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Going Small with a GWR Branchline 1890-1920 - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Dec 7th, 2019 05:40 pm
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Petermac
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You certainly seem to enjoy a challenge Nigel.

Not only have you chosen GWR ( :mutley) but EM gauge and hand built track to boot.  I'm guessing you must be quite young ............. :hmm

I do wonder why these kit manufacturers seem to fall by the wayside.  Is it because, against RTR stuff, it's not very cheap and most people will make a mess of the painting stage or is it because that "mid range" of model makers - i.e. not model engineers but enjoy kit building - no longer exist .................

I'll enjoy watching you developing your layout but will probably ignore the livery ...................




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 Posted: Sat Dec 7th, 2019 07:05 pm
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Longchap
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Sorry Nigel, but if you don't slap these young upstarts down right away, they'll just keep being a nuisance, so Peter, as someone who's recentlty seen your layout, let me say just one word .  .  . pannier !

They are God's wonderful reward to all rail enthusiasts and I know you love them.

Bill 

:mutley



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 Posted: Sat Dec 7th, 2019 07:42 pm
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All part of the fun - as far as possible no RTR stock.This is a layout deliberately designed for scratch, bash and kit building, not for Bachmann, Hornby and the rest of the RTR gang. It's what I like doing so the layout selection and design was driven by this. 

Deliberate voice of time-frame as well. Not a lot of RTR stock compared to post-merger. Sleepy branch lines tended to have older engines, which means 1860-1880. I get to have visitors from the Cambrian, Taff Vale, MR, GCR, ER, GNR, LNWR...should make for interesting wagons.


Age? It's the life in your years, not the years in your life. Statistically I have about 16 years left, 70 this year, but I've only got 11 feet of a branch line terminus to worry about, I recon that's a good foot every 1-2 weeks or so. Next week should see the baseboards done, then track laying. Bottle neck will be the engines of course. No large towns, industries or miles of country side to model either. Going small means a small area needs doing, in my case around 15 square feet, compare that with a 10 x 12 footer 2 feet deep - 88 square feet. Throw in a double track and some yards compared to my single line and ladder.


It helps that kept kept a lot of material from my last EM efforts.


Coal from Lancashire for the gasworks, Wales and Notts for domestic, tar wagons, horse vans for the visiting hunt, and cattle wagons tended to get around. Plus the occasional family saloon off to Scotland for the grouse season.


You may have gathered there is storyboard here based on the prototype. That's what works for me.


Nigel

Edit. Note voice instead of choice. Not intentional, but I'm leaving Kindle's vocab as it really is the voice of the past.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 8th, 2019 04:12 am
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Nigel,

that all sounds like serious fun, enjoy.

Colin



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 Posted: Sun Dec 8th, 2019 01:56 pm
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Hi Colin,

Too right. Part of the satisfaction is actually chasing down cottage industry bits and pieces/kits. Not the best time to do this as many keep going out of business.


If I was doing a "basement empire" of 30 x 20 feet it would be RTR and OO fine scale track. Going small means a different approach. I did contemplate P4 over EM, but as I already have a lot of track no contest.


Nigel



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 Posted: Tue Dec 17th, 2019 04:32 pm
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Hi All,

A lesson in "Toads". Otherwise known as goods brake vans on the GWR. I felt that in the spirit of going small a smaller goods brake van rather than the ubiquitous 20 ton one made by the likes of Bachmann and Hornby would be more suited, say an early 13 or 16 ton short version. Scouring the available kits (far and few) and RTR models I came across an early, unplated (no steel plates on the lower body work) 16 ton brake van by Oxford Rail. Shorter than the 20 ton version, and ideal for the short goods trains I'll be running. Order duly placed, arrived some 3 weeks ago. The box looked smart, "In Pursuit of Excellence" it proclaimed. Ha! This model has some issues (I am being very polite here). I contacted Oxford Rail by email, no reply after 2 weeks. I contacted them again, no reply. Now either their customer service department is on an extended lunch break, they don't have one or they don't care.

There is an excellent article by Russ Elliot (http://www.gwr.org.uk/nobrakes.html) on modeling GWR goods brake vans that gives lots of details about early Toads. There is a really good picture of an unplated one that I used as reference to determine what was wrong with the Oxford Rails model. Unfortunately there is a lot wrong with this model. Using the rule of 3 it looks OK. Meters that is. The following comments are mine alone. Soo...

