Busy in the workshop

It’s been quiet here in the blogosphere. I’ve been a bit noisier on Twitter and that there Facebook thing, but that’s no excuse. So, here’s an update, of sorts.

Progress is being made on the 7mm scale Mk1 coach build.

JLTRT Mk1 rebuild 4 (1 of 2)

JLTRT Mk1 rebuild 4 (2 of 2)

The ends have been detailed inside and out. Some of the interior detail won’t actually be visible, but once I’m in fabrication mode it’s hard to stop!

JLTRT Mk1 rebuild 5 (1 of 3)

These are the seat mouldings for the Second Open coach. They are plastic injection mouldings (think Airfix kit but a bit bigger), and I’ve given them a lick of paint. The period these models are to represent is the mid-1950s, so the seat covers were a sort of maroony-red with a subtle pattern—which I am not about to try and recreate. Each pair of seats has a wooden frame, which I’ve picked out in a base colour over which I will dry-brush a darker shade to simulate the grain, topped out with a coat of satin varnish to give some depth.

JLTRT Mk1 rebuild 5 (2 of 3) JLTRT Mk1 rebuild 5 (3 of 3)

The insides of the bodysides have had a base coat of paint, too. Railway coaches of the period were finished inside in a variety of wood veneers, so like the seats I will dry-brush grain and top coat with varnish. The upper pair of sides is for a brake coach, where only half the vehicle carried passengers and the rest was used for parcels and luggage, with accommodation for the train guard in the middle.

It’s funny, but the general impression of railway travel in the UK is always of dirt, grime and shabbiness. It is sometimes easy to forget that the Mk1 “standard” coaches built during the 1950s and 1960s were built by skilled craftsmen, with care and great attention to detail. The level of finish given to even a humble second class coach was as good as anything lavished on a first class dining car, and the fact that many coaches survive in use on Britain’s heritage railways is testament to the designers and craftsmen of British Railways in the 1950s.

It can take a fair old while to paint these models. While the interiors will essentially be painted to give an impression of the correct colours and finish, the exterior will be finished to a more detailed specification. Though you can’t see it here, both the sides and ends have actually been painted, and the sides have been gloss varnished ready for the lining and lettering to be applied.

While I wait for paint to harden properly, the replacement parts for the underframes have arrived, so I shall crack on with those. Who knows, by the end of next week we might have two rolling coaches! Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves: there’s a way to go yet.

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