I've wanted to model a Great Western Railway wagon bearing the cast number plates for some time now, but have always been put off by the lack of commercially available plates. While I was exhibiting Sherton Abbas at the Telford O gauge Guild show I met Graham Beare (Western Star) and Chris Brown (Chrisbr) who had been doing research into which wagons carried the cast plates. Chris also mentioned that he was in the process of drawing artwork with a view to getting some 7mm scale plates etched in Nickel Silver. This was obviously exciting news, particularly so when Chris offered to etch me some plates for my proposed model!
Graham sent me a photo of a prototype wagon, which I have used as a reference for my model.
Prototype GWR four plank wagon with cast plates.
Photograph provided by Graham Beare / Chris Brown from an image supplied by John Lewis (HMRS Steward), the original print is held by the National Archive.
Slater's Plastikard, formerly Cooper Craft make a 7mm scale kit of a GWR four plank wagon, so one of these was purchased to form the basis of my model.
Slater's Plastikard 7mm kit.
Wagon number 10995 was fitted with the DC1X type brake gear during the period that I am modelling and I was keen to represent this on my model. The DC1X or cross cornered brakes are a modification of DC1 brakes and ensure the operating crank handle is always at the right hand end of the wagon. http://www.gwr.org.uk/nowagonbrakes.html I represented this feature using some brass wire for the cross shafts and pushrods, along with a few bits and pieces from my etched brass scrap box.
Underside of wagon showing DC1X brake gear.
Completed wagon ready for paint.
The wagon was then painted using Humbrol enamel paint in the red livery that the GWR used prior to 1904. The exact colour is hard to quantify, but for what its worth I mix Humbrol number 100 and Humbrol number 70 as a base colour before weathering with black and grey washes.
Painted and weathered wagon.
The splendid etched plates have reproduced Chris's artwork beautifully, I must admit I'm delighted with them
The plates were painted and then glued to the wagon using 5 minute epoxy resin.
Plates in situ
I thought I'd finish this blog entry with a couple of pictures of the wagon in service on the layout It still needs to receive its load, which leads to a question I hope readers can answer for me. I'd like to model the wagon filled with timber joists/planks, but I'm sure I read somewhere that prior to WW 1 wood tended to be cut in local saw mills and usually wagons only contained uncut timber. If anyone can shed any light on this, or even better have a photo of a wagon circa 1905 carrying sawn timber, then I'd be delight to hear from them!
Wagon in service
Thanks again to Graham Beare and Chris Brown for their help with this project.
Until next time!