GWR 4 plank Open with DC1 brakes

At the turn of the last century the 4-plank wagon was king among GWR opens, so I'm adding some more to my stock. This build represents a wagon with DC1 brakes, using a modified Coopercraft kit.

The Coopercraft kit has an error which means that if you build it as designed you end up with 4 planks on the outside and 3 on the inside. So following good advice (thanks Nick) I cut along the red line indicated above, in order to remove most of the big fat lip on top of the solebar. This in itself lowers the floor by 1.5 mms.

The floor provided in the kit is 1mm thick, so I decided to gain another 0.5 mm of internal depth by replacing it with a 0.5mm styrene floor.

I suppose this is on the limits of how thin a floor should be, but with bracing underneath it all seems solid enough. There are two pips on the inside of each wagon end (not shown), these had to be removed to fit the new floor. The gaps at the end of the solebars were fixed with filler.

The lowered floor. Not perfect, but at least the bottom plank is now visible.

Most of my wagons have lever brakes but it's time I introduced some DC1 brakes too. So I splashed out on this Bill Bedford etch.

I worked with available drawings and pictures in the GWR wagon book  by Atkins, Beard & Tourret.

I think I used the wrong link component below the swan neck lever, lesson learnt for the next one. Still, the exercise has helped me understand better how these brakes worked. Sometimes the absence of instructions can be a learning experience!

The low number belies that No. 781 was built in 1902 as part of Lot 374,  thus sporting DC1 brake gear from the outset. I debated whether to add a sheet rail. Some of the 4-plankers were certainly fitted with these later on, and the O5 diagram in Atkins Beard & Tourret features a sheet rail - but I have a suspicion that the diagram stems from 1905 when the wagon index was drawn up. On page 54 of the same book is a picture of a 4-planker showing off the new DC1 brake gear in 1903. It does not feature a sheet rail, and is in the same condition as No. 781.

The wagon is in GWR wagon red (I follow the 1904 theory). I chose a slightly redder shade than normal to suggest that it is fairly recently painted.