There is a semicircle missing from the middle of lower footplate. Whaat!  I cannot see this on any pictures of 4-wheel GWR brake vans. Looks like Oxford Rail have used the chassis from their AA1 6-wheel version. Confirmed by the locating pegs for the brake gear in the middle of the underside of the body.

The van is numbered 17831. This was a Diagram AA12, 22 ton van. 16 ton vans were in the Diagram AA3 series. Information on the van numbers used in the various diagrams is readily and freely available. That's some serious chutzpah by Oxford Rail here in thinking nobody would notice.

The rear side windows represent a Diagram AA15 and later. I have no idea what that central window is supposed to represent, as early vans (and most later ones) had a planked access panel so the guard could get at the rear lamp when in motion. Some serious modification to get it back to an AA3. A complete rebuild of the back in fact as the side windows are in the wrong position and the middle window needs to be replaced by a planked panel.

The buffers. Typical of an AA3 but unsprung.

The side lettering is typical of a post-1920 van, with the bottom of the letters at the 4th plank down. Too small for an early van. The position of the weight and depot lettering would appear to be incorrect for an early van. Up until around 1903 the guards name was also included.

The hand rail with it’s absent lower rail is typical of an early van circa 1902. However it should be in grey, not white.

The central chimney was present up to Diagram AA12 but is too small.

No sanding lever on the veranda, This was a prominent feature with a white painted handle.

The sanding boxes in early AA3 vans were located either side of the veranda. The bench type across the back in this model came later.

There is an issue with the brake shoes. One side rubs on the wheel tread. Poor design/qc.
 
In conclusion this is a veritable dog’s breakfast of various diagrams. Best solution would be to increase the weight to 22 tons and make it an AA12, but that would not have been used on a short branch line with a few wagons. An AA3 is what I am looking for. Not what I was expecting from a Company that uses “In Pursuit of Excellence” as a box logo. If this is supposed to be a Diagram AA3 it needs an awful lot of correction. Bodgit, Fudgit and Wingit may be happy, I am not.  Needs a new back with replacement windows for starters, replacement foot boards, new sand boxes on the veranda, new side lettering and numbers, new chimney (the current one looks a bit anemic), new coupling hooks, repaint of the white hand rails to grey,….
 
I live in the USA, if I was in the UK this would have been sent back by return mail.
 
The good new is it looks as if there is just enough room to re-gauge this to EM. Once the rubbing brake shoes are sorted. And that it was well packed. Caveat emptor mes amis.

Nigel

The model as it arrived.




In Pursuit of Excellence. (My underlining). Hmm.




Out of the box. For those interested, compare this with the photo of an early van (http://www.gwr.org.uk/nobrakes.html).




The footplate hole.




And the holes for the 6 wheel brake gear.




The back. 'Nuff said, it's a mess. As Johnson (not Boris) would say, "cut it out, cut it out". This sort of thing could be found on mess van conversions, maintenance of way vans and the like.





The brake shoes. Surely getting the locating holes right is not that difficult.




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 Posted: Thu Dec 19th, 2019 03:58 am
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Hi All,

Some rolling stock modeling today. "About time too!" was the shout from Blodgit, Fudgit and Wingit.

I checked the clearance of a wheel set on the GWR Toad, just about enough space for EM gauge. With a bit of prodding and encouragement the brake shoes are now off the tread but the shoes are barely clearing the rim (if at all). Looks like the brakes will need repositioning. Clearly not a model designed with EM modelers in mind. Then again, most things aren't.

Wheels set as supplied - OO gauge.




Wheel set adjusted to EM gauge. Looks like that representation of brake rodding will have to go. Not sure how prototypical it is anyway, and under normal viewing conditions it is not visible. Methinks some decent wheels from AGW with a more realistic tread rather than the agricultural ones supplied will also be required. Plus a bit of research on the prototype rodding. These vans were unfitted, so no need for the vacuum reservoir and piping. Looking at some photos tonight there may have been V hangers in the middle. The NEM pocket mounts need to come off as well. Conveniently located right under the brake rodding. Good planning that.




