After a long while contemplating the idea, I finally bought one of the Dapol LMS coaches in CKD form . I prefer CKD form as it's a little cheaper, and as I'm going to work on the thing I am saved the trouble of finding out how to dismantle it. The intended victim is a CK in BR Blood and Custard
The CK seems to be the pick of Dapol's ex Mainline Stanier coaches - Coachmann's expert assessment is here
And it's also - perhaps not by coincidence - a notable omission from the high-spec range of Stanier coaches that Hornby produced a few years ago.
Having decided to build the Mailcoach LNER Tourist Brake 3rd as a partner for my Hachette BR Mk1 SK (forming Set 4) , in part because their gangways match , I was left with an LMS Porthole Brake 3rd kit.The obvious question was what could it be paired with - and a Dapol CK seemed the cheapest and fastest answer. That would also provide some First class accommodation - something which will be conspicuously lacking from Set 4. Also conspicuously lacking from the steam stock is anything in Blood and Custard - because I don't feel up to doing two tone liveries myself . Getting a factory applied finish is therefore a big bonus.
What needs to be done to these CKD coaches? The 60' underframe on the CK is basically correct - unlike the 57' coaches, which incorrectly have the non-corridor underframe . Detailing work is shown in the photo:
The new whitemetal buffers aren't terribly clear, but they are there . I bought an LMS underframe pack and set of etched crossmembers from Comet at Stevenage , at the same time as buying the coach. The spare battery box casting will be donated to the MTK Porthole brake as an upgrade
So to the body
The first job - and the biggest "win" is flushglazing. I used SE Finecast vacuum formed glazing because Shawplan have not done this vehicle in their Lazerglase range - a surprising omission given that this is a decent model; and the only RTR option for a key type of vehicle. I also touched in the window edges in black to reduce the slab-sided effect - since my hand wasn't absolutely steady and the black line isn't absolutely perfect this is a double edged benefit, but it doesn't detract overall.
The roof vents are a story of blunders . I "upgraded" with a packet of whitemetal torpedo vents. But... LMS official photos in Historic Carriage Drawings show shell vents on LMS Period 3 stock. Pothole stock - which was built under BR - clearly had torpedo vents , and so did the push-pull conversions of Stanier stock . LMS Period 3 vehicles in preservation often - but not always - have torpedo vents. I eventually found a photo of a coach on the ex GW Birkenhead route that seemed to have a mix of shell and torpedo vents - then I found a comment suggesting these were a special type of vents made at Wolverton.
It looks as if some LMS Period 3 vehicles received torpedo vents at a later date , but how many, and whether it was while they were blood and custard, or only after preservation I don't know. By the time I realised there was an issue the vents were irretrievably stuck with cyano and the roof was painted a suitable muddy brown-grey, so I've left it. It may be right, after all.
The interior was painted and a small number of figures added, though you hardly notice there are passengers in there.
The plastic wheels were replaced by metal Hornby ones. I retained the Dapol gangway on one end, and used a Roxey pack to sort out the other . I say "used" advisedly , as most of it wasn't. To be honest the project stalled for a couple of months because I was scared of assembling the Roxey gangways , and in the end I looked at the etch, looked at the drawing and instructions, should my head in several places and only used the etched back of the gangway. The paper looked impossibly flimsy, and I used black card, but 5 folds proved too much and cased problems (read "derailments") on sharp curves , so I cut one fold away with scissors and reapplied the end plate. This was black painted plasticard - I used the Roxey etch as a gangway cover on the fixed end
All it now needs is a weathering wash on the underframe