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Fun with Ratio coaches

Barry Ten


About ten years ago I came back from Warley with three Ratio Midland clerestory coach kits. My vague intention at the time was to paint and line them in full S&DJR blue livery, possibly with some minor modifcations to the bodies and roofs, just to have a semi-acceptable period-looking train to run behind my one or two S&D blue locomotives. However, time went on and I never got around to it. Eventually I decided that, if I were to go to the trouble of painting and lining a set of coaches, I would rather they were at least approximately right for the desired prototype.


I therefore decided to finish the Ratio coaches in lined crimson lake as running in the LMS era, and set about painting the sides as a batch, while still on the sprue:




The sides were brush painted with four thin layers of crimson, then allowed to dry properly before adding the yellow panel lining. This was done using gloss yellow enamel applied

by bow-pen, neat from the tin. All the books on painting and lining say that more or less neat gloss paint should work properly through a bow-pen (unless there's a fault with the

pen itself) and this proved to be the case. However, the paint only has to be a little off its freshness to not flow properly, and it's then that I find it very difficult to thin it back down

to the right consistency. There is probably an argument for sticking to fresh bottles for lining.


In the above picture, the lowest pair of sides has also had the black line drawn down the middle of the yellow - again after giving the yellow at least a day to harden. In this case

I couldn't get acceptable flow from my bow-pen with my existing black gloss bottle, so I opted to use a 0.25mm Rotring pen. Personally I find using these pens a lot more intuitive

than either a bow-pen or a Bob Moore lining pen; it's just a pity that they only take inks.


The other four sides were treated similarly, and I then made a start on the assembly of the first complete coach, shown here with its roof loosely in position:




Things were going spiffingly until I noticed something odd: all the black lining had disappeared! It turned out that just handling the coach had caused all the Rotring lines to rub off, presumably because, going onto gloss yellow, they hadn't had much to key on. Time for a cup of tea! I redid the lining, which wasn't all that harder even though the sides were no longer flat, and then went back over all six sides with a coat of satin varnish, applied carefully so as not to disturb the lining already present.


Close-up of the lining at the end of the coach:




I'm pleased with the overall effect from normal viewing distance, and it's certainly a lot better than my first attempt at lining one of these coaches, in my teenage years.  Now progress must wait as I want to add some seats and passengers before (regrettably) having to fix the roof in place. However, I am very happy with the batch-production method of doing these, and will be taking a similar approach with some LNWR coaches from the same stable.


While I was in painting and lining mood, I also tackled this Ratio GWR four-wheeler composite, seen next to the brake third I built a couple of years ago. These are on the Mainly Trains etched chassis. I think there's something a bit doubtful about the overall relationship between footboards, solebar and coach sides but there is possibly some scope for getting the bodies to sit a bit more snugly onto the chassis. In the meantime, though, I need to finish two more of these coaches.




This is what operating Wenlock's llayout, and reading Mikkel's blog, does to a chap.

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30 minutes ago, wenlock said:

Lol! It’s a slippery slope from which there’s no return! :)


Totally agree, then comes a 7mm wagon kit, then...... well you know what happens next !



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Very nice work.  Making me think I really need to get on and buy a bow pen!   

The old ratio kits scrub up rather well, I have one of the ex LNWR models awaiting lining (thankfully just the one line), then I really must get finished off to complete a mixed GW/LMS set seen at Exeter in ‘47

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Looking lovely Al. I have a nice selection of unpainted Midland coaches in 2mm now youve got the hang of it.....:)



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Thanks for the comments, all. Back home, suitably bedraggled, after a very damp Parkrun!

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