I have built this kit before, sometime in 2004 but did not keep any proper notes or pictures of the build. That first attempt built into a nice model but unfortunately I lost it, I think at a running day somewhere but did not discover it until a year or more later. I liked this ancient vehicle and wanted one for my new layout so bought a new kit from Walsall Models through their excellent website. It arrived very well packed a couple days later. As usual the kit arrives as a flat pack containing the etches, instructions various lengths of wire and bag holding the buffers, instantly scrapped and new set ordered from NMRS; 1 because I do not like all white metal buffers and, I wanted to use heavy parallel buffers that were fitted to some of these early vans. Having read through my notes on the first build I found them wanting in both detail and specifics so I hope to do better this time. (Practice makes perfect and it is 15 years since I built the original.) So what's in the bag?
These are the basics that arrive in the flat pack.
I decided to make a start on the underframe as it is, relatively, simple:
The underframe is a simple fold-up but the springs and hangers need to be very carefully assembles if one is to keep them registered correctly. I made my usual jig by drilling suitable 0.5mm holes in the steel base plate of the RSU and then soldering the several layers for each spring unit, there are two layers with J hangers and two more that go on top of them with out the J hangers. This enables one to ensure that all the parts are in register, the only possible downside is having to solder them from the front. Here you can see that I am about to solder up the second set with two more sets awaiting their turn. Not a difficult job but one that repays a little care and attention. Back to Top
With all the spring hanger successfully soldered place one can progress to folding up the underframe and making a start on the brakes and wheel sets.
The brake blocks and their rodding are simple enough and fit very accurately in their respective marked out places on the underframe, they are handed so it is important to get them right. The brake blocks fit well but, as usual it is important to ensure they are in register before applying heat.
The axles will need packing out with washers to reduce the excessive end float. It is of course important that these units are square and at 90° to the base. I added from channel to the rocking set, the other will be soldered down flat so should not need any further stiffing.
The brake gear is very simple and can all be cleaned up and assembled in short order. There is nothing difficult about it so long as one remembers to open out the holes before bending up the support legs.
The wheel sets fitted first time and did bind on the brake blocks; the stretcher bars have been fitted, now all it needs are the grease axle boxes adding. It come with choice of grease or oil, since this is supposed to be circa 1900 for a vehicle built in about the 1880s I chose the grease boxes.
I turned my attention to the solebars next. It would appear that the holes for the footboard supports have been etched at the top instead of the bottom. Anyway, I wanted to use modified Slater's footboard supports, which are much stronger and so drilled out the relevant holes 0.7mm from the read of the solebar. To do this one needs to file notches in the bottom lip of the solebar sufficient to take the width of the footboard support; it is much easier to do this before bending up the angles, guess how I know! The kit has a great many folding parts and many of them present a very small footprint. They are not easy to do but with determination, a good vice and a small toffee hammer it is possible to obtain clean right angles, even the trusty Hold & Fold would not hold the part tight enough to apply sufficient force to make the bend, despite having a witness mark at the back. I am wary of scoring these points too deeply having had several break off when the bend is made.
Now that the easy stuff is done it is time get on with the body, of which more anon as my new baseboards arrived about an hour ago so I shall be busy assembling them for a the next day or two.
TO BE CONTINUED