On to more coaching stock affairs. Back in July, I mentioned the acquisition of a 3D print job, and now I can review how that’s gone. I became aware of 3D printing around about four years ago, seeing and marvelling at the geewhiz technology at model shows, but have to admit I wasn’t very impressed with the end results. With a lot of water under the bridge since then, improvements have occurred to printers and materials, and I thought I’d get a sample. Originally I felt the methodology of doing a one piece print made things rather bulky, and I was attracted to the way Mike Trice does his 00 GNR coaches, as kit with separate sides, ends, and roof. He states that less material is needed, keeping costs down, and it’s easier to control surface finish. The print I’ve got, however, is a one piece item, and it really appeals in that getting to the end result is so much quicker and simpler as a result. (When you’re getting old, this does count) The one thing that counts against it is that any internal fitting out such as partitions and seats, or people, becomes very hard, although that’s immaterial on a parcels van like this. Looking through Simon Dawson’s work (http://www.rue-d-etropal.com) on his Shapeways site, I took a fancy to a four wheel brake van which will fit in well with future plans. Shapeways? Well, the general opinion is they’re an expensive way of going on, certainly a more recent print from another source gives me a direct comparison between their price and the same item obtained when the designer offers it direct from his resources, and there is a hefty mark up. Anyhow, hang the expense, results are what’s needed, so...
Unwrapping the parcel I was quite taken with the finish, I did do a picture in my July post, but it is quite an awkward light coloured body to make a picture of, slightly translucent, so not too informative. I resolved not to worry about cleaning in alcohol, or any smoothing. There is a slight amount of banding on the tumblehome curve on the lower body side, but not too obvious, maybe next time I should do a rub with emery paper. Detail work is very good, nice clean mouldings, which is really why you buy these readymade models, and finely defined things like ventilators. The van in question is a four wheel brake van built by the GER in 1880, 27’ body, diagram 508. I haven’t found a picture of one in old GER train photographs, these all have the later six wheel 31’6” diagram 509 type, but comparing the model with the pictures, there’s very little difference, just some jiggery pokery to sort out the panel spacing. One was sold to the WCPR and had the duckets removed, and this forms the basis of Simons design (a lot of his output centres around stock running on light railways.) I got the details shuttling between the GERS and Colonel Stephens sites. As I want the parent version I knocked out a pair of duckets in sheet brass and added them on, and another extra was rainstrips on the roof.
The body was painted in a “teak” finish, my first go at this, and I found it quite interesting. There’s plenty of advice on RMweb on doing this, first off it had a coat of Humbrol light grey primer, then a coat of a golden brown shade using a very old Humbrol tin. The fancy bit was the “scumbling” using very thinned down GWR coach chocolate. This is thinned but not runny, a bit of a contradiction, smearing on with a nearly “dry” brush, along the hypothetical grain of the panels, with dabs with a finger tip or tissue to take down bits where it had gone too opaque. The inner window frames got a coat of mahogany, the roof grey, and buffers and below solebar a charcoal grey, and footboards a sort of natural wood colour. Lettering was done with a springbow pen. Fortunately the GER didn’t line out the panel mouldings, saving one fiddly job. As the chocolate was dull I gave the body a coat of satin varnish, and was pleased at how this fetched the coach up. Then I fitted door handles and handrails, and glued round the back of the windows to take pieces of clear plastic for glazing. Brass strips went behind the solebars, so that it could carry drawhooks and trainpipes, the whole lot being araldited up after these were soldered on.
This just left the wheels, from Slaters, and at the back of the axleboxes a circular depression has been left. The top hat bearings went on the journals, and I found the assembly could be “sprung” quite comfortably into the depressions, and the van would sit down quite squarely. The assemblies were taken out, the depressions filled with 24hour araldite, the wheel assemblies replaced, and left to sit on a nice flat surface. My view is that if you’re using 0 finescale wheels, the extra bit of depth on the flanges is sufficient to allow decent running on trackwork with a four wheel uncompensated chassis. Any derailments you need to look at your track. With S7 wheels compensation is a must. And, of course, a six wheel 3D print is going to need extra work to add flexibility, which the four wheel print doesn’t.
Down to the acid test, how does it run? Up and down the main, in and out of the siding, no worries. (Phew!) At the start of this it struck me that the print was relatively light, weighing the completed van with wheels it was only 4oz. (100g), so I made it the jam in a sandwich with the loco and a Slaters sixwheeler ( 9.5oz. 260g) and ran the set up and down to see if it could get squeezed, and this went off very well, so I don’t intend to add any ballast inside the van for now. It struck me how picturesque the set was in an Irish setting, dark green loco, teak van, red coach. [Off to Ulster, BCDR, GNRI, NCC?]
So all in all, I’m quite in favour of the idea of a 3D print model, its certainly a nice quick way forward with your modelling, just finding what’s available. From Simons site at present, talking pregroup four and six wheelers, there’s four wheeler LCDR, H&B, NER, District; four and six wheel GER and MGWR; and sixwheel L&Y and ECJS, besides oddities like Drummonds “Bug” and the Duke of Sutherland’s saloon.