I’ve had the FS/BS cars sitting on the test track above my work bench since our return from the Toowoomba Exhibition and have been dissatisfied with the finish of the roofs and several other issues. The plain plastic look, even after weathering, just did not have any character. I had built an Ian Lindsay LHG some time back and had a go at replicating the malthoid roof coverings of these early cars with great success. When I first started the mods to the S cars I did not want the hassle of changing all the roofs as I knew it would be a huge job. It did get the better of me in the end. Here is what I did.
I started by removing all the roof vents. These levered out with side cutters. I stored them in a takeaway food container till required. I lightly sanded all the roofs so as when I glue the Malthoid material on it would adhere nicely. I used Lipton Tea bags for the malthoid. A Lipton tea bag can be carefully opened out to a rectangular sheet. I trimmed one of the long sides up then measured and cut two strips 11'9" wide. I then cut these into 3' wide strips. I needed a couple for the canopy ends a bit wider so cut these and set them all aside. I worked out were the end sheet would start by sitting side by side a silver roof car (with the navy dressing ends) with the grey roof car and transferred the position where the navy dressing colour finished, to the grey roof car and drew a pencil line right over the roof using a piece of styrene to keep it square. This happened to end up just a mick hair short of the centre rivet above the end door. I first lightly and evenly coated the end canopies with PVA then working from one side, and lined up with the pencil line, laid the sheet over the roof. I worked the sheet down over the end canopy with my finger allowing the sheet to double up where necessary. Now, one at a time, I glued and stuck the 3' wide strips over and along the roof lapping each sheet by a half a millimetre each time. I used the rivets on the side of the car as a guide to keep them square to the roof. Once I finished each car, I gave the roof a coat of 50/50 PVA and water to remove any fuzz from the tea bags.
I trimmed any excess overlapping the sides with a super sharp scalpel; re fitted all the roof vents, and then prepared to repaint the roofs. For the grey roof cars (I kept them all the same) I first brush painted the entire roof with Tamiya German Grey. Once this had dried I randomly selected some sheets and painted these with Floquil Weathered black. The sheets originally had a tar based sealer where the laps where. This oozed out here and there. To replicate this I used a sharpened Derwent watercolour pencil (black) quickly dipped in Windex to soften and carefully drew a few black lines over the roof were each of the laps were.
I now worked on the silver roof cars. These I painted with Tamiya Flat aluminium. Again I used the pencil trick for the oozing tar. I blended all this in with a light weathering of Engine black with the air brush. I recon they look much better now.
The gooroo (James McInerney) mentioned the lack of lining around the doors. I was not keen on doing this as I had only had a go on an old Lima 38 for a friend, and only had a Tank and Tube pen as well and was unsure of the results. I did a couple trial runs on a scrap of styrene with excellent results so I jumped right in the deep end and gave it a go. Wow......I found this quite easy. I recon it may be a little wide but they look better than having none at all.
I also decided to move the end handrails to the ends of the cars, where they should be. I started by removing all the handrails with a knife blade then transferred the holes to the ends of the corner posts. I then removed the rivet detail from above and below the old holes then filled these with putty. After a light sanding, I touched up the posts with Indian Red Paint. Once these are re weathered the modifications are hardly noticeable.
The below photo shows the Lining on the doors and the modified and painted end handrail/lamp brackets along with the finished roofs of each of the cars.
I stuffed about too and added a conductor leaning from a centre door. This turned out to be a bit of a mission as both the plastic floor and metal lighting strips needed to be removed as they were both above the correct floor level. I then had to re wire the strips together for the lighting. I cut the door out by drilling a heap of no.80 holes around the door together with a sharp knife to remove the final bits holding the door. Filed it up a bit and touched up with some Indian red paint. A few passengers were added as well. I bought 200 off EBay for $30. Some of the ‘Fat Bums’ needed weight loss surgery so as they would fit in the first class seats! I am happy with the end results.