Vintage Wagonry

2016-03-16 08.27.45

Whilst I’m off after a small but important hospital procedure I’m getting back into some modelling.

A secondary project I’m running involved what will ultimately be a display case with representatives of Scotland’s five major pre-1923 railway companies.

I just feel it’s another bit of our national industrial heritage that needs celebrated a bit and the liveries are nice too.

From what will ultimately be the Caley goods train, here are a cattle wagon and a five plank open. Two modelling generations apart in terms of media and construction, both have challenges of their own. The cattle wagon, supplied by the Caledonian Railway Association, is fairly straightforward superglue assembly and as long as you clean the parts up (careful of the dust!)  and make sure the sides/ends go together squarely you’ll have no real problems. If you are using Bill Bedford spring suspension like I did, you’ll also need to mill a smidgen from inside the one-piece floor, solebar as the units are a wee bit neat for it. The trickiest bit of the whole job was millling out the axlebox rears to allow some travel in the sprung bearings. I’m not convinced I was using the right tool though.

The open is one of the 51L range of kits and required a lot more low end trickery to produce a ‘runner’. The sides and ends solder together easily enough if you take care but having bored out the axleboxes to accommodate bearings, the distance between bearings is over long for a standard 26mm Gibson pinpoint axle. I opted for the crudest possible solution of physically pushing the axleboxes in towards each other. It’s undoubtedly lo-fi though and will surely run like a three-legged dug!

I think the next one of these I do will have the supplied set-up removed and replaced with BB ‘bouncers’!

Anyhow, I’ll chuck some primer at them today and see how things look.




Enter the Greyback


Back in November I was lucky enough to find one of these rare DJH kits for the Caledonian 60 Class 4-6-0.

Six of these engines were built to the design of William Pickersgill in 1916-17 at St Rollox. Never the fastest or most free-steaming machines, they were nevertheless better than OS Nock’s hatchet job in a 1920 edition of The Engineer implied and could put in good work in the hands of a skilled crew. The last one didn’t go until 1953 which must say something. That said DL Smith recounts a couple of horror stories of their use on the Girvan – Stranraer section in his books. It was SouWest men that lumped  them with the handle ‘Greyback’, which is the Scots term for a woodlouse!

The kit itself is very much classic Banbury-era DJH with battleship plate frames and chunky whitemetal castings. I don’t yet have a drawing to hand but overall the basic proportions look ok. The chassis itself will be replaced with Gibson frames so that some kind of springing can be accommodated. Likewise a Caley Coaches subframe will be used beneath the tender and it’s possible new tender sideframes will need fabrication to replace the castings. I doubt with their their thickness they will accommodate EM wheelsets. The basic superstructure has so far gone together without much drama so far though the two boiler halves were slightly misalingned. Careful use of sanding sticks has helped here but I suspect I will remove the heavy boiler bands entirely and replace with tape or decal lining in due course.

No doubt there will be the usual snags and pitfalls associated with kits of this vintage but I’m looking forward to seeing her in full Caley blue before the year’s out!