My Dad very kindly handed me down this 2mm Finescale wagon kit from the 2mm Scale Association which he picked up at a model railway show a number of years ago. His eyes and dexterity aren’t what they were and he thought it might be a better suited kit for me when he pulled it from his kit stash.
Now, aside from 1/32 slot car chassis’, which are much, much larger and simpler than this wagon kit, I have no experience with etched metal kits. A lot of OO and O scale railway locomotive kits that I would like to make are etched and so the techniques and materials used in these kits are something I’m going to have to become more comfortable with going forwards.
As I’m somewhat new too both the scale and material, I’m going to state that this is not a “how to” guide on how to build this. The 2mm Scale Association actually have a three part video series on how to put the wagon together which can be found as a playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmQOZ5ZtoA5sa0EsmUK7AJuAeMICPhrpD
Here I’ll just be sharing my thoughts on the kit, some tips I found to help build it and how to avoid some mistakes I made along the way.
Now, lets have a proper look at the kit.
The body is a simple plastic kit. It’s four sides and a floor. The plastic solebars and buffer beams are optional on this kit as there are also options to make them on the etched chassis. I personally used the etched solebars but the plastic buffer beams that were already attached to the ends of the body.
The star of the show; the beautifully detailed etched chassis.
There are also a number of brass accessories to go with the chassis. Here we have top hat style bearings for the axles, buffers and a brake master cylinder.
In terms of the build there’s not a lot I can say that the 2mm Scale Association videos don’t cover. I would like to emphasise the importance of cutting the chassis off of the sprue on a hardsurface rather than say a cutting mat. The metal is incredibly thin and easy to tweak.
You can see that my chassis tweaked in the photo. It’s not as severe as it looks and the chassis runs along the track nicely. However, if it is tweaked it’s hard to make straight again. So be sure to cut it out on a hard surface!
You can see all the detailing on the solebars and underframe (some of which I have to confess I didn’t have the skill to model) It’s a really gorgeous little kit!
I thankfully knew this from slot car building, but etched metal is quite fragile so plan every fold before you make it. They can only be bent and unbent a couple of times before they snap. I would imagine that is especially true of a kit this tiny!
The wagon body is really straightforward as it’s simply a box. I used the buffer beams on the plastic body rather than those on the etched chassis. I added the coupling hooks from the metal kit with a little minor modification.
A lot of these wagons were grey but some were painted bauxite which is the colour I decided to go for.
Then it was time for a coal load and a little weathering.
Done for now and parked next to it’s bigger brothers!
All in all it was a fun little project and I learnt quite a bit from it. It didn’t go completely to plan in places, but such is the joy of working with a new material in such a tiny scale. I will be doing more etched kits however, wagons to begin with and then a locomotive, as I do enjoy them!
If you are a more experienced/talented modeller than myself then I can really recommend these fine scale kits. The amount of detail on something so tiny is truly incredible!
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By Richard Francis