Avalon Line Semi Open Coach Plus Roof

The roof of the coach was one of the easiest things to do. A ready-cut, ready curved roof is supplied with the kit. All I did was spray it with Humbrol primer. I like the grey colour and I will leave it like this.

The roof isn’t glued in place yet. There are a few steps to do before I finish the coach. I want to add some decals, then passengers to the coach. Then I will varnish the coach and, finally, add some windows.

I haven’t used decals for over 30 years and I need some practice before I apply them to the coach. So, the model will go back into the drawer while I experiment with different ways to apply decals.


Avalon Line 09 Semi Open Coach – The Test Run

I finally plucked up the courage to get my Avalon Line O9 coach out of the drawer. I sanded down the rough paintwork and repainted the outside of the coach as carefully as I could. I’m pleased to say the outside is looking a lot better. This has encouraged me to carry on with the build.

The bogies are very simple. They use Peco wheels and the axles slot in very easily. The underside of the bogie is the perfect mounting height for Greenwich narrow gauge couplings. I ‘tacked’ these lightly in place with a small amount of superglue.

When I mounted the bogies on the chassis I discovered the bottom of the foot wells were very close to the top of the rails.

I found some small washers in ‘bit box’ and placed these between the chassis and the bogies. The washers are too large in diameter really and they are rather ‘sloppy’, but they are the smallest size I had.

The washers increased the gap between the base of the coach and the top of the rails.

I decided to test the coach. Click the image below for a video of the test run.

I was very pleased to see it runs well.

The next job is the roof….

Avalon Line 09 Semi Open Coach

A few months ago I brought two Avalon Line 09 coach kits and I’ve just started to build them. This is the Semi-Open coach. It’s a nice kit, there’s a little bit of flash, but that is very easy to remove with a sharp knife.

The first step was to add the foot wells to the chassis. They have to sit flush with the top of the chassis so I turned the chassis up side down, pushed the foot wells into place until they were touching my cutting mat and glued them from below.

It’s clearer to see when it’s the right way up.

The seats are four separate mouldings, and were very easy to position. I found I had to remove a small part of the seats at each end to enable me to to mount the bolts for the bogies through the chassis.

The next step was to add the body sides and coach ends. The parts aligned well and this was very straightforward. After that I added the truss rods to each side. This was a little more fiddly because the parts are very flexible and I needed lots of fingers to hold all the points of contact in place while the glue dried. I was pleased, after a small number of steps, it definitely looked like a coach!

Next step was the primer. I used Citadel Corax White, which is a very pale grey.

I started to paint the coach. Here it is partly painted. It was then that I realised I had a problem.  The paint looked very rough, rather like a low quality 3 D print. For some reason the primer had created a rough finish and when I applied the paint this magnified the effect and made it very visible.

I was disappointed and I put the coach into a drawer for several weeks while I figured out what to do. I hated to admit it, but there was only one alternative. I had to sand down the paintwork and repaint the coach…


Repainting a Secondhand 09 Wagon

As part of my spending spree on secondhand 09 models I brought these two wagons. I like both of the wagons but I don’t really like the grey livery. I decided to experiment with repainting one of them.

I chose the flat wagon, gave it a coat of Humbrol 160 German Camoulfage Brown, and then dry brushed it with a wide range of browns and black. When I dry brush models, I dip the brush into the paint, wipe the brush on paper until it leaves virtually no trace of paint and then run the brush over the model.

I thought the headstocks looked rather plain.

I added some Grandt line rivets to each end. It’s easy to do. You drill a hole and push the ‘shank’ of the rivet into the hole.

When I used these rivets for the first time I tried to put the glue on the shank before pushing it into the hole, or I added the glue into the hole using a small pin. Neither of these approaches worked very well. The glue tends to spead out of the hole when you push the rivet in and the glue spreads onto the model. It is much easier to apply the glue on the inside of the model and let it be drawn down the shank from the inside. Obviously, this isn’t always possible but in this case it worked well.

Here’s the completed model with the rivets painted and a coat of varnish.

I prefer this to the original grey colour, but I’m not ‘wowed’ by the model. It still looks rather plain. Perhaps, adding an interesting load will help.

I am going to wait for some more inspiration before touching the open wagon.




Diesel Driver Duo

I have three 09 locos, but only one of them has a driver. I am not ready for driverless vehicles, so something had to be done.

These two figures are by Monty’s Models from Dart Castings. On the left is MGV11 Seated Workman and on the right MGV10 Seated Diesel Driver. Both figures have at least one moveable arm which was very useful because I was able to position them as I wanted. The seated workman normally has a mug in his hand. I cut it off with a scalpel and smoothed the hand with wet and dry paper. The photo above shows the figures with the arms attached and mounted on matchsticks to make it easier to paint them.

