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To stimulate discussion, post photos and exchange ideas, and (being an open public forum) help encourage others to try S scale modelling.

Scratchbuilding Wagons From Plasticard


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William, I would be careful about scaling parts from a 4mm-scale drawing. I did that once for a a print (not one of the ones I sell) and later, when I'd actually got the GA, I found significant errors. Nowadays, I try to measure off the dimensions of the bits and then rationalise them against how they all fit together; understanding the carpentry is important. Also, I adjust the decimal inches to plausibly-round fractions; e.g. 7.42 measured inches becomes 7.5 inches assumed.

 

In the case of the 4mm-scale drawings in Bixley+, be careful of the heights of the headstocks, the levels at which the floors are drawn, and whether the floor planks show at the end of the wagon. Some of them don't seem to match the available photos, which may mean that different batches of wagons were done differently, or could be an error.

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I refer repeatedly back to the insight I gained from the late Chris Croft’s articles in MRJ 33 years ago: combine that knowledge with a reasonable drawing and if at all possible photos, and from a personal modelling perspective you will get close enough, especially if you add a touch of common sense.

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When we measured we kept to the nearrest 1/4in. Although some criticised, and even though the original drawingsw were to 12mm:ft once reduced to 4mm to the foot anything finer couldn't be reproduced - and even then there is occasional line break up in published drawings.

 

GAs may well be a good starting point, but you need to work to photographs as sometimes the workshop staff found it wasn't possible to reproduce what the drawing office was expecting.

 

And a comment above, steel solebars were more usually 10in. not 12 in (although some where) and usually solebar and headstock are the same material - but not always, as the LNER/LMS/BR Plates had a deeper headstock for some reason.

 

It's unfortunate that few magazines have any interest in reproducing drawings these days.

 

Paul

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  • 3 weeks later...

@ScottW I wonder if I might ask your expertise-  when I'm cutting thicker plastic (such as 80thou for headstocks) I'm finding it hard to maintain a right angle cut. I've got a NWSL chopper to use for thinner material, but for the thick stuff it's not suitable.

 

Do you have any tips or recommendations for cutting thicker material at right angles to the surface?

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Personally, I tend to use a razor saw, and cut slightly oversize, or score and snap and do similar, finishing off with a bit of careful sanding.

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Your other option is to go throuh the lists of good strip styrene suppliers and see if they do a size which suits - like Evergreen or Plastruct.  Their strips are usually nicely square.  Some of the cheaper strips are not.

 

But cutting nice square strip from thick sheet is not easy.  I actually use my CNC mill to cut any I need so that I get a nice square section. :-)

 

Jim.

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Should ask, are you cutting .080" x .188" strip to length, or cutting a .188" wide strip from .080" sheet? If the latter, go and order some Evergreen 168 (listed usually as 2mm x 4.8MM) pdq!

 

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Even when cutting 0.080” styrene strip I can never produce a nice clean 90 degree right angle cut. If you go back through this thread you will see that I score the styrene strip using an engineers square and scalpel, then ‘snap’ the measured piece off. Due to the thickness of the strip it is never a clean 90 degree cut. I dress the ends by holding the styrene in an old engineers square and running a file over the end. Using the engineers square in this way ensures the ends are relatively square. It is also prudent to cut a little over size and file back.

 

Edited by ScottW
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So, I've got 0.080 x 0.188" strip and that's working out quite well for solebars/etc. (although I'm using 0.040" laminated to provide cutouts for W-iron assemblies (I haven't tried this yet, none of my scratchbuilt wagons have wheels yet!) - I think, and please don't quote me - that the headstocks on the SER van I was building were the full height of the solebars plus the floor - so 14" ? I ended up with a strip that was 0.218" wide, but in the form of a parallelogram instead of a rectangle. he snap method seems to be fine on material =< 0.040" @ScottW , but I wasn't really thinking it through so thank you for the tip of cutting slightly over-width and filing down.

 

@flubrush the strip I got from plastruct (as above) is distinctly lozenge shaped, which is a bit of a bummer - I'll try evergreen next time!

 

Sorry for the detour of the thread!

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1 hour ago, Lacathedrale said:

 

@flubrush the strip I got from plastruct (as above) is distinctly lozenge shaped, which is a bit of a bummer - I'll try evergreen next time!

 

Sorry for the bum steer on Plastruct.  I was going on memory that their cross-sections were square.  The ones I remember being off-square were some of the heavier Slaters Microstrip.  Hopefully Evergreen is better.

 

Jim.

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42 minutes ago, flubrush said:

The ones I remember being off-square were some of the heavier Slaters Microstrip.

 

The 0.060" thick Slaters Microstrip I have has a D-shaped section - concave and convex faces on the thinner dimension. But the material I have was bought many years ago, Evergreen bought recently is impeccably square.

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1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

 

The 0.060" thick Slaters Microstrip I have has a D-shaped section - concave and convex faces on the thinner dimension. But the material I have was bought many years ago, Evergreen bought recently is impeccably square.

As soon as I switched to Evergreen over 25 years ago, my modelling took a mighty step forward.
 

Which is why I recommended it in the first place...

 

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  • 1 month later...

