A realy "Irish" coach build

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A realy "Irish" coach build

Postby Wally » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:52 pm

The original concept.

I am sure that many readers are aware of Alan Dochertey’s Worsley Works range of etchings, which he describes as “scratch aids” rather than full kits. I have made considerable use of them to provide the basic passenger stock for my 7mm County Donegal project and up till now have been very pleased with the results I have obtained.

For those unfamiliar with the concept what you get for your (small amount of) money is a set of basic body sides and ends, plus occasionally other vital bits, which allow the builder to construct a vehicle body which he then finishes to his own spec with items he either buys from other suppliers or makes himself.

The prototype.

In addition to both the loco hauled coaches and the railcars they owned the Donegal management collected a variety of trailer cars to augment, and be towed by, the railcars. These came from a number of sources and the only specification appears to be that it must cheap, preferably second hand and not like anything else in the fleet!

The model.

On Allan’s stand at the Shepton Mallet show last weekend there was a package marked Donegal Railcar number 5, one of the fleet which up until now I did not possess, therefore I seized the opportunity and took it into stock.

Back home on Sunday I succumbed to the temptation to open the packages I had bought to inspect my new goodies; only to find in this one the etches did not match the drawings I had for this vehicle. After perusal of many drawings I realised that this was actually car no 3; a fact I would have realised earlier if I bothered to turn the floor over and look at the inscription on the bottom.


Number 3 is an interesting vehicle being originally built as a 5’3” gauge tramcar for the Dublin and Bressington Steam Tramway. The first thing the Donegal did after purchase was to re-gauge it to 3’ and fit an internal combustion engine to turn it into a stand alone railcar. Later mods included altering the cooling system for the engine to put the radiators below the floor, then on the roof, and at one point it was fitted with a pair of rads - one either end just above the coupling – which look as if they came off Ford model T cars.

Later the propulsion system was removed and the vehicle was turned into a simple trailer. This is the form I am proposing to model.


The floor folds up easily being just a single etching with two low wings which when bent to 90 degrees form the attachment points for the sides. These in turn comprise of two etchings each forming one side and an end. The basic design of the vehicle is of a box with entrance doors at diagonally opposing corners and the other corners are a curved lower panel with complementary curved window above giving the result that when looking in the direction of travel the driver stands on the left and the passengers board on the right. All that is needed is to bend the etch in a curve where the drivers window is and the side is made up, two simple bends and you are ready to solder the body together.

BUT – the sides are, as you would expect, mirror images of each other and when the trial folding was finished it became apparent that one of the sides should be a mirror image of itself, as the front-end panels are on the wrong end of the side. The picture should make this statement clearer.


This is not a formidable problem as cutting one etch into three allows the end and side to be attached individually and the remains of the curved panel can be used to fill the gap, a small length of angle soldered to the floor was used to provide additional support to the front panel, job sorted, I thought, just got to fit the other side etch and then we can go for a cuppa!


BUT (part 2) – when the complete side / end was offered up the side length was correct – except - the end panel was not central to the vehicle. After some measuring it was realised that both the side and end portions of the etch are dimensionally correct but the curved panel is too long causing the misalignment. The same procedure was then carried out on the second etch as on the first and we are now at the point where there are four separate sides and end panels attached to the floor waiting for the door assemblies and curved corners to be attached. Forget the cuppa, straight to bed I think!



Now all that is needed is to source the wheels, make a roof, fit windows and interior detail and paint. Who said the difficult bit is over?

This is a somewhat different and unusual vehicle and if my foregoing comments seem critical of Allan’s work let me state that all of the other of his products I have encountered have been excellent. Yes the package was incorrectly labelled but my experience is all the better for that. Given that this is not a mainstream model and, from the way in which the ink of the label had transferred onto the brass, I suspect mine is an early example of the kit and quite possibly a prototype etch, with the problems I have encountered being corrected on later versions. Allan always states that he is etching to the requirements of his specifying customer(s), and not for the general market, and I for one am appreciative of the opportunity this gives in such a restricted field.

As to the future developments, watch this space.

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Re: A realy "Irish" coach build

Postby wagonman » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:23 am

Lesser mortals (like me) would probably have hit the whisky bottle before they hit the sack when faced with such a conundrum! I look forward to further progress...

Richard Kelham
easily distracted...
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Re: A realy "Irish" coach build

Postby Wally » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:47 am

After a lot of thinking (and not much action) about the way this project was coming together I decided that the ultimate solution was called for, and reached for the 75 watt Iron to disasemble the thing to start again. Please note this is not automatically the iron of first choice; being normally only used when the central heating has failed, but is the best way of undoing large solder joints when precision is not required.

The ensuing pile of bits was then re-assembled (using a much smaller iron) last night after much cleaning, and desoldering of the components, to give what I think is a better result.


The door at the other end still does not fit properly, the etch is of the return panel and door which needs to be bent in a right angle, and may have to be cut into two separate parts, then modelled with the door slightly open to conceal the dimensional innacuracy! If you ever see the model in the flesh I am sure I will be able to rely on your discresion not to explain to others the reason for the open door.

During the clean up I discovered another item which must be added to the shopping list at the Ally Pally next weekend


A longer bubble bath.

With the project this far advanced I am now faced with returning it to it's box at least until the autumn as another challenge has to be overcome,


Two scratch build 0-4-0 Pecketts for my previously mentioned Lee Moor Tramway layout which the powers that be have decreed will be shown at the Plymouth show at the end of July, plus finishing the forty wagons they will be (hopefully) shuffling about.

Possibly more on this will be posted in due course.

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