coaches are needed for the diorama. They
have to be built new as interior detail is
very important due to night operation with
carriage lighting and they will, of course,
also be treated with snow. We have used
3dPerfect kits which are actually only
available now for special order. Langley
coaches are still available.
building L&B 17 SR 6994
The etchings are quite thin and may have slightly warped during
the etching process. They can be very carefully straightened once removed from
the fret. A sharp craft knife can be used to remove the etchings from the fret,
or a sharp pair of scissors.
Bending the etches
Folding etch lines are on both sides of the etchings. Always
leave the etch line on the INSIDE of the fold. On small parts, it may be a good
idea to strengthen this with a run of solder.
The etchings can be bent using accurately machined steel
Or you may have a bespoke metal bender.
Sometimes, a good model making vice is still easiest. Once the
fold is made, I find that a cleaner angle can be achieved by running a smooth
metal surface over the fold with a bit of force (I use the handle of my
Soldering skills are needed to make a good job of our kits.
Personally, I still find Bakers Fluid best for this kind of work although it
would not be a good idea to get some in your eyes. I apply with a paint brush
and the solder flows almost instantly. This is fine provided everything is
thoroughly washed off afterwards. There are many alternatives if you prefer.
For very small parts, lightly tin the two mating surfaces, apply
together with a little flux and place a clean soldering iron (wipe off solder
with paper towel) on the work until you can see the solder melting. This should
be enough to obtain a good joint.
There are some moments when you need to solder very small parts
which have been pushed through holes in the etching. I tend to hold the part
with the end of a finger (if you are quick, it will not get unbearable), hold
the work vertical then touch the job with the soldering iron from the back. This
stops any solder from flowing downward through gaps around the locating hole and
depositing on the good side.
The instructions describe building the coach with full
structural thickness, by adding Plasticard sheets on the inside. You can of
course just solder the kit up and simply glaze behind, but the result will look
a lilt skinny! The extra five hours estimated time is well worth it.
First, remove the coach sides from the fret (craft knife or
sharp scissors) and sand off the remains of the sprues. The sides may be
slightly curved after the etching process and may need very careful
straightening. Now spray a sheet of Plasticard the same thickness as the etching
with spray mount. Scotch Weld spray mount does a good job and this can be bought
at most stationary shops.
Now lay on the coach sides with the backs downwards onto the
Plasticard. Carefully, cut out the window apertures in the plastic with a very
sharp craft knife. Take care to keep the knife upright at all times. Peel off
the plastic as soon as you have finished. Each side will require two plastic
copies. You do not have to cut out door apertures on one of the sheets. Keep
these sheets marked for the correct sides.
Remove the residual spray mount from the etching and
plastic using white spirit. (Just pour a small amount into your wife's best
casserole dish). Once the spray mount has dissolved, wash with warm water and
detergent. Spray paint them with primer and then 'hardwood brown'.
Folding the coach sides
Make sure that the coach sides are flat, and then fold the
roof return inwards. The order of folding is important. Fold 3 is difficult but
it can be done by holding the coach side in the vice and gradually pushing down
with a square bit of steel. It just needs a bit of patience.
Remove the door handles and grab rails from the fret. Don’t
lose them! Open up the etched holes on the coach side to 4.0mm. Tin the rear of
the coach panel round the holes (you might have to open them up a little). Do
all of this while holding the coach side upright to prevent solder migration to
the front side.
Insert a door handle with tweezers and hold in place with a
finger. Brush on flux on the back and touch with your soldering iron while still
holding the coach side upright. Repeat the same process for the grab handles,
and gradually work your way down both coach sides. There are spares in case you
lose one or two handles! Now fold the grab handles over a small off-cut of the
fret surround. Using the Dremel sanding disc, sand the back flush.
Preparing the ends
Remove coach end from the fret. It is a lot easier to fit the
steps, lamp brackets and grab rail while the ends are still unattached. Enlarge
etched holes to 4.0mm and use the same technique as you did with the door
furniture. With any luck, you will get quite good at this! The handrail is made
from thin brass wire.
An important point is the provision of horizontal beading on the
coach ends. The height of such beading can be seen to vary from coach to coach.
