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Building an N gauge coach kit


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I've recently embarked on my first N gauge coach kit, having previously only tackled simple wagon kits. The chosen model is an Ultima kit of a GWR Hawksworth corridor brake third, intended to be finished in carmine and cream. The eventual idea is to produce a whole rake of Hawksworth coaches, though I suspect that this will take me as long as Swindon took to build the real things. As I've never tackled such a project before I looked around on the Internet for advice or details of anyone attempting anything similar, but I didn't find very much. This thread is my attempt to detail what I found out by working on this: what follows might be of use to another beginner, but is not going to surprise any of the kit experts round here.

 

With that out of the way, where have I got to? First up were the bogies, done from Ultima's GWR 9ft GWR coach bogie etch. These were made by gluing the axleboxes onto the etched bogies while they were still flat, turning the bogies over, drilling out the axle holes a little, then folding up the bogies into the final shape. The result:

 

post-11879-0-19779100-1306600038_thumb.jpg

 

I left out the top hat bearings as being too fiddly to get into place, and this doesn't seem to have caused any problems: the bogies run very smoothly just in the holes in the axle boxes. Lesson one for the future: I should have drilled out the axle boxes a little more: in order to get the wheels to run free, the sides of the bogie are not quite vertical (which is more noticeable on the right hand bogie). The couplers are Peco ELC wagon couplings, with the mounts filed down to fit inside the bogies. I was very pleased with myself for getting that to work, but we'll come back to that in a moment ... All in all the bogies aren't perfect, but I'm happy with them as a first attempt.

 

The next stage was to fold up the floor, attach the underframe details, the ends and the bogie mounts to give a rolling frame. The V hangars on the brake end didn't seem to be in the right place, as compared with both the Comet 4mm kit and a photograph of the real thing, so this were carefully removed from the etch of the truss rods and moved to approximately the right place.

 

post-11879-0-46579400-1306600437_thumb.jpg

 

Lesson two for the future: be careful when attaching the dynamo to the underframe, as it can foul the bogie if it's too close to the end. The dynamo in the above is now slightly bent to provide enough clearance, though fortunately this isn't visible unless you turn the coach upside down. As a quick test, the sides and roof where put in place with blu-tac to check alignment (and with the roof the wrong way round, sigh):

 

post-11879-0-28317600-1306600750_thumb.jpg

 

Taking this photo I was feeling pretty pleased with how it was going, when it suddenly dawned on me that there's a rather obvious error. When fitting the couplers inside the bogie I'd tested with the floor resting on top of the bogies to check that the coupler protruded beyond the floor, but I'd failed to take into account the additional width of the ends, buffers and corridor connectors. As can be seen from the above photograph, there's no way two such coaches could be coupled together: the coupler is tucked far too much under the frame. Sound of palm hitting forehead ...

 

So, lesson three for the future: make sure that the coupler sticks out far enough. If I can remove the glued on coupler mount I will try a scheme of gluing the mount on the outside of the bogie, rather than the inside, which should give sufficient clearance: if that fails it may be necessary to carve up an old Farish bogie or similar for its spring-loaded mount and glue that on.

 

Aside from bogie woes, the next challenge will be to paint the underframe and build an interior. Are seats necessary? The coach won't be lit, so I'm not sure, though I see that P&D Marsh sell some white metal compartment seats which sound useful. I think that I'll assemble the interior and see how much is visible with the sides on first. Beyond that we get into painting the roof and sides, for which I suspect I shall need to invest in an airbrush.Gulp.

Edited by DavidK71
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You look to have made a nice job of that. I have one of these on my work bench waiting for bogies to be added. You can't see much inside once the coach has the interior and is glazed.

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As an extra thought, I took lots of photos of the E164 on the South Devon railway a few weeks back and could pop some of them up here it they would help your build.

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As an extra thought, I took lots of photos of the E164 on the South Devon railway a few weeks back and could pop some of them up here it they would help your build.

 

Thank you for the kind comment. Also, yes please to the photographs, that would be very helpful.

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Hello David.

 

I have one of these kits in my 'to do' pile and hopefully many more so thank you for posting details of the build (including the errors!), it is very useful to me. It looks like it makes a nice little coach.

 

Missy :yes:

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Aside from bogie woes, the next challenge will be to paint the underframe and build an interior. Are seats necessary? The coach won't be lit, so I'm not sure, though I see that P&D Marsh sell some white metal compartment seats which sound useful.

Personally, I'd say for corridor stock, the most important interior parts are the partitions (both the corridor and between compartments) so the light only shows through the coach in the right places. For open stock seats become the partitions to some extent and tables tend to be right at the window while for Pullmans you really need table lamps, therefore a table to put them on (On the other hand seats are less important as curtains tend to hide them).

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I have one of these kits in my 'to do' pile and hopefully many more so thank you for posting details of the build (including the errors!),

 

 

When you get round to building this Missy, you will want to take a close look at the underframe, it's a little spartan!

