During the Cardiff model railway show back in October 2019, I treated myself to a couple of six wheel coaches from Dragon Models. http://www.taffvale.wales/page1.php Although I thoroughly enjoy building locomotives and wagons, I always find building coaches a bit of a slog and consequently haven't got many to use on Sherton Abbas My entire passenger stock comprises of three Slater's 4 wheel coaches, a solitary Slater's all 3rd bogie clerestory and an etched brass V2 passenger brake van. I'm about half way through a Slater's Clerestory brake 3rd dia D14 which I really should summon the enthusiasm to finish, but I fancied a bit of soldering, so made a start on this Passenger Brake Van!
Dia V9 brake van.
The kit comprises of the usual etched brass frets, accompanied by some lengths of brass wire, white metal castings and a pre formed roof.
Before the body could be assembled the door hinges and door bangers had to be soldered in position along with the droplight window
Hinges and door bangers
The sides and ends could then be soldered together. Unfortunately this was easier to say than do, the kit relies on butt fitting the sides and ends and would have been so much easier if there had been locating tabs incorporated in the kit design Eventually I managed to get the thing square and strengthened the joints with fillets of solder.
Sides and ends assembled
The W irons and supporting flooring were assembled next. The kit has a clever design that allows the wheels at each end to pivot and the centre axle to be able to slide left and right, which hopefully will allow the model to negotiate tighter curves than the prototype!
The components for the outside clasp brakes were then added. I'm always concerned that metal brake shoes will cause an electrical short if they touch the wheels, so I wrapped the shoes in epoxy resin soaked tissue paper which once set provides good insulation.
Outside Clap Brakes
The body and W iron components were then fitted together and the ride height checked.
Body on wheels
The etched brass step boards provided in the kit looked suspiciously malnourished and this was confirmed by measuring against a scale drawing. An order of brass strip and 1mm square brass rod was obtained from Eileens Emporium https://www.eileensemporium.com/materials-for-modellers/category/brass-flat-strips-metric and step boards were constructed from this. The picture shows the boards provided in the kit at the bottom, along with my fabrications at the top.
The step boards were fitted to the body ensuring that there was still room fore the W irons to pivot/slide laterally.
Step boards in Situ
On the prototype coach the W irons are connected together by a rod linking them all. However on my model if I simply soldered a wire linking all the W irons together on each side, it would stop the W irons being able to pivot or move laterally and lock everything solid. To overcome this issue I soldered a length of brass tube behind the centre axle W iron and then cut the connecting rod in half. The rod was then soldered at one end to the outside axle W irons, but allowed to slide free in the centre axle tubing. This subterfuge is hopefully not too obvious, but should allow the coach to cope with reasonably tight radius curves!
Centre axle tube
The coach was then burnished with a fiberglass bristle pen to remove excess solder and then the white metal ventilator bonnets, axle boxes etc were glued in place using 5 minute epoxy resin. The white metal buffers included in the kit left a bit to be desired, so I replaced these with sprung versions from Slater's.
White metal components in position.
The next couple of pictures are of the coach with the roof just resting in position, the next step will be to paint and glaze the model before the roof can finally be fitted permanently and the hand rails fitted.
I also need to decide whether to model the coach with gas lighting, or as oil lit. I quite like the idea of oil lit to provide a contrast with my other gas lit coaches, but I'm not sure if this would be appropriate for a coach running in 1905.
Roof in position
Despite a few problems encountered during the build of this coach, nothing was insurmountable and I quite enjoyed the experience! Bearing this in mind I think I'm going to make a start on building a matching 6 wheel composite carriage dia U9, I might even finish that Slater's D14 clerestory!
Until next time....
Edited by wenlock