.gov.uk/details.php?irn=138493 — pity it's listed as 'in store' & not on public display

 

They also have another one:— http://museums.bristol.gov.uk/details.php?irn=139196

 

P.

P, thanks your entry. Sorry about my previous attempt to reply.

 

It's a great shame that the coach side has been put into store. When I first saw it I thought it was remarkable but in a general transport museum with so many people these days interested in cars I guess they thought the space was better turned over to the Bristol Motor Company. It would be better if the remains of the coach were loaned to someone like the GWS at Didcot where it would be better appreciated.

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Good to see another one of these. While you are probably right that there is little visible difference between the original chassis and the MT one, your point about the fragile stepboards is important I think. I vividly remember several attempts at glueing those broken plastic stepboards together! 

 

Like you I have been undecided about the roof colour, but I've now settled on medium grey and will repaint my white roofs at some point. I think they very quickly turned grey in reality, and somehow the coaches also simply look better with a slightly dark edge to highlight the livery - in my opinion. 

Mikkel,

 

Thanks you for your entry.

 

It has always seemed odd to me that modellers concentrate on the underpinnings of wagons and coaches ignoring the top surfaces. This may be because the photos we see of the prototype are generally side on whilst when it comes to models we see them usually from above, in fact it is very difficult to find photos of the prototype showing the roof detail. On a model the lack of gas piping on the roof is far more obvious than the omission of internal parts of the brake gear. In fact even on broadside photos of the prototype, the brake gear is barely discernible.

 

As to coach roofs, yes I think I will use various shades from off white (rarely) to medium grey. A characteristic of GWR coaches as seen in photos was the various shades of grey whilst it wasn't unknown for the odd coach roof to be sparking white. Coach sets, such as the three four wheelers used on the Wrington Vale would, I have thought, been overhauled and painted together and the roofs would therefore be the same shade of grey. White was a ridiculous colour to use, only abandoned in 1940, guess why!

 

John

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Ah yes, the gas piping - still missing on some of my 4-wheelers too I'm afraid. They are due for an overhaul when I get around to modelling the Up Main at Farthing!

 

Regarding coach roof colours - it has been mentioned on here before, but: It is interesting to browse the station views on "Britian from above" in this respect. One example here, from Newbury in 1928. The period will also matter of course, but the differences between roof weathering are interesting.

 

Image embedding permitted. If you register on the site, you can zoom in for closer views.

 

2-1-0.jpg

 

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw022626

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P, thanks your entry. Sorry about my previous attempt to reply.

 

It's a great shame that the coach side has been put into store. When I first saw it I thought it was remarkable but in a general transport museum with so many people these days interested in cars I guess they thought the space was better turned over to the Bristol Motor Company. It would be better if the remains of the coach were loaned to someone like the GWS at Didcot where it would be better appreciated.

 

I'd love it to be at Didcot but we've nowhere to display it, so it's better off where it is at the moment. We do have the mortal remains of BG No. 250 that I've 'excavated' some livery details from - it's viewable in the Carriage shed, but I'd hesitate to describe it as being on display.

 

On the subject of roofs & colours, this might be of interest:—

 

K.14%20DJH_zps8onlnhxb.jpg

 

Taken at Swindon early 1900s. For some reason the Dean van has been hauled outside, interrupting the painters mid-tosh. The contrast between the white & the be-crudded colour is remarkable.

 

White might seem to be a 'daft' colour to pick, but I suspect that's more down to cost & ease of use. The bedding compound for a roof canvas was a mix of white lead, putty & linseed oil that was spread liberally over the boards & the canvas stretched over whilst it was still wet. More coats of this jollop were applied on top to seal everything in. White lead will darken in a polluted atmosphere, and the linseed would mean that it'd take weeks to fully dry, so soot, cinders & semi-carbonised cylinder oil from the loco will stick to it like **** to the proverbial blanket. Even with modern paints it happens - have a look at photos of SRM 93 - canvas covering but painted with modern bitumastic & that crud won't wash off!

