A couple of weeks ago I was offered a couple of Avalon Line 12-seat semi-open coaches by O9 modeller Andrew Blackwell and the offer was too good to turn down. One of the pair was actually my first build of this kit after I had produced the masters for Steve Bennett to cast. Andrew had decided to reduce the height of both coaches to better reflect the originals running of Shifting Sands. Doing this to an already built kit must have been an interesting task!
On arrival I noticed that the coach I built had a distinct warp and I put this down to the way I had built the roof all those years ago. Carefully removing the old roof I managed to replace it, but not without having to do a few other jobs on the way. It was whilst doing this I inadvertently managed to break one of the sides - it's best not to ask how! Although I fixed it it still looked a bit wonky, so I sought another solution. I have often thought of the idea of a coach sat at the end of a siding, or in a workshop, with a few body panels missing as if awaiting or under repair - here was the opportunity...
As can be seen, several panels are missing, I replaced the whole solebar with Plastruct section that matched the original casting, having opened out one panel and completely replaced another with just uprights. I also added uprights under the exposed seat ends to make them it less like the seat backs floated in thin air.
On the opposite side just one panel was opened out. As this exposed the nut that secures the bogie in place I added an air tank from a Dapol Drewery Shunter kit to disguise it. The coach was previously equipped with modified MicroTrains bogies but I have fitted a set of Avalon Line ones for static use. I therefore filled in the gap in the headstocks for the coupler and added a cosmetic coupling pocket that had seen service on a previous static coach (one of the 4-wheel ones that sat behind the caravan on Shifting Sands).
Whilst tinkering with Avalon Line coaches I altered the bogie mounts on my fully enclosed example, removing the MicroTrains pin and socket arrangement and replacing it with the system used on the majority of my bogie stock with a 12BA nut trapped under a styrene mount. The bogies have washers Araldited top and bottom to allow the bolt to pass through neatly. This is a much more robust system than the previous one.