With the exception of the observation cars, there were no horizontal beadings
when these vehicles were first built. The beadings began to appear when a
partial replacement of a panel took place, and the position depending upon how
big the replacement was. We therefore do
not include any horizontal beadings at all, but rather provide a
small strip and you can add them where you wish.
If your coach is fitted with an acetylene generator, solder the
rectangular base in place.
Remove the door drop light frames from the fret, clean off
sprues, and epoxy glue to the back of the coach sides. Use glue so not to
disturb the door furniture. You may select to have the windows shut or open to
Remove the floor from the fret and separate the seat units at each
Centralise the floor against a coach side and solder together,
Make sure they are at right angles. I like to do this work over an accurately
machined piece of timber.
Now solder the ends, ensuring that they align to the top of the
side accurately. Again make sure they are at right angles.
Solder on the second side.
Remove buffer beams from fret. Prick the small etch hole with
a point to raise rivet detail. Fold in half and solder them together. Then
solder to the coach. You may elect to cut a slot in the buffer beam to be able
to later attach your bogie with fitted coupling directly.
Footboards and trusses
Very carefully remove the footboards from the fret, bend the
support brackets to right angles. Lightly tin the coach chassis on the outside.
Tin the back of the footboard brackets and solder to the chassis. Make sure the
footboard is nice and straight. The assembly is extremely weak and requires
reinforcing with thin wire from the rear. Once the wire re-inforcers are soldered
up, trim flush and sand the wire to a feather at the outside edge.
Cut four short pieces of the thicker wire and solder
into the floor in their locating holes. These are the truss pillars. They should
be sanded down to project 1mm below the footboard. Now solder the thinner wire
to create the trusses as shown on figure 1 above. If required, you can also add
the brake cylinders that are under the floor.
These are effectively invisible on the model, but some of you may
still choose to include them.
Grind away a section each side of the roof return tab, to allow
the seats to be inserted. You should leave 1mm of tab. The only thing left to do
is to make the vacuum pipes and heating pipes if fitted. I prefer to make these
in brass wire and wrap them with 3 amp fuse wire, soldering each end. I think
the result is cleaner than a casting.
Congratulations! You have broken the back of the job. Now wash the
coach in warm water and detergent, using a soft brush to make sure all ‘bits’
and flux are removed. Now glue on the door vents and the acetylene generator.
Please note the castings contain square and round generators. Select the correct
Lightly spray the coach with etch primer, (this is available in
car shops in spray cans). Once dry, spray the coach sides green.
Once dry, mask the green sides and spray the ends and running
boards in dirty black. Never use pure matt black on a model. Always add at least
some white, and perhaps some brown. The result is much more realistic. There has
been some discussion about the colour of the ends, but it does seem they were in
fact black. They would have become dirty very quickly. The exception would be
the observation ends of coaches SR 6991 & 6992 (L&B 1 & 2), which
Once dry, carefully scrape the paint off the grab rails and door
Add the first layer of glazing to fixed windows. The glazing
should just cover the vertical edges of the window apertures. We use epoxy.
Great care is needed to prevent glue migrating onto the visible portion of the
Below, is a diagram of the lay-ups of the interior.
The subsequent layers are built up away from the coach. The paper
siding is attached to the inner plastic sheet up to the window frames using PVA
glue. On the other side, glaze the drop lights and infill between the
transparent parts with parts cut from the second plastic sheet. Add the leather
straps. Remember that the strap gets quite short if the window is down! I used
PVA for this purpose. Great care is needed to ensure proper register.
Glue the panels into the coach with a sparing amount of epoxy.
Again, taking great care is needed to ensure proper register.
You can download the printed coach interior at
Do not forget to paint the side which glues to the
coach in brown
Remove the seats from the fret. They will have to be trimmed to
fit inside the extra coach side thickness. (Best use your wife's best kitchen
scissors). Fold up the seats and solder. The glue tabs must be folded up under
After washing and drying, prime and paint in hardwood brown.
The interior ends of the coaches are covered in matchboard paper.
Now, glue in the seats, remembering to work towards the
ground-away area of the roof flange. The bulkhead is made from Plasticard with
paper boarding glued on. The boarding is horizontal in L&B coaches. Some
coaches are supplied with etched bulkheads. Treat these in the same way.
