An interesting 6 wheel Saloon. PDF version
This is being built for a friend who models the LNWR and will serve as part of a special train representing those that went North for the Grouse shooting season in the 1900s.
The kit arrives as a large sheet of etch securely taped to a stout wooden board, a bag of bits for buffer, bolts, screws, etc., and 13 pages of quite detailed instructions. Not supplied are wire, or tube required for various tanks and cylinders.
There is a drawing of the completed vehicle but to a very small scale and appears to have been reproduced from GR Weddell's book LSWR Carriages, Vol 1. Pictures are an essential aid and, fortunately, Ian Hopkins models the LSWR and lent me the required book.
I began with the springs and hangers. The springs are Ivan's normal etched laminates while the hangers are made up from etches and wire. They look very delicate but are surprisingly robust once all the parts of a spring unit has been soldered up. I used my usual method of drilling appropriate holes in the RSU base plate to act as a jig and each unit was easy to produce. However, the distance for the jig pins in the instructions, stated as 28mm (for the 4mm version perhaps?) for the distance between the J hangers, is wrong and should be 49.5mm.
The parts for the brakes need the holes drilling out in the shoes and support so that they can be soldered up accurately using a wire jig. The instructions make reference to this and suggest one needs patience for the job. I considered it essential if the brake blocks were to really look the part. These parts fit into slots in the outer trucks of the Cleminson suspension unit.
Ivan's version of a Cleminson suspension system is designed to enable the wheels to be removed, hence the bolts visible on each unit. The centre unit slides horizontally inside projecting 'ears' that are soldered into the floor. Unfortunately, one pair fouls the bolt heads so I made up a couple of replacement 'L' shaped supports and soldered those in place, removing the offending parts.
Here the brakes are as complete as I intend to make them; as usual I have left off any parts that are not visible from normal viewing angles or distances but the prominent brake activating levers need to be present. However, there are eight parts No: 14 required to make up these levers, two per lever, but there are only five on the fret so three more had to be fabricated. The yokes are only soldered in to one side of the brake rigging. The fitting to the bolted side of the unit is free to move when the unit is disassembled to remove the wheel sets.
The ends with all the bits fitted ready for assembly to the body. I had to remove the short handrails on the right hand one when modifying both parts to make fixing to the sides easier, see later. Also, there is no provision for the gas control handle, see later.
The fixed windows in the sides have separate bolection mouldings and the RSU came in to its own for these delicate parts. Here are both sides shewing all the parts fitted prior to assembly of the body. The window drop lights come with the hinges ready etched on to the frame so fitting them ensures both accuracy and the correct depth for the hinges; the lower door hinges are separate etched parts. There is also provision made for an open window with an integral frame. I later modified the compartment door on one side with it; there are suitable etched parts for the hinges to be added. Back to Top
The parts for the floor cleaned up and ready for assembly with the overlays soldered to their bases. Like the Royal Saloon the body sits proud of the sole bars so one can see daylight between therefore, soldering them on takes a little care to ensure a good solid joint.
Here is the underside with the gas tanks, vacuum reservoir and vacuum cylinder all mounted. The sizes quoted for the various tubes to make these parts in the instructions are not correct (possibly they are 4mm sizes?). The gas tanks require 7/16" tube, the vacuum reservoir 3/8" and the vacuum cylinder 1/2". On the prototype the vacuum cylinder sits at an angle; easy enough to cut the tube so that it sits in its mounting slot at an angle thus:
The ends fit between the sides but, the thickness of the ends at that point is some 0.2mm and the etched framing protrudes beyond. Edge soldering that I considered could be difficult so decided to add some 1mm square stock to the ends and a sliver of scrap to the straight part of the sides so that I could offer up an end at the correct distance for a good fit. It did make things easier. One has to make allowance for the strengthening piece at the top of the side, not difficult. It was at this point that I had to remove the handrails from the non-step end and replace them once the body was assembled.
A simple matter then to solder one end to one side but be sure to fix the correct end to the correct side; they are handed as the body will only fit one way. That's right, I got it wrong first time!
Here are the two joined sides and ends awaiting final assembly. The open window in the left compartment is visible.
And here are the two side/end units assembled to form the body with the compartment partitions added. This makes up into a robust unit and all that now needs to be added are the three roof fixing cross members. A piece of scrap brass was used to blank off the lavatory from the corridor.
Now required is a roof. The recommended method for the roof is to use layers of Plastikard superglued together and sanded to shape. An extremely messy method very prone to excessive electrostatic dust all over the workshop, as mentioned by Ian Hopkins when he built one for the Royal Saloon. I have decided to try using timber instead, lime wood with a shellacked card finish and fix it with self tappers through the roof support ribs.
Here is the basic roof section shewing evidence of a previous, unsuccessful, attempt to glue the card in place. The profile is not difficult to carve and sand into shape having made a negative master based on a spare end. Back to Top
It is the right length now to fit between the ends and in the next picture a start has been made on shaping the card to be glued in place. It was taped in place and then inverted into an old tinplate roof section and a heavy weight applied. In 24 hours it was ready for shellacing.
The footboard supports as designed are, in my opinion, very flimsy and, I think, not enough of them. I used instead modified Slater's footboard supports, raided from a kit in my 'to do' cupboard, I must remember to replace them.
The buffers are inserted temporarily with the heads pushed into the tubes that serve as shanks, once it is painted they can be fixed permanently. However, the owner has decided that he wants integral buffers fitted instead so these are scheduled to be removed.
Being a Saloon the seating is naturally non-standard so took a while to make up using Slater's parts and modifying where necessary. The two low couches that go under the windows in the central compartment will be glued to the floor but the rest will be glued to the compartment partitions.
The roof continued; this time I was successful in getting the card to stick to the wood evenly. The shellac gave a good hard surface to work with and so the roof furniture was easy to measure up for and fit.
Here is the roof finally complete with the gas piping. I discovered that the kit had no part for the gas control rod so made one up from spare door handles and scrap.
The gas lamps were drilled out 0.5mm on side to take the wire to represent the piping. Once the long pipe was fitted, superglued in place, the lead off pipe to each lamp was cut to length and also superglued in.
I had been aware that something was not quite right with the completed coach but could not figure out what it was until this picture was taken and the penny dropped. The vacuum pipes are in the wrong place; they are where they would be for a GW coach. Now it will be necessary to make some up as per the instructions and fit them in the centre. The holes for the buffers will remain for my friend to fit his own preferred pattern and couplings too. I have corrected the vacuum pipes as can be seen in the picture at the top the page.
Late modifications. The centre wheel set as designed is free to move vertically so far that it easily become badly misaligned and prevents the vehicle being put on track without some fiddling. I modified it by simply soldering a wire keep in place thus: On reflection there should perhaps have been two.
The roof also needed a method to ensure that it can only be fitted one way and to hold it place. I did not want to use small screws as originally intended because, too small and they would not do the job and larger screws risks splitting the wood. I drilled out four holes in line with the end roof mounting bars and fitted brass pegs such that they hold the roof in line. Two of the diagonal pegs were deliberately set slightly off centre and the corresponding holes opened out so it will now only fit one way.
A very interesting build and one relatively easy for anyone with some experience of etched kits but not for the beginner.