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Thursday 20 June 2019

0 Gauge ICI Chlorine Tank Wagon

Not such an unusual wagon as you might think. There are plenty of photos on the web and there is a vintage 00 gauge model by Hornby Dublo.

I came to model the ICI chlorine tank wagon because I have a drawing of it scaled at 1cm : 1 ft (see reference below).  A large drawing like this is best to realise all the details because it is a complex wagon to make, certainly the most difficult of the six wagons I have made to date.

The parts are designed and 3D printed by me with the addition of the Peco wheelset RO-7. About 60 plastic parts were designed and assembled plus other bits of wire, paper and 4 nails!

Sprung buffers operate like the prototype. For the model the buffer shank is a nail with plastic buffer disk glued to the end. The spring end nearest the headstock is glued to the shank a few mm away  from the headstock. It acts as a buffer movement limiter with the other end bearing against a chassis beam.

Decals are designed and printed on sticky back paper. There should be a second plate of information (safety information I think) positioned at the other end of the solebar but I don't know the words so will leave it off until I know. The yellow plate has two of the four lines of text unreadable in photos so I used lorem ipsum.

I have only seen black and white photos of this livery that show the small star. It looked lighter than black. I assumed other models that I have seen have got it right - yellow.

The white finish has been lightly weathered using black pastel scrapes. The white filler cap colour is also questionable as some models depict orange or yellow. The only colour photo I have seen of this livery suggests it was very dirty white.

The four tank straps are paper strengthened with a coating of Superglue after fitting. The RCH coupling hooks and instanter links are left over options from the Peco chassis kit that I used on other models. The axle box hangers are the plate variety, given as options in the Peco kit. I cut these into the correct W hangers.

I adopted the Peco method of sprung axles. The axleboxes slide in the W hanger and the leaf spring provides compression. However, my plastic (PLA) is not pliable like the Peco plastic so springiness is non existent, which is just as well because when I glued the tie bars in place the glue seeped into the axlebox - hanger join!

Extra weight is proved by a sheet of steel buried in the lower part of the tank.

When it comes to a model railway layout there should be a reason for freight arrivals. In this case chlorine was once used to bleach paper. This calls for a paper mill.

Wagon Design Reference:

Model Railways Magazine August 1990 - Tank Wagons Part2.

Model Cost:

Plastic: £1.33
Peco wheel set R07: £9.24 (discounted price including postage)
extras: pennies

Total: < £11
Not available from the trade but other tank wagons are available. Prices are about £66 (Dapol RTR) or £58 (Slaters kit).

Next up is a Conflat with container load.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

0 Gauge SR 8 Plank Open Wagon

For a bit more character and functionality I wanted to make the wagon with a tarpaulin rail. My research for this resulted in a couple of false starts. Some time ago I made an N gauge model of an early LSWR railed wagon for a LSWR period layout, So, I began by gathering dimensions for my 0 gauge version. Then I realised that it never lasted into the BR period that I am modelling.

I remember seeing a photo of a BR shock wagon with tarpaulin rail so changed tack to research this instead. These wagons had a floating sprung body to protect vulnerable merchandise. But the body does not extend to the end of the chassis. The area behind the bufferstocks is open and would would show the unrealistic (yet novel and effective) buffer spring mechanism of the Peco mineral wagon chassis that I intended to use.

Beginning to think that I might have to abandon this wagon style I stumbled upon a SR development of the LSWR wagon. In fact the LSWR wagon went through several developments into the SR period and a variant without tarpaulin rail made it into the BR period. I still wanted the tarpaulin rail and choose to model the earlier SR variant from the 1930s even though it probably did not last into BR days.

There are plenty of photographs of the non rail SR wagon (the body of which is nearly the same as the railed version) and a drawing of the railed version can be found on the HMRS website. The dimensions are unreadable unless the full size drawing is purchased.

The railed variant is a 12 ton, 8 plank, 9 foot wheelbase, 17 feet 6 inches overall, fitted with a.v.b and built to diagram 1385. SR numbers 36951 - 37050.

The 9 foot wheelbase is important because I could use the Peco 9 foot mineral wagon chassis kit. It needed to be extended in the same manner as my box van previously built and the brake mechanics modified.

Being a.v.b. a vacuum cylinder had to be built and its location in the chassis results in the V hanger being offset from centre and it is asymmetric! This meant more work than I anticipated to modify the Peco model. The manual brake lever also needed modification to fit. The drawing and photograph did not show the arrangement on the other side of the wagon so, it is assumed to be a mirror image, except I know the brake lever is reversed there.

A delight of working in 0 gauge is that the tarpaulin rail can be made to work like the prototype with its roller guide mechanics. Difficult to achieve in 4 mm scale and impossible in 2 mm scale.

The pivot point is a dressmaking pin and the roller is a Hornby track pin that does not roll but retains the rail in the guide as the rail is rotated.

The vacuum pipe was very quick and easy to make being simply a length of 1 mm wire with the hose represented by winding around very thin phosphor bronze wire.

The addition of a tarpaulin gives two wagons for the price of one meaning the wagon can be run with or without it. One idea I have is for part of a goods shed to be positioned close to the edge of the baseboard with the remaining part 'in the backscene'. The wagon would be propelled into the goods shed and through the back scene to the fiddle yard where the tarpaulin would be applied. The wagon is then pulled out of the fiddle yard through the goods shed fully loaded with tarpaulin covering.

The tarpaulin is a canvas texture designed in my graphics editing application and printed on sticky back paper. It is stuck to kitchen aluminium foil, which seems to give it a bit more strength and helps to hold the folds in place.

The eyelets were found among the beads at Hobbycraft, labelled CR SP crimp, 12 in a pack. Pin and needle were used to pierce and enlarge the hole in the tarpaulin and the eyelet superglued into place. The 'rope' is elasticated thread, which aids easy removal and application of the tarpaulin.


paul bartlett 


Peco chassis kit and spoked wheels: £25.40 (incl. postage)
Plastic: £0.5
extras: pennies
Total:  <£27

This wagon is not available from the trade. A Slaters 5 plank shock wagon with tarpaulin bar kit is available at about £32 and a Dapol ready to run 5 plank wagon with tarpaulin bar for about £40.

Next up is a tank wagon.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Loco sound module for under £10

Really? what's the catch?

This solution is remarkably good value for money that gives remote control of sound emitting from the locomotive (actually, a wagon coupled to it).

The catch is you have to manually sync. the sound to your locomotive movement.

This solution requires three elements.

1) An i-Star bluetooth micro speaker.

I bought mine from Amazon for just under £10 including postage. It's a 1" x 1" x 1.1" cube that will fit into 0 and 00 gauge wagons. The device has an on/off switch and a rechargeable battery that is charged up via USB (cable provided). Not, therefore, suitable to put in a locomotive.

2) Phone or Tablet with Bluetooth

Instructions provided with the micro speaker clearly explain how to hook it  up to your device with ease.

3) An App.

Simplest perhaps is a web site that plays sound files. Connect your device to the Internet, open your Browser and load the website. Play a sound. It will emit from the cube speaker instead of your device.

I made my own web page that plays loco sounds for my Dapol 0 gauge locomotive.

The shaky video below is a quick demonstration. Its shaky because I needed three hands. One to hold the camera (mobile phone), one to select and control sound from my iPad and one to operate the DC train controller. Unfortunately I only have two hands!

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