N Gauge

GROUPING WORKBENCH: LSWR Farish Carriage Conversions


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28 April 2015

Time for another update.

Work on the first carriage conversion has been ongoing, but there are stages in which not very much at all seems to happen, and then you reach a stage where very much indeed seems to happen and suddenly you're a whole lot closer to completing the project. Building the layout has been a very similar process so far (see the Layout Work thread).

The holes for door handles and grab handles have all been drilled, using an 0.5 bit. That's not as easy as it sounds as I broke a drill bit by pressing too hard. You have to allow the drill bit to find its own way through the plastic.

You also have to be careful to place the grab handle drill holes immediately above and below the existing moulded grab, and I seem to have drifted a little in some cases, which is all too easily done. Never mind, they'll fit eventually, after a bit of pushing and tweaking, and no one will be any the wiser:

LSWR carriage conversion

Before adding the new handles, it's best to carry on with the demolition work first, so I scraped and filed off all end-carriage detail, and also peeled off some of the top edge - a little too much as it seems that the existing ends will do fine with the new roof, with a minimum of filling around the gaps. So be very careful to peel off only a little of the central top edge of each carriage end:

LSWR carriage conversion

The Etched Pixels 3D-print roof needs to have its supports pruned back so that it sits over the carriage end. Only a millimetre or so needs to come off, and again, I know this because I took off a little too much:

LSWR carriage conversion

When fitted, the new roof will sit over the end pieces quite nicely:

LSWR carriage conversion

5 May 2015

The tricky part about experimental work like this is that you're not entirely sure of the order of work until you get there. I've rearranged the list several times and am still making minor changes. It'll all be much easier next time, but progress this time is slow - albeit very encouraging. More destruction before construction - cut off the old buffers and file smooth, mark a centre point using something like a set of old pizza cutter wheels, drill a pilot hole, and then a larger hole for the Etched Pixels brass buffers:

LSWR carriage conversion

The hardest part is making sure both drill holes are entirely level:

LSWR carriage conversion

Managed it at one end (shown below), but the other end was a bit wonky. Luckily a quick bit of padding inside the hole forced the wonky offender downwards into leveldom:

LSWR carriage conversion

A mix of Bostik and superglue liberally coating the holes and covering the fitted buffers offers flexibility and strength... usually. All four buffers in place. They're noticeably longer than the old ones so my hope of close-coupling goes up in flames. Next time I want to find LSWR-pattern buffers with a shorter shank:

LSWR carriage conversion

Now it's roof time, 3D-printed by Etched Pixels. The first step is adding roof vents:

LSWR carriage conversion

I've seen the way it can be done with a brass kit, but wanted to simplify it. I marked out a centre line at each end, 9mm being the line required:

LSWR carriage conversion

Then filled in the rest of the centre line:

LSWR carriage conversion

And then, keeping it very, very simple, lined up the roof against the body and marked the centre of each compartment's window seat (don't worry that it looks out of alignment in the photo - that's because the windows you are looking at are on the nearside, while the roof is sitting next to the offside):

LSWR carriage conversion

The next step will be to drill the holes.

28 May 2015

Time for another update. The work has been proceeding apace, an hour or two most evenings and then leave various bits to dry. Even so, it's taking a while, partially because I'm still working out the correct order of works and partially because I'm fine-tuning and correcting things as I go. It's really starting to get there though.

The roof has its rain strips and now also its cantrails. These were quite tricky to attach. I used a thin line of Bostik to get each one in place and then soaked in superglue from underneath. It worked. They're about as solid as can be:

LSWR carriage conversion

Fitting the grab handles and then door handles was pretty easy, done over the space of two evenings. They were inserted and then glued from inside where possible. Where not, a dab of glue was added to the handle and it was guided carefully and quickly into the slot:

LSWR carriage conversion

Attaching grab handles to the roof was much trickier, not helped by a blunt drill bit and a couple of breakages:

LSWR carriage conversion

The green, red, and blue paintwork inside the carriage was touched-up where the door handles had scraped through it. It wasn't possible to fold over the handle shafts, so they were painted instead. A test with the roof on seems to hide up any minor 'problems' like this:

LSWR carriage conversion

Finally, for now, the microstrip used for the cantrails seemed too thick when compared to line drawings. I'd use the thinner version next time - the same thickness as for rain strips. This time I filed them gently and also chamfered the corners. They seem to work okay like this. The roof has been fully undercoated and now has its first wash of Railmatch roof dirt. There will be several more washes to come but I already like the toned effect. This is a roof that started off white and darkened gradually over years of service, so the washes should reflect that:

LSWR carriage conversion

29 May 2015

I was going to scrape off the old carriage numbering tonight but I was distracted by the realisation that the planned-for set and side numbers were too late for 1930. Two hours of research and head-scratching later and I've come up with 1910 four-car bogie sets and numbers that could well have been divided into two-car units (or more probably three, but were certainly still in use) until the early 1930s. That's probably the closest I can hope to get with coach bodies which don't entirely match any diagram anyway, so I'm happy with it.

