Interesting & Unusual Prototype. PDF version
I have wanted to have a go at Bill Parker's Tool Van (he was the original manufacturer of these kits) since I first saw it but have no justification (yet) to get one. However, I have a client who does want one as part of a small Permanent Way train.
These excellent etches and a bag with the usual bits, white metal axle guards and the door timbering. As usual the buffers were changed for some self contained sprung castings with steel heads and shanks.
The instructions are up to WEP's usual standards and include templates for the glazing. Being an iron van, there are quite a lot of rivet/bolt head to push out but the serious bolt heads in the roof members are provided as an etched overlay.
My normal method for these kits is to build all the component parts, while most of them are still flat, before starting assembly proper.
The corners are easily made by bending round the shank of a 6mm drill bit and they have half etched easing lines to make the job easier still. Back to Top
Here are the various parts awaiting assembly. You can see how the side stanchions are fitted by having their tabs twisted on the inside face of the body. This saves soldering them and the risk of solder running into the detail.
The window units in the ends have tabs to hold the glazing in place.
The underframe is straight forward for anyone who has built any of Bill's van kits and is not difficult. In my view anyone who has a little experience with etched brass should find no problem with it.
The compensation works very well and all the parts fit as and where they should.
The solebars have the plates, door supports and spring stops fitted now. So much easier than after they have been soldered to the body.
The underframe fits between the solebars and is bolted to the body. Essential for the fitting of windows after painting.
The steps, which fit under the doors, are intended to be fitted using wire and etched supports. The method works well but I prefer to use Slater's lost wax brass supports that come with their GWR carriage kits and are available separately. They are much stronger.
Cut off the top fixing spigot and open out the hole in the solebar to take the lower one. Once the back of the support has been filed flat it will fit nicely, but a small slot has to be filed in the bottom lip of the solebar. You can just see these cut outs in the solebars themselves.
One small point if doing this, do not push out the rivets where the step supports fit. I forgot and had to flatten them again.
I started assembly by fitting the solebars, one to each end thus. To ensure strength and squareness while working on it I also used small pieces of brass angle on top of the solebar, well away from the end. Back to Top
The stanchions that fit on to the solebar cannot have the tabs twisted where they fit into the solebar and will need careful soldering. This will also add strength and squareness.
Next, I fitted the door and twisted over the tabs on both sides. This ensured a good fit and then the rest of the solebar was soldered in place. A simple matter now to repeat it for the other side.
A quick check for square before soldering on the roof which, if all goes to plan, ensures it all is, and stays, square.
Two views of the van body complete save for the buffers, door frame castings, roof vents and chimney. The white metal castings were poor, I think perhaps as a result of worn molds and took considerable cleaning up to make them acceptable.
I ought to have sent them back as I know Bill would have replaced them without question but that would have upset the timetable badly.
I rarely solder white metal parts these days, particularly very small or, complex parts like the door frames. I use Loctite 480; it is black and not too thin so has a small degree of gap filling ability.
Provided both surfaces are cleaned with a fibre brush and then again with IPA, a good bond is guaranteed.
Here is the completed vehicle awaiting its trip to Ian's paint shop. Aside from the castings it is an enjoyable kit to build, well within the capabilities of anyone with a little experience of etched brass.