Over the last few years I have acquired a few coaches painted by Larry Goddard. As you can seen below, these are beautifully painted and, particularly, lined coaches. Although he is not really building much any more, Larry’s work comes up from time to time on ebay and I have been nabbing a few of these. They are not particularly cheap, but then there is a fair amount of work in building an etched coach and in reality the price I am paying for them is hardly a fair reflection of this time.
Whilst I have been able to line fairly well in the dim distant past of my teenage years, I don’t think my lining was as good as this and, more importantly, I have misplaced my lining mojo. Although I have plans to try and rediscover the mojo, these coaches do provide a means to get a few very nice coaches to get the layout moving.
This particular coach is to the LMS’s diagram 1778 and originate from 1925 – 28. They were the first standard design for the LMS and will have been found throughout their system, including on the Highland section. My intent for the layout is to have a pair of through trains to Edinburgh/Glasgow with through coaches to London – this will form part of this.
Whilst the basic building and painting/lining of the coach is top notch, there are some issues that I have sought to deal with. First of these is that the bogies are fairly clunky and being assembled from components they are unlikely to be truly square. Thus, I have disassembled these and used them as cosmetic sides to some Bill Bedford sprung bogies.
The coach as built comes with some paper concertina corridor connections – all very 1970s in they look and as they are stretching, they look rather rubbish so off they came. In their place, I have built some of my etched ones – these are a spin off from the dia 51 full brake kit that I am working on. This shows them part built and I will be looking to do a posting on these in their own right once I am fully happy with them.
If mucking about and making the coaches for P4 is not sufficient to undermine the resale value of the coach, the final task to weather down the very glossy paintwork will. These were obviously predominantly aimed at collectors and are finished to showroom standards. The railways of the steam age were amazingly dirty places and a loco or coach in an ex-works condition would be pretty mucky by the end of its first run, let alone its first year.
Thus, it can not stay as clean and glossy as this, no matter how beautiful it looks. I have a weathering day planned for a couple of weeks time, and attacking this will be one of the tasks…………..
As originally conceived by Barry Fleming, the floor was to be permanently attached to the body sides and so too were the lower roof sections. The only access internally, therefore, was to be the clerestory roof/sides to the centre of the roof. In addition to being very restricted, over time there was a little distortion of this section relative to the more chunky body, such that it has developed a bit of a bow – see the final picture of this post. I have been building a few coaches of late and have arrived at the view that it is desirable to have the underframe detachable from the body and if at all possible the roof too. In this case, I am going to give up making the roof detachable but will keep the underframe as a separate piece and arrange for the floor and interior to slide out of the body. In order to provide a mount onto which I can secure the securing bolts to retain the two parts together, I came up with a metal bracket that has been glued into the coach vestibule where it is hidden as below.
With this completed, I turned my attention to the bogies. These are based around the Bill Bedford sprung bogies, now supplied by Eileen’s Emporium – there is one with the right dimensions for the ECJS bogie. These are only the sprung assembly and offer no detail of the real bogie at all and these were quite characteristic riveted plates. I am not aware of any offerings from the trade for these, so I have had to create my own – out comes the CAD machine again! Actually, they are quite easy to draft and there was a fairly good drawing available. As with some of my other etch designs, I have used folding jigs to ensure that the layers come together correctly without bother. In the photo below you can see the basic Bill Bedford sprung frame on the left upper, the basic etch to the bottom right and the finished side with the layers laminated to the bottom left.
And this is a close up of the bogie sides fitted and some of the brake hangers fitted.
After searching around, I decided that the best means of making the axleboxes and springs was to use the Drummond pattern axlebox/spring assembly from Lochgorm Models. These are really nice but the springs are too long such that the hangers are a bit far out for the six wheeled bogie – hence I formed a hanger point as part of the etching, which you can see yet to be folded down on the above picture. The intention will be to insert a brass rod through the hole in this and to then mount small washers on it to give the impression of the springs. A similar rechnique is used on some of the 5522 models bogies and is quite effective. With this representing the hangers, those to the casting could be cut away.
