Jidenco Midland Railway Calf van kitbash

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Paul Willis
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Jidenco Midland Railway Calf van kitbash

Postby Paul Willis » Thu May 21, 2020 9:43 pm

Yes, it's a dreadful pun...

But for the last few days I've been diverted from the 48xx project to have another go at reducing the Shelf Of Shame(tm).

A couple of years ago, I picked up a fully built but unpainted model of an LMS Calf Van. I know, nothing to do with what I normally model, but at a knockdown price... It's from a Jidenco kit, and is based on an LMS built version of a Midland Railway design. You can find the Midland variant illustrated on p.5 of the Illustrated History of Midland Wagon vol.2.

Looking and measuring the model against the Midland diagram and photo, there were two major things that were evident differences.

- the ends of the LMS van were six (prototype) inches wider than the Midland ones, and the central windows were a slightly different width and location. I have decided that the difference in not that visually obvious, and I can live with it...

- the LMS van has a steel underframe whereas that of the Midland van is wooden construction.

Now the model I bought was soldered together, mostly, with bits of the body strapping superglued in place. The chassis was a bit of a mess, with lots of solder everywhere, and the original etched brakegear didn't seem to line up with the wheels in either a lateral or longitudinal manner by a good couple of scale feet. So I had the situation that the body was passable, but everything beneath was pretty poor. The kit had also been built rigid, with no springing or compensation.

So with a pair of pliars, I basically tore everything off, leaving a brass box. Unfortunately, I didn't think to do before and after pictures, but there was quite a pile of twisted brass at the end of process. I then cleaned up the body, removed and refurbished various bits of strapping that had been glued on, and soldered them back in place.

I then turned to the underframe. Hunting in my big box of wire and strip, I found some suitable plastic strip from Slaters of the correct dimensions. This was cut and filled to the correct length for the solebars and buffer beams, and drilled to take the original (and quite nicely cast) buffers unsoldered and cleaned up from the kit. I drilled a hole for the coupling hook as well, but used my preferred MJT ones rather than the previous etched ones. The W-irons are sprung ones, from Bill Bedford, and soldered down using a Brassmasters spacing jig to tack them into place. The locations had been identified using a pair of scribers to section up the brass floor.

I then started applying the solebar ironwork, working from the photo and diagram. These came from spares on an MJT rocking W-iron etch, very useful and recommended as spares. Which took me to here, when I thought about taking a photo:


Further strapping was applied from this really useful etch from Mainly Trains. I can see myself using a lot more of this in future. The brassware was just stuck down but putting some Mek down, and gently pressing the etch into place:


Next came bolt heads on the solebars and bufferbeams. These were sliced off a length of Slaters rod, collected in one of my ever-useful eggcups then applied with a dot of Mek and picked up on the end of a scalpel:


The addition of brakegear from a pack of ABS "variable length" bits, and some brake levers and guards from Ambis, as well and some MJT Midland axleboxes to match the prototype photo took me to here. Safety loops were cut from nickel silver strips, and were in the process of fitting:


The finishing touches included vacuum pipes (from an unknown source, in the spares box) and lamp irons on the ends. These were made from more nickel silver strip. I punched the couple of rivets using my GW press, then cut them to length:


And with the addition of the correctly numbered etched ownership plates from Ambis, the job was done.


Painting, transfers and weathering to do, and it will be another part-completed project ticked off. Now back to that 48xx...

Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!

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