Next up was a start on a Siphon C perishables van. This was an early 4-wheel version that used the chassis of a redundant 4-wheel coach (in some cases a 6 wheel coach). In the spirit of Mr. Dean I'm using a kit from Dart Castings that uses a Ratio 4-wheel coach chassis and brass etches for the sides and details. The roof is too long, and has to undergo a cut-and-shut to reduce its length by ~4mm. Body was folded up and soldered (Dart recommends CA, solder seemed OK and allows easy adjustment). Bit of tidying up and I can start adding all the 100-odd small details that come on the etch. Roof will need a bit of filler when the glue has set.

Basic body shell. Just a bit of solder leakage to get rid of.




End doors. Ditto.




Roof (cut and shut in the middle to preserve the rail gutter curves), body shell and Ratio chassis. I added the gas tank underneath without thinking, not needed as lighting inside was by oil pots.



That's it for now.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Dec 19th, 2019 08:00 am
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Petermac
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Nice job Nigel but I see what you mean about those brakes.  Can't they just be repositioned having extended the link bar ?



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 Posted: Thu Dec 19th, 2019 01:54 pm
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Thanks. That's what I'm thinking but it's delicate plastic. They will need moving to get at the coupler box mounts anyway, I suspect they won't survive. Not viewable anyway.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Dec 19th, 2019 07:14 pm
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Hi All,

That Toad again. Moving the brake gear out and away from the wheel tread resulted in the representation of the brake rodding falling apart. Inspection of one of the wheels revealed some breaks in the plastic spokes. Looks like the plastic used is the same as the body (i.e., styrene). Not good for wheels! Toy train cheap comes to mind. AGW's on order. All brake gear now removed to be relocated to accommodate the EM gauge wheel set, unless I can find some decent after,market ones. It will probably be easier to do a representation of the rodding using P/B wire soldered up than try to rescale the plastic ones that came with the model.

Turned out those screws hold the chassis to the body. The posts for the NEM coupler gear were chopped off using an old pair of Xurons (there is life in these when their rail cutting days are over). I think next step will be to remove the rear of the cab. And fill in those footplate holes! And get rid of the the lettering! And...Blodgit, Fudgit, Wingit - you have work to do. Lots in fact. You are going to turn that Toad into a silk purse. Hold on, that's not right!

Nigel








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 Posted: Tue Dec 24th, 2019 01:04 pm
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BCDR
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Hi All,

A very, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Once again we have no snow.  :Happy


Nigel



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 Posted: Tue Dec 24th, 2019 01:26 pm
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Hi Nigel,

A most happy Christmas and harmonious household to you and yours as well.

I am relieved to see the EM wheel set fits the toad. I have yet to start mine, although I now have the decal sheets as well as some road vehicle details to fettle.

Sunshine and mild temperatures here and I hope snow remains far from any of us for a while yet!

Best,

Bill  :cheers



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 Posted: Thu Dec 26th, 2019 07:48 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Bill,

Thanks.

The Toad. I wish it was easy but as usual not. All the brake stands had to come out, they will need repositioning with new end support blocks and holes outboard of the original ones when the fine scale wheels are used. I test fitted a set of Bachmann wagon wheels where I just increased the gauge to EM. Interestingly the axles are too short. There are no brass pinpoint bearings, so that will need doing. Interesting to see how the AG EM ones work out. I will reposition the brakes when they are fitted. The running board attachments are rather fragile, 2 out of 4 already broken (just looked at them, honest). I made a start on the body modifications, more of that in a while. I found a diagram of an AA3 to use as reference for the modifications.

I have come to the conclusion that yes, Oxford did an early goods brake van, but as running in the 1930's. Unplated versions could still be found running in the 1940's apparently. Not quite what I am looking for.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2019 08:59 pm
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BCDR
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Hi All,

Busy couple of days. Ratio 'mushroom" water tower almost built, line side hut built, Pagoda shed built, shed built, legs for the modules built, last module built. And of course the Toad, which so far has taken longer than the time taken on all the previous efforts together.

The Toad was first striped of its decals/transfers using some decal stripper, and then taken apart. Pull the buffers out and out it all came. Interestingly the van interior is detailed after a fashion, although it appears to be whimsical rather than based on any prototype. There is even a stove (of sorts). Seating is all wrong, but as you can't see inside I am not worrying about it.



The slight GWR shadow will disappear  after a coat of grey.



Next the rear of the cab. The windows are too high. and early brake vans did not have a widiow but a sliding wood panel that was used to access the tail lamp.



So out it came. As you can see a lot of hacking with some errant blade cuts. Thank goodness for rivet transfers.



