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The Coronation, the Silhouette, Mr Jenkinson and Me

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I have been a fan of the LNER Coronation for as long as I can remember (and at my age that is a long time). I have watched various topics on RMWeb where people have attempted to build either the Mailcoach kits or etched equivalents.


During a recent clear out prior to house alterations I found some Mailcoach Coronation kits and felt in the mood to give them a go. In spite of several attempts to search various sites for peoples experiences in finishing these kits I was surprised to find very little. I had a few ideas in my mind that I wanted to try out so the contents of a Mailcoach MC10 LNER Coronation Brake 3rd/Kitchen 3rd were laid out for inspection. The kits are clearly based on the Isinglass drawings however studying the prototype in as much detail as possible it was clear that some aspects of the Isinglass drawings were misinterpreted.


I decided that it would be easier to paint and line the sides before they were assembled into complete vehicles.


A small block had some fine wet and dry glued to one face and the various raised beading was filed smooth to remove the machine marks from the moulding. The end vertical beading line on the model is in reality a rebate and this was carefully filed down. All handles, hinges and handrails were also removed and filed smooth:



A piece of Frisk masking film was fixed to the inner face of the side, then the windows cut around 1mm too large and the remaining parts of the film removed. I apologise for trying to photograph transparent sides with the transparent masking film in place:



A piece of masking film was then added to the front face and the windows cut out along the panel lines then the waste removed:



Both inner and outer faces were then sprayed with Halford's matt black followed up with grey primer:



A homemade mix of Vallejo acrylics were then mixed up (more later) and the upper Marlborough Blue sprayed on the outer sides (I have subsequently removed the outer masking film as I was impatient to see how it had turned out):



The inner face uppers were brush painted in Vallejo Buff (120) then a day later the sides were masked ready to paint the lower colour:



Here the lower panels have been brush painted with Vallejo Black Green (100) and the masking removed when dry:



For the outer face a new piece of masking film was applied over the upper Marlborough Blue panels and trimmed along the horizontal trim strip then the homemade Garter Blue sprayed on the lower panels:



So far so good.

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So the sides are now painted. How to do the stainless steel lining?


A lot of articles suggested using silver pens to line the trim. I found these difficult to control so was not totally happy with their use. I did have a degree of success using Humbrol enamel paint in a ruling pen, but struggled to see clearly enough and ended up running off of the moulded trim. My final attempt was to spray a piece of clear transfer paper then trim into thin strips and apply piece by piece:



Still unsatisfied I resorted to ordering a roll of chrome tape but while waiting for it to arrive spotted a roll of Fablon polished silver sticky backed plastic in a local Hobbycraft. Lightbulb moment, could I cut windows using my Silhouette cutter using the fablon? You bet.


The Mailcoach sides were scanned and imported into Inkscape, sized, then the various windows traced to provide the various window shapes. The cutter worked beautifully with the Fablon:



Here you can see the result using the Fablon:



One of the problems with the Mailcoach sides is the trim is overwide. This is partly due to the thick drawn lines in the Isinglass drawings making it difficult to determine their correct width. Disatisfied with the over wide trim I attempted to reduce its width to something more scale and cut another set. The coach on the right has the new thinner trim. Much better:



Here is a completed side with the trim applied. Unfortunately if you enlarge the right hand end you can see where my original silver lining went wonky and flowed off of the trim moulding:



Unfortunately at this point in time I did not have any further custom Garter Blue mixed to enable me to touch it in. So my first lesson learnt is do not just mix enough for the immediate job!

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Wow that looks superb, keep us updated please ! These kits do have a bit of a reputation apparently....



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Following on from my lesson in making sure I have enough custom mixed paint to allow touching up I decided to purchase some empty Vallejo paint bottles from ebay and mix up larger quantities. I could then use as much as I needed for the initial spraying, but have more available for subsequent coaches, or for touching up.


The custom paint shades produced were carefully matched to Precision Garter and Marlborough Blue as follows.


Marlborough Blue is made up of equal quantities of Vallejo Pale Blue (064) and White (001):



An empty Vallejo bottle had two marks made in felt tip in equal measure and the Pale Blue added up to the first mark:



White was then added up to the second mark. A couple of glass beads were put in the bottle, the spout put back in place, the cap added and the mix shaken over an extended period of time to ensure they are well mixed:



Just to play safe I added a custom label and included the formula used.


