l Modelling the NS Double Decker in N
Double Decker in N

NS DOUBLE DECK COACH IN N

By Mike Denman
Modelling the NS in N scale does limit the options much more than in the big brother HO. As far as I can trace one missing model is the double deck coach. I’ve always been curious as to why the NS attaches just one double decker on the back of an ordinary set of coaches (I think this was to allow the withdrawal of the Df bicycle brakes and also compensate for the loss of seating capacity in the formations, which could not be lengthened even if there was enough stock available, due to platform constraints, following the withdrawal of the plan W’s. The lower deck is used for bicycle storage and the upper for seating. Ed) but it is an option that I will want to model. N scale double deck coaches are available in DB livery and so I opted for a repaint. I used a Minitrix model, which is pretty close to the NS version.

The main visible difference is the size of the view panels in the doors. NS has a small square window and this will have to be tackled. Other than that, however, no other structural changes were made. The coach will need to be carefully dismantled. The Minitrix model is really well made with no tell tale gaps in the mouldings. The first step is to remove the bogies, which pull of to give better access to the full coach length. Then remove the coach connections from each end. Now carefully spread the sides from the floor and clip out the floor starting at the ends. Once this floor is free the seating and glazing units can be dropped out. Once I could see inside the body I could see that the roof is a separate moulding. This was a pleasant surprise because I thought some complicated masking would be necessary when repainting. Again careful unclipping of the roof will release it. It’s best not to break any of the clips but if there is a problem later then the roof can be glued in place. All the mouldings are thin and care is needed but it’s not a difficult process.

The main task is to fill the lower part of the door opening using plastic of the same thickness as the door. This is a two-stage process. The first is to cut 8 strips, rounded at the lower end and square at the top, to fit each door. When the glue is thoroughly dry use a fine filler (I used Revell Plasto) to fill any gaps. Again allow to set and then smooth to match the coach sides using fine and wet dry sandpaper. This step may need repeating until complete. The lower edge of the windows should be filed to the same level using a pencil line marked along the length of the coach. Use adjacent windows as a guide. The rounded tops of the windows also need to be filed square again using a guideline to ensure that there is not a file stroke too far. The glazing will need modification because the door panel will not now sit flush within the door. Therefore, the lower part of the four double door glazing will need to be filed away. This is a delicate piece of plastic so care is needed.

The coach is now ready for painting but first a door template is needed. Use a sheet of paper for this and cut to the size of a pair of doors using the outline still visible on the original model. Once cut to size place over a door again and mark out the two windows. Keep safe! I used white acrylic car undercoat for the body and roof followed by Ford Jasmine and black. The colour is certainly close to NS but if there is a better match I would like to know. A piece of card formed as an inverted V inside the coach stops any colour going onto the inside of the model and provides a stand for spraying.

The magazine Model Rail gave advice in its June 2001 issue (Page 52) for N gauge painting. It says that their staff model maker “Uses Halfords white primer and says that he builds up the finish colours gradually aiding the drying with warm air from a hair dryer between coats. He finds that slightly warm paint settles into the recesses better and says that he’s not experienced any problems with obscured detail”. So that’s what I did. This is my first N scale project so was happy to take the advice.

The yellow topcoat was sprayed first and then allowed to dry for 24 hours (despite the hair dryer!) and then masked for the black doors and ends. Low tack tape is needed such as Eurostar or Tamiya. The door template now comes into its own being lined up at each location to help with the lining tape. Newspaper covered the bulk of the model. Again allow plenty of drying time before applying the transfers. I used KleiNSpoor Modelbouw Transfers (pack 708) for the logo but disappointingly did not have quite the right size for the coach class that should be next to the doors. These will be applied later. The coach and roof is now over sprayed with a matt varnish (Humbrol).

Reassembling the coach is a reverse of the dismantling procedure. There is a need to make sure the roof is fully clipped into place so there are no gaps and that the glazing is correctly fitted. Each side is different. So that’s it. All I need now is a full-length set of intercity coaches to set off the double decker.

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