Tinted photos of local
scenes were to be found on the bulkheads.
You may care to add these.
If the coach has curtains, now is the time to make them We think
they were cream/blue pattern. If you lightly spray textured toilet paper with
med blue paint a sort of pattern is created. This now has to be cut up into
curtain sizes and scrunched up to give the illusion of folds. Don't breathe
heavily as you will lose the lot!
If you want passengers, now is the time to add them. You are now
ready for the lid. Take a last look for any unwanted materials that may have
entered the coach such as cat hairs.
Now comes the good bit. Drink one LONG can of beer. After all, you
deserve it! This will become the roof so don’t scrunch it up when you have
finished! Of course, once you have fitted the roof, the interior becomes
virtually invisible, but you know it's there! You could of course go completely
silly and make luggage racks which will never be seen in 4mm scale!
The roof can be cut, again with your wife's best scissors. Great
care is needed, as the aluminium is very thin and easily damaged. Cut to allow
the correct overhang on the sides and ends of the roof. The underside must be
roughed up with sandpaper to allow the epoxy glue to adhere. Once the roof is
firmly attached, give the top a good fine sanding to allow for glue and paint
Attach two very thin strips of Plasticard under the roof overhang.
This is best done by stroking the strip over PVA, removing excess and fixing in
position under tension.
If you prefer, the roofs
can be built in Plasticard. Just wrap a
piece around a rolling pin, tape in up and
pour boiling water on it. Once cool, the
curve remains. Then cut the roof to size.
Now, using epoxy glue, attach the roof lamps and holders. Their
position varies from coach to coach.
Using a very fine drill, make holes in the end overhangs just to
the side of the lamps. Stretch 3 amp fuse wire between the holes. This will
represent the acetylene pipe, running along the roof. Glue this in place with
epoxy. Once dry, attach a short piece of wire to each end which is then bent
around the roof overhang and attaches to the end. The junction box is made out
of Plasticard and the flexible pipe can be made in slightly thicker wire and
attached to the box.
You will also have to drill holes to take the small roof handrails
which are made out of thin brass wire and glued into position.
This coach is not fitted with steam heating
Mask off the ends and sides of the coach and spray
paint the roof light grey. I tend to then use weathering powder on the roof and
ends then fix the result with artist fixative.
I have not had the good fortune to encounter one free running
reliable 009 bogie. We therefore suggest DT16 N gauge bogies by GreenMax
(available from Wellington Models UK) These bogies are 2 mm
shorter in wheelbase than they should be. This is necessary to allow the
bogie to sit inside the frames and still negotiate 12” curves.
Remove the wheels from the bogies, and sand the plastic details
away from the bogie sides. Take care not to sand too deeply otherwise you will
encroach upon the needle holes of the wheels. Remove the coupling and attach the
coupling of your choice so that they will protrude through the buffer beam slot.
If you are using Greenwich couplings, they can be melted in using the soldering
Attach the etched bogie sides and paint the bogie. The ends of the
wheels should also be painted. Clean off any paint from the wheel treads. An
alternative is to use Carrs Nickel silver metal blackener.
Remove the pivot.
With the thicker Plasticard provided, drill a hole to just clear
the pivot. Cut to 8mm X 8mm to make the bolster. The pivot has two locating
tags. These have to be trimmed a little so that when the pivot is put through
the bogie and the new bolster, there is free turning movement. Once you are
happy with this, touch the pivot with your soldering iron to weld the pivot to
the bolster. Then clean it flat.
The bogies must be able to pivot in position to accommodate your
track radii. Grind anything away which prevents this. Minimum radius design is
12” You can now fix the bogies into place by gluing the bolsters onto the
underside of the floor. Make absolutely sure that they are central and level.
The coach is then ready for decals. We recommend those supplied by
Peter Blackham (http://www.blackhamtransfers.com/)
Time for construction is 30 to 35 hours including the additional
time of 4 hours to make the interior layers. The layering of the coach interior
does give an appearance which has the correct 'feel' to it. Most etched coaches
are just too thin with no structure behind the glass. I think the effect is
really worth it.