Tuesday 21 May 2024

Tank wagons part 2

On with the tank wagon kits. Microtrains couplings were fitted to plasticard packing underneath, with a slot cut out the end framing. The screws were shortened so as not to protrude through the floor. I omitted the centre buffers from the wagons as they'd obstruct the couplings. 

The hole in the floor of the round tank wagon chassis is for a screw to secure the tank, as I thought the relatively heavy resin tank might be vulnerable with a small glue contact patch onto the cradle. I drilled a hole dead centre underneath (hopefully!) and used a Microtrains coupling screw self-tapped in. The white metal cradle has been worked with a scalpel and round file to match the profile of the tank - as supplied it was a larger radius so the tank could rock side to side. 

The resin tank had tiny imperfections, presumably bubbles from the casting process. I rubbed squadron putty in with a finger, rubbed smooth with fine emery, and gave it a coat of primer. I then repeated the process for all the imperfections I'd missed, and this is the second coat of primer - yet still a few gaps have been found and filled. The red primer confirms it will look good in red I think...

That photo also shows the detailing, although the tank, straps, and brake stand are all still loose for painting. The brass has been blackened.

The small filler looks like it might be a vent in the drawing in the instructions, but all 3 castings are the same. In a photo I found the two bigger filler caps seem to have pipe connections, but the smaller one doesn't. However, without clear pictures it's hard to tell. I put the filler caps in a pin vice using the "pip" underneath and turned by hand against a file to clean up the edges, one was turned down to a slightly smaller size for the smaller (left end) opening. 

With no tap(s) in the pack I've had to improvise. The photo I found isn't clear but it looks like 2 or 3 pipes protrude from one end, presumably separate compartments in the tank (typical for road tankers) corresponding to the filler caps. I settled for two pipes from 0.7mm wire, with end "flanges" cut from plastic rod that had been drilled out (fiddly!), and a fine wire handle/lever stuck in a hole in top. Hopefully this will look convincing when painted. 

I thought the "loco tank" wagon would work well as a weedkiller wagon. It seemed unlikely to be an oil or fuel wagon and few railways had a need for a water tank, but many need weedkiller wagons and like many service vehicles an in-house conversion makes sense. I expect it could look at home on Hexworthy as well as Loctern Quay. Therefore, a tap for each tank piped into a "dispensing" pipe across the wagon seemed a likely arrangement. I used the long tap feed as the pipe down to the dispenser, which left the short stubby end (I presume meant to be the outlet) to fit into the tank, this seemed to work so I bent the long end of the castings to shape and soldered them both to a 1mm wire rod as shown. The "staple" shaped wire on the left is the balance pipe for the other end of the tank.

Here's the weedkiller wagon ready for painting, again the tank and (blackened) straps are not yet fixed in place. The tap and pipework arrangement seems to look plausible, it bends back under the wagon end slightly to avoid the coupling although I also had to move the coupling mount outwards too. The tops of the tanks were drilled for the handrail knobs using the dremel in its drill stand (a handy tool), although one was too close to the end and protruded through the tank end. Hence, this tank has had some filler and primer already. Despite the red primer, I think this wagon will end up black. 

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