This is part of a rake of five wagons for a client, the others being: NER Birdcage Brake Van, LNER Perishables Van and an LNER MAC-L. I have built a set of these before (see LNER Mites) but have developed a better construction method to make getting the bends on the body accurate.
The kit arrives as a flat pack securely taped to a piece of stout card with two bags of excellent castings and more than enough wire and rod to complete both vehicles, together with a set of Jim's excellent instructions. The plan was to replace the buffers with integrally sprung buffers, replace the couplings with a WEP set and install compensation in both vehicles using WEP compensation units.
I began by getting all the parts fettled and cleaned up ready for assembly, fitting as many parts in the flat as possible and assembling various sub assemblies. Here are the parts necessary for one vehicle. The lashing rings on the bolster are from Amati and CPL shackles will be fitted to them.
There are a good many very small parts that need careful attention and some potentially difficult bends to make if one is to achieve a square body with corners that fit properly.
Here are both bodies in the process of being folded up but first I drilled out the centres and fitted some thick brass on the underside to take the bolster pivot. The kit provides a white metal fitting for this but I wanted something more substantial. The bends were started by scoring the etched lines until a witness mark appears on the other side. Using a Hold & Fold I first folded the outer lips of the body to get them absolutely straight and square. The next fold, to bend up the sides, was done using fingers only. Since the side now has a right angle in it, it is unlikely to distort if one is careful. Bend up the ends first, taking them slightly past 90º and then back off then fold up the sides, ensuring that all four are then at 90º.
Here you can see the finished folds from the underside.
The body then had solder cream run inside the corners and the clamped upside down to the steel plate. This makes it easy to ensure that the corners are pressed tightly together and then soldered, repeating the process for the other end. It makes for a very neat joint.
The buffer planks were then soldered in place, ensuring that they were at right angles to the body and dead centre. The body being clamped to the plate meant that it could not distort while this process was under way.
The solebars are next, tack soldered and checked for square then a fillet run along the back and soldered in followed by running some flux along the front and resoldering from the front so that the flux pulls the solder through and under the joint.
The axles guards are soldered in next, lining them up on the spring stops.
Finally the corner plates, support brackets and Vee hangers are soldered in place before the whole thing is given a thorough clean in Viakal and then the Ultrasonic bath.
Wheels and brakes were fitted next, the parts fit well and presented no problems.
Here is one with the shackles fitted. The stanchions are not fixed but it may be advisable to fix them once the painter has completed his work.
Anyone with a modicum of experience with etched kits could put these together. It was interesting building another set after so many years.