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2mm Scale GWR Wagons (Red)

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Ian Smith

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My 4 plank open has now been painted, the colour I originally bought was just too orangey (Humbrol Satin 132) despite the colour on the tin lid, so a second coat was applied this time adding Humbrol Matt 70 to it in a ratio of about 3 x132 to 1 x 70 to obtain the "warm", "light", "dark" red that GWR wagons are reported to have been painted in the later years of the 19th Century.

 

Whilst I had the paint pots out I also applied a little weathering to the 2 Iron Mink that I had already completed, for this a little Precision Paints Track Colour was dry brushed around the lower sides and ends and the solebars, springs, axleboxes, etc. This weathering was built up in a couple of applications to hopefully give a subtle effect.

 

Photos of the 3 wagons can be seen below. The 4 plank open I intend to fit with the cast plates (rather than painted lettering) that were fitted to the example I have copied. I did try printing the "G.W.R" and "632" on a dark grey background on matt photo paper on the inkjet printer - not completely satisfied with the result as the lettering is only about 3pt font high and is pretty well invisible. I will now try scratching the lettering onto a piece of white styrene sheet that has been painted grey to see if that is anymore to my liking (so as yet the red wagon shows no sign of company ownership).

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Ian

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The minks look good, Ian. The red still looks a bit orangey for my taste, but then, none of us really know what it looked like. Personally, I just use Halford's red primer. A brave choice to go for cast plates, though, as their introduction is sometimes cited as a possible date for abandoning the red.

 

Nick

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Ian

 

Interesting to see your progress (or lack of) with the cast plates - specially after I suggested the "print on paper" idea to you recently.

 

I intend to try the same idea myself, though I haven't yet resolved the question that Nick raises - I think the plates would look much better on red wagons than on grey, but I fear that the timescale was probably something like:

Up to 1898 Red wagons, letters/numbers 5" painting

1898-1902 Grey wagons, 5" writing on cast plates

1902 onwards Grey wagons, lettered 25" GW, 5" numbers

Fortunately nobody seems to know for sure, so I may just invoke rule 1.

 

The other aspect for me is that I know that I don't have the dexterity/eyesight to paint (or score) lettering 0.8mm high, so it's going to be computer printer or nothing - whether transfers, plates, or a mixture of both.

 

I think we just have to accept that they aren't going to be legible at normal viewing distance, just visible as a white blur, and it's only when they are unkindly blown up in photos like these that they might be readable. That's certainly my experience with lettering of similar size on some PO wagon sides I have been printing.

 

David

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The minks look good, Ian. The red still looks a bit orangey for my taste, but then, none of us really know what it looked like. Personally, I just use Halford's red primer. A brave choice to go for cast plates, though, as their introduction is sometimes cited as a possible date for abandoning the red. Nick

 

Nick,

The wagon I have tried to copy is no. 632 which is shown in Swindon in a newly painted condition in 1894 in Russell's GW Wagon Appendix (narrative says it's an O5 but the number is not in the range listed by Atkins for that diagram of wagon).

At this time the wagon has cast plates, and I presume in Red livery. What is interesting in the photograph is that the background of the plates is a distinctly different colour (or shade) to the body proper (I assume grey plates on a red body).

For my model I have assumed that by my period (c. 1905) the wagon would be in the same condition as the 1894 picture, but would be getting close to needing a re-paint. (I have no idea how long goods stock (or any other rolling stock for that matter) would survive between re-paints).

 

Up to 1898 Red wagons, letters/numbers 5" painting

1898-1902 Grey wagons, 5" writing on cast plates

1902 onwards Grey wagons, lettered 25" GW, 5" numbers

 

David,

If the dates you have given are correct (I thought that the 25" lettering was introduced in 1904?), then it looks like the date of the photo is incorrect - 1894 with cast plates!

 

I have not discounted the inkjet printed plates (I know that 5" lettering is going to look pretty tiny in 2mm however it is produced), the problem in the ones I've printed is that the letters are so small that they just show as being a slightly blurred paler writing on the grey background. I did think that I scratching through grey paint to show the white background might have a little more definition - although I must admit that the 50 year old eye-sight / dexterity might be a bit too much to overcome :-)

I think it will be a case of try it and see.

 

Ian

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Ian

 

Sorry - my mistake.

