Having just finished the turnouts for Holywell Town I decided to have a small change and go back to wagon building. In a recent 2mmFS Newsletter there was an offer for some new etches for a variety of LNWR wagons, a couple being 20T brake vans which will be required for Holywell Town. The freight trains for Holywell had to be top and tailed with a brake van and if I remember correctly limited to 5 wagons so quite a few brake vans will be required.
So I decided to go for a full set of etches and once received I cleared the workbench and made a start on the Special Cattle Wagon.
Wagons of the LNWR – Diagram 26 22ft Cattle Wagon with Drover’s Compartment
This is the etch as supplied.
The sides are built up using three layers, they have an outer frame with an etched hole, the intention is to make up a jig and use location pins to align everything.
However before soldering the layers together there are a couple of items to solder onto the top layer. This is a really neat bit in the design as the half etched detail slots into the top layer. So from the middle layer the drovers door is removed and soldered to the top layer, from the bottom layer the drop door is removed and soldered into the top layer, the half etching in the door locates this under the strapping etched in the top layer.
To build the sides up a scrap bit of plywood was drilled to make the location jig for the sides. So this photo shows one side complete and the top and middle layer in the jig, note I soldered them up from rear to avoid as much as possible plastering the detail on the front with solder.
I then turned to the end of the body. These have quite substantial vertical stanchions, in the kit these are built up from 3 layers, the middle layer has the tabs for location and it also has little pimples to represent the bolt heads.
Unfortunately I can never get on with this method – they are that thin I can never get the 3 layers soldered together accurately enough and the cusp from each layer always shows. So I never even attempted it, instead I put the 3 layers together and mic’d it up at 30thou, so I found a bit of 28thou nickel silver sheet, cut a couple of thin strips and filed them down. Leaving them as long strips helped soldering them onto the end plates, they were then cut and shaped afterwards. I’ve just spotted in this photo a small error in the etching. On the half etching for the planks the vertical etch on the left hand side extends all the way to the bottom past the buffer hole whereas on the right hand side it stops at the bottom of the planking. Fortunately it’s not that noticeable, hopefully once the buffers are soldered on it won’t be obvious, if it is then it shouldn’t be too difficult to fill with solder.
The final details at this stage were to solder on headstock thickeners and couplings and this is where I wasn’t that clear on what needed to be done so I got it wrong! The instructions say there are 2 thickeners to apply on both sides. I took this to mean front and rear but when I offered up the chassis there was a gap to the headstock so the two layers are meant to go behind the headstock. However this mistake proved fortuitous as I can explain in a couple of photos.
I then tried to fit the sides together but I had problems with the corners. When the sides are built up in the jig after the frame is cut out it leaves little tags on the inner layer, just visible at the top of this photo, the inner layers are slightly shorter than the outer layer to provide a rebate for the ends, unfortunately these tags stops the ends seating cleanly in the rebate. So very judicious use of a square needle file trimmed back these tags to clean the rebate out.
So there are then three spacers with small tabs to slot in the sides and end. So I made up twos sets of sides and ends and checked they were square.
This was then tack soldered together. In this photo the headstock thickeners are still on the outside. These were removed and 2 layers added to the inside/rear of the headstock. With the body side soldered on they didn’t fit properly as the bottom plank of the side got in the way. I had to file a small notch in the thickener to get them to fit – hence why I would recommend fitting these after the body is soldered together.
Before soldering it up fully I thought I’d crack on with the chassis. As per many 2mmFS association kits this is built up from multiple layers, there are two different options for the top layer, the early LNWR single long brake lever (at the top and bottom) or the later LMS central V hangers ( on the left hand side.) I was going for the early LNWR single lever version. If you are using the LNWR long brake lever then be very careful which side of the chassis you solder on the top etch – in the photo below I have it the wrong way round as explained when I get to the brakes.
So all the layers are built up in the flat to make life easier.
Once everything was in place the sides are folded down, by hand, and a couple of wheels chucked in to see how it looked. The brackets and steps added for the drovers compartment.
So yes now for the brakes -again any 2mmFS member should recognise the system of folding up and fitting the brakes. Note one brake set has an extra lever behind the brakeshoe for the manual brake lever, so this has to be fitted to the side with the small bracket for the brake lever. However much more important to note is that this brake set has an extra tab, now look at the chassis and just above the “LNWR” lettering there is an extra half etched slot just above the letters. This is the only location on the chassis for this brake set so this is why it is important for the top solebar etching to be on the correct side. I didn’t realise it at the time so I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right and more by good luck than judgement I got it right!! You can just see the small bracket on the solebar above the P in Prize.
Once they were soldered on it was just the brake lever remaining and the roof. So this is the current state, the roof has been rolled to shape but needs trimming on length by a whisker so at the moment is not soldered on.
So overall quite a fun build. With the exception of the wheels and modified end stanchions this is the kit as supplied. However there are just a couple of details to finish off that are not included in the kit. I have some buffers from the 2mmFS Association that are close enough, there is then a large pot lamp required for the roof to make up and on this style of van the vacuum cylinder for the brakes was a horizontal unit behind the brake lever which I will have to fabricate to fill in a bit of the under chassis.
As usual the detailing seems to have taken just as long as building the kit. Anyway a few more details have been added and I’m happy to say finished for painting now.
So the extra detailing added is.
- lost wax cast buffers from the 2mm Association.
- Oil lamp holder on the roof turned from brass bar
- Vertical hand rails on the drovers door.
- End strapping.
- Horizontal vacuum cylinder from a bit of brass bar held in place with a couple of straps.
- Vacuum pipes from a bit of guitar wire
- Some signalling equipment on the drovers end made up from a bit brass stock and wire.
Overall a nice little kit that has gone together with very few issues.