N Gauge

GROUPING WORKBENCH: LSWR Farish Carriage Conversions


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14 September 2016

After completing the first Farish non-corridor conversion (see pages 1 & 2), I needed to add a brake third to form a 2-car set. It took a while to get around to this, and seemed to take forever to get started on the work once the coach was actually on my workbench because I had to order some parts from Etched Pixels. But then I was ready to get going.

The work started on 29 March 2016, but I waited with reporting it because I didn't expect it to take this long. Anyway, I have more than enough photos to cover about half the project, so here we go.

The first stage is to pull the coach apart. The roof comes off (to be sent to the 'spares' pile), the seats and window strips come out, the old pizza-cutter wheels come off, the underframe between the bogies comes off, and even the black Rapido couplers come off.

Three seated passengers from a cheap-but-large pack of Chinese-made figures lie just behind the coach. They'll need repainting into something far less luminous for the 1930 setting.

LSWR carriage conversion

The brake area needs to be painted, just in case it's visible through the windows after construction. Plastic green is never a good look when you're trying to produce a bit more realism. The carriage seats are also getting an undercoat, but only after the seating for three compartments were removed - these were all located in the brake compartment anyway!

LSWR carriage conversion

Next was to carve out part of the carriage ends so that the distinctive LSWR elliptical roof could be added (a 3D print from Etched Pixels).

LSWR carriage conversion

The roof now fits nicely, so it can be marked up with a centre line and then cross-marked to locate the torpedo air vents. Each vent fits centrally over the seated area of a compartment, two vents to a compartment.

The carriage seats have now been painted in third class red, while the balsa block is being shaped into the battery boxes that will sit between the carriage bogies. The first coach, a non-compartment first/third, didn't have anything like this because battery boxes were expensive to buy and fit, and one set was more than enough for two (or three) coaches.

LSWR carriage conversion

Holes were drilled into the buffer beam so that brass buffers could be fitted. The new 3DR clear(ish) coupler has also been fitted, and the carriage's end detail has been carved and filed off. There's a drill hole in the centre of the buffer beam - that's where the vacuum pipe will be located.

LSWR carriage conversion

Both buffers have been fitted and the roof has its torpedo vents fitted. Re-supplying these from Etched Pixels took an age, so the project was put on the back-burner for some time after this part of the work.

LSWR carriage conversion

Painting on the seating area is just about done, with the plastic brown being over-painted in a general Humbrol mid-brown and the painted passengers added (one of them is hiding at the back of the seating area). This one's clearly not a rush-hour service.

LSWR carriage conversion

Now rain strips need to be added to the roof, and also the gutter area at the edge. The two brass items are full-height guard's look-outs which will replace the small look-outs that were much more of a later feature of Southern Railway carriages. Still waiting for the rest of the torpedo air vents...

LSWR carriage conversion

The new look-outs weren't designed to fit to Farish coaches, though. The Farish coach has quite a curve below door handle level (door handle and grab handle holes drilled, as you can see). So a flat file has to be used to take out an area of the curve so that the look-outs will fit on almost flat.

The middle window in the guard's compartment has been filled in with a bit of card. That was one window too many for this 1912-pattern carriage.

LSWR carriage conversion

New guard's look-outs added...

LSWR carriage conversion

Grab rails being added at the end of the roof which will sit above the exterior access steps.

LSWR carriage conversion

Old guard's look-outs removed with a bit of careful filing. The odd scratch and cut will always appear with this kind of work, but a bit of painting later will more or less hide it.

LSWR carriage conversion

New look-outs painted in Maunsell Green, along with the other changes along the carriage side. I know it's a far from perfect match to the Farish green, but it will be fine until someone works out what colour to use instead.

LSWR carriage conversion

The battery boxes needed a bit of extra panelling, so cotton seemed to be the best way of doing it.

LSWR carriage conversion

Here are the carriage's shortened internals fitted in place, with the guard's area having had a panel added to separate it from the compartment area. Still waiting for those torpedo air vents.

LSWR carriage conversion

Brass bars added across the guard's door, but the glue was misbehaving on this occasion, so the clear plastic window strip is pretty badly marked.

LSWR carriage conversion

The roof has had all its 'bits' added and is ready for painting (the new batch of torpedo air vents arrived!). Rather than painting it in a solid colour, I apply a thick wash of 'roof dirt' and then various thin washes of darker grot to create a variegated colour. It may not be perfect but it seems to be a closer approximation of what a once-white canvas-covered roof might have turned into over thirty years of service in a soot-laden atmosphere.

LSWR carriage conversion

Painted roof in place, with filler at the ends sanded and painted to highlight any need for further sanding.

LSWR carriage conversion

A little more filler applied and sanded.

LSWR carriage conversion

And that's the end of this update, but there's more to come for this carriage.

20 November 2016

After having run the finished coach at the Burnham-on-Sea MRC show a week ago, I'd better finish off this report on the work needed to get there.

After having carved off and filed down the carriage ends, the new end 'covers' were placed on top, providing the distinctive vertical banding seen on a typical LSWR carriage. The two black dots at the top are for drill holes - this is where the steps and handrails will go. The new buffers have been primed.

LSWR carriage conversion

Next up is adding the running board - a thin strip of paper held in place with Bostik and then superglued solid. The detailing at the 'non-steps' end of the carriage shown here have also been added. The horizontal top bar is linked into the passenger alarm cord system, allowing the driver and guard to see which carriage has the emergency.

LSWR carriage conversion

Back at the 'steps' end of the carriage, the steps and hand rails have been added, primed, and painted. The set number - 61 - has been added (look underneath the top step) and some weathering has been applied over the top of it all, mostly a couple of washes of frame dirt and a bit of a dry-brushing of the same colour.

LSWR carriage conversion

The 'non-steps' end has had the same treatment.

LSWR carriage conversion

This is the clearest shot I can take of the changes to the guard's compartment, with the old lookouts having been removed (it looks as though a metal cover has been secured over the hole). I've also added the guard's step to the bogie, just above the axle box.

LSWR carriage conversion

And that's about it. This work took a lot of evenings, mostly with small steps being taken, but was easier than with the first carriage because I knew what to expect, and could follow an established order of works. Together they look very satisfying... and one day I may even add another brake to the near end to complete the set.

LSWR carriage conversion

The before and after photos show up the difference between thirty-five year old generic carriage and early twenty-first century rebuild of an early twentieth century carriage. It's quite a change. If only I could find the right green for Farish coaches...

LSWR carriage conversion

 

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