 

The one date that Atkins et al indicates as firm is "summer 1904", when grey with 5" lettering changed to grey with 25" (GW) and 5" (numbers), so there should be an extra 1902-4 grey 5" lettered period in my list. Atkins suggests "late 1890s" for the start of the cast plate era, which is why I used 1898, but as Nick says it's all pretty vague (with the probable exception of the 1904 start for 25" GW). And I did disclaim with "the timescale was probably something like:" :)

 

So your 1894 could well be correct, based on a specific photo. However, I think that Atkins and RWA used the same photo for my "old Toad", with two different dates (1888 and 1900) attributed to it, so it's worth looking for some corroboration!

 

This uncertainty is why I have been procrastinating before printing my attempts at cast plates, or one of the reasons.

 

Smallest size I have successfully used to date in my experiments with PO wagons is about 2.2 points, which would be about 4 inches high. It's clear enough to read (under magnification), but with normal vision it's little more than a blur. In this particular case it is black lettering on light brown background, I see no reason why white lettering on grey/black background should be significantly different.

 

David

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David,

 

I've re-tried printing the plates on the inkjet, setting the background to a slightly darker grey, and the font to bold (still 3pt - I can't remember what font I chose in the end - I tried several) has made the writing much more legible. I will now try to cut the little blighters out and see if they are about the right size (the number plates have to fit between the end stanchions).

 

Obviously if it works I will add another photo of the results.

 

Ian

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David,

The printed cast plates as fitted to the wagon. A little more dirtying is required for my liking (and the age that the paint work is supposed to be). I thnk the results are quite acceptable, the model actually looks better in the flesh than it does under a desk lamp and camera flash.

 

Plate 2

Plate 1

 

I just need to decide what to put in it, and fit the DG couplings.

 

Ian

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There is some uncertainty about the date of introduction of the plates and, for that reason, I've wondered about the date given by Russell for that photo. It's often said that there are many errors in his captions. The difference in tone of the plate background and the wooden body could be as much due to the material surface textures as to any real colour difference. Look, for example, at the difference between the body and underframe in the next photo.

 

However, if you look at the following two photos illustrating DCI and Thomas brake gear, the plates look darker than the body. The dates given for these (1900 and 1903) are plausible, so the body should be grey. If so, this might support your interpretation.

 

Incidentally, the number 632 was re-used for an O14 built 1910-12 according to the list in Atkins et al. Whatever the date of the Russell photo, it looks like this wagon had a fairly short life.

 

Nick

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Ian

 

Those cast plates look excellent - rather better than I expected, and as I intend to use a darker grey for the background on mine I hope mine will be as legible. Just need to decide whether to put them onto red wagons (probably 4 plank opens) or grey (probably W1 cattle wagons).

 

Having resolved that problem as far as we can, let's open the next can of worms... What colour should the underframe be?

 

Atkins et al unhelpfully says "Most GWR freight wagons were painted dark grey with white lettering, this colour scheme having become standardised about 1898; before that time black and red had additionally been used".

 

This leaves it unclear whether the earlier colour scheme was that most wagons (excluding brake vans I think) were a combination of black and red, or some earlier wagons were wholly black and other earlier wagons were wholly red. One source, Modellers' Guide to the Great Western Railway (from Silver Link Publications in 2002), suggests "red with black ironwork" - not sure if this is independent research or just an interpretation of Atkins. Another source ( http://www.gwr.org.uk/liverieswagonred.html ) indicates red solebar and black below (and quotes Atkins et al differently from my copy) - as this was the first reference I found this is what I have used so far.

 

David

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David,

 

From what I remember from reading of "Great Western Way", the interpretation I always had was that the GWR had all black wagons at one point (very early on), then all red ones, and finally all grey ones.

 

Clearly the ironwork at or below the solebars could have been black on the red wagons, I don't think that the body ironwork would have been black (I think that even on the orthochromatic film of the day that black would look considerably darker than the red woodwork, and in my opinion that isn't supported in the photographs).

 

Either way I intend to weather my red wagons in such a way as the axle guards, brakes, springs and axle boxes will be quite dirty anyway - although having followed your link, I now think that black below the solebar does look nice :-)

 

Ian

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David,

 

I have started on some artwork for some cast plates, as I intend trying a bit of self etching and thought they would be a good thing to start off with.

 

Because they are so small (and because only the number plates need to be different) I am going to attempt a set of plates for a couple of W1 cattle wagons, a couple for O4 and O5 open wagons, and a couple for V6 Iron Mink too (all on the same small etch). If they are successful I will let you know (and post something here too).

 

Ian

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