Sandy Shores - A medley of new wagons!

 In amongst transforming the NS2F loco in the last post (see here if you missed it), I've also been wanting to add just a little more variety in the rolling stock department. Regular readers will know that Mark Greenwood's amazing 3D printed flat wagons (designed by him originally for me from only 3 reference photos!) form the backbone of the wagon fleet on Sandy Shores. To mix things up, in 2023, I created a variety of removable wagon loads, which have proved perfectly adequate at spicing things up at exhibitions. However, I felt that it was about time that there were some 'new guys in town'(!)...

Wagon 1 - The 009 Society 50th Anniversary Van

... first up was an easy choice - as regular readers know, the layout was invited to the 009 Society's 50th Anniversary Special Exhibition all the way up in Tamworth last year, I simply had to buy their commemorative wagon there and then. The only time I buy such wagons is when they look plausible, and aren't too garish, and the 009 Society vans are absolutely spot-on in terms of looking like a 'generic' van in a sensible livery. However, as lovely as it is, I'm going to completely ruin any potential resale value (who gives a flying salami about that?!) and make some minor modifications:

Above: We don't need to do much to the van, but two important things are new couplings and a bit of weight added to the underframe. For the latter, I've glued plasticard lengths between the brake gear to prevent the 'Liquid Gravity' balls from straying near the wheelsets. As they're glued on with epoxy, I don't want to risk getting the glue anywhere near the wheels. Of course, I'm using Greenwich Couplings. To fit these into the standard NEM sockets, I've had to bend the shanks - first in an S-band to get them at the correct height (using the height gauge to double check this), and secondly bending the ends. This means I can push the coupling in and create a tight fit without needing to use glue. They haven't fallen out yet!

Above: The model is absolutely lovely, but far too pristine - no worries, 5 minutes with Humbrol weathering powders makes light work of that! I've used 'Smoke' pretty much everywhere, but focusing mostly on the underframe. It does a great job of subduing the colour, and fading the text and logo. 'Dark Rust' is used mostly around the underframe to simulate brake dust, but also on the roof to add a bit of variety to the colour and texture. 'Light Rust' is used around the ironwork - perhaps a bit OTT, and I need to work on a way to get a more precise application with them!

: The finished modifications mean the van can now enter service! Here it is behind the recently completed NS2F locomotive. It looks right at home on the layout!

Wagons 2 and 3 - Pair of bolster wagons

Above: These are both 009 Society kits. I've decided that I liked the idea of a permanent way train, and opted to paint such wagons in a red oxide livery, with black metalwork.

Above: The kits do come with a bolster, but they were quite flat and didn't have much in the way of texture. I decided therefore to make new bolsters from old sleepers. The chairs were cut off, the holes filled with Humbrol 'Model Filler'. Originally, as seen in the leftmost photo, metal stanchions were added in the filler before it hardened. I then realised that these would be too close together, so new holes were drilled near the ends of the sleepers, and the stanchions glued into these instead. By the way, note that each bolster is formed from two sleepers stacked on top of each other.

Above: I really wanted these bolsters to actually 'work' (i.e. rotate), plus, I felt it would add more flexibility if they could be removable and thus also be able to use the wagons as 1 plank wagons for general goods. To that end, a hole was drilled through the centre of the wagon floor. To make the bolsters swivel, two plasticard rings were cut out using a compass with two points. These could then be glued to the underside of the bolsters. A centre hole was drilled through the bolsters, and a bit of wire could have one end bent, then the rest inserted through that hole, and then into the wagon floor. I found that the underside of the two plasticard rings had to be filed smooth for the bolsters to swivel freely. 

Above: As per the van, I add plasticard strips to contain the 'Liquid Gravity' weights. Unfortunately, I forgot to fit the brake rigging first, so had to try and cut off the delicate brake gear from the supports. Easier said than done - as can be seen by the broken one!

Above: As always, Greenwich Couplings need to be fitted, which means bringing out the height gauge, marking the correct height on the buffer beam, cutting the appropriate section out, and filing it square.

