Thursday, 21 October 2010


A full day session on the ballast wagons and a lot of progress made with the details on the platforms at each end of the vehicles, which are mostly bits of the braking system.

The first task is also the simplest - the vacuum reservior tanks which are tucked underneath the Z shaped hopper supports. These are made up of styrene tube with a blanking piece glued on each end and chopped / filed to a circle.

Four shorter pieces of tube were cut to form the basis of the vacuum cylinders which are mounted vertically on the right hand corner at each end of the wagon. There's a lot of fiddly detailing involved in these to represnt the fluted ribs around the sides. Each is a seperate little triangle of styrene which has to be cut and filed to shape and glued on.

There's also a band that has to go around the cylinder about 2/3 of the way up. You have to be very brutal with the styrene for this, holding it in place and being very generous with the solvent and not letting up the pressue until the glue has set firm.

The next task was to fabricate the upside-down 'U' brackets at each corner of the wagon. These are formed from an L section. Although you can buy styrene ready formed like this it's almost impossible to get a 90 degree bend in them like this.

So these were fabricated from strip. 3 pieces are formed into a flat U shape, then another 3 are glued on around the edge, upright this time. With a little filing on the corners they're ready to be put on the wagon.

The most tricky job is the cuvred cover over the vacumm cylinders, made more awkward by the way it has to attached diagonally on one edge onto the bottom of the Z supports.

The easiest way to do it would be to cut and bend them from sheet brass. But I don't have any sheet brass in stock so I did it the hard way: with styrene.

It is possible to bend styrene and get it to hold its shape like this but there is only a 50% success rate - a lot of pieces will crack and snap as you make the bend. It takes patience and perseverance, but as you see it can be done.


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