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It's been a long while since anything was posted here - most of the modelling in 2011 was on the layout, where the bulk of the major work still outstanding was tackled , but some progress has recently been made on stock as I currently have a little spare time .


Firstly the Ratio Van B. Work resumed last Autumn , only for me to find that that I couldn't find the etched sheet . Eventually I swallowed hard and decided to improvise. This meant fabrication of replacement door hinges from microstrip and of replacement chalk boards from card. The bogies were made up and I found a way of inserting Kadees.


Three days ago the etch turned up - it was in the paint-drying box in the airing cupboard, where I had put it having primed the thing....


A comparison shows that my replacement hinges are about twice as wide, but I think I would make a mess if I tried to cut them off now and I will live with a slightly chunky look . The chalk boards are slightly too long, but only slightly. The handrails, door handles etc etc can now be added using the original components. I hope it should now be possible to make reasonably rapid progress to a finished vehicle - though lettering and weathering make prove a further obstacle (But at least at that point I'll be able to run the thing in a parcels train)




I have started dabbling again with the Pacer, which had been stalled for two years . I have a DC Kits 128 + Replica motorised chassis which I'm intending to build but that keeps not getting started ... In the meantime, I've been picking away at other jobs lying stalled on the bookcase . Two N guage containers with part applied YML transfers have been almost finished . A spare C-Rail 40' kit has been built up , and two more which had a first coat of paint have been rounded up (this being when I found the etch for the VanB ) I need some more transfers for these, and probably some paint as they are likely to change colour. This can be sorted out at Ally Pally this coming weekend


Meantime, as the ex WD road van has been stalled for a long long time and I have no steam era brake - the boxfile doesn't really need one - I thought I'd get a refreshing quick win by building a kit I acquired as an easier alternative - a secondhand Parkside kit for an LNER Toad B , bought for £2 from a trader's second-hand box at Peterborough last autumn. (The kit has not been in the Parkside range for some years)


Progress to date can be seen here .



I was expecting the fit to be a little rough and ready in an older kit like this but so far it's been good. . However the big snag is obvious - no handrails. These have to be added , "freehand" as it were, by the modeller. The continuous H handrail on the side - with two handrail knobs thrown for good measure ., one each side of the ducket, is not going to be easy , and I've decided to cheat , and do them as 3 seperate handrails. I'm still not looking forward to this at all...


The windows to the veranda have been glazed and areas that will be difficult to get at once the roof is on have been painted


In parallel , I started playing about with the WD road van as well. More of the handrails have gone in - I'm about half way through the job now. One or two of the holes may need redrilling - which will have to wait till the weather improves . One handrail is not absolutely straight, but several attempts to adjust have not brought an improvement -- the problem is that one of the horizontal handrails touches it. The van has a further weakness in that one corner is not absolutely square . I didn't know that resin could be bent slightly if it's dropped into hot water and left. I now think I can get it very close to being finished - to the point where an afternoon's work outside will be enough




The two brakes and the trailing car of the Pacer have had lead sheet araldited into them as ballast


As my "quick win" was looking distinctly problematic , I went looking for another quick win, and dug out a Cambrian Dogfish kit....


This is not a quick win. It looks like one of the most challenging wagon kits out there. The problem is that there is almost nothing to it . There is a nicely moulded one piece hopper, but that is no help at all because you don't build the wagon round it . Instead you are supposed to build the pretty skeletal underframe on its own. In fact the instructions tell you to assemble the headstocks and solebars on their own with nothing else attached to them. And you're supposed to get it square. Somehow. Multi-armed Indian deities are at a big advantage here - ordinary mortals may struggle


I rapidly decided that this was simply not on, and I fitted the end plating to the two half-underframes, on the basis this would at least give me two reasonably strong, reasonably square, halves to join. A quick look at Geoff Kent's 4mm Wagon Pt 1 shows that he had serious problems with this kit . (Strictly speaking he built the Catfish , but I'm pretty certain it's actually the same kit with a different, shallower, 1 piece hopper) . He had to resort to bodging to get a square underframe , and I'm hardly in his league as a modeller. In the end I held the two halves together with large blobs of blu-tak at opposite corners ,with the wheels and bearings trapped in place, and tweaked it intil it sat square on the mirror, at which point I ran in the solvent at each corner , and waited till it set


The pretty-well inevitable result was blu tak stuck to the plastic in one or two places . Not good, and not entirely unexpected, but by this point I didn't think there were any good routes out of this one. I've removed it, and the only visible damage is to the detail on about 4-5 mm at one end of one solebar. I have managed to clean this up, more or less, and once painted it should not show. This sort of thing is highly undesirable, obviously, but I think the only alternative would have been to abandon the kit as effectively unbuildable





A second area where Geoff Kent had difficulties - and I'm struggling too - is in fitting the hopper . In order to get this to sit on as many places as possible I've had to add scraps of microstrip to the tops of the lower struts - a quick look at some photos shows that there is in fact a plate here to reinforce the join. Any residual difficulty will hopefully be taken care of by melting of the plastic when solvent is applied . The poor quality photo shows the hopper still loose in position . Getting the hopper to sit level in both planes also requires careful adjustment


All in all , not a kit for a novice. I'm not a novice when it comes to wagon kits, and it's taken all the tricks I know to build it with some imperfections


Why tackle such a difficult kit in the first place when there's a perfectly good Heljan RTR model? Well it was one of four Cambrian kits for Engineers wagons I was given by a friend about 18 months ago. It cost me nothing, it would suit an early period Engineers train for Blacklade and before starting

I thought this was going to be the best kit in the bag (Also the alternative was a Shark - I didn't fancy a third brake van)

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