Not posted anything for quite a while....
Things have been progressing slowly, having done a bit more trackwork and I've also been trying to fettle a loco or two (without complete success so far, but they're getting close!). But I keep getting distracted by wagons: I find the urge to start a new wagon quite irresistible at times. So, I've been working on some more cattle wagons. Before this latest batch the train consisted of 5 x LNER, 2 x LMS and 2 x SR. The SR ones are Hornby which, apart from swapping the wheels, haven't had anything done to them as yet (they don't need much).
When I first started planning the cattle train many years ago now, I assumed that I would need lots of LNER wagons so I bought around a dozen of the Parkside ones. I also wanted a few LMS ones so I got some David Geen ones. There's one of each in this photo:
I built these before all the debate about the relative proportions of cattle wagons from the Big Four in early British Railways days (which was partly provoked by the release of Oxford Rail's attempt at the LNER one). From this debate, and also from photographic evidence elsewhere, it became apparent that 5 LNER wagons was probably enough for the train I want to build, and that I needed quite a few more LMS ones. So, I'm currently building 3 more LMS wagons.
When Parkside released the D1661 LMS cattle wagon a few years back, I was surprised to read (in more than one place) in the model railway press that they had "filled a notable gap" in the cattle wagon market. I found this strange, because the perfectly good David Geen kit had been available for many years prior to the Parkside one (although it's not currently in production of course). I thought it was unfortunate that Parkside chose the D1661 (i.e. the same as the Geen kit) rather than the later D1840 (which is quite similar but is vacuum fitted and has detail differences) or, even better, the D1944 (which has internal framing, and really would have plugged a gap in the market). Don't get me wrong - the Parkside kit is excellent, I just wish they'd done a different diagram, especially as I really wanted some of the later ones. Anyway...
In terms of the body work, the main differences between the D1661 and the D1840 are in the drop doors and strapping detail. As I understand it, the D1661 had either 2 or 3 plank drop doors, whilst the D1840 always had 3 plank doors. In terms of brakegear, the D1661s were either unfitted or piped, whilst the D1840s were all fully fitted. As 2 of the 3 I'm currently building will be D1840s, they need to have 3-plank doors: the David Geen kit included alternative castings for 2 and 3 plank doors, but the Parkside kit only has a moulding for the 2 plank door. The photo below shows the Parkside side with a Geen 3-plank door casting (not yet cleaned up): it is fairly obvious what needs to be cut away to make the casting fit into the plastic side.
The final photo shows where I've got to with the rake of three wagons (obviously some way still to go!):
Left to right these are:
i) D1661 using the Parkside body, sitting on Masokits sprung W-irons. The rest of the (piped only) gear will be from the kit, plus some vac pipes from MJT.
ii) D1840 using the Parkside body with a Geen 3-plank drop door moulding. This sits on a (currently incomplete) underframe from Bill Bedford (available from Eileen's)
iii) D1840 using the Geen body, again sitting on a Bill Bedford underframe
Eventually, I'll probably make some more D1840s - I have one more Geen and 2 Parkside kits in the drawer, but don't have any more spare 3-plank doors, so they will have to be done in Plasticard for the Parkside kits. Some D1944s would also be nice, but I don't have time for full scratchbuilds at the moment!