Garter Blue is made up of three colours also mixed in equal quantities: Turquoise (069), Dark Blue (053) and Dark Grey (166).



Another empty Vallejo bottle was marked up with three divisions and Turquoise added up the the first mark:



Then Dark Blue:



And finally Dark Grey. Also visible in this photo are a couple of the glass beads added to the paint jar to aid agitation.



The finished result:




Edited by MikeTrice
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?... In spite of several attempts to search various sites for peoples experiences in finishing these kits I was surprised to find very little.....

The kit might have sold hundreds, but that doesn't mean they were built!

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     Very nice , I have built the Tourist version of these and I vowed never again. The ones I had even after buying spares had poor thick glazing which shows when built they look like bulletproof glass , overall fit of all parts and woeful roofs . A lot of time was spent getting them as good as I could. Good luck with yours. I painted the outsides luckily they didn't need Silver lining !.


     I have also built a Silver Jubillee set in etched brass, I used Fox Silver lining decals on those without problem.

Edited by micklner

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As micklner has said there are many mistakes in the Mailcoach sides, some of which are also wrong in the Isinglass drawings. I had intended to substitute most of the kit with replacement and scratchbuilt parts but in view of the over heaver trim came to the conclusion that it would be simpler to just scratch build them and abandon the kits.


Five years ago I started a discussion on David Jenkinson's coach building technique (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/18863-plasticard-coach-techniques/). Was it really five years ago? Five years later I am now older and wiser, well perhaps not wiser.


So far I have shied away from using David's technique but keep getting drawn to his book. The problem with Gresley type stock is the clearances at the top above the windows is very tight so I felt some form of quick proof-of-concept was called for hence the following:





This looked promising, and I did have a Silhouette cutter to hand so how hard could it be.......

Edited by MikeTrice
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I'm impressed so far Mike.  It's looking very promising.


A couple of questions, if I may.


i  I have read that some people prefer to paint the interior colours as an undercoat rather than on the inside as you have done as this reduces the visible thickness of the sides.  Have you heard this and, if so, did you reject it for a reason?


ii  What was the reason for the first coat of matt black prior to the grey?

Edited by teaky

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I had not heard of using the interior colours as an undercoat. Sounds a good option and had I thought of it I might have done it.


Because of the thickness of the sides it is likely that some of the window surround would be visible, especially from the inside. By using black as a base colour I hoped it would show up less than grey.

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Following my comments regarding the difficulty of working from the Isinglass drawings I went back to the GA's and put together artwork for the various layers. For simplicity I went for the Open First Twins as one of the twins is the mirror image of the other. The inner side was cut in 20thou black styrene and was made taller than normal for initial strength along the top cornice. Here is the inner side with the profile strips in place:



I should add that David's method is to build a basic box then add the profile strips and outer sides. I chose to make the inner and outer sides as a single unit first.


Two outer sides were cut from 10thou to cater for the recesses at the ends, the door droplights and the various window sliding vent depths. The lower curve was formed using an embossing tool against a ruler then solvented in place using d-Limonene:



Closeup of one end showing the profile and rebate:



Here the profile strips can be seen that form the side profile and provide locations for the glazing strips:



With the sides complete a floor and dummy inner ends were cut from 60thou black styrene and the sides attached, the width being dictated by the proposed use of an MJT aluminium roof and the inner sides reduced to the correct height:





An outer bowed end was constructed from two pieces of 20thou with two layers of 60thou as a spacer giving the correct 9" thickness to the end, unlike the Mailcoach which is only a scale 6" thick:





The profile of the end was adjusted until it was a good fit with the sides and roof:



Here you can see how the new end rebates between the sides. Unfortunately my inner end was not square, a problem I sorted out after the photo was taken:



And with a roof extrusion placed:





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The roof has been trimmed to length and the end filed back to match the bow end (need to get rid of those file marks):



The other end is much simpler:



Some form of interior is needed. I inserted a piece of 20thou as a false floor and mocked up a compartment to see how it would look:



Not certain if I need seats or can get away without them:



Finished interior sub-assembly:



Up until now the ends have been held in place by a wing and a prayer. I used David's technique and produced two "hooks" out of 60thou styrene, much more substantial than David's. The bit of spare styrene is supporting the "hook" while it cures:



Finally with the spare styrene removed and the roof line trimmed up both ends located in place, and I am very pleased how well this works:





