1/32 Slaters Midland Railway 10T Van Build

Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
I have begun my very first Gauge 1 kit for the Hollywater Line. This kit was recommended to me as a good place to begin so I bought one at the O Gauge traders show in Reading last year. No sooner had I got home when one of Santa's little helpers spirited it away for it to return on Christmas day. Tempting as it was to begin the kit at once I thought it prudent to leave it until now to get started. Many of you are probably familiar with the model and have a much higher skill level than me but hopefully my progress will provide a little entertainment.

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Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
The box contents are pretty straightforward and easy for me to identify so I have got on with making a start.

P1060726.JPG P1060727.JPG

It has gone together really well and apart from a little 'flash' the components are pretty clean. I discovered that I needed a raft of new tools to enable me to start the construction. Snips and tweezers and files and saws and my favourite so far is the rivet embossing tool. That has been a real help in producing lovely clean rivets with no distortion as far as I can see. The sprung suspension was straightforward to assemble and works well so far. The springs seem quite delicate and once I added a bit of weight (+180g) they were almost completely compressed.


The ends and the sides went on without too much fuss and I have done my best to keep them as square as I can. The roof was added and I found that the moulding was a little distorted with one side edge being much thinner than the other. I have centralised it as carefully as I can and hope it will be okay otherwise I may have to add a little microstrip to extend it a little.


The buffers and the draw hooks are next and the buffers have the same springs as the suspension. The doors also went on at this stage. The holes in the headstock ( if that is the correct term?) all needed widening which I achieved with a round file but I'm sure there is a better tool available to gradually increase the diameter. Buffers in and I made up the 3 link coupling and draw hook and then attempted to fit that.



Now I have come to a stand. There is no way for me to fit the draw hook/ coupling without hacking big lumps off of the chassis support. The nut is too big to drop between the two 'thingies' let alone allow me to tighten it up. I foresee a Dremel or razor saw moment coming along soon unless anyone else has a solution that I cannot see?


Time to have a beer and a spot of contemplation. Cheers.


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Flying Squad
There is no way for me to fit the draw hook/ coupling without hacking big lumps off of the chassis support. The nut is too big to drop between the two 'thingies' let alone allow me to tighten it up. I foresee a Dremel or razor saw moment coming along soon unless anyone else has a solution that I cannot see?
That does seem to be a rather curious oversight in the design. Personally I'd be loathe to start hacking at the plastic, you could either make a little collar and pin it to the draw hook or I think I would solder on an extension and have the nut and spring fitted in the centre section where there seems to be a little more room.


Western Thunderer
I think tightening the nut might be a challenge! Indeed, it looks challenging anyway. How curious.

I’m guessing you don’t have a vast selection of tools, so I suggest this.

Find a couple of washers that fit in the slot. File the threaded end of the hook to fit the washer. Use a knife edge or triangular file to make a groove all round the end of the hook. Assemble hook, wagon, spring & washer, and lock the washer to the hook with a turn of wire in the groove, twisted tight, and snipped off.



Western Thunderer
why not smooth off the thread and then run a smaller diameter die down the shank to allow the use of a smaller nut?



Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
Thanks for the suggestions chaps. I'm sure that the wire to secure the spring and hook is the method I will use. I'd be worried that the soldered extension would come adrift over time Adrian. Mike, Simon d was correct in his assumption that I do not have many tools and so taps and dies are something I do not have yet. This has brought about some imaginative solutions which I think is a testament to the talent available on this forum. Now to find a couple of washers........
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Peter Cross

Western Thunderer
Looking at the photos again. I would as suggested file the nut on two sides to fit. Push hook into place, fit spring and slip nut into slot. Then with screwdriver or similar push nut to compress spring and push hook out until you can rotate hook to screw into nut.
Hopefully I have seen correctly how the hook looks.


Flying Squad
Bit of an embuggeration.

I looked at mine this morning, but I must have spotted the problem and fitted the coupling to the end before gluing it together, so sorry, a bit smug sounding:rolleyes: and no help to you.

However, one of the Slaters coupling hook and chain assemblies definitely has a plain shaft with a hole in the end that you fix with a washer and split pin. It is either the 10mm scale one or the 1/32 scale one, either perfectly usable from a scale point of view. If you bought one and replaced what you have, saving it for the next wagon or fifteen you tackle - you can never have too many wagons or couplings....

One other thing, I don't like heavy wagons and typically cut the springs in half at which point the suspension "works" without adding weight. I also modify the axleguard keeps by drilling out and soldering in bits of brass wire so that you can take the wheels out etc.

Great to see you are pursuing your G1 project on many fronts!


Mike W

Western Thunderer
Keith, have just noticed that unlike the Gauge 3 kit which has a one piece resin body, yours is plastic mouldings and it looks like drawbar pull is taken by the headstocks, which are part of the ends, and then transferred through the frame, or through the body, both relying on glued joints alone.

No problem for a small exhibition layout, but on a larger garden line a sharp tug could take the whole end of the van out. Adrian's method of a central spring and continuous drawbar gets around that by transferring drawbar pull direct to hook on t'other end, meaning the glued joints are not under stress at all.