Above: Now that the couplings have been glued in place with epoxy, the bolsters are painted black, and the stanchions painted a rust colour. Note that the bottom photo shows the difference between the weathered wagon on the left, and unweathered on the right. It's not perfect, but it's a really quick approach that makes a huge difference. Whilst weathering the wagons, I decided to add excess weathering powder to the underside of the bolster 'rings'. Like filing the bottom of the rings, this also helped to reduce friction between them and the body floor so that they will swivel freely.

Above: The final additions to the wagons were the load (in this case rails), and securing chains. OK, so the latter is probably over-simplified, but I was in a rush as it was the night before the Romsey exhibition! In any case, the rails were cut to length, painted, and then had weathering powder added for a bit of texture. I did try to file the ends of the rails, but I note that I didn't do a very good job!

I'll show a final shot of these pair after the next wagon.

Wagon 4 - Flat wagon with end supports

As mentioned at the start, the 3D printed flat wagons designed for me by Mark Greenwood form the backbone of the fleet. Whilst I have quite a few removable loads, I thought it was time to give two of them an upgrade, and convert them permanently into unique wagons. First up, I had the idea of adding end frames to one of the wagons for bulky loads that require additional support.

Above: First step is to cut out 4 pillars, then file them to give them a tapered top. A piece of L section plastruct is then glued to the wagon floor, and the pillars glued to these as pictured.

Above: Onto the inside of the pillars, plasticard 'planks' are glued on. The whole lot was then painted a dark grey (never black on a model!), and fixings hinted at by adding tiny blobs of rust coloured paint with a fine brush - a steady hand is definitely required for this!

Above: Final steps for this wagon is the same as all of them - to add 'Liquid Gravity' weight underneath, and weather the wagons. I wanted a heavily used appearance to this particular wagon, so there was a lot of 'Dark Rust' powder applied from the 'fixings' that I had painted on. Of particular note on the bottom right photo is that I realised that I never painted the axleboxes etc dark grey on the flat wagons - this was duly corrected on all of them!

Above: A view of wagons 2, 3 and 4 - being hauled by the Bagnall.

Wagon 5 - Flat wagon with rudimentary passenger bench

Truth be told, this wagon has had a bench glued on it for a few years! Despite the ramshackle approach to safety and maintenance on the SSLR (Sandy Shores Light Railway - I don't know that I use that acronym often on here!), I wasn't happy with how risky it would be to ride on it without anything for the passengers to grab onto.

Above: The initial raw components for this build are very simple - as mentioned, I already had the bench glued onto the wagon, now we need hand/grab rails! Note that there are two L shaped pieces for the centre grab rails. We'll see later that, instead, I opted to use just one piece. In any case, the outer two handrails have their ends bent at 90 degrees. We'll see why in the next step...

Above: these will slot into holes drilled into the flat wagon and will help ensure the hand/grab rails are at the correct height - the rails inserted into the base, pulled up, and glued with epoxy onto the ends of the bench.

Above and below: As mentioned earlier, the middle hand/grab rails were changed from my original plan of separate L lengths of wire each side, for a single length of wire. This meant that a hole needed to be drilled through the bench. The wire was then bent in place, then cut to the correct lengths either side. Note that both ends sit in a hole in the base of the wagon.

Above: The middle rail doesn't need to be glued in place, which is useful as I need to fill in the large hole made in the bench. The rail can thus be pushed down, a blob of model filler put on top and round the rail, and then lifted back in place - this will draw the filler back into the hole. Once that has hardened, it can be disguided, in this case, with weathering powder. Note how the rails have been painted black, and then weathered with powders - which also give much needed rough texture.

Above: A final view showing the newest wagons on Sandy Shores. Note how the bolsters actually swivel perfectly as the train negotiates the sharp curved siding. The 3 plank wagon connected to the NS2F loco features ballast and tools, but the ballast is actually loose! I haven't yet decided whether it would be wise or not to glued it all in...

The new wagons have already added variety to the layout when operating it at an exhibition - as they all saw use at the Romsey show last weekend. I expected the bolster wagons to occassionally derail, but that was not the case at all! The only problem with them is that the rail load did tend to shift, and eventually cause the two wagons to separate - it is pretty fiddly to slide the rails under the chains on the bolsters.

You may also note in the above photo that there are far more details on the layout - these will be discussed in the next post! Until then, I hope you've found this one interesting, and that it might encourage you to add some variety to your rolling stock.