Another specialist subject for the discerning modeller, PASSENGER TRAIN OPERATION from Bob Essery. In the humble branch stopping teach or dairy train expressing workings, find out about the operational aspect of moving passengers, dairy and other non-passenger traffic attached to slow and semi-fast trains. Before you slam the roofing on, let’s go through the roof itself: Carriages from different companies and various eras were equipped with a variety of ventilator cowls.
The instructions for your kit will highlight the type needed. Chances are the stalk to ‘place’ the ventilator casting is brief, or even more likely split. Toss the ventilator and go for a casting apart. The hole to drill will be wider, and the stalk will protrude under the roof casting but no-one will even make an effort to see if it’s visible from the windows after the roof is down. There are tank filler caps for toilets also, and different cowlings for restaurant car out-takes over your kitchen, as well as piping on British Railways’ restaurant car roofs.
Paint to standards. Post-War LNER, GWR and Pullman coaches had their rooves painted dark gray to avois being strafed by German fighters or bombers from the Channel and were seldom repainted White Lead. For pre-War LNER white business lead I mixed white with metallic – experiment to see what balance you think is right – and applied by brush, apply varnish with satin to draw out the sheen.
Got the next one prepared to put together yet? Much finer when decorated and finished well, etched brass kit-built carriages and vans are ‘the bees legs’ but cost more than plastic ones. Practice makes perfect, of course. Try your hand with simple brass wagon sets to begin with – they still cost more than the plastic ones but don’t need as much weighting – or four-wheeled vans. Some layouts may be too tightly curved for six-wheeled wagons, but here’s where regular membership of a group or golf club kicks in. You get advice as well as admiring looks for your time and efforts when successful. You may get great results when painting, too, providing an excellent, thin coast of primer has been applied.
Perhaps one reason many won’t deal with etched brass sets is fear of failure or insufficient skill. Skill includes trying. With a little more time I shall take it out and get cracking! The investment is greater, however. Soldering sets, good quality air brushes and fine sable brushes don’t come cheap so be warned. If you are heading to balk at the costs, perhaps it isn’t for you because you’d be constantly aware of the expense of failure.
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However, you don’t have to go buying expensive carriage kits if used ones are available, or un-made ones that graced someone’s attic or bottom level drawer and they’ve ‘eliminated chilly’ on the thought of making them up. Remember, ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns’, and everything that jazz! Just think – profit purpose working here – if you get good at it, you may make cash from doing it for others! The costs asked for made up and painted packages work out in the hundreds for a corridor coach.
You could also put them together and sell them unpainted, which is exactly what some do. Besides John Fozard on Anglesey producing North Eastern instructors, there are others who advertise similar services in the model press at different rates. Quality does not always reveal in the pricing, but it is a good guide.