Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

Tralee & Dingle coach 18T

kits model-railways narrow-gauge scratchbuilt

As the last real, actual modelling post has almost dropped off the first page of this blog I thought it was time I did something about it.

I’ve been working on a Malcolm Savage kit of Tralee & Dingle coach 18T for a 5.5mm scale project. It will run on prototypical 16.5mm (3ft) gauge – a great advantage of this scale! The kit is supplied as whitemetal sides and ends, with matching bogies also available. So I have been scratchbuilding an underframe and interior from styrene and this is nearing completion.

5.5mm scale coach
The floor has been braced with some basic frame detail.

Triple trouble
An illustration of the “useful” size of 5.5mm scale. The coach is around 16cm long and shown with an OO9 coach (Dundas WHR Eisteddfod carriage) and O14 van (Wrightlines Glyn Valley) for comparison.

I started making interior partitions by gluing styrene sheet and strip on to some clear plastic liberated from product packaging. Unfortunately these started to delaminate after a few days so I’ve rebuilt them without the glazing – once inside the completed coach it shouldn’t be too obvious.

To make the seat units I took dimensions from that Dundas OO9 kit and scaled them up, using thin sheet and strip. They’re not the most detailed but again the effect should suffice.

18T interior
Building up one of the three compartments. The centre (smoking) compartment is smaller and will have bench seats along the sides. I am guesstimating the interior as this is not destined for a T&D layout.

Current progress. I will glaze and paint the interior before finally assembling the coach. The clutter in the background is an effect of doing most of my modelling work in the living room after tidying up when the baby has gone to bed.

5.5mm scale is proving very satisfying to work in. It’s just that bit bigger than the occasional “fiddle” of making small components in OO9, while not requiring the aircraft hanger needed do 7mm scale justice. Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration but I think I’ve finally found my comfort zone!