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Nick Lawson

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  1. That would be interesting. I should have known it wasn't that simple! Thanks for the info.
  2. @Compound2632 as well as suggesting the D492 Ratio cut-down as an alternative to the Slater's kit, had elsewhere noted that the Ratio kits all follow the earlier 13'3" height design with the taller, narrower clerestory. For completeness: the Slater's kits model the later 13'1" height with the lower, wider clerestory; so the modeller can have both. Also, the Slater's sides have the earlier style door windows, while the Ratio kits all have the later door ventilators. A modeller of an earlier period (mentioning no names!) with their hands on both kits might even be able to combine the earlier sides with the earlier roof?
  3. Cut and shut In which I get diverted away from my main project for a week. I was taken by the idea discussed in other threads of cut-and-shut options for Ratio coaches. One I fancied trying was converting a D499 brake third to a D500 brake third (One extra compartment at the expense of the lavatories and a reduced luggage facility). These coaches were originally produced for local traffic with short buffers for close-coupling. However Lacey & Dow P271 notes that the 30 carriages in Lot 518 'may have been intended for branch lines because the Lot Register notes that they were to be “the same as Lot 512 except long buffers”'. I thought that for my 1923 period I might get away with putting a D500 on one end of a rake. With this in mind I had been looking out for scruffy coaches I might cheaply hack about. I recently bought a very scruffy D499 and D486 from the usual source. Anyone who wondered “which idiot bought that?”... um, well it was me. I had divined from the pictures before purchase that the coaches might be too damaged for the scheme above, but I had a fall-back plan, in part suggested by @Compound2632 in another thread: "I'm toying with what else one could produce by cut'n'shut: the passenger end of the D499 third brake could make a D492 6-wheel lavatory third..." On receiving the models, the D499 was indeed too far gone for “diagram reassignment” to D500, but still possible for abbreviation to D492. However, my first essay in cut-and-shut was the D486 (6 x 3rd compartments, lavatories and a luggage compartment) which I planned to cut-down to a 33'6” D491 (5 x 3rd class compartments) This means jettisoning the plastic bogies and acquiring a 6 wheel chassis. The half-assembled kit came in three parts – floor & undercarriage; sides ends and some partitions; and the roof. The original modeller had snookered themselves by fixing the buffer beams too high to allow the body to sit on the floor as intended, which didn't matter to me as I needed to shorten the floor and reclaim the beams anyway. However they had also failed to remove all traces of the sprue while managing to blob glue here and there, so the clean-down took longer than hoped. I managed to separate one side before damaging an end that was weaker than the glue holding it, so left the remaining end attached to one side. I've no idea what this kit has been through but the sides had acquired a pronounced sag downwards in the middle. They must have been softened considerably as they were also pushed in at the top either side of each compartment partition. My cut-and-shut of the sides has removed the sag along the length of the remaining carriage; and hopefully the other distortion won't be too obvious when the roof is on. I didn't attempt a precision engineering job on the sides. I marked them and cut them freehand oversize, and then gently filed the pieces down afterwards. I followed the received wisdom of cutting down the sides along the door frames for the pieces ending in a door. The corresponding pieces with a compartment window I cut out such that there was a remaining sliver of window frame to glue against the door frame. I had to remove the luggage compartment and cut it down to provide the two new ends to the shortened sides. This wasn't too bad although some redundant detail had to scraped off, particularly a commode handle. I didn't fancy my chances of keeping everything lined up nicely while waiting for Mekpak to go off so I resorted to an old tube of Revell Contacta abandoned by my son when he left home. This seemed to do the business. Afterwards I cut out and glued in some plasticard reinforcements which hopefully won't be too obvious. As I said earlier, I need to source a chassis to build this coach up on (maybe Brassmasters). The roof is going to be another bit of fun. While the sides bellied downwards the roof arches upwards in the middle. (What is it with these roof pieces that they do this?) As the clerestory appears to be glued firmly in place I may have to resort to hot water to flatten this down. Anyway this has been an interesting diversion and at least demonstrated to me that chop-shopping is sufficiently practicable that in future I might risk the outlay on a new model to cut about (saving faffing about undoing somebody else's modelling). However, I think I'd only want to do it where I can't buy a specific kit. I see Mr Branchlines sells a D491 along with three other 33'6” models. Oh yes and a D500. (And many other interesting kits too!) Actually, there is one possible exception to the above resolution. In my unstarted projects stash there is a Slater's D530 full brake, which I was disappointed to discover is a full 2mm under scale length. As a result I also have Highland Miscellany's brass D530 kit (which he created when he made that discovery). I had intended to sell on the Slater's kit, but suspect I may find myself inserting a couple of extensions into each of its sides. This of course would be the easy part. Whereas with the D491 I have been shortening the parts, The D530 would also need the floor and roof to be extended. Oh well back to my unfinished D486!
