A most handsome train…

GWR Passenger Train 1

This week, I finished a little side project I’ve been enjoying: A rake of three Victorian-era Great Western Railway carriages in 7mm (British O scale). I built these cars – two brake-3rd composites (diagram T34) bracketing an all-3rd coach (diagram S9) – from kits offered by Slater’s Plastikard in the UK. I also have a 1st/2nd composite (diagram U4) to build, which would be more correct than the all-third for a typical GWR branchline train.

These are delightful kits – full of nicely formed plastic parts, a big fret of photo-etched brass, many brass castings, and good instructions (not great – but good enough that one can finish the cars, aided by a bit of searching for info on the internet). I was most surprised to see the copyright on the photo-etch frets reads “©1988”: the kits have been in production for more than 30 years, yet stand up to anything offered today.

The kits are offered with pre-painted sides (or you can save some money and paint your own – although with four or five colours on the sides, I decided I could spend that little bit extra). I added several Andrew Stadden white metal passengers to the compartments, which also add some weight to the cars. The guards are 3D Printed figures from Modelu. My main deviation from the kits was to toss the clear plastic window glazing in favour of panes cut from microscope slide covers: They achieve that “hard reflection” that only glass provides. I also substituted phosphor bronze wire for many of the brass wires in the kit, because it’s less likely to bend with handling.

The kits are posed here behind my Lee Marsh GWR “517 Class” 0-4-2T – a lovely model that deserved a suitable train. (I took some quick pictures with my phone, which do not do these models justice.) Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a proper display for this train so for the time being, it’s sitting next to the sector plate on my S scale Port Rowan layout. At some point, I will have to create a home for this branchline special.

I’ll have these cars on display at The 2020 Great British Train Show, where I’ll be helping my friend Brian Dickey exhibit “Roweham“, his 7mm GWR layout.

GWR Passenger Train 2

3 thoughts on “A most handsome train…

  1. Handsome train, indeed. Also interesting is the relative size of the 7mm equipment next to the S-scale. One can forget sometimes how much smaller old (and often British) equipment was/is.


    • Thanks – and agreed!

      The British train – a full-length passenger train for many GWR branch lines – is less than 36″ long in 7mm (1:43) scale.

      Of course, the British system of screw-link couplers and buffers on the end beams means that curves must be quite generous to prevent “buffer lock”. So that’s a trade off for layout design. But the classic “terminal to staging” arrangement that’s so often deployed in British modelling can be easily accommodated on a straight shelf and buffer lock wouldn’t be an issue…


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