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Modified Coopercraft GWR 4 plank Open with DC1 brakes

Mikkel

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This little project was described some time ago in my workbench thread. A couple of recent discussions suggest that the modifications involved may be of interest to others. I don't seem to have posted the usual build summary in this blog, so here it is.

 

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The Coopercraft GWR 4 Plank Open kit (4mm scale) has an error which means that if you build it as designed you end up with 4 planks on the outside and 3 on the inside, as seen here.

 

 

 

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So, following good advice (thanks Nick) I cut along the red line indicated above, in order to remove most of the big fat lip on top of the solebar. This in itself lowers the floor by 1.5 mms.

 

 

 

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The floor provided in the kit is 1mm thick, so I decided to gain another 0.5 mm of internal depth by replacing it with a 0.5mm styrene floor.

 

 

 

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I suppose this is on the limits of how thin a floor should be, but with bracing underneath it all seems solid enough. There are two pips on the inside of each wagon end (not shown), these had to be removed to fit the new floor. The gaps at the end of the solebars were fixed with filler.

 

 

 

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The lowered floor. Not perfect, but at least the bottom plank is now visible.

 

 

 

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Most of my wagons have lever brakes but it's time I introduced some DC1 brakes too. So I splashed out on this Bill Bedford etch.

 

 

 

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I worked with available drawings and pictures in the GWR wagon book  by Atkins, Beard & Tourret.

 

 

 

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I think I used the wrong link component below the swan neck lever, lesson learnt for the next one. Still, the exercise has helped me understand better how these brakes worked. Sometimes the absence of instructions can be a learning experience!

 

 

 

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The low number belies that No. 781 was built in 1902 as part of Lot 374,  thus sporting DC1 brake gear from the outset. I debated whether to add a sheet rail. Some of the 4-plankers were certainly fitted with these later on, and the O5 diagram in Atkins Beard & Tourret features a sheet rail - but I have a suspicion that the diagram stems from 1905 when the wagon index was drawn up. On page 54 of the same book is a picture of a 4-planker showing off the new DC1 brake gear in 1903. It does not feature a sheet rail, and is in the same condition as No. 781.

 

 

 

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The wagon is in GWR wagon red (I follow the 1904 theory). I chose a slightly redder shade than normal to suggest that it is fairly recently painted.

 

 

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I built one of these many years ago, when Coopercraft wagons were the latest thing in 'accurate' model kits.  I've never 'improved' mine apart from a red-repaint and it's now too modern for my current modelling period.  Your upgrade is very effective and that last photo really brings out its character.

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Hi Mikkel,

Superb work, as always!

I've got some 20-year-old Masokits DC brake gear etches I was planning on using, so I'd be interested to knowo how the Bill Bedford DC brake etch worked out? It certainly looks effective.

Did you scribe your new floor yourself? I've got some Evergreen 40-thou grooved sheet to use, but I'm a bit concerned about it bowing.

Best regards,

Mark

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Mark - a 40 thou floor isn't going to do you much of a favour in respect of showing the bottom plank on the inside of the wagon, which is why Mikkel chose 20 thou.

 

A floor won't bow because it is rests down and is fixed to the solebars. The floor doesn't need to have any strength. It helps if a floor has any bow bent out of it before putting it into the body of course.

 

 

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Looks lovely Mikkel, that lowered floor makes a real difference and don’t the wagons look so much nicer in red:)

 

I wish I could find a source of 7mm scale cast number plates!

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

Many thanks gents!

 

@MikeOxon You know you're seriously into pre-grouping when 1902 is too modern for you :). I frankly don't notice the Coopercraft error on my unmodified 4-plankers during daily operation - even when they are not loaded. A bit like domestic repairs that need doing but in the end you don't see them!  If building a new one I'd repeat the improvement though.

 

@2996 Victor Mark I haven't done any further DC1 brakes with the Bill Bedford kit yet. I think Bill would wince at the unsophisticated way I used his kit in this instance. As mentioned I don't think I have assembled it exactly as it should be, but as a representation I am happy enough within my own pragmatic standards. 

 

Regarding the floor, as @Miss Prism rightly says, I opted for 20 thou to reveal more of the bottom plank. It still seems completely solid now 2 years later.  I didn't scribe the floor myself, I think it's Evergreen (not 100% sure).