The axleboxes are rather nice, as you will see, and are of cast brass. The bad news about this is that they are really hard and quite a lot of work is required with a dental burr to open out the rear to be free of the bearing.
And a look at both bogies together, now with the bearing spring hangers in place along with the brake hangers and rods.
A key feature of these bogies was the transverse bolster springs, which are apparent between the axle spacings. I did come up with a scheme to form these but they have not proved to work. I think I can cut and paste a pair of the bolsters from what I have produced (ie half the number I need) so I am going to have another bash and if not, it is back to the drawing board! So whilst I work out how I am going to wrestle with this (I do have some ideas, I just need a bit of time to implement them!), lets at least admire what the coach looks like in its semi-complete state:
There are other things to do with the coach; the centre part of the roof has a bow, there is various detail missing from the underframe, roof and ends yet to go – but it does look the part doesn’t it?
In response to the first part of this blog, Bill Bedford did contact me to help with some prototype details. He was able to tell me that the buffers that I used would only be correct for the brakes and that the udnerframe only had two trusses, not the four that I have modelled. So some corrections will be required……………but first those transverse bolster springs and maybe give the carriage a bit of an outing (I will bring it to Scaleforum for that).
Over the last few weeks, I have been revisiting a number of model coaches that I have built in the past, typically quite some time in the past as most of these have been around since either my teens or twentys!
Over the years techniques have changed and I undoubtedly would not build most of them in the manner that I originally built them if I was confronted with doing them again. Having said this, on the whole my handiwork – especially in respect of the painting and lining was really quite good. I seem to have lost my lining mojo in particular, so I am not sure I could line as well as this now. This is something that I really must get to grips with this, as I still have a lot to do!
a pair of full brakes, the one to the left is a West Coast Joint Stock (from a London Road Models kit) and that to the right is straight LNWR (from a Microrail kit)
But the biggest area of difficulty with the coaches is that the bogies were generally formed around beam compensation units. These are OK for a couple of coaches behind a branch train but they impart far too much friction for a full main-line train as I aspire too. This is impossible to overcome whilst retaining the compensation units, the bar is the cause of the problem and it has to go!
To overcome this, Bill Bedford sprung boiges are being retro-fitting to all of my existing stock. These rely on separate hornblocks that secure a pin-point bearing in them – so rolling resistance is significantly reduced. The hornblocks are held in place by way of guitar wire and the effect is that they glide around the trackwork. They thus give the impression of weight and inertia that is much better than compensation (it is possible to get compensation that does not use the rocking beams that are the cause of the fritchion I am complaining about).
A Midland & North British luggage composite (from a PC Models kit) and a LMS (ex Midland) dining car (from a 5522 Models kit).
The Bill Bedford units are only an inner bogie and they still need to have some form of detailing on the outside. Some of these have entirely cosmetic outers, either of plastic or white metal but the two Midland coaches and the Highland TPO have something slightly different. On these, I utilised the original etched bogie sides and laminated them onto the Bill Bedford inners. This is very successful as it improves the Bill Bedfords notably by making them a lot stiffer and you get the crispness of the etching process.
This is one of my fathers, so I can’t claim credit for anything but the bogies. A Highland Railway TP (fully scratchbuilt). Obviously, no painting has as yet been done, so it does rather look like a ganster with gold teeth!
It is rather challenging to see how the Bed Bedford sprining unit sites inside the outer skins (from a Lochgorm kit) – so I will write up the process in a future blog – but this is what it looks like from the outside.
If, by the way you fancy some Fox Pressed Steel bogies that are neatly sprung and look the part – and almost all pre-group modellers ought to – keep watching the space. Subject to a test build or two, there will shortly be one available on the market.
To test them, I took them and a few other coaches to ExpoEM to use their test track. Here we see a Barney with eight on – albeit a rather od mix for the train and there is a fair amount of painting and lining still to be done.
And to prove that they really do work and also to allow you to see how they glide, a quick youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D7a_cWwGhg&feature=youtu.be