Powsides/Slaters Private Owner wagons

I wanted some Private Owners for Farthing, so have built a couple of Powsides kits, i.e. painted and pre-lettered Slaters kits. 

I opted for two Gloucester designs to RCH 1887 specifications, one a 5-plank side-door wagon, the other a 7-plank side- and end-door job. 

I like the overall appearance, although TBH the small lettering isn’t quite up to current standards. Perhaps I was unlucky, they look fine on the website.

 The kits have blank interior sides, so the moulding pips were filed away and planking was indicated with a scriber.

The instructions recommend joining all sides first, then mounting the floor inside. I struggled a bit with this, the floor wasn’t a perfect fit and the sides were lightly curved. Some dismantling and remedial work ensued, but I got there in the end.

I used waisted pin-point bearings from MJT. Split spoke wheels on one wagon, and plain spokes for the other one because I ran out. Did some of these wagons eventually receive plain spoke wheels? Otherwise I’ll swop the erroneous set later.


Some of the small lettering was a bit damaged or missing as the kits came. I touched it up as best I could. Some bits I simply painted over. I’d rather have absent lettering than odd lettering.

The built-up wagons. 

Having admired Dave’s lovely builds of the 7mm versions of these kits, I decided to indicate the interior ironwork as he has done. For this I simply used strips of Evergreen (painted darker after this shot).

Good interior photos of these wagons are rare, so drawing on discussion by Stephen and other helpful RMwebbers I drew up the above sketch to guide my detailing of the interior. Please note that this is my own rough and ready rendering. There are various unknowns and no one has “signed off” on this sketch. Anyone interested should consult Stephen’s drawing and info here.

Interior ironwork in place. The kit does include a hinge for the end door. On some wagon types this was positioned above the top plank, but in this case I fitted it just behind the top plank, based on this discussion.

Archer’s rivet transfers at the fixed ends.

Stephen pointed out the “big nuts” that appear on the ends of many Gloucester wagons, extending from the diagonal irons inside. Looking at photos they seem to have been present on both 5-, 6- and 7-planks as seen here left to right (obviously only at fixed ends). 

 The nuts don’t feature in the kit, so I added them. On the 7-planker I drilled holes and stuck in bits of brass. This proved tricky as it’s just by the corner joins, so on the 5-planker I Mek-Pak’ed on bits of plastic rod instead, as seen above.


As usual: Liquid Gravity and 3mm Sprat & Winkles. I'm always amazed how much difference weight makes to the "feel" of a wagon. The couplings too: Ugly they may be, but they turn it into a working vehicle.

Weathering the interior with pigments. The “Sinai Dust” seen here is courtesy of the late Mick Bonwick. Thank you, Mick.

The Ayres wagon. Phil Parker uses a fibre glass brush to fade the lettering on printed RTR wagons. But these are transfers, so would tear (I did try).  Instead I lightly dry-brushed base colour over the lettering. Helps a bit, but not quite as effective. 


C&G Ayres still exist as a well-known Reading removal company and former GWR cartage agent. This (very) close crop shows one of their removal containers at Reading ca. 1905. 


But a search of the British Newspaper Archive showed that C&G Ayres were also at one time coal traders [Source: Reading Mercury Oxford Gazette March 9, 1918]. Indeed, I've been informed that their Open wagons were primarily used for coal. 


The Weedon wagon. You can just make out the nuts on the ends, but they aren't really noticeable. The effort would arguably have been better spent detailing the brake gear!

I had assumed that the Weedon Brothers were mainly coal and coke merchants, but again newspapers and directories of the time offered further info. [Source: Kelly's Directory of Berks, Bucks & Oxon, 1911]. It seems that manure was also a key aspect of their business. The company features on the right in this directory clipping - amongst lime burners, loan offices, lunatic asylums and other essentials of progress!


Though based at Goring, the Weedon Brothers had stores in a number of places, as illustrated in the above 1889 advert. I’m inclined to designate the wagon for manure rather than coal. I wonder what that would mean for the weathering? Richard's latest book on Wiltshire Private Owners is firmly on my wish-list.


Anyway, the wagons are now running at Farthing. Here's No. 1897 knocking them about in the sidings behind the stables.

Overall I've enjoyed the build. May have a go at applying my own transfers next time. 

It's just a couple of plastic wagons of course, but I learnt a lot along the way. That's one of the great things about modelling, every build is an entry point to railway history.  Thanks to everyone for the help.