Chris Cooper makes a Lineside Hut "Curly Roofed" Brake Van.

Ffestiniog Brake Van No.1 (Curly Roof) 

An unexpected but very welcome Christmas present was the relatively new kit from The Lineside Hut for FR Van No.1, affectionately known as the curly roofed brake van.  One explanation for the complicated roof shape is that the concave section enabled the guard to look down the train from the balcony end, yet still keeping his head within the loading gauge. A rather elegant solution to the perils of decapitation on the Victorian FR and surely a very early example of design that considers employees’ health and safety!The van seen on the FR today is a replica of the original 1873 vehicle, completed in 2004, to fit into the 1870’s Victorian train.  Most vehicles needed to complete this train had survived into preservation except any of the three brake vans in original condition, hence the replica being constructed. 

More information can be found here if you’re interested


I have finished the model to represent the replica, matching the other vehicles which I’ve modelled from the preservation era set.The kit was a little daunting in the packet, with so many parts, but once I’d read the instructions all became a bit clearer.  Most of the parts were for the roof!

The main body of the vehicle went together quickly, the laser cut parts fitting together with tabs into slots, the usual system -

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The overlays were then added to create the panel detail on the outside –

And the same with the planking on the inside –

I then thought I’d have a go at tackling the roof. 

First you make the jig provided –

Then glue all the planking onto the inner forming frame, place into the jig and weigh down until dry –


All the planking for the roof is of different widths and has to be fitted in the correct order to create the curves –


The options at this point are to cover the roof with black felt, which is provided with the kit, or cover with filler and sand to a finish.  I decided to fill the roof with a fine exterior filler and then sand smooth.  I could then paint to my desired grey colour to match the rest of my set –

It should be a white roof, but I’ve found that steam oil from engine exhausts and white roofs get messy very quickly.

Now that hurdle was overcome I set about the priming, painting, lining and adding all the details.  Door handles came from Brandbright, bogies from Swift Sixteen and transfers from David Bailey.  The balcony railing was made up from some scrap bits of brass.  The end door and sliding doors are working.  This was explained as an option in the instructions and I tried it out.  The sliding doors move on copper wire and use split pins drilled into the ends as the runners.  Watch the doors open click here

The end door is hinged on brass rod drilled through the body top and bottom.  The kit also includes the rain covers over the sliding doors and the underframe detail.

The inside was given a coat of woodstain and the outside is painted with the Phoenix Paints LNWR Coach Plum that I have used before as a close match to the FR colour.



Overall, the kit went together well and I would recommend it.  The roof turned out to be easier to construct than I had anticipated and has enough strength to be removable. I initially thought that the exterior panel overlays were a bit on the thick side compared to kits I’d built from other manufacturers, but the dark plum colour disguises this well. 

Just got to wait for the frost to thaw out now so I can try it out round the garden.

January 2017


Brake Van on test on CLR  click here





























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