Big F Half-Luggage Brake Carriage

Scratchbuild by PT

Now the E van is finished, I've started on F40; these are card laser cuttings to check dimensions. There are one or two adjustments to make before moving to MDF and ply.

The sides and overlays match up. There's no tumblehome -which is not quite prototypical, but easier to make...

The first stage: the carcase in 2mm MDF; still a couple of tweaks needed. Bulkheads are in place for the passenger compartments. The stub tenons are only 2mm wide, and will be hidden behind the beading.

The last lot of 0.8mm ply twisted when I cut the sheet size down to 600 x 400, so I have experimented with using a very thin layer of PVA to fix it to a sacrificial sheet of MDF. The good news is that it all stayed in place when cut, although a few panels (which are scrap anyway) fell off afterwards. I now need to see whether the ply can be prised off, or if I need to use heat (hot air gun or a domestic iron) to soften the PVA first. Fingers crossed...!

The ply released from the backing board successfully, and has been fixed in place using CA glue. Whilst PVA would have permitted re-positioning, the demands of clamping and cleaning up seeped glue ruled it out -another lesson learned!

Having learned a thing or two with the E van, I'm trying a different approach with these duckets, making them an integral part of the body. It may make fitting the plywood skin to the duckets harder, though. And I've just realised that I haven't cut out the carriage sides inside the duckets -another modification for the MkII version.

The 6" rule gives some idea of the really satisfying size of the carriage; as I'm new to all this, it is still a surprise to see how big the models turn out!

Gluing the panels onto the duckets. Stationery supplies come in useful!

Painting needed a bit of planning; the masking tape had to seal on a flat surface to prevent overspray. As it turned out, the order of spraying was by sections from the top of the carriage downwards -red/cream/red. This shows masking for the the second (cream) coat.

With the masking removed, it's time to let the paintwork harden off. There are one or two blemishes to touch in, but that can wait for now.

Two things -a visit to a local show, and reading the spec for the DJB small F coaches- gave me pause for thought. I liked the working ducket lamps on the E Van, and saw an illuminated coach running on the Brambleton 32mm layout, which inspired me to light the compartments here; but then light shows interior detail (or lack of it); and just how detailed did I want this to be?

Well, the decision is made: quite detailed, but not 'museum standard'. So I cut softwood strip to suitable profiles for the seat back and bases, (which got a coat of a suitably coloured emulsion) and the CAD package I'm using provided wood grain for the compartment panelling.

The lights are 3mm white LEDs, and the lamp glasses are disposable camera lenses that I scrounged many years ago. An online resistor calculator helped with the technical side, and the LED's have a coat of off-white paint to make them less blue; whilst the tops are painted black to reduce the glare.

Much smaller than the oil lamps on the E van, the ducket lamps required a spot of engineering, as the only way I could think of making them was out of solid brass. Milled, drilled, and with 3mm diameter acrylic inserts, the 5p piece gives an idea of the scale.

Painted and placed in position; windows, and touching up the paintwork are next on the agenda...

An additional bulkhead was fitted to hold the battery box for the lights; this is accessed via a slot in the carriage floor.

Then the roof had to go on; but which glue to use? I could only have one attempt, and clamping was difficult over the entire length. In the end I opted for impact adhesive, and fortunately it worked! The roof was then primed and painted, and the various paint defects touched in. The brown patch on the end is to take the brake ducket.

I've opted for the Tenmille W&L diamond frame bogies; they needed a bit of fettling to get them to fit, but were worth the effort.

The chassis is 10mm square section tube; the ends were milled square and then the whole lot was hard soldered. I made a mistake with the grade of solder, though: it was a higher melting point than I wanted, and the frame suffered some distortion. Once straightened, the buffer beams were cut from brass sheet and drilled to take pins, soldered in for rivet heads. Running board brackets were soldered up from Atropos brass strip, and here they are being fixed to the chassis.

A bit of a jump -all painted, and with a brass drawbar fixed to the top of the bogie; trial coupling to a K wagon showed I'd calculated the buffer height correctly; phew!

With the body fixed on the chassis, it's time for all the little details -torpedo vents, side chains, vac pipes, door handles and black horizontal lining (courtesy of a model boat supplier). I'm waiting to see if some coach transfers appear on the market; and have made some progress on door vents. Nearly there!