Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ratio grounded van body kit

Looking for projects to work on during the Hornby weekend, I dug through the kit boxes and realised I have at least 4 Ratio grounded van body kits. It's a useful model, but I'm not sure how I ended up with so many. Still, they don't eat anything...

The kit is based on an existing van with extra sprues full of stuff. In terms of value-for-money, it's a winner.

There's a bit of work to do cleaning up flash around some of the extremeties, but the plastic is hard and there's nothing difficult about the job. A little whittling with a sharp knife and all is fine. The edge of the roof is more of a challenge as it's not opbvious where it is, so I cut generously and sand back. This is a disused van, so it doesn't have to be perfect.

There are a lot of bits in here. The chairs are a favourite of mine, but a fiddle to assemble. You need to prop them in position as the glue dries and actually getting anything perfectly square is deafeats me, but it doesn't matter in use.

The sleepers for the stacks also look a bit thin. I've made them up but suspect some thicker Plastikard or even wood might be a better bet.

I have painted this, honest!

OK, I've used various shades of grey with just a hint of brown for the moment. When it finds a home, more dirt will be applied.

One niggle is that the buffer beams are still attached. Surely they would be part of the chassis and therefore not part of the body? I assume this is for the convienence of the kitmaker which is fine, but one to be careful of.


Paul B. said...

The bufferbeam is part of the chassis, so would need to be cut off. Checking through my posts on grounded bodies it seems that it was common for any ironwork below floor level to be trimmed flush with the floor, presumably to give the body a flat base to sit on. Whether this was true in all cases is difficult to prove, as bodies tend to settle into their surroundings, but it looks to be the case on this example at least:

Christopher said...

Phil, a nice little project. The buffer beams look fine to me. (Perhaps the holes where the buffers used to be should be a little bigger?) Removing the buffer beams would probably compromise the structural integrity of the van, judging by the end stanchions and diagonal bracing on the sides! The one grounded van body I was able to photograph (an ex-LMS planked-sided one with corrugated ends similar to the Ratio kit) still had its steel solebars, but otherwise looked similar to your kit.

Huw Griffiths said...

I reckon you're right about the buffer beams - but I'd expect the vertical strips of "angle" stuck onto them to stay.

As for the plastic strips intended to represent sleepers, I'm not sure I'd choose to use them for this purpose - not when I've recently had to cut a number of similar strips to fill gaps and indents in panels of some coach kits I'm trying to repurpose.

No - I'd be tempted to use strips of wooden coffee stirrers - perhaps "distressed", or dipped into thinned paint (white spirit, previously used for cleaning brushes, would do just fine).

As for kit manufacturers moulding buffer beams onto body panels, this can sometimes be a bit of an irritant to people trying to "bash" a kit for one vehicle into something different. (Yes - that one reared its head in the same build in which I was looking for thin, narrow, strips, to fill deliberately moulded rectangular surface indents).

I guess I might just have to stop trying to build non-standard models using kits - I'm sure it would be so much easier.

And on that bombshell ... .