Parkside Permutations

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by adrian, 23 December 2019.

  1. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I thought I'd start this thread to see if there was a discussion to be had about modifying Parkside Dundas kits.

    Having seen a rather pointed remark recently (hopefully tongue in cheek!) about 7mm scale modellers being unable to see anything beyond the rear of tender I realised that I was guilty of that. In the midst of bending what seemed like a never ending set of handrails for my 2mmFS brake vans I thought I'd dig a couple of wagon kits out of the cupboard with a view to increase my freight stock. This has also been prompted about another thread about the Parkside instructions seemingly being updated by Peco.

    So here goes - the first kit out of the cupboard was a GWR 12T van. (PS26 covering diag V23, V24, V26). On opening the box I remembered what really good kits they are. Everything just fits fine and if you wanted to it is possible to build a very good model straight out of the box following the instructions.

    Parkside - 1.jpeg

    So no complaint at all about the kit but I don't think I've ever built anything straight out of the box. I've always tweaked something hence this thread. So if you want a great model just follow the instructions and build it as it comes you can't go far wrong. However if you're an inveterate fiddler like me then please feel free to add your comments or tweaks.

    So first mod - springing. I do like some form of springing on my rolling stock (note not compensation but actually springing). Now the Parkside Dundas design does allow movement of the axle-boxes if you desire but they don't offer any solution for springing. Previous I have tried using the little Slaters springs between the axle-box and the plastic spring but they were difficult to fit. There are still a few in the depths of the workshop somewhere as they pinged of and ricocheted into oblivion. Plus the fact it's not a cheap solution. I decided there had to be a simple cheap solution. This is my first experiment - inspired by the Bill Bedford / Ambis / Exactoscale W irons form of springing using a spring wire. Rather than replace the entire W iron on the kit I decided to try just drilling a couple of holes in the plastic where the W iron crossed the moulding spring. I then cut a bit of spare sprue from the kit and glued it to the top of the axle box to rest on the spring wire. The wire is a guitar spring (NP14) which at £1 for an approx 4ft length meets the cheap and cheerful requirement. :thumbs:

    Parkside - 8.jpeg

    So it remains hidden - doesn't ping off into ablivion and is adjustable. The height can be adjusted by filing the length of the sprue on axle box and the springing by changing the thickness of the spring wire.

    Parkside - 6.jpeg

    As was pointed out by someone else on the forum the wire is constrained at both ends so first impressions might be that it won't deflect. However it does and I suppose it provides a rising rate suspension in that the springing gets stiffer with greater deflection which I believe is similar response from a leaf spring setup.

    To test the differences the second kit will be built with a single constrained spring.

    Parkside - 5.jpeg

    Parkside - 2.jpeg

    but I haven't built this kit yet and will report on the differences in a later post.

    Back to the kit in hand. Fitting of the brakes, again you can fit as per the instructions but I wanted the brakes inline with the wheels which meant that it was going to help by drilling through the V iron and brakes to fit a brass bar rather than the bit of plastic supplied. This raised a slight problem that if you follow the instructions then you will have already glued the V iron to the chassis. If they aren't perfectly central then the brakes may be slightly offset and rubbing on one wheel. In this case I had to cut them away and make a small adjustment. So for the next kit I'll drill and set up the brakes before fixing the V iron.

    Parkside - 9.jpeg

    Other tweaks not covered in the kit - a small rain strip on the roof above the doors added with a little microstrip. Although look at prototype photos for you model. It seems that the roof felt wasn't securely attached so many vans had battens along the length of the roof to retain the felt.

    The kit supplied a little plastic moulding for the instanter coupling. It had plenty of flash on and it was plastic so I decided to bend up my own using a bit of nickel silver wire instead.

    The vac pipes supplied are of the vertical stanchion type in a white metal casting - which seem to be fitted as originally built but most of the BR versions it just seems to hang from the buffer beam. So again for low cost out of the scrap draw I used a bit of guitar wire (NP52) which had a spring steel core but then a wire wrapped around it - much like a vacuum pipe. However it wasn't quite large enough so a little bit of copper tube and some heat shrink tubing around it results in the following.

    Parkside - 4.jpeg

    Rather than trying to wrap it around the buffer beam a little bit more heat shrink tube and some plastic bar sets up the vacuum pipe from one end to the other.

    Now I'm sure that there must be a joint and connecting pipe to the vacuum cylinder so rather than guess and get it wrong I thought some kind soul on WT would provide the relevant information to connect the two together.

