Sunday, 24 July 2011

Highland Railway brake van

As my first step in modelling the Highland Railway pre-grouping, I thought I would start with an iconic Highland 6-wheel goods brake van, from the Lochgorm kit. The etch is reduced from 7mm and 4mm scales, but has proved a practical proposition. (For an example build in 7mm, see petesworkshop).

Construction is nearly complete: I still need to fit the chimney, handrails and couplings. Some filling is needed around the "birdcage" lookout. Most of the brake rigging is missing, but I don't think it would be visible. There should be tie rods between the bottoms of the W-irons, but I don't see how to fit these without inhibiting movement of the W-irons.

Axleboxes and springs are not included in the kit. I built them up in plasticard and fixed them around the footboards. They are much reduced in depth to allow for movement of the W-iron assemblies. The J-hangers are included in the kit but I soon gave up trying to put them together in this scale! Instead I made some crude replacements from plasticard and lengths of wire (still quite fiddly). They don't stand up to close scrutiny but at least there is something there!

The third photo shows the underside of the van. I build the chassis basically as described in the kit instructions. Each axle is fitted in its own W-iron assembly. The rightmost of these is rigidly soldered to the van floor. The leftmost is held by fold-down tabs that allow the axle to pivot in the centre. The centre assembly is allowed both to pivot and to move side-to-side (I had to file some material off the inside of the solebars and the backs of the top-hat bearings to allow this). It is held by a 0.010" steel spring wire which is soldered to fold-down tabs at either end. It runs up and down my Inverneuk layout ok, but time will tell if this system works satisfactorily out "in the wild". Wheels are 2mm Association coach wheels.