Progress on the layout is painfully slow. Part of this is down to waiting for sufficient funds to finance purchasing all the kit for building the track. Meanwhile, since (just about) finalising my track plan in Templot a few weeks ago, I've not done a lot.
Last week I bought a Parkside Dundas SR utitlity van kit which I managed to build fairly easily and succesfully... until I realised that I'd failed to take into account the distance between the axle bearings on the sideframes - the kit is built to take 00, EM or P4 wheels, and so there is a bit of 'play' to be had with the spacings of the sideframes. It would have been realtively easy to fix with some thin plasticard but I'd already glued into place the brass bearings. The upshot being that I've had to buy a second kit to have another attempt. Oh well, you live and learn!
Having not yet started the second kit, the last couple of evenings I've returned to my brake van 'project' as I felt it was time to crack on with it really. The photo above shows the latest progress with the addition of 3-link couplings (Smiths) and Gibson wheels (which I painted and weathered prior to fitting), and wire handrails - on one side so far. Underframe detailing including brake shoes (the original moulded ones were not even nearly in line with the wheels), and footboards have yet to be added. I removed the vacuum brake cylinder and V-hangers which I'd previously fitted as I've learned that these were hardly ever fitted on the prototype.
The handrails are not as difficult to make and fit as I thought they would be: fine brass wire, bent to shape using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, then super-glued into pre-drilled holes. The trickiest bit was glueing the long horizontal handrail between the two inner vertical rails - fairly fiddly, and I have yet to discover how strong!! I have some reservations about how easy it will be to paint the handrails once the body is painted without white paint running everywhere but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Ideally I'd like to paint the body with an airbrush which means it could be quite a while before that happens (more funds required, and currently less of a priority than a lot of other things!!).