Here are the painted figures. I must admit I do enjoy painting figures. I got stuck in and forgot to photograph them until I’d finished.

I mounted the ‘seated workman’ on the red loco.

And the ‘diesel driver’ in the brown Hunslet loco

I am pleased with the drivers, I think they have added the ‘finishing touch’ to these two locos.



A Tale of Two Locos (Part 2)

This is the other secondhand O9 loco that I brought recently. I really like the model, the green livery and the driver with his moustache and fancy tie.

There were a few things I wanted to do to the model. The biggest job: it had a Grafar 0-6-0 chassis (like the first loco) and I wanted to exchange this chassis for a Kato 103. There was a small hole in one side where, I suspect, an exhaust may have been fitted. This hole needed to be repaired… or disguised! Lastly, the easiest job of all, I wanted to add Greenwich couplings.

The Kato chassis had to be shortened slightly so that it would fit into the motor cavity. I added a 2mm diameter bolt at one end to attach it to the body.

Cutting these resin kits generates a lot of unpleasant dust. For this model I fixed the pipe of our vacuum cleaner right next to my workspace and used this as a simple form of dust extractor. Working as close to the hoover pipe as possible, I cut the base of the body using a Dremel with a grinder attachment until the Kato 103 fitted snugly. I glued a nut in place to attach the chassis to the body. (You can see the previous owner has glued a weight into the body to counterbalance the weight of the whitemetal driver. As a result the loco is really nicely balanced).

Next the couplings were fitted.

Inevitably, during all these modifications, I made some marks on the buffer beams and the frames on the sides of the model. I repainted these, then weathered them with a light touch of rust colour. While my paint box was out, I added some brown ‘mud’ around the drivers feet.

Then my thoughts turned to the hole in the loco body. I decided not to repair it because I couldn’t match the colour of the green paint. This meant the best option was to disguise the hole. I rummaged through my ‘bit box’, found a small buffer from a N scale loco, gave it a lick of paint and plugged the hole in the body with it. In my imagination it is a filler cap of some sort.. (well, it is a freelance loco!). Finally, to finish the job, I applied a layer of ‘Dullcoat’ varnish. And here’s the finished loco.

The Kato wheels are a little bright, I will probably darken these down.

What have I learnt from these two locos? Well, buying secondhand has been a great way of increasing my O9 stock quickly. I think it’s good to buy stock you really like, that you don’t feel you want to modify too much. Spending lots of time making many modifications defeats the idea of buying secondhand. You might as well buy a kit and spend the time building it the way you want it to be. For these two locos I think I got the balance about right, but I wouldn’t want to do more work on a secondhand loco. I will keep this in mind when buying secondhand in the future.

A Tale of Two Locos (Part 1)

I brought a couple of very nice, secondhand O9 locos and I wanted to get them up and running.

First, this little red loco. I really like the model, particularly the red livery, but there are a few things I wanted to change. The couplings have to be changed to my standard coupling, the Greenwich. The current chassis was an old Grafar 0-6-0 and I hoped to exchange it for a Kato 103. Finally, I was not sure about the figure. He’s really well painted but he doesn’t look quite right for an English layout.

The Kato chassis was just slightly longer than the cavity in the loco body.

So the first job was to cut the chassis to size. Now here’s something you dont see every day – a Kato chassis wrapped in cling film. I read somewhere that one modeller wrapped a chassis in cling film before cutting it to stop dust and debris getting into the mechanism. It seemed to be worth a try.

I used a razor saw to cut approximately 2mm off of each end.

I’m pleased to say the cling film worked well, no dust got in the mechanism.

However, there was more cutting to do. The cavity in the loco body was designed to accept the Grafar chassis and it would have to be extensively modified to get the Kato chassis inside.

I used a small Dremel drill with a grinding bit to cut away at the body. Cutting the resin was really messy and made a lot of unpleasant dust. Here’s the result. I’ve added a couple of strips of plasticard to stop the Kato chassis moving from side to side.

I’m pleased to say the modified body fitted the chassis very well.

I fitted a 2mm diameter bolt to hold the chassis in place. The seat was a very useful useful way to conceal the bolt.

While I was working on the chassis I removed the N gauge couplings and the seat. The coupling blocks came off when I removed the N gauge couplings.

To finish the loco, I glued the coupling blocks back on, added the Greenwich couplings, and repainted the seat, the buffer beams and the chassis. Here’s the loco after a spray with ‘Dullcoat’ matt varnish.

I must admit this was much more work that I expected and cutting the resin chassis was not a pleasant task. However, I’m pleased with the result.