  4. Ah! With an experimental blue/purple livery perhaps?
  5. RJ Essery's "Illustrated History of the Ashchurch to Barnt Green Line - The Evesham Route" is also a useful source for this. From a quick skim: 1. The season for produce ran from March to Christmas. 2. Even in the 50's when he fired on this line some produce traveled in sheeted open wagons. 3. The peak of the season was for plums, when the Midland had recorded shifting 1,000 tons in a week, which he estimates at 33 vehicles a day if you could pack 6 tons in each. Also the GWR was competing for this traffic, so the overall tonnage would have been higher; but the transport rates were consequently lower than in other areas.
  6. Stephen, ok fine! These are the 51L MRC057 - a pack of 8
  7. Bogie bolster springs I decided to leave for now the question of the end-on appearance of replacement bogies and diverted to a simpler matter of building bogies for a coach in the middle of the rake where the ends are not so visible. I went back to my Brassmasters bogies. As I had in fact bought two pairs of these, I made up a third bogie as per the supplied instructions so that I had a matching pair. This time I aimed to build it complete with stepboards before fitting these to the one already made. However before getting to that I tried to represent the bolster springs visible in the chassis Referring back again to Stephen Williams' 4mm coach part one, he demonstrated the addition of the transverse springing characteristic of the coaches when built. However "I'm indebted to m'learned friend” @Compound2632 who advised that these had gone by 1920 and are thus not relevant to my time period. [Memo to self: remember to dig out that unopened packet of castings and flog it]. Replacement helical springs were fitted to these coaches. The best illustration of these is possibly in Lacey & Dow vol 2, opposite the Contents page. The instructions for Branchlines' clerestory kits (another story - probably 5 years into the future at my rate of progress) suggest taking a 6BA bolt and splitting it in half to simulate these springs. Not having such a thing, I looked up its approximate threadsize. According to Google this is 2.3 mm, approximating to 7 inches in real life. This seemed rather small, certainly compared with the photograph in L & D and drawings of the later Bain bogies which had springs of around 12” diameter. However in my garage I have many, many gash bolts. A rummage in a tin provided something slightly under 4mm diameter which (unscientifically I know) looked more like it, so I sawed it into lengths. The Ratio bogies have a plastic main stretcher. Earlier I had over-enthusiastically cleaned the sideframe mouldings of unwanted protrusions, thereby removing the mountings for this stretcher. However, I think they might have put the stretcher in a bit high anyway. I drilled the stretcher at each end to take a length of “spring” and then discovered these to be slightly too long to clear the underneath of the pivot wires for the brass chassis, so a bit of fettling ensued. Finally I superglued the stretcher on top of the lowest part of the sideframes. The picture shows the raw, unpainted springs. Comparing to the prototype I bemoan the fact that my gash bolt collection doesn't run to left-hand threads. Life is so unfair...
  8. Replacement bogies. The Ratio kits include plastic bogies which are notoriously flimsy. Perhaps less well known is that they have a slightly undersized wheelbase (about 0.5mm) and when assembled the coaches ride too high. I have looked at alternatives. If I tell y'all what I've tried, hopefully someone will tell me what I should have done! Firstly, in “Another Place” last year, Bill Bedford raised the tantalising possibility of 3D-printed replacements. https://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=6795&sid=874626701c068edcd1f3c06f4175ae6f&start=25#p72927 Sadly these have not appeared yet, but I live in hope. In the meantime: Various former products aren't available either. Dave Bradwell has stopped doing his MR bogies. 247 Developments are currently out of stock and waiting on a change of supplier. Cunning Plan 1: Eileen's Emporium do Bill Bedford's old range of sprung etched bogie chassis. I've used a few sprung W irons from this range and quite like them, so I tried the 10' wheelbase kit. This is extremely delicate to start with and would require filing down even finer at the bottom to hide behind the tapering Clayton axleboxes, for which they were evidently never intended. (Picture 1). I've put these to one side for now, pending a “Cunning Plan 1A” occurring to me. Cunning Plan 2. I bought some Brassmasters 10' CCU units. These bogies are pivoted transversely so that each side can pitch independently of the other. The pivots are brass pins