Today we have a rare kit review (we must start doing more of them). Todays victim is the laser cut J5 top from Batchbuilt (its a warning lable I think). the kit comes as a flat sheet with adhesive paper on both sides. The first job is to carefully remove all the pieces from the sheet and remove the paper. I found rubbing a finger across the surface seemed to work quite well. the wood is 0.4mm 3 ply and is much tougher than it looks.
Assembly of the wooden components was done entirely with PVA
First up I decided to tackle the upper floor. This has braces running across (which are the long thin bits of wood). There are gaps rastered onto the floor to show you where to place them. One of these in the middle has the gaps in the wrong place, but just make sure that they all look the same and it will look fine.
after the glue has dried, cut of the excess and glue them into the gaps that are left.At this point I would paint and weather the floor as its hard to get at them after it is assembled.
There is a bit of a photographic gap here as I got stuck in and assembled everything rather than pausing. Sorry, next time I'll do better. I followed the instructions and managed to get everything together. When the next batch arrive I'll see if I can come up with a better way of doing it. The floors want to rest on the horizontal side beams and I see no reason not to let let them. Paint as you go, and after the sides, ends and floors are all together you can add the mylar strapping. I used tiny amounts of contact adhesive in the corners and centers to hold it down. Cut a tiny bit of the lower strapping right next to the door so that the door runner won't sit proud on it. Again everything is painted as you go.
The sides have slots rastered into them to aid in the fitting of the wire. this should be as thin as you can find. I had some fine stranded copper wire which did the job. I think hair from a short haired cat would do just as well.
With the doors you are not quite so lucky, and have to do it by eye. however I start with the center wire placed 1/2 way (mk 1 eyeball works fine) and the the other 2 in 1/2 way between the center wire and the edge. Again I used PVA to do this, with a coat over the top. after the glue dries, turn the doors over and cut the wire off with a knife as flush as you can get it.
The instructions say to glue wire behind the roof supports and then bend the curve into the roof. I carefully rolled a paint brush handle on my thigh to induce the curve. There are some cracking sounds but the piece holds together (I broke it at a later point but thats another story). addin the doors on I filed a bit out of therunner to go over the center mylar strapping piece. as longa s you don't go too deep its fine.
I weathered the upper floor with a drybrush of a sand colour, followed by highlighting in white. I believe that the real wagons were washed out with lime but will have to confirm this. Next time I will look at weathering the floor before putting the cross braces on to see what the effect is like. the rest of the wagon was drybrushed with the sand colour to highlight it. again I may do this before the mylar strips go on next time to see if it is easier.
So, there you have it. A finely detailed model from a couple of evenings work, which does represent quite reasonable bang for buck, and beats the pants off the larger scale resin versions. Dollar wise it compares quite well with even the least detailed S scale models. There is the problem of no chassis for it at the moment, but various options are in train (so to speak) and hopefully we will get somewhere with these in the next couple of months. in the meantime the good old 10' Peco chassis can serve until something better comes along.
I'm looking forward to having a rake of these on my layout, possibly even with a load of sheep.
( I will be assembling these slowly in the next week or 2, so if you want one you will have to move faster than my modeling knife. Wizz)