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GWR P17 Ballast Wagon - Kit Build Part 1

New ground in more ways than one! My first blog post, my first 4mm wagon kit build, my first time using a spray can... I have felt it high time to really crack on with my stash of kits, and with my modelling projects more generally. I am a big believer in easing oneself in, using the path of least resistance to get underway, and so what was I to choose?


- Re livery of my three Hornby GWR Kings from shirtbutton to G-Crest-W?
- Complete the transformation of my cheapo Hornby Railroad Olton Hall into a more detailed G-Crest-W wartime black livery?
- Make a start on one of about a dozen Comet coach side overlays onto Bachmann Colletts to create new coach diagrams?
- Detail my four secondhand RTR-bashed Clerestories and put them into their late-life all over brown livery?
- Replace the bogies on my Siphons G's & H's with the brave-new-world 3D prints of 9ft American bogies?
- To complete my transformation of my Hornby 1910s era Star to an unlined green post-war version with 4000g Collett tender?
- To add the Brassmasters detailing kit to all of my 42/52/72xx tanks?
- To do the front-end conversion of the Bachmann Modified Hall with the Brassmasters detailing kit?
- To add ventilator windows to my secondhand CRE kit-built set using the cream labels kindly provided by Checkrail of this parish?


To all of the above, and 2 dozen more projects, nope. Though to this, yes:


A GWR 20T Ballast Wagon to diagram P17 of 1937. As represented in preservation by the sole survivor of its type - 80789 - as seen here:
Image Credit Didcot Railway Centre


Unfortunately, due to the last minute desire to blog this kit build, I neglected to photo the build thus far, though I will give you a rough breakdown of the work involved, as follows:


- Removed the parts from the sprue, removed flashing with craft knife and files (the 40 year old moulding has aged quite well)
- Assembled the box of wagon sides, and inserted the floor
- Added the buffers (which was a rookie mistake, as subsequent constant handling of the wagon body led to a buffer being knocked of more than once, though the superglue seems to have held...)
- Unfortunately, one of the solebar moudlings had warped to quite a large degree at some point over the last 40 years, and so I fitted two widths of 0.40mm Slaters Microstrip on the underside between the wagon side and the location where the solebar joins the body, to give a perpendicular edge to glue the solebar to - thus ensuring a (relatively) straightened solebar.
- Fitted top hat wheel bearings (felt like a 'proper modeller' whilst doing this!) after reaming out the axlebox holes in the solebar mouldings
- Fitted solebars to the underside of the box of sides and floor
- Fitted central v-hangers and ratchet brake v-hangers
- Fitted ratchet brake levers
- Filed back the brake shoes to allow for the fitting of Hornby spoked wagon wheels (I am currently out of stock of the correct '3-hole' wagon wheels)
- Fitted brake gear.
- Glued about 20g of lead shot to the wagon underside
- My proudest moment; fabricated the end steps out of 0.40mm microstrip and styrene strip U channel (proper modeller territory again!)
- Most laborious moment; cutting, bending and fettling microstrip to form the door bangs
- Primed with two coats of Halfords Grey primer


And, for anyone still awake - the result....




I must state how pleased I am with how it has come out so far. This is my first wagon build from scratch, and I am somewhat astonished at how clean and uniform a spray-can finish can look. It makes disparate parts and materials hang together in the most pleasing way; the sickly grey Kirk mouldings, my homemade white microstrip footsteps and door bangs, the black moudled solebars... I have brush painted the odd thing here and there over the last few years, but it never, ever, looks as nice as this does. It is therefore a shame that my GWR freight grey paints are in tinlets and not in spray cans... Now I must master the art of the airbrush!


Finally, the primed wagon as displayed on one of my diorama planks coupled between a re liveried Hornby toad (complete with guard) and a GWR open wagon doing what it was built for (carrying the bogie from Olton Hall whilst she undergoes a hugely protracted re-livery and detailing project!)




I now need to procure suitable transfers to put her into the post 1937 GWR freight livery (small GW lettering), for which a message of enquiry has been sent to CCT (HMRS do have 'Engineering Dept' and 'Pt Way' on their wagon transfer sheet but only two of each, and I will ultimately need three sets, plus I have never seen the 'circled CO' available as a transfer, and for that matter, does anyone know what the 'CO' stands for?). I have Phoenix and Precision GWR freight grey ready to go, although there is still a niggle in the back of my mind that these might have carried black - which the example at Didcot seems to be wearing.


I wanted to credit Castle of this parish and his 'Little Didcot' thread for some guidance on his build of the same prototype, found here, and also Buffalo for his pictures of the brake gear and underside of the surviving prototype here.


Part 2 ETA sometime w/c 21st August (London calling next weekend for a West Somerset steam excursion behind an...A4??), and so watch this space...





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Hi CoY,


That's a really nice job you have made of the kit - well done!


All the best,



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Resurrecting a old topic.

 I was doing some searching on these Ballest wagons as I am also trying to find some CO transfers, now in your post you wonder what CO is for ? Now in the time lap you have probably found  out it's simply 


 now back to looking for these transfers on the web

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Thanks your right reverend !(if I remember right that's how you address a bishop!

 I had found this one after continuing my hunt after posting this morning, but I think I will have to contact mr Isherwood  as these transfers cover BR liveries and not GWR as required hopefully though as the CO lasted into BR some might be on their, fingers crossed 

Edited by Graham456

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Thanks for resurrecting my dormant blog post guys. 


Just as an update, I polished off the P17 with Precision freight grey (spray can) and CCT transfers (set C89 for the Cambrian GWR wagon kits).


You can see the fruits of efforts  here with a Kernow 1361, Coopercraft 02 7-plank open, and a Hornby AA15 toad rebadged into post-1936 livery, and allocated to Cardiff. 







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Thank you for up dating us on your wagons Yorkshire.

and for the details of where your CO came from, can you remember how many CO were on the transfer sheet as I need ten of them ! Due to to much kit building over the spring time awaiting guests comeing back in

mice little works train now built up from P17-P23 Cambrian sleeper wagons and a Ballest Brake van just awaiting a few COs fitted to Finnish the train

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3 hours ago, Graham456 said:

Thanks your right reverend !(if I remember right that's how you address a bishop!

 I had found this one after continuing my hunt after posting this morning, but I think I will have to contact mr Isherwood  as these transfers cover BR liveries and not GWR as required hopefully though as the CO lasted into BR some might be on their, fingers crossed 


As posted by My Lord, the Bishop of Welchester - Sheet C89 (GWR period) will have what you require.



John Isherwood,

Cambridge Custom Transfers.


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Thanks Mr Isherwood

a letter will going in your direction toot sweet


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