The last time I built a model kit, I must have been 10 or 11. It was a rather large model of the Enterprise from Star Trek: TNG, and I didn’t do a very good job of it. There was glue everywhere for a start, and most of the pieces weren’t aligned properly. I never even got round to painting it, instead choosing to bin it a few years later.
The only other attempts which I can recall were a model of Thunderbird 2 which only had instructions in Japanese and an Airfix Spitfire (every British child has attempted to build an Airfix Spitfire – it’s practically part of the national curriculum) which was mostly built by my Dad.
So by my reckoning, this is my third solo attempt:-
Can you spot the mistakes? One is pretty easy to see (especially if you check the extremely big full size version of the photo), the other one is only noticeable if you know what you are looking for or are more familiar with railway wagons then I am.
The big mistake is that the doors are defying gravity by hanging up the way. I didn’t notice that until I went to put the roof on. By that point, it was far too late to fix it, because the polystyrene cement melts the plastic of the components in order to make the joins, so it can’t be taken apart easily. I decided to carry on regardless, to get the practise, which is when I made the second mistake.
The long beam at the bottom of the side should be recessed by about half a centimetre. Because it isn’t, it’s impossible to actually put the wheels on. At this point, I decided to give up, without putting all the other rods on to the bottom of the wagon.
Luckily, I already have a plan for this. First of all, it can be used to test painting techniques on, before I try them out on subsequent (and hopefully better) models. After that, I’m going to cut some of the bits off the bottom and turn it into a van body used for storage, similar to this real life example. I’m planning to lean some model corrugated iron and tarpaulin up against it to hide the worst sins.
So, what have I learned from this:
– Don’t apply so much polystyrene cement, because it’s a bugger to get off if it leaks out of joints.
– Practise assembly before building to avoid mistakes.
– If something looks like it doesn’t quite go that way, then it probably doesn’t.
– Using solvents when you have a cold and are watching Question Time probably isn’t a good idea.
– Read the instructions twice and lay out all the pieces before hand to avoid failure.
All that said, I have to recommend Parkside Dundas’ kits. They are quite straight forward and seem to be quite good quality. They are also reasonably cheap, clocking in at between £5 and £8 for 00 scale four wheeled vans, although they obviously require more time and effort then the ready-to-run (RTR) wagons from Hornby, Bachmann and Dapol. They are, however, far more rewarding then the RTR stuff, as I’m already finding out.
I’m going to Model Rail Scotland on Sunday, so hopefully I’ll be able to pick up another one of these kits because I particularly wanted an LNER goods van. I’ve already got a BR goods van kit and a LNER open van with container to build, and I’m looking for some coal vans as well.