 

@wenlock Dave, would it be worth a commission maybe? E.g. Narrow Planet. I suppose the problem for a manufacturer is the very limited customer base for this. Although if they are willing to also do 4mm I might join in!

 

PS: This '@' way of responding makes things less cluttered, but maybe also harder to follow?

 

PPS: I think @Compound2632 (Stephen) also modified the floor of his GWR 4-planker, but despite a search I can't find the exact post in his pregrouping wagons thread just now. Google isn't much help anymore as it doesn't find the exact page, after the software update.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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Very neatly done Mikkel. 

 

I have one of them in the unbuilt kits box ( with a sticker on it that says £2.50 !!  ) so I'll be building it your way when I get round to it. 

 

Would it have got to Glasgow ? Perhaps, shipping or engineering parts in both directions. 

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Neat work Mikkel as ever and it really makes a difference...make sure you don’t put a load in it now :D

 

...but if you do...at least you will know it is right!

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11 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

Mark - a 40 thou floor isn't going to do you much of a favour in respect of showing the bottom plank on the inside of the wagon, which is why Mikkel chose 20 thou.

 

A floor won't bow because it is rests down and is fixed to the solebars. The floor doesn't need to have any strength. It helps if a floor has any bow bent out of it before putting it into the body of course.

 

 

 

Thanks, Miss P - sage advice, as always! I've ordered the equivalent Evergreen grooved sheet in 20thou' and suitably braced as per Mikkel's wagon, it should be fine of course :)

 

All the best,

 

Mark

 

PS do you happen to know a Canon Chasuble, by any chance? :D

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Dave John said:

Would it have got to Glasgow ? Perhaps, shipping or engineering parts in both directions. 

 

And station benches, if you remember :) But anyway it's a good question, we ought to have a special thread for when we come across a photo that shows pre-pooling wagons in unexpected locations.

 

7 hours ago, bcnPete said:

make sure you don’t put a load in it now :D

 

Absolutely not, after all that hard work :D

 

5 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

PS do you happen to know a Canon Chasuble, by any chance? :D

 

Took me a bit of searching before the penny dropped !

 

Edited by Mikkel
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10 hours ago, Dave John said:

Very neatly done Mikkel. 

 

I have one of them in the unbuilt kits box ( with a sticker on it that says £2.50 !!  ) so I'll be building it your way when I get round to it. 

 

Would it have got to Glasgow ? Perhaps, shipping or engineering parts in both directions. 

 

Hi Dave,

 

Within the True Line archive CD from the Caledonian Railway Society there is a series of articles by Mike Williams on research into the freight traffic through the Callander and Oban junction onto the line from the main line in the summer of 1920 (the C&O being an independent railway operated and part owned by the Caley freight was logged for payment purpose).

 

Within the records are "4 repatriated GWR empties" Saturday 4th September 1920

Also recorded was an LBSCR wagon.

 

I would guess these would work up the West Coast Mainline and then through Glasgow to Stirling.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Angus

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@wenlock, I have experimented with etched 7mm wagon cast number plates, see below. Numbers to suit wagon lot.....

 

Chris

GWR prototype plate.jpg

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11 hours ago, Argos said:

 

Hi Dave,

 

Within the True Line archive CD from the Caledonian Railway Society there is a series of articles by Mike Williams on research into the freight traffic through the Callander and Oban junction onto the line from the main line in the summer of 1920 (the C&O being an independent railway operated and part owned by the Caley freight was logged for payment purpose).

 

Within the records are "4 repatriated GWR empties" Saturday 4th September 1920

Also recorded was an LBSCR wagon.

 

I would guess these would work up the West Coast Mainline and then through Glasgow to Stirling.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Angus

 

Interesting! Being 1920 this is after the pooling/common user arrangement introduced during WW1, so I wonder why the CR/C&O 'repatriated' them as empties, rather than putting them to good use.

 

Was the C&O not part of the pooling arrangement maybe? Or were the CR looking to clear some GWR wagons: According to Atkins et al there was an agreed maximum as to how many of another company's wagons could be retained.

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The most common cause of 'repatriation' was the much-envied sheet supporters on the GWR opens.

 

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9 hours ago, Chrisbr said:

@wenlock, I have experimented with etched 7mm wagon cast number plates, see below. Numbers to suit wagon lot.....

 

Chris

GWR prototype plate.jpg

That looks rather desirable, just need to decide which wagons got such plates....

