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I recently brought a Ratio kit of a Great Western Railway brake van from a local model railway shop. 

 

I brought it for £4.99 and will be the first rolling stock kit I've ever made. Considering the prices of ready to run rolling stock from the manufacturers, (Hornby, Bachmann, Dapol etc), I'd say it's a good purchase. 

 

Having experience with building Airfix and Revell kits, I can use that knowledge to help me build this. 

 

IMG_20210926_103554_996.jpg.626b3e9b87b7bb17c5974cbfc74d7fb1.jpg

 

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One thing I will say is replace the wheels and fit bearings. More expense, but worth it. The newer versions have metal wheels and bearings as standard.

 

Also give the sprues a quick wash in lukewarm water with a tiny bit of washing up liquid in it. There is often an oily residue left over from the moulding process. Maybe that is why the paint didn't "take"?

 

One thing to be careful of is the end "arch", it's very fragile and prone to break. I think I broke it on at least two of mine. 

 

 

 

Jason

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2 minutes ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

One thing to be careful of is the end "arch", it's very fragile and prone to break. I think I broke it on at least two of mine. 

 

 

 

Jason

As it's an old kit it is probably even more brittle than from new.

Some of the plastic that kits are made from does deteriorate over time as I found out with a part built GWR wagon that I went back to after many years, it more or less broke as you handled it.

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I've made quite a bit of progress on the brake van: so far I've made the under frame, fitted the brake pads (after modifying them), the vandera end, the other end and one half of the body.

 

When I first fitted the brake pads, they seemed fine. It was only until I put the wheels back on and tested it that I found out that they wouldn't turn! The culprit was the bit that the brake pads were attached to. So, I removed them and cut the bit out that fouled the wheels. After reinstalling them, I tested the chassis again and they turned freely.

 

 

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Trick to good running with this and other Ratio kits is ensure that the wheels sit correctly, level and in line with each other, and to get a good bit of ballast in.  For the wheels, stand the vehicle on a reflective surface and check it against the light; all four wheels should touch their reflections at the lowest point of the flange.  I agree that all metal wheels running in brass bearings are best.  Ballast can be put in the cabin, but if you want to detail this needs to go beneath the floor; replacement metal wheels and cast whitemetal buffers (which also look better) will help here.

 

The arch frame is very delicate and I would suggest handling it carefully until the roof is attached, which will protect it to some extent.  Ratio kits seem to feature very delicate plastic parts which are usually best replaced by metal substitutes.  I use Lego bricks when assembling the body sides and ends as formers to ensure square fitting; unlike Airfix, the locating ribs are less prominent and you need all the help you can get.  There is a Lego shop in town and one of my better purchases was a £6 tub of bricks, you can just fill the tub with as many of as many different shapes and colours as you like, and they are useful for all sorts of things you hadn't though of when you bought them, square or 45 degree formers for wagons and buildings, temporary support structures, wagon loads for tarpaulined wagons, etc.

 

The Ratio toad is an old stager that has given many of us good service over many years, and can be worked up a bit; wire handrails and sander lever, lamp brackets and Modelu lamps, and an interior (benches along the sides, and a cast iron stove with stove pipe.  It is still good value for money and good kitbuilding experience, a step on in delicacy and complication from Airfix/Dapol/Kitmaster. 

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10 hours ago, Antony Farrell said:

Not that many people would notice but the Ratio kit does not build a specific prototype, it is more a representation of a typical Toad but it does look the part.

 

Yep. ISTR it's closest to a AA19.

 

 

Some details of GWR brake vans here.

 

http://www.gwr.org.uk/nobrakes.html

 

 

Jason

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The instructions say to drill a 1mm hole in the floor for the handbrake. However, as I didn't feel like drilling holes, I cut off the peg that protruded from the bottom, filed it so it was flat and stuck it on. I've also started on the other side and need to touch up a few places.

 

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The handbrake installed. Its position more or less matches the prototype.