 

 

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I left out the top hat bearings as being too fiddly to get into place, and this doesn't seem to have caused any problems: the bogies run very smoothly just in the holes in the axle boxes.

 

My only worry with doing that is that the extra rolling resistance may not be significant on one coach but by the time you get a rake of six or seven together it adds up and some locos may start to struggle...

 

Aside from bogie woes, the next challenge will be to paint the underframe and build an interior. Are seats necessary? The coach won't be lit, so I'm not sure, though I see that P&D Marsh sell some white metal compartment seats which sound useful.

 

As other have said, you need to put in at least the partitions in a corridor coach... as for the white metal seating again the worry is how much weight will that add to a ful rake of coaches? I use the plastic seating that Colin Ashby used to produce. I've seen someone else with something very similar recently (can't remember who - maybe someone else can?) It comes in about 6 inch lengths for you to cut up to suit.

 

Otherwise looking good!

 

Paul

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Thank you to everyone who has made suggestions or provided encouragement. Building this is proving quite challenging but is also a lot of fun: if anyone out there like me is wondering if they've got the skills to do this, you should give it a go!

 

I have quite a few more of this coach if needed. (I might have gone a little mad with the camera that day, whoops).

Thank you for those, they're very helpful: most of the photographs I've found on the Internet are from further away, so it's good to see the sides and underframe up close. I'm also pleased to see I got the shell vents on the right way round :rolleyes:.

 

see if you can get hold of some Dapol extended couplings, see if you can't adapt them for the job?

I shall look into that. For the moment I've separated the Peco ELC coupler mounts I've been using from the bogie, and have re-attached them on the outside of the bogie. So far this is looking promising.

 

My only worry with doing that is that the extra rolling resistance may not be significant on one coach but by the time you get a rake of six or seven together it adds up and some locos may start to struggle...

Yes, you could well be right there. I wasn't brave enough to try drilling out the holes for the bearings on my first bogie attempt, but in retrospect it is worth giving it a go. I think that when I get round to doing another of these coaches I'll order an extra set of bogies to have a go with and see what happens.

 

As other have said, you need to put in at least the partitions in a corridor coach... as for the white metal seating again the worry is how much weight will that add to a ful rake of coaches? I use the plastic seating that Colin Ashby used to produce. I've seen someone else with something very similar recently (can't remember who - maybe someone else can?) It comes in about 6 inch lengths for you to cut up to suit.

The weight is a concern, and Bernard's comment makes me think I might get away without seats. I'm also considering simply printing a suitable pattern on a sheet of stiff A4 paper, from which I could cut out and fold simple seat shapes. Lots of experimentation ahead ...

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The weight is a concern, and Bernard's comment makes me think I might get away without seats. I'm also considering simply printing a suitable pattern on a sheet of stiff A4 paper, from which I could cut out and fold simple seat shapes. Lots of experimentation ahead ...

I think that is a very sound idea!

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Just to say thanks for taking the trouble to put this thread together, I have been thinking of doing some coach kit building myself for some time but it had seemed rather a leap in the dark; as you said initially, there seemed to be a paucity of practical information available on the web. If it's any help for you, Mike Howarth has some internal plastic seating and corridor divides on Ebay at the moment; also BR Lines has a range of internal seating (mostly open I think but they could still be adapted). Anyway, thanks again.

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If it's any help for you, Mike Howarth has some internal plastic seating and corridor divides on Ebay at the moment

Thanks Michael. I'd like to have a look at this, but I couldn't find it on eBay: do you have an auction number for them? I tried searching in the "Railway Models" section of eBay for "Howarth" but got no hits.

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I've never bothered with seating in them as it's not really visible. The pre-printed partition bits mostly serve to stop light shining through combinations of windows that physically shouldn't be possible, and which is noticable, as well as provide the immediate layer of viewing on compartment stock.

 

If you light a coach its entirely different but even then its a couple of bits of plastruct glued together (eg the 3.2mm bit and some strip) to make a seating strip and then saw it into lengths. It has one other advantage - it makes the compartments much stronger as the compartment walls are well supported by them.

 

Couplers - can be done various ways. Mathiason Models 3 link couplers might be overkill though 8). Really for Rapido you've got a choice between mounting it on a bit of strip from the bogie or mounting something like a Peco coupler & pocket on the body end (again check the clearances for your curves, you may need to file the front of the pocket so the buffer beam itself forms the pocket front in part.

 

Alan

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As other have said, you need to put in at least the partitions in a corridor coach... as for the white metal seating again the worry is how much weight will that add to a ful rake of coaches? I use the plastic seating that Colin Ashby used to produce. I've seen someone else with something very similar recently (can't remember who - maybe someone else can?) It comes in about 6 inch lengths for you to cut up to suit.

 

Otherwise looking good!

