The purchase of a copy of Last Days of Steam in Gloucestershire in the early 1990's bought about two things. One an enduring interest in the railways of the Royal Forest of Dean and secondly an introduction to the photographs of Ben Ashworth who captured the essence of the railways of the Forest on film.
Those who know the Forest will be familiar with the distinctive tank wagons from the Berry Wiggins company who had a bitumen depot at Whimsey. The black and white tank wagons were synonymous with the Forest of Dean Branch with a trusty 57xx/8750 Pannier in charge of the proceedings.
For those who model in 7mm scale Dapol have just produced a very tempting rendition of a Berry Wiggins tank wagon. For those of use who model in 4mm scale Bachmann have produced a single wagon and also a set of three tanks (One being a silver petroleum tank) in the past. Thankfully help is at hand in producing your own with transfers available from Modelmaster (More in a later blog entry) and POWSides. The Modelmaster transfers have Berry Wiggins 'Kingsnorth' address whilst the POWSides ones have the correct 'Field House, Fetter Lane' address seen on the Forest tanks.
Trying to keep the cost of this project down I noticed that the old Mainline 14T Air Ministry tank wagons are fairly reasonable to buy secondhand. Shops like Rails do bundles of 6 for about £30 which is good going. I had plenty of new Bachmann metal wheel sets in my spares box so was able to re-wheel them and put a smaller Bachmann NEM sized style couplers on the wagons.
The tank wagons break down fairly easily and the quality of the livery tampo printing on them was excellent for the late 1970's/80's. I've removed most of this with enamel thinners but some of the artwork is quite stubborn to remove. A good even coat of Halfords grey plastic primer gives a nice base for the Halfords satin black to adhere to.
The POWSides transfers are rub down and working from pictures I was able to chop up the sheet to get some of the variations in lettering seen on the wagons. The wagon numbers do not represent any particular prototype and where chosen with the limited number range on the sheet. I use Tamiya masking tape to gently hold the transfer film in place before using a blunt pencil, paint brush end or cocktail stick to make sure the lettering sticks. Sometimes a white drawing pen is required to touch in the letters and edges tidied up with a fine black permanent drawing pen.
The 'Liquaphalt' white discs on the tank sides were made from standard masking tape. This was placed placed on a smooth plastic lid and sprayed with Halfords white primer. When dry the tape was stuck to the reverse side of my 'clean' cutting mat. Working out the diameter from the transfers I used a compass cutter to cut the discs out and then rub the transfers on. The discs were then stuck to the sides of the tanks using reference pictures for positioning.
I need to add a few more transfers to each wagon. Mainly instruction details and the private owner yellow 'C' which come with the Modelmaster pack of transfers. Other lettering variations will be available combining lettering from POWSides and Modelmaster. The strengthening wires from sole bars to the tank ends will be made up from florists wire. Then an airbushed coat of protective varnish and weathering to finish. I'll post some pictures when they are at this stage. However I will do an update on the next 5-6 wagons using the Modelmaster transfers.
Also of note on the photographs are the resprayed Bachmann Toad brake vans re-lettered using Cambridge Custom Transfers for Toads allocated to Lydney/Bullo Pill. Again representations and not necessarily the correct diagram number. The 57xx will either become 8745 but needs external rivets on the tank sides using Archers rivet transfers or 8701 depending on which one I decide to do first.