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

The most common cause of 'repatriation' was the much-envied sheet supporters on the GWR opens.

 

Ah yes, probably the best bet, thanks Miss P.

 

18 minutes ago, Western Star said:

That looks rather desirable, just need to decide which wagons got such plates....

 

For what it's worth, in another discussion I posted the following:

 

Quote

Finally a few of my own notes on cast plates, based on the info and photos I could find in my books.

 

* Plates experimented with from 1894, standardized from around 1898 (sometimes 1897 is mentioned), and in principle applied until 1904

*Photos suggest that the plates were only applied to new builds during this period, not retro-fitted to older wagons

* Photos also indicate that the plates were always seen in combination with oil axle-boxes, which makes sense as wagons built during this time would have been fitted with oil axleboxes

* A small number of wagons seem to have carried a transition livery after 1904 which had the cast no. plate and the large “GW” letters (but not the cast “GWR”). There are examples of an Iron Mink and (oddly) a 7-plank 02 in this livery.

* Photos suggest that [in a goods yard setting] wagons with cast plates were greatly outnumbered by wagons with painted numbers.

 

Edited by Mikkel

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2 hours ago, Mikkel said:

so I wonder why the CR/C&O 'repatriated' them as empties, rather than putting them to good use.

Might it simply be a case of more empties than they had loads for. I understand traffic could be very asymmetric to some destinations. I wonder too that whilst other lines were keen to use GWR wagons whilst they were in good order, esp sheet supporters,  there might have been a tendency to send them home when they started getting close to needing repairs.

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12 hours ago, Chrisbr said:

@wenlock, I have experimented with etched 7mm wagon cast number plates, see below. Numbers to suit wagon lot.....

 

Chris

GWR prototype plate.jpg

And a very successful experiment it turned out to be!  The plates are lovely, if you decide to go into business I’d be very interested:)

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23 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

PS do you happen to know a Canon Chasuble, by any chance? :D

 

Watch out for the handbag.

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On August 15, 2019 at 23:40, wenlock said:

Looks lovely Mikkel, that lowered floor makes a real difference and don’t the wagons look so much nicer in red:)

 

I wish I could find a source of 7mm scale cast number plates!

Surely this is something that someone like Modelu could do. It should be quite easy to custom make as you can reference the number to a grid on an Excel spreadsheet or some other data source.

 

Phil

 

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4 hours ago, JimC said:

 I wonder too that whilst other lines were keen to use GWR wagons whilst they were in good order, esp sheet supporters,  there might have been a tendency to send them home when they started getting close to needing repairs.

 

Ha ha, yes! Taking perhaps a slightly GWR-centric view of things, Atkins et al (p2) write:

 

"It was the attitude of the other companies that caused the disappearance of the sheet supporter on GWR Opens built for the common user pool. Reference to the diagram index [...] will show that after O23 of 1925, the GWR built few further OPENS A" 

 

And on related matters:

 

"Some aspects of the pool were bad for the GWR, because the usual condition of common user wagons belonging to the other companies were inferior; grease axlebox vehicles were prevalent and the overall condition was dilapidated. Since the nationwide flow of traffic brought a larger proportion of such loaded wagons on to the GWR system than off it, the GWR share of repairs to pool stock was disproportionately high [...]. The solution eventually took the form of a daily repayment quote of broken-down wagons back to the LMS and LNER."

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Thanks Mike! It could be more precise though, this is more like a representation.

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On 16/08/2019 at 08:17, Mikkel said:

PPS: I think @Compound2632 (Stephen) also modified the floor of his GWR 4-planker, but despite a search I can't find the exact post in his pregrouping wagons thread just now. Google isn't much help anymore as it doesn't find the exact page, after the software update.

 

 

I'm fairly sure I didn't; I may have speculated on how one might but rejected doing it myself on the grounds that my wagons would be loaded and/or sheeted (not that that's yet happened). Mine are all done as pre-O5 wagons (very numerous) with conventional brakes. I do have a few Coopercraft wagons with notionally DC1 brakes but as has been pointed out, with the big curved link etc. absent, so I am taking note.

 

Any chance of those G.W.R plates at 4 mm/ft?

Edited by Compound2632
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Many thanks Mark. I'm itching to build some more wagons (especially a GWR 2-plank Open), but need to complete some other projects first.

 

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