By Simon Hill
The completed coach.
Being relatively new to 16mm modelling, and needing some coaches for my new Roundhouse “Karen”, the Swift Sixteen range of coaches caught my eye. Being of no particular prototype fitted my requirements, and with a total cost of £80 complete, certainly good value.
I’ve worked in resin quite a lot in smaller gauges, and what strikes you straight away is this is a big coach, well cast and well detailed.
These are very simple kits to assemble and require a little bit of work before building takes place. The sides and ends look as if the casting is done in open moulds, so the thickness does vary a little bit. Equalling this out is easily achieved, either with coarse emery sheets or in my case a linisher and some files. A few small holes caused by trapped air in the casting process needed filling with modelling putty and cleaning up with a craft blade and fine grade emery paper. Next was to clean up the inside of one window recesses which was a bit uneven, again this was done with a craft blade. Lastly all the holes for the door handles and locks are marked out and drilled.
Cleaning up the window recess.
Assembling started with the sides and ends using super glue, the only difficult bit is keeping all square while the glue sets. Simple blocks of wood and some set squares provided suitable jigs.
Once set, the next job is the floor, which needed trimming to width and length. This sounds like a major job but it’s only a same amount that needs to come off again using the linisher, frequently checking the fit to the body and when happy with the fit this was glued in. Next the Guard’s lookouts are fixed in place.
Trimming the floor to fit in the body shell.
The bogies are again a very simple assembly. But, using a tip from a friend (a very simple mod), I used a brass plate screwed to the underside. This enables the wheels to be removed easily. Otherwise, if you build them as instructed the wheels are captive. I also chose to add a small brass angle glued between the sides and the bogie frames, just to give them a little extra strength.
The modified bogie, showing the wheel retaining plate and brass angles.
One difficult bit was removing the wheel from one side the wheelset, to put on the brass tubing which acts as the bearing – but Swift Sixteen now supply pre-assembled stainless steel wheelsets instead, so removing the wheel and pushing it back on is no longer necessary. The positioning of the bogies is up to you. Mine are as close to the ends as possible, so minimising the overhang when on curves.
The seats are added to a removable floor which just drops in. The last details to add are the steps which run the length to the coach and the sole bars.
The roof has been made removable with some threaded bars screwed into the roof, and holes in the floor which these pass through and are bolted from the bottom of the floor. The bars are hidden between the windows, close to the inside edges. I’ve always found it helpful to have the roofs of coaches removable, as occasionally the glazing does pop out, however well fixed in.
The roof with threaded bars attached.
My method of fixing the glazing is to put some stripes of double sided tape into the window recess, then add the glazing and finish by adding a product called Krystal Klear around the inside edges of the windows. This is used in the smaller gauges for glazing loco windows by stretching it across the holes, and is a type of PVA which when dry is very clear – which is useful if it comes into contact on the visible part of the window. In this case, it works wonderfully as a glue.
I’ve given quite a bit of thought to the couplings, as one of the problems I’ve found is that it’s not always easy coupling to other stock people’s stock. So, I’ve made patterns and cast couplings which are same those fitted at the Bredgar & Wormshill Railway. As our group are all part of this railway, we are standardising on them.
Coupling components ready for assembly.
The Bredgar & Wormshill style couplings in use.
The painting was done using cellulose paint which was spray painted, and I think that the green and cream suits the coach well. The last job is to decide on some transfers, which might take a bit of thinking about as I’ve not sure of my line’s name yet.
The completed coach on the workbench.
Would I build any more from Swift Sixteen? Yes, I’ve got another 3 waiting!
Text and photos by Simon Hill.