Quick search:

Full search

GCR 15 ton bogie fish van

This hugely attractive vehicle, originally built with louvred ventilation, then slatted, has been around via kits for a long time and this is an account of how I built three of them from the original R&E kits. I've published brief accounts in the Railway Modeller (Mar 1997 and Jul 1999) but while the text summarised construction with some service notes, the illustrations were confined to the finished models. Here I propose to add pictures showing construction and in service.

When I built these models the main sources were a picture in Dow's GCR-3, Peter Tatlow's original book about LNER wagons (followed since by his superb multi-volume version) to which I have added "Railway Magazine Jul-Dec 1914, p.428". I've since acquired prototype pictures myself and shall be adding them as part of the in-service section.

The model

Before kicking off I have to say that this was a nice kit but with several primitive aspects, not helped by the Roche drawing not being very accurate and I made a mistake with the first one until I wised up. Prototype photographs are so useful! I'll cover the hiccoughs as I go through. If you're new to etched brass kits, it's better to learn the basics before tackling this one.

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The ends are a good starting point against which the sides can be made, the object being to fit rebates in each so that they fitted together snugly. Here the width of the outer etching was retained but the two behind it were reduced by two widths of brass (0.6mm) at each side. In this case I joined the two rearmost parts first, then added the outer one using a lower melting point solder (145degC). The snug fit of the end between the sides can just be seen.

The hardest part was the ventilator shield where I ended up filing the half-etched fold lines wider in order to get the right length, and packing with solder.

This was the first one that I built and I used the castings for the buffers and drilled them out. I later went over to a similar version from MJT or turned brass. The housing for the coupling looks suspiciously like a spare from the MJT range. Buffer heads were MJT bogie carriage size reshaped to an oval. The hole in the vertical upright will take an ABS brake hose later, mounted on a brass pin for security.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The doors are wrong because all the planks should line up and my solution was to raise the height of the back etching by snipping off all the etched-on runners along with about 1.5mm along the top. This enabled me to raise the backer and scribe a new plank line at the bottom. Having raised the backer, the shortfall at the bottom was made up with some scrap brass and the whole thing squared off.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A view of the side of the first model shows a door in place and the runner underneath made out of brass "L" section.

The sides were assembled in order to make a rebate in which the ends would fit - beginning by making the two rearmost parts the same length but 0.3mm shorter than the top layer. Then the two outer layers, ie. the outside framing, were joined together, and they on to the backer.

The underframe on this first model was not great because I used V-hangers from the kit and only fitted two sets of trussing. The Roche dwg shows three which is plain crazy. My copy of that book ended up on eBay...

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A grand view of the model taking shape on a solid base of double-sided copper-clad. This was the next model on which I placed the correct four sets of trussing (using copper split pins) and to help support them, I modelled the longitudinal sections between the solebars, which were first beefed up using 3mm brass strip.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

This rather brutal view shows the underframe taking shape with the copper split pins passing through holes in the Cu-clad; this kind of arrangement helps to get them all the same height while the longitudinal beams give long-term security. The V-hangers may have come from Masokits but there are other suppliers of such stuff and they really look the part. Pull rods run under the bogies.

The vacuum brake gear is a combination of ABS and fettled MJT parts on a 1mm brass shaft. Note that the cylinders should be a close fit between the longitudinal beams (from which they were hung in practice) and should be used as a guide when laying out out the position of the beams.

Turnbuckles on the trussing were made from electrical wire insulation (and one has slipped out of place).

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

One of two broadside views shows the robustness of the multiple trussing and vacuum brake arrangement.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A second view from a normal perspective. Note the grab handle on the solebar used when shunting (by rope, capstan or horse). Strapping is being added, using the best of the rather woeful etchings provided and fettled as best possible.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The bogies were provided with castings of the wrong size - seen lying on the left hand side. The only solution was to cut them up and re-assemble on the unfolded etching using lowmelt solder. The result is vastly better and shows how solders of different melting points come into their own in a kit like this: I used 188degC, 145degC and 70degC.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A bogie complete. The whitemetal brake shoes, connected by brass wire, came from ABS or MJT and were enormously fiddly but they do look the part.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The first model complete in GCR goods grey livery. The lined passenger brown did not last long. It's just embarrassing with only two sets of trussing and spindly brake gear but as with all modelling, things do get better.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A closer view which shows how the roof was made out of Plastikard, which gives a better cornice than the brass one supplied and allows the top runner for the sliding doors to be attached.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

Another view of the GCR grey van and the shortage of strapping whose manufacture from scratch defeated me. The moral here is to use only the best parts and not spoil the model with crudities.

A tussle for the GCR-period model is in the step underneath the sliding door and suspended step below it. Some vague etchings came with the kit but the best - and more durable - approach is to make them using hard-drawn brass wire and "L" section brass. This was so tricky, and because you have to make four, that I ended up making a jig so that the spacing was consistent.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

A general view of the second model in weathered LNER red-oxide. The legend "FISH" was quite small and made up individually using small lettering from a Methfix sheet.

The steps may have gone but, oh, the pleasure of all that trussing! I should have added a slate board, though, on the right hand end.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The third model represents conversion from bogie fish van into a plain bogie van used for parcels and newspaper traffic. An observer from the 1930s told me that the slatting was no longer present. I presumed that, rather than fit new sides or try to fill all the gaps with individual pieces of made-to-fit timber, the simplest solution was to fit sheeting on the inside and I would suggest that this may have been more common in LNER days than is generally recognised. Livery was red-oxide and a little fresher than the previous one and no "FISH" legend.

The underframe was my final version with good etchings for the V-hangers and larger vac cylinders (from ABS) which a recently-found broadside view suggests are too large: the previous models where I used smaller castings would have been more accurate.

Click on the image for an enlargement

Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

And finally, a closer view of the third model. There's a lot to like in a model like this especially with the addition of a builder's plate on the solebar. :-)

Click on the image for an enlargement

The historical part is here:

Bogie fish vans.

Other GC-based models are here:

GCR Clerestory 50ft coaches.

GCR horse box

GCR milk van

GCR 6w goods brake van

Latest News

Leeds - West Riding

Leeds map

A new section with its own menu.

Read more ...

LNER Passenger Trains and Formations

The book took 12 years for me and Clive to complete and, though I say so myself, Ian Allan have made a beautiful job of it (see full description and sample pages). Vol.2 about the Secondary Services should follow in a year or so's time.

Copyright © S.W.Banks 2018    Privacy Policy    Terms & Conditions    Design by PageUp