Coaches with wooden armatures

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Guy Rixon
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Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:54 pm

A while ago, I started a search for new ways to assemble etched coach-kits. I've struggled with years with the monocoque designs of most kits and always wished that the etched sides and ends could be overlays on an internal frame. I'm currently building a coach onto a wooden armature as a test of this method.

The idea is to build a stable, wooden structure out of inner, non-cosmetic ends, partitions and side members, then glue the etched sides and ends to this. There are two wooden bits backing each side. One is at cantrail level and the other runs from the coach floor to the waist. The verical gap betweenthese two forms a housing for the glazing, and the lower side-rail is contoured to define the turn-under.

Unfortunately, I omitted to take a photo of the framework under construction, but you can see how it fits from this photo of the frame with the sides glued on.

ser-2nd-1.jpg


Ends and partitions are 0.8mm plywood. The side rails are 2mm stripwood. They were glued together with the ends and partitions held in a jig and the side rails clamped by toolmakers clamps. The jig was just a length of M4 studding with nuts either side of each plywood pieces; hence the holes.

The wooden ends are profiled to match the brass, cosmetic ends. The partitions are straight-sided and sit inside the side-rails; this turned out to be a design mistake, as it removes the roof-profile at the top corners of the partitions. What I should have done was make the partitions to the profile of the ends and then notch them to clear the side rails. Ho hum, live and learn.

The brass sides were glued on with epoxy. I did this in two stages per side: first glue the vertical bit at cantrail and waist level and then, when the first stage is set, glue the turn-under, compressing the brass to the curve of the woodwork. This means that I don't have to form the turn-under perfectly in the brasswork, something that I've never been good at.

Brass ends went on after the sides were fixed. They were again glued in, but packed out from the wooden ends with thin card to get the right alignment.

ser-2nd-2-1.jpg


At this stage, I painted the interior and fitted the seats. If I use this technique again, I would leave the interior painting until after the exterior was sprayed and would make the seats removable for ease of access; probably fix them to a false floor and let them slot in.

ser-2nd-2-2.jpg


Next step was planking the roof, with 0.4mm plywood. Wide planks on the broad curves and narrower ones on the tighter arcs. There's enough gluing surface on the partition tops to secure the planks just with woodworking glue. The gaps in the partitions at the edges, due to my bad design were a problem here. In the end I filled the gap with stripwood, carved and sanded to shape. This was far harder to get right than the rest of the build and I definitely don't want to go there again. The planking was continued over the stripwood supports.

ser-2nd-3-1.jpg


When all the planks were on, I filled the gaps with Squadron white putty and sanded the roof smooth. If I'd done the planking near-perfectly, then I think it would have been possible just to paint up the sanded surface of the wood. In fact, my planks are acceptably smooth but not very neat and I intend to hide them under a layer of "canvas" made from paper.

The brass bits, BTW, are a Bill Bedford kit and the coach is a SECR (ex SER), 6-wheel, all-second.

Albert Hall
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Albert Hall » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:51 pm

Can you say where you obtained your thin plywood please. Would styrene sheet not have been easier to work with or is the plywood inherently more rigid? Would differing coefficients of expansion have a bearing on this?

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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby williambarter » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:42 am

Have you checked the roof profile offered by this kit against any data on the prototype carriages? I bought one once and found that it was much too high - more like an LBCSCR "Balloon" coach. The planking method for the roof is elegant, but if the roof profile is not right will have been a lot harder to execute.

William

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:06 am

Albert Hall wrote:Can you say where you obtained your thin plywood please. Would styrene sheet not have been easier to work with or is the plywood inherently more rigid? Would differing coefficients of expansion have a bearing on this?

Roy


It came from an aeromodelling shop north of Bassingbourn; sorry, I can't remember the name of the shop. If I go that way soon, I'll drop in and check if they still sell the wood.

The ply is 1/64" nominal and made in, IIRC, Sweden. I bought a large sheet a few years back, for making wagon sheeting in 2FS. It would have been almost a lifetime supply for that, but I've used much of it already in 4mm scale. Have to resupply soon.

