Sunday, August 28, 2011

How I constructed an open wagon and a closed van from a GRS 'combi' kit

The kit arrives in a box complete with everything needed, including two LGB wagon chassis which have been sliced in twain - the two shorter pieces forming the chassis for the open wagon and the two longer pieces making the van chassis.

The open wagon
The kit is supplied with the body from an LGB open wagon. Normally this has a balcony at one end (which is why the chassis is longer at one end than the other).

The pivot for one of the axles needed to be removed from the former balcony end as this axle needs to be moved back.

A replacement pivot was superglued 50mm from the end.

I decided to remove the air cylinders .......

...... and all but one of the brake shoes, as my wagons are not air-braked.

The body was given two coats of Halfords grey primer.........

and the two halves of the chassis were then screwed on to the body .....

..... and the wheels and couplings fixed back in place.

The metal work was picked out in black acrylics

The wagon is still awaiting cosmetic brake gear (see below) and weathering, but has now joined the expanding fleet of open wagons (see Stock List).

The van
The van is a more complicated kit than the open wagon as it contains more parts. However, construction is quite straightforward - the instructions are reasonably easy to follow.

The instructions gave the option of removing the buffer-beams from the ends of the van or removing the draw bars from the ends of the chassis. I decided to remove the buffer beams from the van. On reflection I wish I'd removed the draw bars as the buffer beams look more prototypically UK.

As with the open wagon, I removed the air tanks, cylinders and all but one of the brake shoes from the chassis.

The sides of the van were then glued to the ends. The ends are moulded to include slots for the sides, which are pre-cut from scribed styrene sheet.

A sub-base was then glued to the base, to allow for clearance of the balcony floor mouldings on the ends of the chassis. The base was then glued to the sides and ends.

The plastic mouldings for the bracing framework was then divided and tidied up with emery.....

...... before being glued to the sides.

Four pieces of styrene strip were then glued across the top and bottom of the door openings. The openings could be cut out as the doors can be made to slide, but I decided not to take this additional step.

The mouldings for the door slides were then glued in place.

The scribed styrene for the doors was then trimmed to size and slotted into the slides. I glued the doors in place.

The strip for the door framing was then cut to size and glued in place. I mitred the corners but these could be butted together as, once painted, the joint will not show.

The mouldings for the corner brackets were then glued on ........

.... and the door catch added. This comprises three pieces, the eye, the hook and a tack for the pivot. I added a couple of pieces of styrene off-cut beneath the pivot to act as a door-stop and provide a more realistic support for the pivot.

A stiffener was then glued across the top of the body between the doorways.


With the body more or less finished, I now turned my attention to the roof. Pre-formed brackets were glued to the pre-curved roof.

Pivots for the axle assemblies were glued 63mm from each end of the base.

The two chassis halves were then screwed to the base .......

.... and the wheels slotted back into place.

The roof was slotted into place and ......

....... and door handles were bent from the provided piano wire and added to the doors. The van was then completed in terms of the kit as supplied.

Cosmetic brake gear
As my wagons are not vacuum-braked, I usually add cosmetic brake gear. Firstly, I fashioned a 12.5cm long brake lever from 2mm thick plasticard, 4mm wide, tapering to 2mm and rounded at each end with emery.

A 10mm x 10mm triangular bracket was cut from 2mm plasticard (I slightly over-engineer these fittings as they are susceptible to knocks).

The brake hanger was made from a 30mm length of 3mm wide x 2mm thick plasticard, a 30mm length of 1mm thick plasticard into which holes were drilled at 3mm intervals, and two 4mm lengths of 2mm thick strip.

These were glued togther and one end rounded with emery.

A mounting bracket was made for the hanger from off-cuts of plasticard, then the whole assembly was glued with Bostik 'hard plastics' glue to the underframe.

The van was now ready for painting.

The body was removed from the chassis and given two coats of Halfords grey primer from a rattle can. The ironwork was then picked out in black acrylics.

At some point in the future, the van will be weathered in my time-honoured fashion, of mucky brown/black acrylics daubed on and wiped off while still wet. A light spray with Humbrol matt sand and dark earth will complete the model.

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