The replacement walkway, handrails and tank filler is lightyears ahead of the originals - the only disappointing facet of the standard Dapol model.

Just putting the finishing touches to a Workbench Test article for the March (166) issue of Model Rail, dealing with a pair of etched brass detail upgrade kits for two recent RTR wagon models. The Bachmann JPA cement tanker is one of them, but here are a few images of the Dapol 'Silver Bullet' china clay slurry tank. Both wagons have been fitted with excellent kits by PH Designs and, after just a few hours work, the models have been elevated to true super-detailed status. 

The kit for the 'Silver Bullet' is a tad more challenging than that for the JPA and it pays to take your time. I didn't, and ended up ruining one of the ladder assemblies. It was entirely my own fault - the etched holes needed opening out to take the 0.3mm brass wire that forms the rungs. However, I've been on a drill breaking odyssey of late and so tried to open up the holes with a blunt 0.4mm bit, thinking that the solder would fill the gaps. But the thin brass wouldn't take the oversize holes, distorting the uprights and fatally weakening the structure. A break was inevitable and, although I could probably have repaired it, time was running against me, so I wondered about sprucing up the original die-cast metal ladders. As the Model Rail article will show, I think I've gotten away with it.

The wagon is just about to be weathered in the shed (the heater's on, warming up the painting area as I write this). After a sharp drop in temperature over the past few days and a snow shower this morning, I need to pack up all my water-based paints and glues and bring them indoors for the winter. After being caught out last year, and left with a large pile of ruined paints - I'm determined not to be bitten twice. 
The etched ladder requires folding and assembling using 0.3mm brass wire for the rungs. After an hour trying to bodge it, I managed to make a real mess of it - entirely my own stupid fault. A few choice words followed before I decided to refine the Dapol ladders with a file.


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