Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a deadline isn’t a good way to get things completed on a model railway layout! The photo of the three cattle wagons I’ve just posted is the culmination of three, long years work, although I would stress that this is not the result of the kits being particularly difficult to build. Rather the delay in finishing them comes about due a fairly standard modeller’s tale of shifting priorities and a frustrating series of events.
In 2009 I commenced work on a steam locomotive kit that I had been putting off building due to a number of factors. I finally decided that I would make a start and managed to get the tender built before fate intervened. After the tender was completed I was asked to work for 6 months in another town and this required me to live away from home on weeknights for that time. I made the decision that I couldn’t work on the locomotive while this was happening so I packed it away and got the CW kits out as a stand in that I could work on away from my workbench. The early work went well and things progressed satisfactorily for a time.
While I was living away from home and commuting I got a permanent move to my my present place of work and this put any thoughts of recommencing the locomotive project on the back burner for a good 12 months. After settling into my new home I got the locomotive kit out and began work on it. Through choosing to incorporate a range of added extras to this loco the whole project took about 12 months and once I finally got it finished I eventually got the half completed CW’s out of their wrappings.
After putting in a bit of work on them I reached the stage where I had applied a base coat of paint to all three wagons and then…I dropped one of them! They all went back into the shoebox I had been storing them in for three months while I stewed over what to do. It turned out that I’d caused some serious damage to the wheels and the body seemed to have twisted on the wagon I’d dropped. When I did eventually get the damaged wagon out and made some initial repairs, I found I couldn’t get the wagon to sit squarely on the track and so I made the fateful decision to replace the solid, whitemetal W irons with a set of etched brass sprung W irons from the UK company Slaters. For those of you who don’t work with 4 wheel wagons, the W irons are the wheel assemblies that hold the end of the axles in the axle boxes.
To cut a long story short it’s taken me the best part of the last 12 months to finally get the damaged wagon repaired and, just to prove I enjoy self flagellation, I decided to retrofit sprung W irons to all three wagons. About 9 months ago I reached a stage where the last detail needed to be added and this was the cast axle-boxes to the exterior of the W irons. I had been waiting for a supplier to come good and produce a suitable item but these didn’t eventuate so I took it upon myself to mill the backs of the ones supplied with the kits on my new bench-top mill and I was finally able to fit these details last week.
I fitted couplers to the wagons and began to get them ready for final painting and weathering. I had previously painted a base coat of Floquil Weathered Black on the bodies and Old Silver on the corrugated roofs. I began by dry brushing Antique White and Reefer White onto the bodies in different proportions so that I didn’t get a result that was too consistent. I then mixed up a concoction of a rust colour using Humbrol enamels and thinned this down with Dio Sol. Once it was thin enough I dabbed this on the metal work and around the underframe. I added drops of the three different colours as I went and occasionally added some more thinner to get a varied result.
The next step will be to give the underframe a light, air-brushed dusting with a tan earth colour and then to go over each of the wagons with a very light mix of Weathered Black. I find this last coat tends to unify things and tones some of the slightly more garish colours down.
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