Monday, May 09, 2022

Cooper Craft Provendor Wagon


I really like Cooper Craft kits, but I don't have one of their last models in my collection. The Provender Wagon is a bit of an odd beast. Not that useful to anyone and pretty much useless to me, but when I spotted an example for a fiver on a trade stand, I thought it was time to give it a go. 

Tired from Bristol show last Monday, I fancied some relaxing evening wagon building. Sticking a kit together is normally fun with a sense of achievement for not too much effort. 

Reading the instructions, I should have been warned by the phrase:

Sometimes the floors may mould a little wide, check yours for a good fit in the "box structure". 

On reading this, I should have put the kit back in the bag and left it for when my brain was more alert, but no, I pressed on. 

Breaking a tie rod wasn't an great start, but I fixed it with some Microstrip and decided you couldn't tell from the viewing side. Brass bearings dropped in and I found a set of Hornby wheels. The sides weren't perfectly upright - plain rather than top hat bearings would probably have been a better choice, with a side order of drilling the axleboxes out a bit. 

More anoyingly, the solebars are longer than the floor. Sometimes this allows them to tuck inside the ends, but no, on this kit they needed to be flush. 

Again, I should have stopped work, but instead I tried to trim them and the parts promptly started to move because they weren't as fixed as they should have been, 

By this point, the thing was anoying me and I lost my rag, peeling the components apart. They might not have stuck well enough for trimming, but they hung on to each other rather than seperate. The result was not pretty. I rescued the bearings and threw the remains in the bin. 

Out of curiosity, I had a go at the body. As promised, the floor was just over 0.5mm too wide, but rubbing it on a sanding stick cured this. 

After modification, the body went together OK. The corners aren't bad, even though they are straight from the bag with no fettling. 

So, the lessons to be learned:

  • If I am tired, watch TV and get some sleep. Don't try and make anything that needs brain work. 
  • This kit needs to be built body first. Then the chassis can be trimmed to fit. 
  • Use plain bearings so the underframe is square. 

One day I'll find another example of this kit and give it another go. It's a long way from Cooper Craft's best models, but I'm sure that an on-the-ball Phil wouldn't be beaten by it.

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