20 June 2015

It's been a while coming, but I'm more than happy to announce that construction work has been completed. Hurrah!

Here's how it happened. The roof was glued into place (spot the new carriage numbering, although these decals are not the sharpest I've ever seen):

LSWR carriage conversion

Next began the very tricky process of gluing the vertical strips on each carriage end:

LSWR carriage conversion

In fact it was so slow and fiddly that I worked out a cheat for the other end - glue the strips onto paper and glue that onto the end of the carriage. The bonus is that it will help to hide any moulding details still present. Using a sharp knife, remove the outer edge of paper so that the paper ends underneath the verticals. There's less likelihood of it showing up that way:

LSWR carriage conversion

Now prepare the end detailing for the far end (the non-steps end):

LSWR carriage conversion

Vertical strips and cheat in place, horizontal rods ready to go on:

LSWR carriage conversion

Top rod in place, plus black box thing underneath it (cut from a piece of removed moulded battery box):

LSWR carriage conversion

The second horizontal bar and black boxes, plus vertical hand rails for the same end and curved handrails for the 'steps' end of the carriage:

LSWR carriage conversion

The steps themselves, using paper (I bet you didn't see that coming). Simply fold into an L-shape and soak gently in superglue to harden:

LSWR carriage conversion

Steps in place:

LSWR carriage conversion

Curved hand rails added around the steps:

LSWR carriage conversion

At the other end, the second horizontal rod in place and also the vertical hand rails:

LSWR carriage conversion

N Brass vacuum pipe added, with the lower stock bent into an L-shape and inserted into pre-drilled hole on buffer beam:

LSWR carriage conversion

Vertical rod place on other end, although getting the noticeable kink into this was the work of over an hour:

LSWR carriage conversion

Running boards added, using paper again, soaked gently in superglue from underneath until hardened:

LSWR carriage conversion

Last vacuum pipe in place:

LSWR carriage conversion

Full detailing on the 'steps' end:

LSWR carriage conversion

Full detailing at the other end:

LSWR carriage conversion

That's construction done. The next step is undercoating the new bits and pieces prior to painting most of them black. Do you think it'll pass muster?

21 June 2015

Reflections: the curved hand rails were surprisingly easy to do, perhaps because there was more to hold onto. The bottom 6mm was straight, so only the top part needed to be rolled on a superglue cap and then folded at the tip to lock into the pre-drilled hole under the roof. The 'U' bend was a nightmare though! I would have used card for the running boards but there really wasn't the clearance for the bogie, so paper it had to be. It seems to be strong enough with 'responsible' handling.

I've done an undercoat tonight, which seems to bind together all the various additions into one carriage. I'll take a snap tomorrow.

22 June 2015

Here are the undercoating shots. It makes them look a little like Farish or Dapol pre-production models (I wish). The paint looks a little grainer in photo form than it does in real life. One or two things I've noticed from this job is that the 3D roof could have been a millimetre longer at each end to provide an overhang. The torpedo vents could also have come with slightly longer 'stalks' so that they could be properly raised above roof level. Some of these look a little squat, and getting them to sit just right was very fiddly.

LSWR carriage conversion

LSWR carriage conversion

After taking these shots, the first coat of black went on. It takes a while to apply, what with all this detailing getting in the way of the brush, but a second coat tomorrow may just do the job.

23 June 2015

I think the blackness of the end panels will largely disguise the lack of roof overhang for this coach (and for the other roof I have), but when Mr Etched Pixels is more available I'd like to ask him to produce the next batch slightly longer. There was some filing involved to take off a bit of 'fluffiness' at the ends, so this didn't help the length either.

24 June 2015

Not quite a 'trundling around the layout' shot just yet, but apart from a bit of minor touching-up on the edges, the main painting is done. So here's the just-about-finished article without wheels, on the embankment:

LSWR carriage conversion

The only thing that lets it down is the fact that I couldn't match my olive paint touch-ups with the original Farish green. Next time, no loos, and the results should be even better.

1 July 2015

Do you realise that it took a year, almost to the day, to get this project from first post to last 'before and after' shots? A good deal of that time was spent sourcing parts and getting the roofs printed, but the work itself took from February to the end of June. In my defence, a lot of it was experimental work, with lots of testing and pondering and rewriting of the order of works, and then a little light weathering to take the intensity out of the black ends and running boards. I'm firmly convinced that the first 'production' upgrade will take much less time. In the meantime, here are the before and after shots.

LSWR carriage conversion

LSWR carriage conversion

For anyone who plans to have a go themselves (please do!), the complete and final order of works is at the start of this thread.

 

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