with a rather rounded underside to the head, so seemed to be a bit of a sloppy fit. I soldered washers to the underside of the pinheads to get a flatter, firmer stomach fit. I then trimmed the back of the Ratio plastic bogie sides and glued these to the chassis; which is when I discovered the discrepancy on the wheelbase of the former (see above). A bit of unscheduled sideways gouging was required to open up the plastic axle end holes to match the brass chassis. The offset of wheels from centre of cosmetic axleboxes isn't too noticeable provided you don't look. The pivotting is controlled by wires soldered across the otherwise open ends, meaning that cosmetically the bogie ends are a bit lacking. For a coach in the middle of a fixed rake this wouldn't matter. As I'm building a brake/3rd to go at the end of a rake, I tried taking the plastic Ratio bogie end and pinning it unglued to one end of the bogie with brass wire such that the bogie can still flex as intended. This was a bit of a faff to file back the brass sides to fit this end piece and I'm not sure how long it will stay in place anyway. I didn't feel inspired to do the same to other end of the bogie. (Picture 2) The brass chassis does include fold-up brake shoes. I only broke one off! (reattached) but the nature of the compensation means it would be very difficult to fit any further brake gear. Fitting the brass bogie mount to the underside of the coach floor was when I discovered that the coach rides too high to match normal buffer height. Having prised the brass mounting plate back out of the Araldite, I adjusted the height. In fact to get the correct buffer height the coach has to sit very low on the bogie so that there is minimal clearance between solebar and bogie. I sat the coach on what I think is the tightest curve it will have to negotiate and thankfully I think this is ok in my case. With hindsight I realise I missed a trick, in that I could have slotted some lead inside the u section bogie mountings before glueing. Maybe next time. Cunning Plan 3. I bought a set of MJT 10' CCUs from Dart Castings. These are also longitudinally split bogies, but in this case the transverse pivots are replaced by a torsion rod. This means that control wires are not needed at the ends which therefore can have an end frame, (but in two halves). I may well relegate the Brassmasters bogies to a coach in the middle of the rake and use MJTs on the end coaches. The MJT bogies don't include any brake gear at all. Dart also supply whitemetal caliper brake block castings, but frankly the alternatives supplied by Wizard looked nicer, so I got some of those instead. I haven't actually built these MJT bogies yet, as they were overtaken by: Cunning Plan 4. By my time period, a percentage of Clayton clerestories had had their original 10' bogies replaced by 8' bogies. The Comet range, supplied by Wizard, includes MR 8' bogies with cosmetic whitemetal sides and an optional springing kit. The brass chassis is rigid and the only flexibility is at the bogie pivot. The optional springing is in fact a damping mechanism to limit sideways rolling while still allowing the bogie to pitch longitudinally. (in the third pic below, the pair of arch-topped verticals are riding on these springs). The cosmetic bogie sides are evidently the last remaining piece of an earlier whitemetal kit. You have to saw an awful lot of metal off the back to match the brass chassis; and even then it's very thick in some places – but not very robust in others. Like the Ratio sides, these whitemetal ones are less than the nominal wheelbase, so more gouging was required - more difficult with whitemetal, particularly as I had previously burnt-out my minidrill on a bit of diy. I built one of this pair, just in time to read elsewhere in this forum @Daddyman said "I wouldn't recommend using any system that consists in putting a thick W/M frame on to an etched innards as the bogies will end up too wide, which will play havoc with your footboard supports, if you're fitting any. I found that out the hard way..." I haven't fitted any footboards yet. Compared with my Brassmasters/Ratio bogies, the Comet one is perhaps 1mm wider in places, (accentuated by the shorter length) although the widths over the axleboxes themselves are more comparable. As the Comet bogies are rigid you can at least add brakegear to the shoes which are provided. I had half a set of yokes left over from something else, so I faked them into the ends, but leaving the inner brakes with a plain wire crossbar. Anyway that's the story so far.
  9. No, they have to be scraped off after painting. I hummed and hawed about whether to paint first and fix later, but tried it this way first. The picture is post-priming, so I've already scraped once. It wasn't that onerous.
