Converting the dapol flying banana

Discussion in 'EM/S4 & S scale' started by Jim smith-wright, 9 November 2017.

  1. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

    Dapol have recently released a 4mm scale model of the GWR streamlined railcar. The model depicts one of those ordered in January 1935 to lots 1546 and 1547 meaning it can cover railcars number 8 to 16 (number 17 was ordered at the same time but was a parcels version). Overall first impressions are good. Not being all that familiar with the real thing it looks the same as the pictures in 'The History of the Great Western A.E.C. Diesel Railcars' by C.W.Judge. There are a few things that stand out immediately though as room for improvement. The interior isn't great being a 1 piece moulding with a huge lump in the middle to over the underfloor (well below the window line anyway) motor. With something with such big windows this isn't ideal. The bogies look very under nourished.

    First steps in converting to P4

    The model uses a single driven bogie which has split axles, picking up through the bearings. The other end is a more traditional coach type bogie with wipers on the backs of the wheels. You might be able to use the Branchlines class 108 conversion for the power bogie as it looks a similar arrangement but as I didn't have one I can't say for sure.

    I used standard wheels and drilled the center gear out 2mm to fit. I disconnected the wire from one side and used a little bit of copper clad and phosphor bronze wire to arrange new pick ups.

    At the 'trailing' end things don't looks so easy. The bogie is very, very narrow. No doubt a compromise to allow any sort of swing on the full skirted versions on 00 curves. You can see from the picture that a standard 26mm axle is wider that the bogie. You might be able to fit P4 wheels on the original axles as they do just about fit between the sideframes but...

    ... lets face it the super skinny bogies look more than a little bit naff. The quite low relief details really don't help either. No doubt another compromise for the skirted models.

    The powered end has plug on sideframes, like a Heljan diesel so these can be easily spaced out to something approaching the real thing. The difference is quite marked to my eye for as good as no effort.

    This is the driven side after its been re-spaced - the additional drive details go some way to mask the low relief nature of the basic sideframe.

    I await a Brassmasters 7 ft bogie to redo the trailing end with new pickups which should kill both of the problematic birds with the same piece of small aggregate!
  2. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

    As mentioned last time I planned to use a Brassmasters 7ft bogie for the none powered end of my GRW railcar.
    The Brassmasters bogie is longer overall than the Dapol one - you can see the adjusted one at the top of the picture.
    Here is the bogie in position with pick ups on the far side. The near side picks up through the bogie itself. If all you want it a p4 railcar then you can stop here. I tested mine at this point and all seemed fine but its worth noting that the pickups are wired the opposite way round at each end. The red wire at this end goes to the opposite rail at the other. A bit odd!

    Naturally I didn't stop there. This is the interior without the body. That huge moulded lump has to go.
    The culprit is this huge motor. No idea why its this big, the thing only has to move itself and you can't couple it to anything anyway! The Mashima sitting on top is a 1020.
    The good news is the motor and its mounts simply unscrew from the underframe. I mounted my 1020 on a bit of 80thou plasticard and on the floor. By moving the motor back from its original position you can mount the flywheel lower too. A bit of 1.5mm ID/ 2mm OD tube meant I could use the original flywheel which contains the universal joint. The drive shaft was cut in half and lengthened with a bit of tube. There's a small lip in its channel at the motor end that needed to be ground away. While I was hacking the chassis about I cut a hole to allow me to represent the engine. Spares from the Heljan class 128 underframe sprue did the job.
    Next, the interior and finishing.
  3. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Looks much better on scale wheels. The motor looks like it might be the same as used in Dapol's 7mm locos. Installing the 1020 is a good idea, presumably it runs well. How much of the interior will be reused? It looks like the floor is way too high which must be visible through the large windows and the seats don't look very convincing as provided. It will be interesting to see how you deal with the few remaining parts which detract from a really nice model.
  4. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

    With the motor sorted out I cut away the molded hump (as well as the seats) and added a new floor from 20thou plasticard. The replacement seats were from DC kits (I think). The interior was then sprayed a reddish colour as that's what pictures seemed to show. I added some curtains (drawn up in photoshop and printed) along with 3 passengers - Brettell road being very sparsely used by the public.

    Although I will be keeping the railcar as no14, I removed the numbers in preparation for adding the later off white version at the other end to the way Dapol had them. The numbers came of very easily with a spot of turps substitute on a cotton bud. Be very careful around the lining as that comes off almost as soon as you look at it!
  5. dj_crisp

    dj_crisp Member

    Thanks for sharing... some great ideas :)

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  6. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

  7. Terrysvr

    Terrysvr Member

    Would you mind showing how you weathered the rail car just as I remember them great job
  8. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Great improvement. It looks very nice.

    I’d have thought it might have made some sense to use the push-in bogie sides at both ends, and a smaller motor…

    I guess it’s economies of scale.
  9. Alan

    Alan Western Thunderer

    Love the weathering.
  10. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

    my usual method is as follows

    to do washed on dirt use washes. Thinned enamels and I usually miv revel dark brown and no9 which is an almost but not quite black. I apply this all over using vertical brush strokes on the sides and ends. On the roof I add more colour from the tin onto the wash and blend it in working side to side. You need to give the model a coat of varnish first to protect the transfers. I seem to remember the lining was very fragile.

    I then clean it all off again using neat thinners and cotton buds working vertically. I don’t clean the roof.

    then sprayed on dirt. For track dirt I use AK interactive dark mud (you don’t need to thin it) and a mix of black and humbrol gunmetal for the roof dirt and the greasy bits.

    the last stage is detail. You can bring out the detail on the underframe using neat gunmetal dry brushed. Gunmetal splodged onto buffer heads with a cotton bud works well too. Especially the more gloopy stuff you get on the lid of an already used tin. Obviously that doesn’t apply in this case.
    I also use grease and fuel spills from ak interactive on the bogies and engine.
    Podartist79 likes this.
  11. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

  12. Jim smith-wright

    Jim smith-wright Western Thunderer

    Since I last posted I've also gone back (again) to my Dapol railcar for another little tweak.


    As its not all that obvious I have fiddled with the bogies a little. Some 3x4mm triangles and some microstrip was used to change the sideframe shape to something more accurate. I also got a spare set of sideframes and cutting the springs and axle boxes of the new ones, filing down the old ones and sticking them over the top had given me more relief.

    Sometimes its nice to look back at where we started to see how far we have come.


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  13. Podartist79

    Podartist79 Western Thunderer

    Terrific work Jim - as ever!
    Jim smith-wright likes this.
  14. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Very nice indeed.

    Jim smith-wright likes this.