|Highland Railway Type B goods brake van d.25|
I was aware that Walsworth Models had produced a kit for this attractive 6-wheel van and when I saw it on the Highland Railway stand at MRS earlier this year I thought it looked a quality product and I bought one. The kit proved to be well designed and etched in modeller friendly nickle silver, though rather let down by the quality of the brass castings.
I made several changes as I built the van, perhaps the most radical was altering the curve of the van roof which I thought was too flat. To do this I soldered a new correctly curved top onto the van ends, it wasn't a lot different but it made all the difference and I felt it looked better. However this small alteration had the unforeseen knock-on effect of having to remake the roof lookout windows, front and back, to match the curve of the roof and this was not a small job. I cut them to shape using a pattern that I made from Peter Tatlow's very credible drawing on page 180 of his "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons". I noticed that the windows on the drawing were a little different to those supplied in the kit so remaking them proved to be a definite improvement to the model.
I thought that the way the kit was designed left the edges of the windows very thin, about 0.25mm which is less than half an inch, so I soldered 0.45 n/s sheet behind all the window openings, lookout, doors and van ends, so the glazing would now be set in over an inch and give the van a more chunky feel. I also beefed up the rather slim footboards with a lamination of 0.25 strip and cut down the upper footboard to allow room for horse hooks on the solebars.
The axle boxes and springs were cast as one piece in brass, the use of this material being I suppose an attempt to upgrade the quality of the kit. However something had gone awry at the casting stage and the axle boxes were set at an awkward angle to the springs and there was nothing I could do to fix the error other than cut the offending axle box off and discard it. The springs by themselves were acceptable and I soldered them to the solebar without the brass axleboxes which I replaced with some nicely cast white metal ones I had in hand from a Lochgorm kit.
The couplings and safety chains that enliven the buffer beam I made myself; the safety chain hooks came from the spares box as those on the etched sheet were over-etched out of existence. The coupling hooks are sprung fairly stiffly, largely to facilitate removal when I paint the model. I don't want the springs to allow the coupling hooks much movement if any.
The improvements I made to the van are small though the effort in making them was huge, I think it was time well spent though you can judge for yourselves by clicking on the photos to enlarge them.
|The suspension system and brake gear.|
The two near axles are mounted on a centrally pivoted bogie, the rear axle is screwed to the floor; a long 0.6mm rod runs the length of the floor and acts as a self centering spring on the bogie. Unseen are the screws that hold the superstructure to the underframe to allow access to the interior for glazing at a later stage.
So watch this space... I'll be working the van to a finish now; tomorrow the etch primer then the paint shop as I need to photograph the painted model in time to make the deadline for the Highland Railway Journal.