The ply is stiffer than polystyrene of the same thickness. I think that styrene planks in 0.020 might not stay flat over time, given that they are only supported at the ends and partitions. However, a heat-formed sheet of 0.020 styrene might be strong enough.

Actually, I think my next three-arc roof might be made of cardboard stiffened at the edges with cyanoacrylate glue. It could prove easier and neater than the wood. It would certainly be cheaper.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:12 am

williambarter wrote:Have you checked the roof profile offered by this kit against any data on the prototype carriages? I bought one once and found that it was much too high - more like an LBCSCR "Balloon" coach. The planking method for the roof is elegant, but if the roof profile is not right will have been a lot harder to execute.


No I haven't checked against a drawing. I have, in books, a couple of photos of SER six-wheel stock and my impression is that the roof profile was higher than in the later stock. Perhaps a change of style between William Wainwright and Harry Wainwright. I have not tried to correct the profile from the etched parts.

The planking method is actually easier for a high-roofed coach as the smallest radius is greater. I.e. a true elliptical roof is easier than a three-arc roof.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:12 pm

IMG_2303 (1).jpg


The coach now has some body paint. The finish is not very good ("very not very good" to borrow a phrase from Nick Harkaway), but I feel good about the colour. It's a mix of two Precision Paints shades, their "SECR coach maroon" (which is too dark and too blue IMHO) and their colour for frames of SECR locomotives (looks rather like Midland red to me and is not blue enough), in equal quantities. To me, this gives a plausible colour that could be described both as "purple brown" and "like Midland Railway coaches". I shall be standardizing on this for the rest of my SECR coaches. It remains to be seen how it looks when lined.

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Tim V
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Tim V » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:18 am

That plywood should produce a stable body, unlikley to warp. Looks good.
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jim s-w
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby jim s-w » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:29 am

I've had issues with brass sides on resin shells expanding at different rates. Of course metal expands and wood tends to shrink when it gets warm so it might be worth gently 'baking' the model just to ensure it won't be a problem

HTH

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:57 am

Jim, that's a good point. This model has already had a lot of thermal cycling: it's been stored in a cold room that gets full sun in the morning, so has gone up and down between about 16 Celsius and low twenties Celsius. I think this one's going to be OK, but if I do more I shall bake the shells before investing more work.

I lined one side last night.

IMG_2305.jpg


Not very neat lining, but it looks OK from a metre away and this has become a 3-foot-rule coach. Interestingly, the lining emphasizes the redness of the body colour, at least to my eyes. Possibly a case for changing the mix of the base coat towards the purple end. Possibly also a hint at how the full size coaches could be painted purple and still look red to contemporary observers. Anyway, the colour still pleases me enough that I won't strip and repaint.

The lining around the bolections has two problems. Firstly, my pen won't go into the tiny gap between the moulding and bolection, so I shall probably have to brush the lining ink into the groove and then restore the body colour on top of the mouldings. The SECR livery had the lining colour on sides of the mouldings, not the faces parallel to the side; c.f. Midland and GWR practice. Second problem is that I don't know whether the bolections were painted body colour and lined or were varnished wood.

Drop-light frames are not present yet. Rather than soldering the frames to the body side, I will fix them to the glazing units. More on that when the body is more complete.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:07 am

I've lined the second side and done the lettering on the first side.

IMG_2342.jpg


Lettering is with Fox transfers. The lettering lay-out involves some guesswork, as I don't have a photo of this diagram of coach. The choices were large compartment-class numerals vs. "Second" written in the waist panels and company initials above the door vs. at waist level. I chose the large numerals firstly as I think the coach, built in 1895, may have had a repaint c. 1907 after the large numerals were introduced; and anyway the "Second" transfers didn't fit in the door panels very neatly. The SE&CR was typically, according to sources, central in the waist panels, but that can't work on a coach with a door in the middle. Second choice would have been two markings of SE&CR at waist level, but the transfers don't fit any of the spaces; the tall, narrow panels between the fixed lights break up the area. Third choice would be two SE&CR halfway up panels between the lights, but this coach has no such space. In fact the only space I could fit the lettering was above the door light, so there it is.