 

Pete.

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Ah yes, the gas piping - still missing on some of my 4-wheelers too I'm afraid. They are due for an overhaul when I get around to modelling the Up Main at Farthing!

 

Regarding coach roof colours - it has been mentioned on here before, but: It is interesting to browse the station views on "Britian from above" in this respect. One example here, from Newbury in 1928. The period will also matter of course, but the differences between roof weathering are interesting.

 

Image embedding permitted. If you register on the site, you can zoom in for closer views.

 

2-1-0.jpg

 

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw022626

 

 

I'd love it to be at Didcot but we've nowhere to display it, so it's better off where it is at the moment. We do have the mortal remains of BG No. 250 that I've 'excavated' some livery details from - it's viewable in the Carriage shed, but I'd hesitate to describe it as being on display.

 

On the subject of roofs & colours, this might be of interest:—

 

K.14%20DJH_zps8onlnhxb.jpg

 

Taken at Swindon early 1900s. For some reason the Dean van has been hauled outside, interrupting the painters mid-tosh. The contrast between the white & the be-crudded colour is remarkable.

 

White might seem to be a 'daft' colour to pick, but I suspect that's more down to cost & ease of use. The bedding compound for a roof canvas was a mix of white lead, putty & linseed oil that was spread liberally over the boards & the canvas stretched over whilst it was still wet. More coats of this jollop were applied on top to seal everything in. White lead will darken in a polluted atmosphere, and the linseed would mean that it'd take weeks to fully dry, so soot, cinders & semi-carbonised cylinder oil from the loco will stick to it like **** to the proverbial blanket. Even with modern paints it happens - have a look at photos of SRM 93 - canvas covering but painted with modern bitumastic & that crud won't wash off!

 

Pete.

Mikkel, Pete,

 

Thank you very much for your responses. Pete, your detailed account of the way in which the roofs were painted has answered one question. I always thought that rain would wash some of the dirt off, we have a white car and whilst it gets dirty the underlying colour is always apparent. With the coaches if the muck sticks to the linseed oil as it dries it's never going to wash off. It also raises the question of the texture of the roof, I suppose with the dirt it would be a lot rougher than we perhaps imagine. As with the red wagons, it looks as though the colour is an incidental result of the preservatives used rather than a conscious decison to use a particular shade. BTW, you mention SRM 93. Congrats to all involved in the work, I went on it when visiting Didcot and it was a brilliant experience, it really feels like stepping back over 100 years.

 

Mikkel, thanks for sending the photo. It does show that the colours varied although I suspect even the one white roof is probably stained when looked at closely. At least with your gas piping you only have to model the main gas feeds. Later on there was s econd pipe for the incandescent gas (?) feed. Whilst sanding down the roof to remove the paint I also removed the rather ineffective rainstrips to be replaced with the same 20thou Plasticard as used for the gas pipes.

 

Thanks again both of you.

 

John

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On the subject of GWR roofs, it has often struck me how white the roofs look on the old Broad Gauge carriages in the Swindon dump.  Of course, some are dark and streaked, but most still look quite white!

 

blogentry-19820-0-18830500-1460987343.jpg
 
Mike

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On the subject of GWR roofs, it has often struck me how white the roofs look on the old Broad Gauge carriages in the Swindon dump.  Of course, some are dark and streaked, but most still look quite white!

 

blogentry-19820-0-18830500-1460987343.jpg
 
Mike

 

Mike,

 

Thanks for this, the old broad gauge coaches seem to keep their white roofs longer than those built later, the painting method must have changed. Certainly photos I have seen taken in the 1920's and 1930's show mainly varying shades of grey, mostly the darker end of the spectrum

 

I did have a look again at the HMRS GWR livery register to see what it had to say and there is a copy of the painting specification taken from a GWR apprentice's notebook dated 1918. The roof is basically white lead but what intrigued me was the instructions for painting wagons. These were "2 coats of white lead with a little black added followed by 1 coat of black with a little white lead added." And there we are debating the exact shade used by the GWR!

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