Friday, 24 February 2012

Guilding a Granny, aka updating the Dapol Grain Wagon

We all start projects and then lose interest or simply get side-tracked with other projects; and some of you may remember back to September one of my many projects was to upgrade the Dapol 20 ton grain wagon? A good thing about running a blog is that it forces one ever so often to look back at ongoing or stagnant projects because somebody will always remind or ask you how it's going - there is no escape, which is probably a good thing!

This elderly ready-to-run offering dates back to Horny Dublo days, probably when the real railways still relied on steam for day to day power. It was later res erected by Wrenn and later Dapol who I believe still have this in their current catalogue, do correct me if I'm wrong though!

Out of the box, it's a nice moulding.
At a first glance it does look like what it's supposed to, a grain wagon with the distinctive hopper design and vertical strapping along the sides. This spontaneous purchase was the need for some grain wagons for Brewhouse Quay. I thought all I'd need to do would be repaint and weather the wagon, then after looking at Paul Bartlett's excellent wagon site found out just how wrong the model is, well below the waist anyway! People who know me, know that I don't get too worried if things aren't quite right, my ethos being more about atmosphere and capturing the character of a working railway. However it's good not to be too predictable, so thought I'd have a play to see if I can improve on the model little, and anyway a job like this makes a change from snapping layouts or wielding a Grasmastmer!

As already mentioned, lifting the skirt reveals the greatest area where improvements could be made, so back in autumn at Scaleforum I picked up some white metal brake gear castings. I won't go into too much detail because filing and cutting up bits of metal is hardly exciting, but the job mainly involved chopping off the Dapol brake gear and fitting on some of the bits. I didn't have a long enough brake handle, so offcuts of grass (brass) were used to fabricate new ones along with some steps.

The new base of the hopper was carved up from some laminated 3mm plastic card, 4 layers in total to get the depth more of less right.

The circular 'tap' handle or whatever it's called is from an industrial piping kit and not quite right, but can easily be replaced at a later stage with something better. The wagon is 4mm too short, but to graft in extra length would make this project to one stage beyond sanity, and after all I only bought this as a quickie!

Next will be to number and weather it up, they got into quite a state as Paul Bartlett's photos demonstrate, that bit I'll enjoy the most. I'll try to do this over the weekend.



  1. I'm impressed by fabricating things with little offcuts of grass...

  2. Mother says that Mr Nevard must have big fingers to hit the 'g' key instead of the 'b'.

    Unlike her delicate hands...

  3. Drug inspired wagon bashing... love it.


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