    Also note I've added a couple of scrap bits of plastic to the bottom to the side stanchions to the sole bar.
    Parkside - 7.jpeg

    So the only other modification was replacing the brake lever guard with an etching I had in my bits draw. There is a plastic one supplied in the kits and with a bit of filing would easily pass muster - it was just having these etchings in stock made it easier. Other than than this is basically the P-D kit straight out of the box.

    In my opinion a damn good accurate and value for money kit. I just need to get it through the paint shop now and onto the next one.
    Parkside - 3.jpeg
    PhilH, 7mmMick, Rob Pulham and 19 others like this.
  2. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    A really interesting thread, Adrian, and one that contains stuff - I reckon- even I could do!

    Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas.

  3. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Hello Adrian,

    As author of that (very definitely tongue in cheek from someone operating in a box opening scale) comment, I’m happy to see it taken in the spirit it was meant!

    These 7mm Parkside kits are excellent - once the ginormous amounts of slop are taken out of the running gear - so I like the simple springing you’ve incorporated. On the odd occasion I’ve built a 7mm one I’ve quite enjoyed the experience as you get a lot of wagon quickly. Detailing is a bit frustrating as it’s not my scale and I had no clue where to get aftermarket bits like lever guides which demand the appropriate holes or ratchets at this scale.

    Anyway, I think the vacuum pipe path generally goes along the chassis members before crossing over in such a way that, full size it isn’t in the way of coupling springs and the like. That book on 5” gauge wagons published by the HMRS shows this nicely. In 7mm the pipe connection the cylinder to the pipe can be seen and you might want to add the string (used to open the valve and kill the vacuum holding the brakes on). Since I’m on the phone feeding a 5 week old, you’ll have to wait for me to seek out a picture!

    Last edited: 23 December 2019
  4. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    As we were: the vehicle illustrated is a flat for a demountable chemical tank (with LNER-type AVB), but gives a sense of the layout of vac' pipe and some of the associated details.

    Wagon details - PO mineral and other parts | TDB749402 No 29 [3]

    Note that the pipes over the top are through air pipes for the wagon's later career as a runner. The vac pipe itself is clearly visible and will cross over beyond the cylinder. Below you can see the link pipe (sorry, I don't know the correct term) and the pull cord itself. You can see all of this in 7mm...

    Wagon details - PO mineral and other parts | TDB749411 [4]

    Rob Pulham likes this.
  5. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian
    The kit appears to be built to S7 standards - as I would expect from you! Were there any particular problems, e.g. with accommodating the brakes and wheels in their correct locations?
    Dog Star likes this.
  6. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    A couple of things which I think improve the Parkside (and other plastic kits) significantly for a few minutes work are scraping the outer edges of the W irons to reduce the visible thickness closer to the prototype, usually around 3/4 inch thick, and making sure the corners are completely filled. The corners of these vans were angle irons with the planks bolted to the inside. Sometimes the kits fit together perfectly but other times they need a strip of plastikard inserted to fill the gap or step before scraping the corner square (or radiused if the corner angle was folded instead of hot rolled).

    I have a number of vans awaiting completion of the brake gear. The vans are intended to be extras on a small layout, not the focus of attention, so I was thinking of using the kit components but your photos have convinced me that the extra effort to replace the push rods and brake lever is worth doing to improve the appearance.
    Rob Pulham, Len Cattley and AJC like this.
  7. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    All good points - particularly with reference to the W irons and brake levers which obviously apply across the board. Having had a bit of a think, it seems that AMBIS do most of the relevant bits and that they're available via Hobby Holidays. This is pertinent because I have a few 7mm wagons in the drawers...

    AdeMoore likes this.
  8. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I was quite happy that it was said tongue in cheek but as is oft quoted "many a true word is spoken in jest".

    Well that's me the fool - I have the said book and drawings sat on the shelf and one of the drawings is for the GWR V23 van. Although it's confused me so not entirely convinced the drawing shows the correct run. The drawing just shows the pipe running parallel to the solebars so if the pipe is on the lefthand side of the coupling hook at one end, then at the other end the pipe must be to the right hand side of the coupling hook. However the vast majority of photos shows the pipe to the left of the coupling hook so I'm doubting the drawing I think rather than running diagonally across somewhere along the length it must swop sides.

