This is an Old Kit despite the modern packaging.
The kit arrives in a Pizza style box and includes a set of instructions well printed in A4 format and bound. It contains some prototype information, exploded diagrams a list of parts and picture of the etches with their numbers. There are two etched sheets and sundry other parts including some lost wax end steps but these were not used because their method of fixing using pegs, which do not match up with the large slots in the end. Also provided is a preformed plasticard roof that will be scrapped and a brass one substituted.
The etches are labeled "MSE" and so go back a long way; they are clearly hand drawn so, compared with modern CAD efforts appear quite crude. The basic design is fine but the coarseness of many of the smaller parts detracts from an otherwise good kit. These parts at least would benefit from redrawing. Or, perhaps the tool needs renewing, do they wear out I wonder?
The floor and solebars fold up well and, with the addition of the buffer planks makes up into a sturdy unit, which has provision for compensated wheel sets.
There is a great deal of beading to fit in the form of 0.5 mm wire into etched grooves, ventilators to fit behind various doors and hinges to fit so it pays to do as much of this in the flat as possible. It is fiddly but necessary if the character of the vehicle is to be brought out properly. Here you can see the difference between the sides where one is completed and other awaiting completion. The holes beside the groom's door for the angled grab handle become hidden behind the beading and so it is necessary carefully to drill through from the rear and open out to take 0.7 mm wire.
Here are the completed sides and ends ready for assembly. Some laudable attempts have been made to improve this kit with lost wax castings, for instance for the 'ears' that hold the brake control gear in place on the step end. Unfortunately, they are too small to fit into the overlarge slot and anyway need to a small hole for the fixing pin. A pity as they would have looked much better that the crude hooks provided, which I need to modify to hide the obvious hook. Also among the castings are some nicely made door handles and cast step supports that I shall certainly try to include. There are also a couple of grab handles to go beside the groom's door but they were too small to fit in the holes provided.
The body goes together well, I fitted one end to each side first as usual with the parts clamped to the steel plate with magnets and then the resulting units were soldered together. The designer did a good job here, there is just sufficient room to fit the ends between the sides as they butt up against the fold down tabs.
I also then took the time to fit the floor and bolt it up tight and square with bolts that had been chemically blackened and soldered the nuts in place. The nuts are actually soldered over slots; it looks rather as though it was designed for the body to be bolted to the floor on the inside with the nuts soldered to floor. However, that would required the roof to be removable. The interior walls, not yet fixed, are from a generous sheet of thick plasticard provided in the kit. One for the groom's compartment wall and the other to balance it and ensure that body sides to not bow inwards.
The picture shews the completed body sitting nice and flat on the bench, these parts are accurately drawn and etched so that the body is square.
The wheel units are identical but there tabs under each wheel that need to be removed from one unit and bent against etched line to prevent that unit from rocking in its mount. These tabs also then need a good deal removing to obtain a good fit, fiddly but essential.
To be continued.