  10. Sometime later... Commode and door handles One of the improvements to these coaches illustrated by Stephen Williams [“The 4mm coach – Part one”] is to cut away the mouldings for the L-shaped commode handles and replace them with brass. I had a go at this, using 0.3mm wire. The prototype handles had a very square corner, which is not really replicable in bent wire. They were also fixed at three points. I toyed for a while with bending up larger gauge wire which I could file down to achieve a squarer corner and to which I could solder a third leg; but then the other side of my brain threw its teddy out of the pram and I settled for bent brass with two legs, for a quiet life. However, in order to get the handles to sit parallel with the coach side, when cutting away the moulded plastic plastic, I left a small, half-height “plinth” at the angle to glue the unsupported corner against. I have a Bill Bedford handrail bending jig (available from Eileen's Emporium). This is of course for straight handrails, so I used it to make a straight handrail of the overall required length and then laid this sideways on the jig to bend it in half in the other plane. It took me three goes to find the right overall length. A number of my attempts to bend a handle in half (without one end secured as for the intended use of the jig) were off target so I just started again each time. I'm sure I've seen somebody does a jig for right-angled bend handrails, but don't remember where. The jig did at least make it relatively easy to get a set of handrails that look reasonably similar and reasonably square. The main thing with fitting these to the coach beading is that it is really obvious if the relevant parts of the handrail aren't parallel with the beading. I drilled the hole for the top fixing first, inserted the long end of the wire into this and then marked and drilled the hole for the other end. Some of my marking up was obviously defective and some remedial broaching was called for. Looking back I didn't do enough of this on some of my earlier handles and it shows. Part way through this job I added a refinement: as a last adjustment before glueing a handle in place I flattened the front surface of the handle with rough emery and then polished with fine. I think this two minute step makes the commode handles look a bit less like wire; and it is much easier to do it before fixing. Again I see I have done this better in some cases than others, so this may be something where it is better to fettle up a matching set together, rather than making and fitting them individually. I started off by putting superglue on the front, but changed to just blobbing glue around the legs of the handle on the inside of the coach; because in some cases with sloppy holes the handle had stuck fast before I could position it accurately. Also this made less mess and seems to have worked adequately. Afterwards I filled holes around the handles with tippex (a wheeze I picked up elsewhere in this forum). Apart from the commode handles, there are also the T door handles. I replaced the moulding with Markits brass handles. Compared to the foregoing saga, these were quick and easy to do. I drilled holes for the handles and with minimal gentle broaching had a push fit. Altogether I'm quite pleased with the overall result which meets the 2 foot rule, certainly when I take my glasses off.
  11. A small additional detail: the Modified Hall also had a new, modified No1 boiler, with 3 rows of superheater tubes as compared with the original No1's 2 rows. http://www.greatwestern.org.uk/m_in_hal.htm There was a visible external difference - the external steampipes were slightly longer, joining the smokebox higher up https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fc8.alamy.com%2Fcomp%2FKMG0EW%2Fmodified-hall-class-6960-raveningham-hall-pulling-the-somerset-coast-KMG0EW.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alamy.com%2Fstock-image-modified-hall-class-6960-raveningham-hall-pulling-the-somerset-coast-167538081.html&tbnid=KI0EOfH3rVdxFM&vet=10CAMQxiAoAGoXChMI0JbUxsbR8gIVAAAAAB0AAAAAEA8..i&docid=o-r-5tkS0e5U8M&w=1300&h=957&itg=1&q=modified hall boilers&client=firefox-b-d&ved=0CAMQxiAoAGoXChMI0JbUxsbR8gIVAAAAAB0AAAAAEA8 than on the earlier engines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GWR_4900_Class_5900_Hinderton_Hall#/media/File:Hinderton_Hall_5900_Didcot.jpg Your loco looks to have the longer steampipes. These newer boilers were interchangeable with the older ones. The preserved, but unrestored 5952 has a "modified hall boiler"
  12. Thanks for the info on panelling/beading and analysing old photographs Are there any photos from late Midland days of Clayton clerestories modified with door ventilators? People seem to hedge about this and stick safely with the knowledge that some appeared like this in LMS days. Personally it seems reasonable that as Bain stock was built with them that the Midland might well have converted earlier stock, but I don't think I've seen the photographic evidence (although as you've noticed I can't tell the difference between Bain & Clayton stock in some of these pictures). Not having to bore out all the door ventilators on an entire rake would be a definite win. On the subject of this conversion, I spotted item "10415 - C &W index of changes to stock" in the Midland Study Centre's online search tool. I asked Dave Harris about digitising this in the hope that the start date of this door modification might appear. He did the index but said there was too much material to do the rest. I haven't had time / opportunity to pursue this further. I'm very grateful for this discussion as I'm learning a lot!
  13. I started a thread while thinking about underframes, then slipped in a diversion to clerestory sides. I've given the thread a more general name before moving on to: roof rain strips. Following Stephen Williams I made rain strips for the lower roof from plastic strip. The Ratio moulding in fact had a ghost of a rain strip which I used as a guide. The end result looked like SW's, but not like the prototype photographs. The rain strip should not curve down at the ends as much shown. I managed to get the strip ends away from the roof again and straightened them up a bit, although they should be slightly higher still. Memo to self: remember this when you get to the next coach.
  14. Stephen, Really? Looking at e.g. Lacey & Dow fig 162, (earlier than my period) the clerestory panels look to be recessed. And are they glass or a solid replacement?! Whereas the Pullman sleeper in fig 184 has more obviously flush windows. Ah! That's useful to know! I note btw that on that carriage, minus gaslamp tops, it is the torpedo vents that line up with the doors, c.f. the other style where the gaslamp tops align with the doors with torpedoes offset to one side. So, if I have removed the door ventilators, (seemed like a good idea at the time) should I also steer clear of the clerestory grilles? I like your suggestion of indicating stuff with paint, as that means I can defer a decision! Otherwise I'm never going to get anything into service. Thanks also for the interesting links
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