Distilling a Dogfish (N part 43)...

The Dapol N scale 'Dogfish' ballast wagons were originally released in 2005 and have proven a popular and sought after model since then. The basic proportions capture the character of these distinctive vacuum braked engineering wagons well, and with a smattering of fine details the prognosis is good...

These models however are tired. Dogs. The frames are moulded with a distinct bow, the details a little clunky and glued on with copius amounts of something the Chinese think resembles model glue and the wheels, as with the gunpowder wagons are oversize. 
When they first arrived here I was frankly very disappointed - but what alternative is there? These wagons are not expensive either, maybe I'm expecting too much? I wonder though, would we rather less detail and a structurally sound model?

Before I could bring them to life with some weathering that bend needed attention. A screw underneath promises to free the various parts but the hand wheel shafts are glued into the ballast chute so it all remains locked together despite separating. I think on my examples it was the interface between this chute, the hand wheels and their supports that was pushing the end platforms down even further so a pair of wire snips freed the hand wheels and a scalpel the supports from the hopper. Careful re-assembly proved to eliminate a lot of the chassis bow and so I added DG couplings and replaced the wheel sets with Mosskito 6.2mm diameter 3 hole discs.

Weathering in this small scale is often about subtle touches. In this case I went a little heavier to see how things might work - a thick wash of 33/98 all over and a broad brush removed the wash from the side panels and the edges of the handrails and wheels. The interior was treated similarly, though once dry i used 28 to add some streaks and marks from a ballast load. The airbrush with usual mix of 133/245/27004 softened the finish and a touch of 64 added a cooler shade for the internal surfaces. The result is a passable representation of the pair of ballast wagons used on the coast in the late 1970s and 1980s, perfect for my time period and a partner to my recently acquired Farish 25. That really just leaves the 128 DPU for the Cambrian project and then I've got all the stock. Best get on with some more structures hey! Until next time, more soon...

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  1. I'll have to take a look at the Dogfish I picked up a few months ago; heap, unboxed and unloved, one or two bits have come loose so it needs attention anyway and it's in a post privatisation livery. I've acquired quite a lot of rolling stock, much of which needs fettling, but it can wait until the 009 layout is ready to show. A load of new old stock Peco HAAs from a local shop means I have about half an MGR train , I'll need to work out how to carry out the characteristic black marks along the sides and apply lots of tiny Fox data panel transfers....

    1. Well good luck Simon, sounds like you’re accumulating quite a good collection for a mainline themed layout!


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