March 14, 2013

"A4 Conversion Parts, Final Test (Part 2)"

The first part of the build for this final guinea pig in the A4 Conversion Etches development, was to T-Cut the whole bodyshell and the tender to get a bit of sheen on the plastic. After some hours bringing a more metallic look to the front end in particular, it was time for the scalpel to come out, along with the tried and tested valance cutting tool.

Obviously in this picture it looks rather rough and ready, but that's what the big file in the first photograph is for! The overall finish of these cuts are much superior to 60011 Empire of India in almost every way. The second time around, gentle scoring of the plastic followed by careful dragging of the scalpel through said lines, allowed the valances (once the cutting tools were removed - they are glued in place to the valances to help with the scoring) to be bent away with a set of pliers very easily, a section at a time.

This gives you this result, with the etched firebox sides and other paraphernalia attached, including the etched access hatches at the front end of the smokebox casing, near the parabolic curve. I opted to paint these prior to gluing them onto the model, using Railmatch Garter Blue after an undercoat of Gamesworkshops Skull White.

On the left hand side, the reverser was also added.

Fox Transfers etched lettering and numerals were bought for the tender and cabside. The lettering was carefully put into place by marking out their places on the tender using masking tape, with a little super glue applied to the underside of the letters before carefully and firmly pushing them into position.

The result is surprisingly neat!

The next step was to add something I didn't do on Empire of India, and which I regret not doing: adding the superb etched lamp irons. Peter Harvey has done a magnificent job designing these to be fully accurate to the A4 Pacific type of lamp irons.

They come in two halves, and can be soldered or glued together to fit. The three lower lamp irons are the same design, the upper lamp iron is a different type and simply needs shaping, and then gluing to fit. They are surprisingly sturdy, and I'd wager that a carefully drilled set of lamps would fit rather nicely onto these.

 As you can see from this shot, nameplates (from the Fox Transfers range) have been applied, along with the cabside numerals, and the centre positioned lamp irons have now been painted a gloss black, to match the smokebox front.

Overall, this build has been very enjoyable, if not entirely perfect (and mainly down to my hand fistedness with the T-cut and cotton buds!) but this is why you do test builds, to iron out all of the bugs.

The last things to add are transfers to the front end of the casing (no.32), the etched worksplates for the cabsides, and some weathering, which I must admit I am reluctant to do as the model does look very nice in a pristine condition. However, I cannot find a single photograph (and there are a good dozen of no.32 in 1947/48/49) of Gannet looking anywhere near clean, so into a nicely weathered (but "looked after) form she will go!

Until next time, where I will finish off no.32 and start talking about the potential release of these etches for general sale.

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