And a new one made from scraps of styrene. I reused the windows after cutting them off the sprue shown in the first photo. New lamp bracket from a bit of P/B rod and a scrap of plastic. Look a lot better from viewing distance. The panel is removable, so I may yet have the guard leaning out to check on the train.



The 'oles in the running board. I filled them in with bits of black styrene. Still needs a bit more fettling, but they is gone!



The sand boxes on the veranda. Early AA3  vans had one either side with benches on top, rather than the one bench that ran across the back with lids either side. No, that's not green and pink licorice allsorts but green and pink Lego cut to size with a lid of white styrene. I'll add a bit of grain with the hacksaw blade.




And this is what they look like with the floor in place. I repurposed a Heljan HO plastic barrel as the stove. Not sure what that church pew is doing, nor that very long desk. Definitely not the AA3 diagram that I used for reference.



And with the body shell in place. The tube in the middle behind the brake stanchion is for the screw that keeps all the bits together.



I still haven't t sorted out the brake gear (brake shoes or rods), but a new 65w pencil soldering iron appeared on the 25th, so brass rod and soldering are probably coming up after the Alan Gibson wheels are fitted and the brake shoe stands repositioned. One thing I am still researching is where do the sanding pipes go. Job for tonight. These early vans were not fitted with vacuum brakes, so that doesn't need doing.

One thing i had to do while working on the model was to go around and glue every support for the running boards. They looked to be a press fit and one or more would pop every time I picked it up. Same goes for the handrails. Details, details, Oxford! (As in get it right).

I need another early brake van, so a brass kit or even a scratch build for the next one. I am very tempted to use the AA3 diagram and get a brass etch done. The model has some neat touches such as riveted bars under the footsteps and a detailed interior (that nobody can see), but the effort spent in correcting the obvious faults would would be better used on something a lot better. Vivere et discere.

Nigel

Edit: AA3 Plated version ordered today. Brass etch.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2019 11:52 pm
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That's a lot of fiddling Nigel and while, as you say, the effort correcting faults is so much worthwhile on a much better researched model or kit in the first place. It's shocking really that a manufacturer is happy to proceed without doing seemingly basic research into their choosen prototype.

Your results will however transform the model and I'll eventually be going along the same route with the same model myself (and possibly to some extent with their 6 wheeled version too), although with an OO wheelset. Looking forward to seeing your AA3 brass etch. Is it one you commissioned, or a standard kit?

Oh and vivre et apprendre indeed!

Bill






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 Posted: Mon Dec 30th, 2019 03:53 am
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Hi Bill,

I have an AA3 plated version on order from Dart Castings. Bit of research indicates that this would have been feasible around 1916-1918, so within my time frame.

I feel that getting this model somewhere approaching correct has been akin to turning a sows ear into a hair shirt. Irritatingly closer but no cigar. Started working on coming up with a brass etch of my own, although of another (early) diagram. One of the AA16 wood framed ones looks interesting. Room on the etch for some additional early wagons as well.

One thing I have also noticed with this model is the oversized gaps between the planks. In real life the planks probably had dovetail or tongue and groove joints with tight seams that were draft- and water-proof. I will keep that in mind with the etch design.

Some research this evening on the sanding system was illuminating. Seems that the procedure in early Toads was to lift the sandbox lid and throw a handful of sand down the tube. No levers, unlike like the later ones which had levers at the back and front. The sanding tube ran from the bottom of the boxes to the rail head, so easily added. Once the brake gear has been sorted it will be a repaint and appropriately sized decals with a bit of light weathering. Hopefully a coat of filling primer to start with will help minimize the large gaps. I added a bit of weight as well which helped it roll along nicely.

Looking at the bearings (lack of) there may be an issue. It is definitely designed for OO axles, not EM ones, so when the AG wheels arrive I'll see how much room there actually is and whether pinpoint bearings can be added. May have to run the wheels on an OO axle (current status), possibly without bearings. Past experience has been that most OO stock will take OO axles with the wheels just off the start of the point bit. Using EM axles requires the chassis to be to EM gauge. OK on a kit build, not so good with most RTR models.

All in all a disappointing model and even more disappointing customer service from Oxford Rail. Hey ho. Onward, upward.

Nigel






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 Posted: Wed Jan 1st, 2020 04:01 am
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Hi All,

A Happy New Year to Everybody.

