This winter has been fairly aimless as far as modelling is concerned. I thought though it might be good to try and finish one old project, the conversion of a K's Siphon F to a Siphon C. (By cutting and shutting.) This has been attempted before and I referred to an old Model Railway Constructor for information. This advocated putting the body on a Ratio 4 wheel coach underframe but as I already had the Mainly Trains running gear kit as well as the Dean Churhward brake fret I thought constructing the chassis might make a better model. It also helped that the Russell book, Great Western Coaches, has several good photos.
It's not been an easy task as to enable the body to sit at the correct height (and the top of the springs to sit on the solebar) meant having to cut out part of the Plasticard floor as the W irons protrude into the body. Using the Mainly Trains fret though meant I could use the correct springs, the ones on the Ratio underframe, being designed for a coach, are too long and it does show.
The brake detail was taken from the fret. I'm not too concerned whether the layout of the gear is strictly accurate, I believe just having the rodding there and visible from normal viewing angles (no model is designed to be looked at from underneath) is sufficient. The truss rods were brass as was the stepboard, at least that won't break as inevitably happens with the Ratio plastic version. The body didn't require too much work. I added brass handrails, door handles and lamp irons. I also drilled the holes to enable access to the outside door handles if someone was locked inside. Why though did every door have to have a hole, surely one each side would suffice. The roof was an appalling fit, with the Araldite already applied I realised that it wasn't going to fit so frantically looked in my box of spares and found a plastic roof that fitted almost perfectly. No idea where it came from but even the rainstrips were curved for exactly the length of the body. In the photo below I haven't painted the roof as I want to find out how the gas pipes were laid out. It seems clear that there were two gas lamps and there must have been the associated piping. For bedside reading I'm going through my old British Railway Journals, interesting and somewhere there may be a helpful photo.
What is painfully obvious is the problems I had with the lettering. As usual I resorted to my years old Pressfix sheets but fear I might end up scraping most of it off. Any film will disappear under a coat of varnish, it's actually not as prominent as in the photo, but I see no answer to the size of the "GW" branding. It's known that the standard size was originally 25 inch and then 16 inch but what isn't so well known is that the size would be further reduced if there wasn't the space. On photographs the lettering fits neatly in the appropriate space so it must have been hand painted to fit. I reckon it's 12 inches high, and is that available? Of course not. I may even advance it earlier in time so I can safely use the 25 inch letters which were on the louvres along with a ridiculously large number, which is on the Pressfix sheet. That may however compromise the either side brake handles which I've fitted.
Incidentally the wagon is sitting on the trackwork I made last year. The wooden sleepers need further painting but actually look quite good. What is not so good is the gap between the bottom of the rail and the sleeper, inevitable as the rail is soldered to a protruding rivet.
Finally, I understand there is an article in Model Railway Journal detailing a similar conversion. I gave up on that magazine at issue 60 as I felt, no I know, it was way beyond my capabilities and I was quite uncomfortable with the sniping and backbiting in the letters page which has to be seen to be believed.
Not sure what I'll do next. I have a Stephen Poole 64xx 0-6-0PT body painted by Larry Goddard along with a modified Cotswold chassis. That requires a decent gearbox to get going although the body is not as detailed as the Bachman offering. There's also the M&L 2021 0-6-0ST which has sat partially completed for years. However as we're looking to downsize in a few years time I'm not sure whether it's worth doing too much as there won't be space for Blagdon Mark II. The points for which are shown in the photo. Decisions, decisions.