I know the stresses are more in Gauge 3 but I think about maybe a live steamer on a long train - it starts to run away and you grab the nearest wagon to stop the train - the drawbar pull is considerable and the old glue joint breaks. I've seen it happen more than once!


Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
Thanks Simon and Mike. I will look into the alternative draw hook fixing. The headstock/ buffer beam is part of the end moulding which would mean that the whole of the end of the van would have to be pulled off with the hook. I am not saying that that could not happen but I think I might get away with it for now. I could always modify the coupling in future for one which relies on tension between both draw hooks. I think I have seen a Peter Korzeilius kit with that arrangement? As far as filing down the nut Peter, I am sure that the method you suggest will work but I wonder if the nut might bind in the slot unless things are running dead straight? I guess I will have the same problem if I fit a washer, thinking about it so maybe I will see if the hook can be extracted far enough to enable me to turn it and tighten on to the screw.
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Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
Thanks to all those that gave suggestions as to a way forward progress has been made :).

The method I adopted was to first file down two sides of the nut so that it could drop into the gap.


Next I filed down the hook shaft to remove most of the thread. Now the nut could be pushed on and would only come back off again if it was parallel to the shaft.


The tricky bit was now to insert the hook, slide on the spring and then push on the nut. Once all was in place the nut was fixed with a drop of super glue.


Finally I used some 'Green Stuff' to secure the nut on a more permanent basis. This is a two part epoxy putty I use on my military models and once on it dries pretty hard. If you add a drop of super glue to where you are going to apply the green stuff it REALLY sticks.


Both hooks are in. Both move freely when tugged and they are both secure. :D

Thanks again for all the help. What a great bunch you all are. :thumbs:

I have contacted Slaters and they are to amend instructions so that the hook is fitted before the end is fixed to the floor. May still have to file away at the nut to get a good fit but it is better that than trying to fit the thing as I have just done.

On with the build.

Cheers, Keith

Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
Now that the coupling issue is but a distant memory I am happy to report that the van is fully assembled.
The next part I had to do was to fix on the castings for the door handles and the horse hooks on the chassis. Also the door runner etch. I had to open out the holes for the castings to .75mm and then they all went in well. One of the door handles with the clasp closure on the end hadn't moulded quite right so a few passes with a razor saw (sorry razor saw :() managed to open the slot out so that it would go on. I also had to move the mounting hole a small amount to line up with the mounting pin.


I then started on the brake rigging.

I often look at models and don't notice the details below the solebar. Once I started on the brake rigging I began to see what a difference to the model the brake gear makes. I'm now paying much more attention to what goes on down there.

I did find that I had to deviate from the instructions a little at this point. I should have glued the brake blocks on their hangers into place and then made up the push rod assembly and fit. I found that I couldn't get my cutters in to the right place to snip off the brass rod that holds the push rod assembly to the blocks so I made the whole thing up off site.


The mouldings for the rodding reinforcements were found to be too big. There was a handy mould line for where to cut so once this was done it all went together pretty well.



Western Thunderer
Having built the G3 version of this van, Im not entirely sure why it tells you to stick bits of plastic between the pushrods.
On the prototype, these are two separate plates of steel rather than a large lump with clevis on each end.


Western Thunderer
There were some (though very few) MR wagons that had timber spacers, and some that had bolts linking the bars with tubular spacers - the latter mainly on vehicles with long wheelbases, i.e. 12' or 14'.
Despite my pointing out (in person) that so few MR original drawings show them, they still appear in Slaters' kits.....

If one is going to start being picky on the underframe, then the brake blocks need chopping off their solid hanger and new individual hanger links made. But maybe that's just the effect that cataloguing and/or scanning nearly 3000 MR carriage & wagon drawings has had on me.:rolleyes:


Keith Phillips

Western Thunderer
The only reason for the spacers, as far as I am concerned that is, is to help prevent my ham fisted attempts at picking the thing up from bending or knocking off all my hard work :'(.

Now with both sides assembled, reinforced, and mounted it was time to form the hand brake lever up. I was dreading getting this all wrong but actually the thing went pretty well and once installed it 'pinged' into its home rather nicely.


To finish off I stuck the build plate on and sat back to admire my work.

I'm so glad that I got on and built this wagon. I'm so glad that Simon of this parish advised me to start with this one. It hasn't been plain sailing but if it was, I would not have learned anything. I'm pleased with the result and it has had a spin on the Hollywater Line today and runs very well indeed. Off to the paint shop next to have a livery of some sort applied. I quite fancy LMS Bauxite as all of the ones I have seen are grey. Trouble is that after being on here for a little while I now know that the axle boxes are wrong for Bauxite livery and that the MR grey is the only option. But hey, I like the idea of Bauxite :thumbs:.

Maybe this has been a bit simple for the many disgustingly skilful modellers on here but we all have to start somewhere and at present this is my level. Thanks for all the advice when things went a bit :shit:. I'll post a finished van once the paint is on.

Cheers, Keith.


Western Thunderer
No worries about its, as you put it, "simplicity".
We appreciate any modelling. I decided to build my kit after I had scratchbuilt a few wagons from sticks and bolts, and I even found it challenging at times.
Though I did change the door runners and had issues with mold release surviving substantial scrubbing.
You best give it another good scrub if my experience is anything to go by.