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An underframe unit was made using the same principles as the sides. David attaches his components directly to the coach body but I fancied producing mine as a separate sub-assembly:



I had intended to make the false floor out of a single piece of 60thou styrene but in my rush forgot and had to add the extra bits separately:



Here I have attempted to add the various opening panels in the side skirting. I found the Isinglass drawings left a lot to be desired in this area including a lot of mistakes. Hinges were added from small lengths of 10thou strip:



An end drawbar was added:



Here you can see the cutout for the step:



I mentioned earlier that the drawings are incorrect as they do not show the rebates that take the inter-coach fairings. I have already taken account of the rebates on the sides, however they should also carry on over the roof. I dreaded how I was going to do this but in the end it worked out quite simple using a piece of spare roof as a filing guide:



Here is the modified roof complete with filed rebate:





I am not totally happy with the underframe as built so I might remake it. The flare at the top of the fairing should be more pronounced. At least it is not fixed permanently to the coach body!


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G'day all


I am reading with interest as I still have the Mailcoach/Kirk Silver Jubilee set to construct.


Earlswood nob



Likewise!  I wonder how many others are still awaiting build?

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Looking really good Mike, what sort of time has been expended so far ?

Havn't a clue as I have not kept track. Rough guess:


Main body: 2hrs spread over a few days to let the solvent go off.

Roof: 1hr

Interior: 1 1/2"hrs again spread out over time.

Underframe: 1hr spread out.

Artwork: 2hrs

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Havn't a clue as I have not kept track. Rough guess:


Main body: 2hrs spread over a few days to let the solvent go off.

Roof: 1hr

Interior: 1 1/2"hrs again spread out over time.

Underframe: 1hr spread out.

Artwork: 2hrs

Thanks Mike, I often wonder if I'm taking too long with something but that's the sort of timescale ity would take me.


Of course as you work your way through number 2,3,4,5...etc you'll get quicker...... ;)

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Whilst remaking the underframe I took the opportunity of illustrating how I form curves. A craft embosser rubbed over the back of the styrene that is propped over the edge of a ruler. Continually moving the side "up" the ruler allows a full curve to be introduced as required:



Here is the solvent d-Limonene together with the brush I use to apply it. Other makes of Rigger are available:



The new backing pieces together with profile strips applied:



This time I remembered to form the base out of a single piece of 60th black styrene. The skirts have had their overlays applied:



Not the best of photographs but you can just make out the two profile strips used:



And here is the new "sexier" underframe in place. The gap will be reduced and will be helped when the individual components are bolted together. Just need to fit those 50 hinges now and add drawbeams:



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I have been quiet the last few days trying to work out how I might be able to screw the various components together so they can be dismantled at a later date if necessary. The obvious option was to source some thin m2.0 screws 30mm long and take them through the chassis, the body, the false floor with partitions into some form of roof fixing. The next question was where to locate them? The coach is an open coach so any screws in the saloon would be visible. In the end I thought I might get away with tucking them behind the windows. Here is what I did:



Having worked out where the screws were to go I made a drilling template. Pieces of 60thou styrene where epoxy glued to the roof so as to avoid the partitions. The various components were then drilled 1.7mm accordingly. The holes in the roof section then had some screws driven in cutting their own thread in the process, then the holes tidied up. The remaining holes were opened up to just over 2mm to allow the screws to pass through. The bottom of the underframe holes were countersunk slightly.


With the lower components in place along with the screws you can see their location better in this photo:



And with the roof partially screwed down (the other side was not seating properly which has since been resolved:



What worries me is how visible are the screws?





I can probably get away with it but am open to suggestions for alternatives.


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Second attempt. Decided to simplify the solution and use a single screw at the far end of the saloon and a second hidden where the toilet compartment will hide it. The underframe will be fitted separately later. To fit the end screw I modified the end "hook":



Revised roof and attachment points:



The holes under the body are countersunk:



The end screw can still be seen but there is only one of them, not four:



The toilet compartment screw awaiting its internal partitions:



By jove, I think he's got it!


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Hi Mike,


I havent tried it yet but especially for roofs I would use neodymium magnets (e.g. 2*1mm). These are small and have a force of about 135 gramms so it should be enough to hold the roof......just a thought. I have a scratch build coach here that I will attach the roof like that.





P.S. Excellent thread and I a tempted to buy the Sillouhette cutter for some scratchbuilding.....

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