Our exhibition timetable was short of a lengthy rake of empty 21ton hoppers coming down the hill from Consett, so it became my lockdown project, building 12 LNER rivetted and 12 BR welded Parkside kits.
Acquiring the kits was a bit problematical with shops and factories being forced into closing down. But Peter's Spares managed to get the kits from Peco after their factory re-opened. Peter provided the Smiths 3 link couplings and Wizard models the steel buffer heads.
Kit building was pretty straightforward but it was essential to carefully remove flash and moulding pegs for the multi angled hoppers to fit correctly and to make clearance between brake gear and the EM wheels.
I built the kits in pairs so that the MEK could be doing its work on on part of one wagon whilst the same part on the other kit was being assembled. I found it important to fix buffer beams in place before side frames so that the assembly was square and axles would be at 90deg to the body. Drawhooks, shanks filed down and without springs were superglued in place as where the buffer heads. Three links were only fitted once the models were finished.
Handrails were fitted in a campaign once all the wagons were built. At this stage the 3 sided hopper outlet chutes were given an extra side so that they could be filled with 'liquid lead', secured with diluted PVA. The box sections behind the buffer beams were similarly ballasted. The final weight of each wagon was around 30 grams.
What did we want them to look like?
Both above photos from the Armstrong Trust, by Verdun Wake.
Painting of the models started by washing with Shiny Sinks applied with a 1/2 inch brush then thoroughly rinsing with lots of water, dabbing with tissues, followed by careful, very careful use of a hair drier. Next was a coat of Autotek grey cellulose primer (an aerosol from Boyes) Underframes were airbrushed with Precision Dirty Black and the hoppers lightly airbrushed with Tamiya acrylic Light Sea Grey. The Autotek is ideal for new wagons but a bit dark for our faded ones.
Some of the rust effects were by airbrushed Precision 951 Dark Rust but most brush painted using oils.
I used a no 4 Flat Shader (ie square ended). For each colour, I put a blob of oil paint about baked bean size onto a throw away plastic carton top. The colours were Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Lamp Black and Cadmium Red. The technique was to mix and match to suit whatever age of rust I was trying to represent. It was important to brush out the brush until very little paint was on it them to apply by brushing or stippling to produce the streaks, spots and patches as desired. I did lots of practice runs on some grey plastic boxes I had. The advantage of minimal application means that the paint dries fairly quickly.
I must say that I have no compunction about using cellulose, acrylic, enamel and oil paints on the same model. But each coat must be completely dry before applying something different.
Modelmaster transfers were doctored then applied using diluted water based indoor varnish to float them into place and stick them down. The numbers are approximately correct but with so many prototype variants and only two model ones I used a little licence. The models were then given a light airbrushing of dirty black and then the 3 link couplings were fitted.
To finish the project off, I have built a Dave Bradwell underframe for an Airfix BR 20 ton brake van. Also I have re-handrailed a Hornby LMS brake van and converted it to EM. These are still to finish off.
The only thing now is to see of they run alright. Tier 3 has kept us away from the layout!