Monday, March 24, 2008

How did I make the second batch of open wagons?

The basis for the wagon is the Hartland Locomotive Works flat wagon. These are bought in kit form and can be picked up for as little as £8.00 from garden railway fairs. The solebars (ie the chassis sides) and axle boxes simply click into place. The wheels and axles are a push-fit and the LGB style couplings are attached with self-tapping screws. A five minute job.
Sometimes, I have found that the solebars (ie the sides of the chassis) are slightly over-long and warp the wagon floor. This can be remedied by removing and filing a little off each end of each solebar before refitting them.
Now I have made a few wagons, I have found it easier to construct the chassis after the wagon body has been completed. This makes painting a lot less fiddly.

To turn the kit into an open wagon which has a passing resemblance to those found on the Southwold or Welshpool and Llanfair, two sides and two ends are cut from plasticard styrene sheet. I tend to use 40 thou (1mm), but for greater realism 60 thou (1.5 mm) would be better. The sides are 140mm x 30mm and the ends are 85mm x 30mm. Planks are scribed at 10mm intervals and I then scratch the surface with the blade of the craft knife to give a distressed wood grain effect. The example in the photos has curved ends (as found on the Southwold Railway). This was achieved by positioning the lid of a coffee jar strategically and drawing round it.

For detailing the wagon, a pack of open wagon strapping is needed (Part SG1123 - £3.85 from Garden Railway Specialists - ).

Firstly, I attached the ends, using liquid styrene solvent such as MekPak. The sides are put into position and a paintbrush dipped in the solvent is run along the joint. Within a few seconds the joint is bonded.

Next, the sides are fixed in place. As in the prototype, these overlap the ends.

The strapping is then cut and filed. The packs contain only four hinges and so another two need to be made from other bits of strapping. The hinges are cut to 30mm, the side strapping (4 pieces) are 25mm and the end angle irons are 40mm. Two small pieces of strapping (7mm) are needed for the door catches.

In addition, two 140mm x 5mm pieces of 40 thou (1mm) styrene cut to be added to the sides of the chassis below the wagon sides for the base of the hinges.

The strapping is attached to the sides using solvent, as shown below.

Similarly, the angle irons are added to the end of the wagon.

As indicated above, I have since found it easier to paint the wagons before the solebars and couplings are attached. A spray of grey primer is sufficient for the base-coat. The strapping is then picked out in black acrylic and then comes the detailing and weathering.
Coal wagons
Real coal was crushed to a suitable size and glued with PVA on to a sheet of balsa mounted on blocks to give the appearance of a loaded wagon.

Timber load
Strips of balsa were cut and stuck together with PVA, then tied down into the wagon with thread.
Tarpaulin cover
A piece of old bedsheet was cut to size and painted with a thin wash of acrylic paint, then hemmed and folded into position, with threads attached.

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