The Joy of Scratch Building

O9 Flat WagonsI am building a Hunslet locomotive in O9 (7mm per foot, 1:43.5 scale, running on 9mm gauge track) and I decided it would be nice to have a couple of wagons to run with it.  Rather than buying kits I thought I would try to scratch build the wagons from plasticard.

I got a couple of Peco N scale wagon chassis, cut off the brake details and removed the coupling pockets. Then, I guesstimated the sizes and cut out pieces of 1.5mm thick plasticard. The wagons are really simple, consisting of only five pieces.

The Pieces

To make the surface of the wagons less like smooth plasticard and more like rough wood I abraded the surface using a wire brush.

A Touch of Wirebrushing

This created a very fine scratches over the surface. I wonder whether they are deep enough, or whether the paint will mask them. We shall see.

Roughened Woodwork

I glued the floor to the chassis, and added buffer beams and fake sole bars. Then I added short lengths of 1mm diameter plastic rod to give the impression of bolt heads.

Solebar Details

Finally, I added some lead weights to the underside of the wagons. I’ve given them a quick “finger push” test on some track and they seem to run quite well.

Lead Weights

This is the first time I’ve scratch built rolling stock from plasticard, and I’m quite pleased with the result. Yes, I need to improve the accuracy of my marking and cutting and learn to stick the pieces together at 90 degree angles, but it’s an encouraging start.

Scratch building takes longer that building a kit, but it’s a very interesting challenge and you get something unique at the end. I’ve enjoyed it and I think I will be building more wagons… watch this space.

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