 

Paul

 

Hi

 

If you happen to find out please could you let me know as I used to use the Colin Ashby seats but they now seem to be unavailable and I could do with an alternative.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

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You have done a nice job putting that together, I will be watching with interest to see how the paintwork comes along. I agree that there are not many pictures of N gauge coach kits on the net so thanks for taking the time to provide us with this one.

 

I have had good results with Bernard's coach overlays so these look like a logical progression. If I start one I am sure Dapol will announce they are producing them RTR. :laugh:

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Hi

 

If you happen to find out please could you let me know as I used to use the Colin Ashby seats but they now seem to be unavailable and I could do with an alternative.

 

Cheers

 

Paul

For another alternative, I suggest the downloadable/printable seats from Bill Bedford at http://www.mousa.biz...oach_seats.html - though they may be a bit fiddly to make in 2mm scale. At least they avoid the weight problem ... :)

 

Not sure if the colours are suitable, but it's not difficult to recolour them.

 

David

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You have done a nice job putting that together, I will be watching with interest to see how the paintwork comes along. I agree that there are not many pictures of N gauge coach kits on the net so thanks for taking the time to provide us with this one.

Thanks - painting will be an interesting challenge, and one I will do a post on when I've got a bit further. I recently read your posts on the TPM full brake conversion and thought you got a nice finish on the sides on that. I was worried that using aerosols would give too thick a paint layer, but your results have encouraged me to try some experiments, and after a few practice runs on spare bits of old plastic model kits I've found that I can get a very thin primer layer with a Hycote car paint aerosol. Further experiments this week, with a bit of luck :D

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Time for a status update. I have the usual modelling condition: I've not got as much done as I intended, and I've spent longer experimenting than anything else. Sigh.

 

Anyway, I've got the bogies painted, and I've sorted out my coupling problems, I hope:

 

post-11879-0-44485300-1307996735_thumb.jpg

 

Each bogie has attached to it a cut-down Peco ELC wagon coupler, glued to a piece of plasticard to get it to stick out far enough. For now the coupler mounts are only attached with blu-tac: I want to get a second coach and see how the gap works out round corners before permanently gluing them in place. The underframe has also partially been painted, and I've been playing with the interior, figuring out how it all fits together.

 

However, most time has gone into worrying about painting the etched sides. The plan is for carmine-and-cream livery. Precisely what colour or colours this might be is a controversial subject, judging by all the existing threads on the the topic, and I've no desire to get too involved: my plan is to find a pair of colours that I like, and go with that. I started by digging out from a cupboard the remains of an Airfix Blenheim kit (an outdated model of a rather outdated aircraft, even in its time) and have been trying different colours and finishes. The first result is that brush painting just isn't good enough: not really a huge surprise. That left me contemplating buying an airbrush, or experimenting with aerosol cans. I can see that in the long term airbrushing is the way to go, but for now, I've chosen to play with aerosols. Below is a wing sprayed with Vauxhall Gazelle Beige and Vauxhall Crimson:

 

post-11879-0-37506300-1307997110_thumb.jpg

 

For comparison, the tip of the wing has been brush painted with Railmatch BR Crimson. The cream / beige doesn't look bad at all. The Vauxhall Crimson is quite nice too, but the Railmatch colour looks very "plum" to me. This bit of plastic accompanied me to Didcot Railway Centre on Saturday, where it was compared against their autocoach. The red isn't bad, but it's not quite "blood" enough. I've got some Alfa-Romeo AR530 paint on order and we'll see how that works out. If I don't like it I'll go with the Vauxhall Crimson

 

Also worth mentioning is that this wing was my first attempt, using grey primer. Although the photograph doesn't show it well, there is a certain "greyness" to the cream that isn't quite right. A second wing piece using white primer gave a rather better colour, but there I made the mistake of holding the aerosol too far away: I got an 'orange peel' effect in the paint, presumably from it partially drying while travelling between the nozzle and the plastic. My best results come from holding the aerosol about 20cm away, initially not pointing at the part to be painted, start spraying then move over the part with a smooth back and forth action twice.

 

More experiments to follow...

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Looks good to me - and paint faded a lot anyway so the difference you see there actually looks good to me as its quite a plausible 'fade'.

 

I had some trouble with getting hycote thin and ended up with Games Workshop primers (in part because our Halfords is located a car ride away and I don't drive).

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I had some trouble with getting hycote thin and ended up with Games Workshop primers (in part because our Halfords is located a car ride away and I don't drive).

I have also had good experience with GW whiet primer and it is a good alternative to Halfords and quicker drying too. Only their "Skull White" is a proper primer IMHO. Their black is just normal acryclic. It does not adhere as well to bare surfaces and does not dry so quickly.

 

I have used Vauxhall Carmine Red for BR Crimson and was very pleased with the results. It is worth noting though that I applied it over a coat of red primer which gave a slightly deeper and more vivid colour than going over white. This was easy enough for me as I was painting plain crimson coaches. Since you are doing cream as well the white primer is probably a necessity.

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