IWell, it's been some time since my last post. Having been out the country for the past few months I am now safely back home and slowly stating to get back into the modelling groove.

 

Continuing with the GNSR wagon I am now moving onto the running gear, starting with the W irons. These are a simple fold-up affair where by one end is fixed whilst the other end rocks around a central pivot. This set-up provides some compensation for the wagon and helps ensure all four wheels remain firmly on the track. The wheels are held in place by soldering in situ pinpoint axle bearings.

 

This is a batch of W irons I produced previously.

 

1434365417_RockingWIrons.jpeg.1a1b73c7a9acd2d0d24fcb571e0e7f83.jpeg

 

 And this is the GNSR wagon up on it's feet.

 

IMG_1409.JPG.5e5e03cb8d82bf600db789a96434dd29.JPG

 

The wheels are not the correct type, they will be replaced with a set of spoked wheels after painting.

 

Edited by ScottW
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On 19/05/2020 at 17:52, Compound2632 said:

Rather frustratingly, I've yet to locate 0.144" x 0.060" strip for 11" x 4.5" solebars and headstocks in 4 mm scale. S scale wins again!

Hi

 

I tend to glue different thicknesses of strip together to make the size I require if not available. Another vote for Evergreen as it seems to be better formed than Slaters or Plastruct.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

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20 hours ago, ScottW said:

The wheels are not the correct type, they will be replaced with a set of spoked wheels after painting.

 

 

You just reminded me and I dug around in the workshop to find the bits for the spoked wheels.   I'll see if I can get the Cowells working - it hasn't moved for over three months. :-)

 

Jim.

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1 hour ago, flubrush said:

 

You just reminded me and I dug around in the workshop to find the bits for the spoked wheels.   I'll see if I can get the Cowells working - it hasn't moved for over three months. :-)

 

Jim.

 

Thanks, Jim. But only if you’re feeling up to it. :good:

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Over this last week I've been getting distracted by another project so the GNSR wagon hasn't progressed very much. The brake gear has been installed which is one job I find quite tedious. Bill Bedford produces an etch for Highland Railway single shoe brake gear which, with a bit of bashing, can be made to represent other types of single shoe brake gear. I have used this etch in the past to represent both North British and Caledonian types of wagon brakes.

 

1220635743_BillBedfordEtch_HRBrakeGear.JPG.c4512bd19318c16f974dd116cc3ab268.JPG

 

For this GNSR wagon I utilised the brake and brake lever from the etch whilst making new push rods and pivot. The GNSR push rods were much longer than those of the HR whilst the pivot was smaller. The pivot in this case was made from brass angle.

 

1190745554_GNSRWagon_WithBrakeGear.JPG.27bc074b1ca48c115d4250686bfbb2e8.JPG

 

My normal method for securing the parts is to glue the brake and pivot in position using two part epoxy. I then assemble the push rods and brake lever, securing everything with a little solder. This does mean being very careful as it is simple to linger too long with the soldering iron and melt the plastic or, more often, soften the 2 part epoxy just enough for items to fall off.

Edited by ScottW
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The last parts of the wagon have been glued on using two part epoxy resin. I suppose you could use Superglue but I have never got on with the stuff due to it's quick setting proporties.

 

The buffers are 4mm scale (ex Romford) available from Markits. They are not truley prototypical but the heads are the correct size for S Scale and once painted they do give a fair representation of the prototype. I use the same buffers on my NBR wagons, with the technology around today I suppose it would be quite easy to produce a set of prototypical buffers but I choose to continue using these to maintain the same standard as my earlier wagons. @Guy Rixon very kindly produced a set of 3D printed GNSR wagon buffers for me (available through his Shapways page) but it wasn't till after he did them that I learnt the GNSR didn't fit that particular type of buffer till after 1909, three years after my chosen period.

 

Guy also produced the axleboxes for me, which I have used. Unfortunately, being made from a clear plastic material they don't stand out very well in the pictures. The springs are whitemetal castings bought from the S Scale Society parts department.

 

You will find, when modelling in S Scale, that a number of 4mm parts are suitable for S Scale. I have in the past used 4mm scale buffer bodies and axleboxes on my wagons. Some of the older castings on the market are probably a little oversize for 4mm and look a lot more suitable as an S Scale part.

 

The wagon is pretty much now complete, I just have to try and source some suitable decals and paint it.

 

1202986502_GNSR1.JPG.a5ae189aa738c46f26422df6bfc74196.JPG

 

492897130_GNSR2.jpeg.74cfc78ea026b7c38b45160b172fd414.jpeg

 

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12 hours ago, ScottW said:

The wagon is pretty much now complete, I just have to try and source some suitable decals and paint it.

 

Wheels on the way shortly. :-)

 

Jim.

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  • 6 months later...

To bring some closure to this thread here are some final pictures of the completed wagon. Unfortunately due to the bad light today the pictures are not as clear as I would have liked.

 

img3.jpg.e4aefc205222e20be7b53b0c37e3c0eb.jpg

 

img5.jpg.5fb19db793d8581fc998a4935f82ffca.jpg

 

img1.jpg.5bf25bf7e8d2bab218ffb9c13f44b1c1.jpg

 

I do hope these pictures highlight the advantages of building your own stock from scratch.

Edited by ScottW
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