After the conflict ended, wagons were repatriated and found their way to numerous railway lines, some surviving into the preservation era.
Slater's kit is produced in a mix of injection moulded plastic and brass castings. 33cm long and just under 9cm wide, it's a substantial model, but one that can be assembled in a couple of leisurely evenings. Levels of detail are designed to match the firm's locomotive kits but the construction seems robust enough for normal garden railway use.
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- Modelling knife
- Slitting disk
- 1mm diameter drill bit
- Plastic glues
Open the large cardboard box and you find lots of high-quality, detailed plastic mouldings, bubble-wrapped lost wax castings and some 32mm gauge metal wheelsets. There are also nuts, bolts, bearings, a couple of springs and a length of wire. If you aren't sure that everything required is present, the instructions contain a list of parts so you can check.
Talking of the instructions, these are largely made up of exploded diagrams produced from the 3D CAD system used to design the kit – and they are excellent. Along the way there is a little fettling required and this is clearly explained.
I've decided to start on the body and fix the three sections of floor together using plastic cement followed by a wash of Slater's MekPak solvent. The plastic is very smooth, so a rub with some coarse abrasive improves the realism.
Before you glue the bolsters in place, a 6BA nut has to be fixed inside. Since it's going to be inaccessible once they are fitted, I use a little epoxy resin to make sure it doesn't come lose. The corresponding bolt is run through just to check all is clear before it's too late.
More plastic construction, this time the ends go on, aided by some tabs and slots to line things up. Then the sides, which are supplied in two halves. The left hand one goes on first each time as the hinges on the right hand side part overlap it.
Door bangers, brake standards and wheels are lost-wax brass castings. Really nice, but removing them from the sprue needs more than a knife. The only tool that would touch the metal seemed to be a slitting disk in a rotary cutter. Wear eye-protection while doing this and take it slow.
The holes for the bangers were opened out with a 1mm drill bit and then they are fixed in place with superglue. Keep the drill handy as it's used again on the bogies.
Test fitting each part of the bogies is essential. As the instructions note, some trimming is required to ensure the centre sections fit snugly on to the sideframe. I nick the excess plastic away with a sharp knife, but a small file will work just as well. Try the bearing on the axle ends, I opened them out very slightly with a small broach, only a very tiny amount, to ensure the wheels spin very freely.
This is a short wheelbase bogie so the lack of springing or compensation won't be an issue, but it pays to use a small mirror to ensure the construction is perfectly flat. While the glue is soft, a little tweak with fingers on the corners will rectify any twist.
Check all the holes in the brake gear and the solebars are fully open with the 1mm bit then fit the hangers followed by the cross-rods and blocks. The pull rods have to be threaded through and then should locate on the rods. The slots are tight and the instructions suggest opening them out with a saw. I just put a drop of MekPak on them, wait a few seconds for the plastic to soften and push the parts together with tweezers.
Spend some time with the coupling casting. I cleaned the threads up with a 6BA die then did the same with a tap on the nut to ensure this ran freely. It's a lot easier to do this before fitting the spring. The coupling pocket also needs to be opened out a tiny amount to allow the casting to slip through.
So much detail, it's a shame everything will be hidden under the wagon body. Bogies are available separately for those who wish to scratch-build different rolling stock bodies, or simply have a couple hanging around a shed scene.
For more advice, read our article on how to upcycle a wagon.
If you're interested in modelling in brass, our article here on how to build your first edtched brass kit should give you plenty on hints and tips.
For more step-by-step articles, head to our ‘Techniques’ section.