When I've lettered the other side, possibly tonight, I can "canvas" the roof with paper and make a start on the roof detailing.

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Will L
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Will L » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:19 pm

Hate to appear picky, but unless this is boat train stock, shouldn't that be 3rd class not 2nd

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Regulation_Act_1844

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:12 pm

Will L wrote:Hate to appear picky, but unless this is boat train stock, shouldn't that be 3rd class not 2nd

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Regulation_Act_1844


Good point, but not in 1908. The SECR still had three classes until somewhat later, even though some others like the Midland had already dropped second class.

This coach could have been boat-train stock up to about 1906. Up to that year, at least one of the Folkestone boat-trains had only 6-wheeled stock. The Folkestone Harbour branch couldn't accept bogie vehicles longer than 42 feet so all the newest coaches were barred. Presumably new-ish, 6-wheeled coaches were preferred to 25-year-old bogie vehicles.

PS: FWIW, in 1907 the SECR built a batch of gangwayed coaches for through workings to the MR, LNWR and GWR. They were said to be the best coaches ever built in Wainwright's time. Slightly different vehicles were built to travel on each of the three foreign systems because those for the LNWR still needed to be tricomposites while the ones for the MR had to be first/third composites. I can't remember how many classes were in the coaches that went to the GWR. Roxey do a kit for the MR-bound bicomposites, but not for the other two kinds.

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jon price
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby jon price » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:57 pm

I'm intrigued by the SECR composites working through onto the LNWR in 1907. Roxey list them as suitable for all three foreign workings, do you know what the difference was?

(edited later in the don't be lazy category, earlier question cancelled) Looking at the 1910 LNWR working timetable shows a "Break Tri Composite" from Deal to Liverpool, setting off at 10.25 am, and forming the 2.20pm from Willesden with similar vehicles from Weymouth(LSWR?) and (mostly) Eastbourne (LBSCR). mostly heading for Liverpool, but some for Manchester, or Birmingham, or Leamington. None of them are listed as foreign coaches though (elsewhere GWR, Cambrian, Nort Staffs and L&Y stock is specifically stated) so it isn't clear whether this is the SECR coach.

For the balancing service the Deal and Weymouth coaches are attached to the 10.05 from Liverpool, removed from the London train and attached to the 7,45am from Holyhead with other stuff at Crewe, leaving at 11.17am, and then going forwards from Willesden at 2.25pm (Deal) and 2.47pm (Weymouth). The Eastbourne coaches form half of the 11.00am from Liverpool, detached at Crewe where they are joined with the coaches from Manchesterwhere they form the 12.18 for Eastbourne, picking up the coaches from Birmingham and Leamington on the way.

Train travel was much more interesting in the Edwardian period wasn't it.
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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:51 pm

Abstracting from Bogie Carriages of the SE&CR by David Gould, there were 4 tricomposites to work to the LNWR, numbers 913-916 and 4 to work to the GWR, numbers 909-912. The ones for the GWR had an extra 2nd-class compartment, presumably at the expense of van space.

In 1909, the 10:15 Deal to Manchester included a SECR coach "to and from Willesden only". Not sure exactly what Gould means by this; is the coach from Deal to Willesden or Willesden to Manchester?

"The LNWR carriage workings for July to September 1910 show a SE&C brake Tri-Composite in the 10.15am Deal to Manchester London Road; it was scheduled to leave Willesden at 2.20pm formed with LNW stock from Eastbourne and a LSW break Tri-Composite from Bournmouth. The SE&C coach was attached at Crewe to the 2.40pm Euston to Manchester. It returned the next day on the 10.10am Manchester to Deal, formed with the LSW Brake Tri-Composite for Bournmouth. At Crewe they were attached to the the 7.40am Holyhead to Euston service and detached at Willesden, the SE&C coach running to Herne Hill via the West London line."