On my wish list of rolling stock is a GWR trailer, matchstick variety. Although there were some specifically built as trailers, many were conversions of the original short, straight-sided steam rail motors to passenger trailers. Not a lot available in kit or kit-aids (Worsley Works has a long version paneled side kit building aid, there are some on Shapeways that because of the printing process process look just as chunky as the Airfix/Hornby versions), and a bash of an RTR model would mean rebuilding all the windows, so it looks like I will be left to my own devices. I was tempted by a 2D cutter, but there are lots of curves in the model that I think will give some problems with styrene.

A brass etch would be ideal as it will give prototypical thickness walls, and the opportunity for half-etch detailing, separate etches for the bolections, etc. So after perusing some official diagrams, I started on my version of a Diagram A9, 59'6" long matchstick trailer. converted around 1920 and almost identical to the Diagram A trailers built in 1904. These had a driving end and center door, the other end was sheeted over. Ideal for short branchlines that for various reasons were not suitable for a steam rail motor. First item was a paper and card model of the body work to see what it would probably look like.Still needs some work, but it's getting there. So far it looks the business. I will need to sort out the various layers before sending off to be etched. I will probably get a color print made on card stock at the local service center, and build a body.[Edit Jan 1, 2020: If it looks OK from 3 feet the project may just stop there as I can go all out on the gold lining that was on the lake red body. Plus some bolections would not be difficult with a separate inner print, Card buildings, why not stock?]. Major issue at the moment is sourcing those very unique buffers, I may have to cannibalize an old Airfix or Hornby model for those. The center door railings would come in useful as well.

Nigel

P.S. These are not photocopies of the diagrams stuck on card, some of the inaccuracies in the original drawings are significant. I'll be correcting those as I develop the masters for etching. Window sizes and their positioning are just one example, along with 88°-92° right angles! Makes you wonder what they got up to in the drawing offices. That said, they were just diagrams, not works blueprints.








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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 03:59 am
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Hi All,

Some progress on the freight stock.

The Toad was finally primed [edit: flat primer/paint] in rattle can slate grey. Almost identical to GWR slate grey (not that there was ever a real standard, carbon black paint mixed with lead white paint, every batch slightly different). Needs the roof painting dirty white, a coat of shiny acrylic, transfers with the large lettering, a coat of matt acrylic, windows attached, and then a light weathering. This was meant to be the heyday of clean railways, so just a light dusting. [Edit: one of my great grandfathers was a locomotive driver, so Mr. Rose's van it will be].

Also picked up an old Ratio MACAW G kit. This was ex-TVR, so really post-grouping. I'll see if I can locate some plate bogies instead of the TVR truss ones, make into a MACAW-B-ish model. Ratio did them, if I cannot locate I will probably bash some. That gap in the floor needs filling where the 2 half tops were supposed to butt together (they didn't). A styrene insert between the bolsters and scribed for planks should do it.

I have a Provender wagon and a Mink A van currently under construction, both Cooper Craft kits. Really old stock, but going together nicely. Photos later. Reading up on DC brakes and turn of the 20th century wagons for the Cooper kits. Might as well try and get them right..

Last photo is to show the difference between regular OO wagon wheels and Alan Gibson Finescale wheels, both EM gauge.

Nigel
















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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 01:28 pm
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Hi Nigel,

Now that looks very much more the part and certainly worth the effort (Oxford Rail, do you get it yet?), so well done and I’ll be tackling my own once I stop enjoying myself with a batch of road vehicles. Enjoy the finishing touches, together with the others and I’m sure Mr Rose will keep it well spruced.

I was looking at a provender wagon only yesterday among a handful of Coopercraft kits I salted away decades ago and was pleasantly pleased with just how good the mouldings on these kits were back then. When I finally decide which couplings to use, I’ll enjoy building them all.

Good luck with the brakes and that AA3 when it arrives. Also watching with interest on how you go with the matchstick trailer.

Best,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 02:02 pm
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Petermac
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You've made a good job of that Toad Nigel, as Bill said, Mr. Rose will be justifiably proud of his great grandson.  Did Mr Rose work for the GWR or some more respected company further to the north and east  ? ............. :pedal

When I saw the mention of TVR, I thought wow - he's into sports cars as well.  :roll:  Alas, the only similarity between your TVR and the TVR I thought of is in the number of wheels.

Looking forward to seeing how the Mink turns out.  Actually, I like the Coopercraft kits - it's a pity they seem to be disappearing into history ..........



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