Next on the list is the roof but before starting on that, insert two cross bearers in the body to keep the sides parallel at the top and to give additional support to the roof. These arere fabricated from 40 thou and, as the roof is to be double thickness, they should be set 0.5mm lower than the ends. The roof extends well beyond the sides of the van to cover the rail that carries the door. These rails run the full length of the side, are a scale 1.25mm thick, and should be secured prior to fitting the roof. It's also worthwhile fitting the top and bottom door tracks at this stage. This is where you need that illusive 5 thou plastic sheet. They are of course purely cosmetic, as are the representation of the bottoms of the wheels on the lower track. The lower track needs packing out 0.5mm from the side of the van. Bolt heads can be cut from strips of 5 or 10 though sheet in varying widths depending on the size and thickness required. pick them up on the tip of a scalpel and fix with a little sovent.

The roof is made up from two layers of 20 thou, the upper full size and the lower sized to fit inside the body, to make it more rigid. I pre-curve my roofs by wrapping them around an appropriate size jar, securing them across their full width with selloptape, and filling the jar with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes and replace hot water with cold. Leave another couple of minutes and remove your nicely formed roofs. The two layers are joined together with solvent being careful to ensure that the lower layer is central on the upper. Recheck the curve of the roof before the solvent cures. Finally secure to the body with solvent.

This is where you need that illusive 5 thou plastic sheet as it's time to put on the strapping. Don't try and form 90 degree bends for the corner straps as the plastic will probably snap. Cut the first piece oversize so that it overlaps the end, cut the second piece to the correct size and but it up against the first piece. Once it has cured, trim and sand smooth. Fit bolt heads as before.

ticketWe are used to seeing duckets on brake vans, but we don't often see one of them converted into a ticket issuing window! I'm not sure whether the ducket this side was always larger than that on the other or whether it was enlarged to cope with its new role. As built, there were no duckets, this end of the van had an open balcony, hence the door below the ducket. The ducket on the other side was knocked off by the gate in the carriage shed in 1941! The duckets are modelled as self contained units and secured to the van when finished. The basic box of front, back, sides and bottom is fabricated in 20 thou with an oversize cut out for the ticket window. A 10 thou overlay with an accurately cut window opening is added before the whole thing is sanded smooth. The best way to form a curved opening like this is to drill an undersize hole (not as easy as it sounds with a largish drill in 10 thou plastic - hence drilling undersize) then tidy up with a round needle file. The moulding over the window is only 0.75 x 0.75mm in cross section, so is quite a tricky task. Cut a strip of 30 thou 7.5mm wide. Mark a centre spot 3mm in from the end and draw a 6mm diameter circle and draw the bottom edge of the moulding passing through passing through the centre spot. Draw another line 0.75mm above this for the top edge. Drill a 4mm diameter hole and open out to 4.5mm then tidy up with a needle file. Now shape the straight and curved top edges of the moulding, including the chamfer, with scalpel and needle files. Finally, cut along the bottom edge and separate the finished moulding from the strip. Before adding the15 thou roof, add glazing to the windows in 10 thou clear sheet and paint the inside matt black. The ducket on the far side is simpler as it has no ticket window! Finally add the end canopy and brackets in 15 thou.

We now need to deal with buffers and coupling hooks. The prototype had coupling hooks at both ends but no couplings. It was coupled at the front with the screw coupling on the rear coach. I can only assume that a loose coupling was carried for connecting slate wagons to the rear when required. The front coupling on the loco would have been used when taking the train back down the line. However, looking at the size of this coupling, it seems the buffers on both loco and brake van would have to be fully compressed to get it over the coupling hook. I don't have sprung buffers on either of the models and, even if I did, the chances of getting them manually coupled and keeping both springs fully compressed would be nigh on impossible. To cope with this, I modelled the rear buffers on the brake van in a compressed position and fitted a captive overlength coupling on the rear hook. The white metal buffers that come in the chassis kit are nice and crisp and need very little cleaning up so the front buffers can be glued into the buffer beam with epoxy, ensuring that they don't project beyond the rear face of the beam. After cleaning up, carefully remove the heads and shanks from the rear buffers then drill the housings and heads with a 1mm bit. Glue a short length of 1mm brass wire into the buffer head with epoxy (or solder it if you are braver than me) leaving it slightly proud of the face. When well set, put in a pin vice and file the brass rod down flush with the face of the buffer head. Adjust the length of the brass shank to achieve about a 1mm gap between the housing and the rear of the buffer head. Glue in place with epoxy. The white metal coupling hooks in the kit are not great, so I made my own from 20 thou nickel silver. These are not fixed until after the chassis is finished.

There are a couple of cosmetic items left. Firstly the door catch which can be cut and formed out of 5 thou brass shim. This is drilled 0.6mm to take two lengths of brass wire which will both anchor the catch in place and represent the bolt heads. Two 0.2mm holes are also required for the staple which can be represented by a loop of that nice soft brass wire that you find on better bottles of rioja! Before soldering anything, use the catch as a template to drill the door for the mountings and mark the position of the staple. For the latter drill out the plastic slightly narrower than the width of catch at this point, this will take both ends of the staple and create a nice little pocket for the epoxy. Solder the short lengths of brass wire in position, making sure that they are vertical, trim to length and file down on the outside to represent the bolt heads. Solder the staple in position and trim to leave short tails at the back. Check for fit and glue in place with epoxy.

Secondly, covering the roof to represent canvas. For this I use strips of tissue paper. Mark on the roof where the you want the edges of the strips, remembering to allow for wrapping around the end overhangs. Cut the strips to length and check for fit. Give the top of the roof a good dose of solvent and place the first strip in place. The solvent will soak into the tissue and it will give you a few seconds in which you can adjust the positioning. Now apply solvent to the edge of the roof and the roof rail and carefully dress the tissue down, I find a cocktail stick is good for this. Do not dress down over the end yet. Repeat until all the roof is covered. You will need to seal the laps in the tissue paper. Take a scrap piece of plastic and flood it with solvent then work your brush into it until it is loaded with liquid plastic. Apply this to the edge of the tissue to be covered immediately before applying the next strip. Finally, trim the four corners and dress the tissue down over the ends.


index PREVIOUS Page 2 next