 

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Edited by 6990WitherslackHall
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Next thing to do on the list was the windows. A square of clear plastic was supplied with the kit for the glass. 

 

Now, having experience with this sort of thing, I knew that I would NOT use the plastic glue that I used to assemble the kit as it would make the windows opaque. Instead, I used PVA glue as it dries clear.

 

I filled an old Humbrol plastic paint pot (the ones you get in Airfix kits) and dabbled it around the window ridges. Then I carefully placed on the clear plastic strips. 

 

To mark out the size of the glass I'd need, I used the point of the small file I'd been using and carefully marked out the outline. Then, I carefully cut the plastic strip out. If it didn't fit, I filed a small amount off until it fit.

 

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IMG_20210927_181640_092.jpg.3a6de9a97608f075563d63b5d7a3cb78.jpg

 

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For clear flush glazing I use thick (1 to 2mm) clear styrene, carefully filed until it is a force fit.  This is generally enough to hold it in place.  If you are brave enough you can try a very thin liquid poly like MEK or Tamiya Ultra Thin cement in the corners.......

 

But looking at my 35+ year old one I think I just stuck the thin glazing in from behind with MEK.

Edited by Jeff Smith
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1 minute ago, Jeff Smith said:

For clear flush glazing I use thick (1 to 2mm) clear styrene, carefully filed until it is a force fit.  This is generally enough to hold it in place.  If you are brave enough you can try a very thin liquid poly like MEK or Tamiya Ultra Thin cement in the corners.......

 

When building Airfix and Revell kits, I use a very small amount of poly cement to fix the cockpit hood/windscreen in place. Sometimes the glue gets onto the clear plastic and mucks it up. That's happened to my Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 and Focke Wulf Ta152 H which are all models I've done recently. The Hurricane's hood is not as bad as the other plane's but the pilots and cockpit are still seeable.

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Well, I'm pretty pleased with the progress I've made so far. 

 

So, to recap what I've done today:

 

Finished the walls of the brake van, made, painted and glued on the sandboxes, painted and glued the handbrake (which the handle for has broken off but I've glued it back on now), given the brake van another coat of paint, touched up some areas that were lacking paint and measured, cut and glued the windows in.

 

Next job is to glue on the steps, sort out the roof, install the buffers and coupling hooks and make the tension lock couplings. 

 

I'll worry about the transfers, headlamps and painting the guard (a figure I've got that needs doing) later.

 

I'm going to see if I can get those things done tomorrow so I can take it to the club and test it. If I don't get the buffers and coupling hooks done, it doesn't matter as it's still a work in progress. 

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I always use canopy glue fur glazing. Excellent stuff.

And excellent kit build too. I love ratio kits and I've built many over the years. 

Well done. 

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I suggest for the future look for a very thin one with a fine brush applicator, I can't get MEK in the US so now use Tamiya Ultra Thin.  It's almost as good as MEK, not quite as thin, but works well with capillary action.

Ensure you have good ventilation though!

Edited by Jeff Smith
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2 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

I suggest for the future look for a very thin one with a fine brush applicator, I can't get MEK in the US so now use Tamiya Ultra Thin.  It's almost as good as MEK, not quite as thin, but works well with capillary action.

 

I've heard of some brands that do make these but I can't recall their names. I also use an old paintbrush to apply the poly cement on but can stiffen the brush if it's not cleaned up properly. 

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17 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

I suggest for the future look for a very thin one with a fine brush applicator, I can't get MEK in the US so now use Tamiya Ultra Thin.  It's almost as good as MEK, not quite as thin, but works well with capillary action.

Ensure you have good ventilation though!

 

Have you tried hardware stores for MEK Jeff?  I got a liter tin of MEK from our Canadian Tire a couple of years ago:

 

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I use it for making turnouts with ABS chairs.

 

I think I have some Tamiya ultra thin, but my go to is a combination of Testors gel glue and liquid solvent for kits.

 

John

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