There's lots more in that book about the through workings via the MR and GWR. I can copy some of that out if anybody wants it.

I note that the loading gauge on the SER part of the SECR prohibited any stock that was 9 feet wide or more; i.e. every brake coach ever built by the LNWR and almost all brake coaches of the GWR except a few specially built without side lookouts for through workings. The foreign stock had to go over the LCDR section, hence the routing via Herne Hill. Any through workings to SER destinations, notably Folkestone, would need either SECR vehicles or specially built coaches. Deal was accessible from both SER and LCDR sections.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:56 pm

For completeness, I found this on the LNWR Society web-site (http://www.lnwrs.org.uk/Glossary/glossaryse.php):

"The Second Passenger Class was abandoned first by the Midland RailwayExplain 'Midland Railway (MR)', then by the Great WesternExplain 'Great Western Railway (GWR)' and CaledonianExplain 'Caledonian Railway (CR)' and eventually by all railways (except for Continental boat trains) until third class was re-named second under nationalisation.

The LNWR abolished second class (except for certain services in the London area) on 1st January 1912, and was one of the later companies to do so.

The Caledonian Railway had abolished second class from 1st May 1893, and from that date no second class accommodation was provided on through Anglo-Scottish services.

In 1910 north-to-west trains with through carriages for the Central Wales line were three-class for Central Wales and two-class for the West of England."

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jon price
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby jon price » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:57 pm

This is all interesting stuff (well, to me anyway).
I'm not sure why a special carriage would be built by the SECR to run only as far as Willsden though. Why not run through to the end of the service at Liverpool. The LNWR working timetable implies a through carriage all the way from Liverpool to Deal.
It is interesting that Goulds information is almost, but not quite the same as the 1910 LNWR working timetable that I have!

Re the LNWR composites there were some made specially for routes with limited loading guage. Ten Brake Composites to Diagram 213, 57foot long, 8'6" wide, Elliptical roof, single brake ended, were built in 1909. They were dual fitted (so I assume they could work routes with Westinghouse brakes). Although 8'6" wide they had projecting lookouts so I'm not clear wether they could run to Deal. A further seven dual fitted 8'6" wide brake composites were made in 1913 to diagram 212. These were narrow variants of the standard dual brake ended LNWR composite and had no projecting lookouts. Although no specific kits exist you could produce one from a D205. Haywood sides were available for this, subsequently available (but no longer unfortunately) from 246Developments. Stevenson produce a full kit but of course you would have to convert (massacre) the body, and make new ends and roof. The D205 had marginally differently spaced compartments, but in practice this is a matter of only 3" so pretty indistinguishable. (This is all extracted from Jenkinson's book on LNWR Carriages)
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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:03 am

Last night, I tried to cover the coach roof with paper to represent canvas. It did not go well...

I was using 70 g/m^2 print-paper, and the idea was to cut it before fitting to just over the length of the roof - an extra 1mm - so it would wrap the ends of the roof planks. I left it over-wide, planning to trim the long edges after gluing. As you can guess, this means that the paper has to be fixed perfectly square to the roof otherwise the end-wrapping doesn't work.

I thought to use a glue that allowed slight repositioning. I had some Deluxe Products card glue, which is dilute PVA. I spread that along the centre of the roof and applied the paper. Instant disaster! The paper cockled and could not be drawn flat over all the glued area. I've seen some full-sized roofs with wrinkles in the canvas, but the scale of the cockles in the paper was all wrong. So I scraped, wiped and sanded it off and started again.

Try 2 was to fix the paper with superglue, initially a spot in the centre to hold the alignment and then more glue around the edges to stretch the "canvas". This almost worked, but it was scary hard to glue down the edges next to a finished, decorated coach side and when I cut the paper to the width of the roof I did it clumsily and got a rough edge. So I scraped it off again.

