I was luck enough to have the opportunity to get hold of a pile of original Airfix 16 ton mineral wagons. Nice little kits which are worth a bit of work to bring up to modern standards. The price seems quite reasonable too!
I wanted to use Bill Bedford sprung W-irons so first thing was to remove the plastic W-irons to just leave the spring and axle boxes. i was actually surprised that this wasn't more difficult than it proved to be. I started off with a razor saw and then finished off with a file and an emery board.
The assembled W-iron frames were stuck on to the floor of the wagon using araldite and a Brassmasters Jig. If you don't have one of these yet and you build wagon kits get one, they are indispensable.
This gives a nice square rolling chassis which has a smooth ride on the spring steel wire springs.
Next up was to work on the brake gear, rather than just replace the lot with brass I decided to se what I could do to improve the original plastic castings. I filed the back of the safety loop and then stuck a piece of plasticard on the back so that it looks like a loop rather than a solid block.
On a similar vein I hollowed out the brake handle catch. I started off with a drilled hole and then opened it up a piecing saw and a little work with scapel.
Putting it all together and we have a pretty decide chassis. Next step will be to work on the bodies, and the other six I got to build!