    As surmised it is Scale 7 and there weren't really any problems with the build. As Adam has mentioned there is a generous amount of play so as indicated in the 4th photo I haven't pushed the brass bearings fully into the axlebox to limit the side to side float. I was thinking of making a couple of spacing washers to hold them in the right position. I suspect if built as intended then the brakes would be even closer to the solebar and not really in line to accommodate the generous side-play. I'll take a few more photos on the next build to show the steps. I think the only thing I really did was to file a slight cone on the brake blocks to give a bit of a gap to the wheels.

    Noted - I will have a go later - I was going to fill the corners as in gluing the body together I managed to melt a few bolt heads!! Which will need to be replaced.

    I know what you mean but the problem is I wouldn't know when to stop. I might try the brake lever replacement on the next one for comparison as the plastic one in the kit is quite flat in plan view whereas I believe it should have a distinct cranked appearance.
    AJC likes this.
  9. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    As you may be aware, I tried springing a Parkside Dundas Mica A, the story’s on my Porth Dinllaen thread on t’other channel. Whilst it worked, I wasn’t hugely enthusiastic about the extra work, and the relatively little gain, so I’ve been pondering.

    Adrian kindly posted his idea for springing using a spring wire “staple”, and that started a train of thought that got to here:


    The axlebox has a small recess drilled in the top.

    The wire (I’ve used 0.8mm piano wire, not sure if this is good, bad or indifferent, it’s what I have) is bent into a U with one leg bent again at 90 degrees. If it works, I’ll make a jig, but the first one is very much by hand.

    The wire is retained against the back of the W iron by two small pieces of Plasticard glued to the wagon floor, the end is in the aforementioned recess in the axlebox.


    Initial dimensions as shown. Yes, it would be better if the vertical leg were at 90 degrees to the horizontal bit, but this is the try-out. Like I said, I’ll make a jig if it works.

    It will, in theory, be possible to see the vertical leg, but with a drop of paint / metal-black, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.

    More once I’ve made a set and tried it out.

    Rob Pulham, AdeMoore, iak63 and 3 others like this.
  10. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    The swap over is what I would expect - though I wonder whether this differed between GWR practice and those V23s that were retro-fitted with vac' brake by BR I wouldn't like to say. I'm away from my books at present in any event (my in-laws unaccountably not having an extensive rolling stock library).

    What Fraser said. The plastic levers aren't wonderful.

  11. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    A similar but different solution posted somewhere many years ago - I don't have a record of by whom so my apologies to the OP.
    Springing for PD axleboxes.jpg
  12. BrushType4

    BrushType4 Western Thunderer

    That’s quite a neat solution.
  13. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    That’s quite neat.

    I was thinking about a mk2 version of my idea with the wire hidden behind the W iron (and spring maybe) but keeping the simple installation behind the PK blocks on the floor. My original intent was to keep the wire bends all in one plane, as making a jig is easier, though if it only has one bend out of plane it’s not a problem. I suspect the 0.8mm piano wire is overkill. Time for some sums.

    More later, dependent on the vagaries of family Christmas Eve duties (mainly Dad’s taxi, I suspect).

  14. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Interesting - another variation to try.
  15. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Well, some “first approximation” calculations suggested that 0.6 steel would be the right order of stiffness to give about a millimetre deflection with 50g weight on each wheel. I didn’t have any, but had an 0.42mm guitar string, so used that. The 0.8 was ridiculously stifof.

    Melted the end of the spring into the top of the axlebox to secure it, so each axle looks like this;


    And assembled and on its wheels.


    I didn’t pre-paint the wire, so it shows, just, but that’s not going to be a bother on a “layout model”, which, given its provenance, this one definitely is. A drop of track dirt when I paint the chassis will hide a multitude of sins.

    The wagon sits on its springs. Not fully compressed nor fully up, which is a bonus. It’s weighted to around 190g.

    What’s clear about this approach is that the springs need to be jig made. That’s no bother, a bit of strip metal and a few pins will do what’s needed. I observe that one end is stiffer than the other, and this seems to be a result of the springs pressing against the cross-beams on which the brakes are mounted, this is a result of hand-bending the springs of course, and better consistency of manufacture would clearly be a good thing in this respect.

    I think this is a cheap and effective way of improving the Parkside kits, and I think it’s worthwhile because the “loose axlebox” is effectively the opposite of compensation. The alternative, of fixing the axleboxes one end and fitting a fulcrum centrally at the other does work, but I suspect this is better.

    It’s certainly cheaper and less work than fitting tiny coil springs.