Try 3 was just to paint the wooden roof white, and this has worked ... sufficiently well, according to my ever-falling standards, although I think it's way off the desirable standard for a good model. In fact, the paint has shown up a patch in the centre where I failed to sand out the glue from try 2 properly, so tonight I shall have to sand down yet again and paint over. I also need to do more filler on the edge of the roof where a plank is rough (which is what the paper was supposed to cover, dammit).

I think if I go this way again I need to put the paper on the roof before painting the sides. Or, failing that, leave off the two roof-planks that meet the cantrail and fit those with the paper already wrapped around the planks, so that the neat edge is pre-formed. Or fit proper cantrail strips to hide the bad join. Or something...

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Noel
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Noel » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:57 am

I've never tried it, but I wonder if some sort of tissue paper, or even newspaper, might work better? The rationale of the suggestion is that tissue is meant to be flexible, but printer paper isn't, at least not in the same way. It's designed to follow the internal course of printers, but then come out still flat. The cockling suggests it has some form of stiffening in it, rather like glossy magazine paper.
Last edited by Noel on Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dal-t
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby dal-t » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:34 pm

I've used tissue paper (actually some left over from a very old balsa&tissue a/c model) on the roof of an O gauge van, stuck down with my favourite 'adhesive' Johnson's Klear/Future, folding it round the eaves/cantrail while soaked and slicing it off square at the ends with a scalpel once stiff and dry. Worked well enough, but I've not repeated the experiment since a well-known kit manufacturer shared his view that the 'grain' on tissue is massively over-scale to represent a painted canvas roof ...
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Alan Turner
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Alan Turner » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:06 pm

Take a normal piece of tissue (ie the ones you blow your nose in) and peel it into two halves - you will find it splits if you are careful. Use this with solvent for plastic roofs or future for wood. Start at the centre and work outwards to prevent creases forming.

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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby billbedford » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:02 am

I'd like someone to point me a photo of a real coach roof that shows any sort of texture on it, The canvas used on roofs was smooth to the touch and covered with a thick layer of white lead paint to keep the roof water proof.
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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:02 am

The only texture I've seen on canvassed roofs is firstly where the plank edges show through and secondly where the canvas is actually torn; the latter only on vehicles in storage.

My original aim in "canvassing" the roof with paper was to make a smoother surface than I could readily get from the painted wood.

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Mark Tatlow » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:33 pm

Regarding your papered roofs, have you thought of using a "filler primer" from Halfords. Fundamentally this is a thick paint used to fill hairline cracks and rough texture.

I have doubts you will achieve this with paper, although I would say that as the wet glues (like PVA) dries it will pull tight again so I would do one with a water soluable PVA and then be brave enough to let it dry. You'll soften the glue quick enough if it does not work?
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Crepello » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:45 pm

Do you know any aeromodellers? I'm thinking in terms of either a heavyweight doped tissue, or one of the iron-on self adhesive films such as Solarfilm. This latter has a startup overhead, hence my nod towards finding a friend with the kit already.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Coaches with wooden armatures

Postby Guy Rixon » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:54 pm

Mark Tatlow wrote:Regarding your papered roofs, have you thought of using a "filler primer" from Halfords. Fundamentally this is a thick paint used to fill hairline cracks and rough texture.

I have doubts you will achieve this with paper, although I would say that as the wet glues (like PVA) dries it will pull tight again so I would do one with a water soluable PVA and then be brave enough to let it dry. You'll soften the glue quick enough if it does not work?


Yes, if I do another, similar roof I'll prepare it before painting and lining the sides, and then the filler primer will work.

The paper covering nearly worked. It was only my cack-handedness in trimming it that spoiled things. Having thought about it, the answer is probably to hide the edge of the roof behind a cantrail strip, as on Will's CLC coach (shown on the back of a recent Snooze). On the current coach, because of poor planning, the roof surface is already proud of where it should be and I didn't want to make it more obvious with a cantrail strip.


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