Maybe surprisingly there are two kits available for the County Donegal Railways 1893 Oldbury vans in 4mm scale. One is the ‘heritage’ plastic kit by Ninelines, introduced around 1989, the other a card kit by Alphagraphix from around 2002. I’d built the Ninelines kit many years ago when I had first started in 00n3. Very straightforward as you would expect and it is a shame that with the demise of Ninelines it may no longer be available. I was fortunate to acquire the card kit for this van as I wanted to use it for the Inscalemodels brass chassis kit designed for this van (and as a replacement for the basic Ninelines chassis).Care is needed in cutting out the parts for the card kit. I find the corners of the framing the most challenging. I followed the instructions provided. In 4mm scale I would not advise any backing of the timber framing with scrap card, everything seems to fit well without. The painting of the card edge can also be tricky. I used Humbrol enamel paint, applied along the edge, from the back, with a fine brush. It would be helpful to have a suggestion of suitable paint colour to use in the instructions as I’m very poor at colour mixing. With a range of greys in front of me I eventually opted for Humbrol Slate Grey, No 31, which seems a near match for this kit. Other kits will vary.
I’d already soldered together the frames, etc provided by Inscalemodels. They needed shortening a little at each end to fit the van body. I backed them with balsa wood so that they could be stuck to the mount board that formed the floor of the van. The masters of brass out there would do a more professional job I’m sure. I finished the chassis using 10.5mm diameter wheels from Alan Gibson. The roof is made from corrugated plastic-card glued to a balsa former and is removable. The vacuum pipes were completed with brass wire, wrapped around with iron wire for the hose, acceptable at a glance. A brass pin soldered to the pipe fits through a hole drilled into the end of the van and, glued from the inside, will hopefully hold the pipe in place without causing damage to the card if it gets knocked.
The Alphagraphix card kit takes much longer to produce and I’ll let the reader judge whether it’s been worthwhile! I find building three card kits a year is enough, though there is something addictive about them and they definitely should not be discounted. I’m currently building the CDR bogie wagon by Alphagraphix, and there is that wonderful combination of a card kit with soldering to tax one’s skills!
[Paul also tells me that his Annascaul, Lispole and T & DR web sites have gone down with the expiry of his freeserve web address. The preamble from Freeserve said this would not happen, but then it became Wanadoo, and then Orange so he assumes that the rules have changed. At some point in the future he hopes to resurrect them, in a superior format. Ed]