    AdeMoore, Rob Pulham, Richard and 6 others like this.
  16. Ian@StEnochs

    Ian@StEnochs Western Thunderer

    Good solution. I've not built any Parkside kits but have used a similar system on some scratch builds.
    In my experience 'live' springs (both up and down movement) gives a better and quieter ride to the vehicle than 'dead' springs (down movement only) with the axlebox normally on a stop.
    AdeMoore, Rob Pulham, simond and 4 others like this.
  17. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Van number 2 underway. As a slight variation this is PS28, again GWR 12T van but diag V36/V37 with sheeted sides rather than planked. Again rather than a straight build - all I'm going to cover is any deviation from the kit instructions.

    As suggested by @Overseer I took a little more care building the main van body to try and get the corners to fit as snug as possible. With a little sanding and minimal filling I think it should give a smooth finish to the corners. Now I'm not sure whether it was this was as a result of my fiddling with the corners or whether it's a particular issue with this kit - either way I reckon the floor was about 1/2mm too wide and about 1mm too long. So I reckon if you build the body around the floor you'll have some gaps to fill at the corners. If you try to build the body to fit the corners then you'll need to file the floor a bit to fit.

    Parkside_2 - 2.jpeg

    As mentioned previously - this second kit has the alternative springing arrangement of the wire and hook. This was actually easier to fit as the wire doesn't need any precise bending to match the hole spacing.

    Parkside_2 - 5.jpeg

    Again following suggestions the W and V irons have been chamfered on the rear to reduce the edge thickness. Hopefully it will be more evident once painted. This also is intended to show the filing of the brake blocks, the lower set is as supplied in the kit, the set in the middle of the photo have been filed along the lines of the coning of the wheels so hopefully it can be seen that the inside of the brake block is thinner than the original.

    Parkside_2 - 7.jpeg

    These V irons and brake units are drilled out to accept a length of brass wire, the kit supplies a little but of plastic rod to stick between the 2 sets of brake units.

    Parkside_2 - 3.jpeg

    When initially positioned it's not quite symmetrical - the left hand brake is rubbing on the wheel and the right hand one has a little gap. So for this build, again deviating from the kit build sequence, I glued the brake units in place first. Once in place as everything was connected by the brass rod I could move the V irons to adjust the position of the brakes and equalised the gap on both sides.

    Parkside_2 - 1.jpeg

    This is my second effort at fitting the vac pipes and cylinder connection. This time I have run the pipe parallel to the chassis frame and then bent the pipe to cross over to the other side, including a tap off to the cylinder on the wagon. The previous van build has also been modified with the same arrangement.
    Parkside_2 - 8.jpeg

    This time I remembered to fit a little weight to the inside of the wagon before fitting the roof.

    Parkside_2 - 4.jpeg

    So this is the current build status. So a few more details to add, I will make up a replacement for the brake levers but they should then be both ready for the paint shop.

    I've still to add a little weight to the first planked build, it's subtle but the sheeted van is riding slightly lower than the planked version. So I'd like to get them both weighted a similar amount before I draw any conclusion but first impressions favours this second wire and hook method for springing.

    Parkside_2 - 6.jpeg
    PhilH, AdeMoore, iak63 and 11 others like this.
  18. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Much better - I suspect that the floor is oversize as it probably does for several different wagons and possibly isn’t exactly right for any of them! Now, how about those pull cords?

    One other thing that makes a real difference to plastic wagons is to fit the various angles that join the uprights to the solebars as here: GWR Vans - includes specialist designs

    Rob Pulham and simond like this.
  19. 76043

    76043 Western Thunderer

    I have a few of these O gauge kits to eventually build/rebuild, so am very glad you have started this thread.

    On roof fitting, I just wanted to offer a suggestion. On my 4mm Parkside build, I wanted to make painting as easy as possible, so decided to keep the parts shown below separate. The chassis had an extra plastikard piece that holds the chassis together and various pieces of sprue used on the body and roof to keep them square when the whole lot is screwed together. There are also six pieces of sprue on the roof that help to align the roof.

    I had to add extra sprue bracing to the roof to stop it deforming when screwed down, shown in the top photo.

    I suspect O gauge doesn't need a separate chassis, but a removable roof would be handy for painting and keeping the weights in check.

    It also means you can add weight later if required or reglue if it un-sticks itself.

    Last edited: 29 December 2019
    AdeMoore, AJC, Rob Pulham and 3 others like this.
  20. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I know - not forgotten but where to stop? If I fit that then I'll have to fit the safety loops on the end of the push rods as well.
    I think so to - I've not done it on this 2nd van yet but on the first one I've fitted a little bit of strip to fill in the gap. Is this what you meant?
    Parkside_3 - 1.jpeg