Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Yesterday, on a whim, I raided my gloat box to find the Chivers D.2069 body kit I mentioned in the previous post.

The mouldings are really fine, but as with nearly all plastic kits, the thickness of the sides is way over-scale.

Also, being made to 1:148 scale, it is too long and too wide.


There are three potential approaches to a kit like this - 1) don't use it; 2) build it as intended and don't worry about the discrepancies; 3) spend ages trying to adapt it.

Anyone who knows me will be in no doubt as to which approach I will take, as off I go on another modelling tangent.

I wanted to see if I could make something that would sit alongside my 1:152 etched plate wagons in terms of scale and also general fine-ness.


Thinning the sides was the first job. I did this by chamfering them over the height of the body so they are just over half the original thickness at the top.

Below is a before and after photo. I have lost the moulded bolt-head detail on the inside, but on balance, I think the overall thickness of the sides are far more noticeable than the interior detail. The plastic is very flexible, so getting an even thickness over such a long side was not particularly easy. I think it came out OK in the end.




Next job was to tackle the length of the side, which needed to "shrink" proportionally over its length by 1.25mm

I have a razor saw with a blade 0.3mm thick, so took 4 strategically placed cuts vertically up the sides and glued the bits back together with Mek.

The arrows in the picture below show where the cuts were made, tucked up against the door pumpers to make them less obvious.

The top edge of the side was held against a steel ruler while the solvent did its work to make sure the modified side ended up straight.




The width of the wagon was only 0.4mm over-scale. Rather than narrowing the end pieces, I thinned the sides a bit more where they overlap the ends.

The ends did need chamfering, however, to bring the planks closer to scale thickness.

The integral buffer beams looked like wooden planks rather than steel channel, so I filed a wide slot in the end to suggest the channel. When assembled it should fool the eye.




The floor (which usefully has the battens moulded on) needed reducing in length and width to fit its reduced circumstances. I overdid the shortening at one end, and have a slight gap that will be easily filled with a sliver of microstrip.

Fortunately, I had the foresight to remove the moulded ridges from the underside of the floor (there to align the plastic underframe components of the original kit) before assembling it, to give a smooth flat surface for the etched replacement.


So, the ultimate question - does the modified plastic body stand comparison with the etched one? And was turning a half-hour job into a couple-of-hours job worth it?




For me personally, I think the answer is "yes" on both counts, although many people would be happy not to bother.

Having built a few 1:148 wagon kits in the past and put them on finescale underframes, I have always been a little bit dissatisfied with the scale discrepancy when viewed alongside true 2mm scale wagons... and wagons are the sort of thing that tend to get mixed and matched in trains.


In an Illustrated History of LMS Wagons Vol. 1, the dimensions given are 27'0" outside the end planks for the D.2069, and 27'0" inside the top angles for the D.2083 steel vehicle. The comparison shot below shows my plastic surgery has come out spot on, and the scars have healed quite nicely. Looking at the picture now I notice one of the door springs has snapped off, but it will be easily replaced.




The Masterclass chassis I have lined up for this wagon fits perfectly length-wise, once the fold-down ends have been removed.

Below is the inner chassis unit folded up and tested in position for fit.




Of course being designed to fit under N Gauge kits, the wheelbase will be a scale 18'0" than 17'6".

Pragmatism dictates I'll have to live with this discrepancy. Besides not wanting to take any chances with its free running, I'd have to start worrying about the brakes and everything else.

These D.2069 wagons were effectively a shortened version of a much more numerous earlier design which also had a 17'6" wheelbase, and consequently look like the wheels are too close to the wagon ends anyway.


The sole-bar overlays are considerably longer than the chassis sides, to allow for it to be used on a variety of wagons. They will need trimming back.

They feature a half-etched representation of the channel, which is not my preference, but underneath the overhang of the body it will be hidden in shadow.

On the one photo I have access to of one of these wagons, it is impossible to tell whether there are any brackets connecting the solebars to the underneath of the body, so I guess anything goes detail-wise in those murky depths. I know the saying "never model a model", but I haven't found any photos of models of these wagons on-line that feature support brackets or ribs. The drawing in the book referred to earlier shows no underframe detail either.

One change I will make to the chassis, however, is to replace the springs and axleboxes. The etched springs attached to the solebar overlays look a bit too undernourished when compared to photographs.


  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 2
  • Craftsmanship/clever 4
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Masterclass LMS 17'6" chassis went together nicely.

I don't think these are available at the moment - maybe now that the Chivers kits are becoming available again, they will be reintroduced?

I have one more tucked away to go with a Chivers LMS tube wagon... one day!


In the photo below, you can see the difference between the springs I cut off the etches as being too skinny for the type of wagon and their cast replacement. These were superglued in place after all soldering was completed.




To the underside of the wagon I have added tubes for Electra couplings, and coupling hooks from the 2mm Scale Association etch. These have been trimmed to length so that when butted up to the coupler mounting boxes, they protrude an appropriate distance form the plastic headstocks.




A thin slot has been sawn in each buffer beam to accommodate the coupling hooks, which will in their turn centre the chassis under the body. Also visible in the photo below is the restored door spring.




The only other tweak I made to the chassis etch was to add an extra little bracket over the reversing lever  where it is joined to the small V hanger.

The body has been epoxied to the chassis, and the cast buffers affixed by the same means.




So there's another wagon ready to join the queue for the Paint Shop, and my expanding collection of assorted long lows / plates. Two wagons made in one week??? Something is wrong here!





  • Like 9
  • Craftsmanship/clever 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

The Masterclass LMS 17'6" chassis went together nicely.

I don't think these are available at the moment - maybe now that the Chivers kits are becoming available again, they will be reintroduced?

I have one more tucked away to go with a Chivers LMS tube wagon... one day!




Let's wait and see if the LMS open kits reappear, as well as the GWR Open C. So far they have not.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 01/01/2021 at 10:59, Chris Higgs said:


Let's wait and see if the LMS open kits reappear, as well as the GWR Open C. So far they have not.




The LMS kits are now listed on the Five79 website as "coming 2021" (along with the Blue Spot fish van and the GWR Open C.



  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.