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  • Building a Union Pacific SD60M from a Rail Power Products kit
  • Combin(ing) a Chivers Way Car with Boulder Valley Models combine sides
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  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]
    Combin(ing) a Chivers Way Car with Boulder Valley Models combine sides

    Author: John Oxlade, Salfords, Surrey, UK

    These notes are not a blow-by-blow account of the kitbash, more a collection of hints-n-tips on how to do it. Some of these tips are things I didn't do on my conversion which will make life easier should you chose to do the same. This really is an easy kitbash, a good starting point if you haven't done anything like this before.

    Apart from one Chivers Way Car kit and one set of BVM Combine Sides, you will need some 0.020" and 0.040" Plasticard sheet and the usual modelling knifes, liquid glue, ACC, etc. A straight steel rule and a small engineer's square would be useful. A nice flat surface is desirable. Either a piece of glass or an off cut of faced chipboard shelving is good.

    You could assemble the sides such that the baggage door was at the far end of the car. Doing this will leave an unsightly gap in the sill below the windows. It is easier, though it may not be so typical, to fit the baggage door in the middle of the car and have a 4-window compartment at one end and a 2-window compartment at the other. My "excuse" for doing this is that the smaller compartment is first-class or for the use of the management and they do not wish to be too close too the "foul-mouthed workers" at the other end of the car.

    Read all of these notes before beginning.

    Being careful to keep everything square (follow the groove between 2 boards), trim about 1/4" off of the BVM sides flush with the side of the baggage door. This is not essential, however it is easier to disguise a join in the side of the car at a natural "break" than on a smooth side. It does however make the baggage compartment a little bit short.

    Dry-fit the side-sills (they have the steps on the corners), floor and sides of the un-modified Chivers kit and mark with a pencil where the sides come to on the side-sills and floor.

    Cut the Chivers floor at one of the grooves between the floor planking. Score-and-snap works fine.

    Cut a piece of 0.040" Plasticard the same width of the floor and the same length as the BVM sides. IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THIS PANEL IS SQUARE - square at the corners that is, the piece will be longer than it is wide, so it is not a true square.

    Cut the Chivers side-sills approximately in the middle. Cut a piece of 0.040" Plasticard the same dimensions as the side-sills and again, the same length as the BVM sides.

    DRY FIT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING BEFORE USING GLUE TO ENSURE YOUR PENCIL MARKS COME OUT CORRECTLY WITH YOUR NEW SIDE-SILL EXTENSION. IF THEY DON'T, CHECK TO SEE WHAT IS TOO LONG/SHORT AND THAT THE PLATFORM LENGTH AT BOTH ENDS IS THE SAME - ADJUST AS NECESSARY. IT IS IMPORTANT TO GLUE ALL OF THE FOLLOWING PIECES SQUARE - GET THIS WRONG AND THE WHOLE CAR WILL LOOK STRANGE. Glue the side-sills to the bottom of the Chivers side aligning your pencil mark on the sill with the car side. Glue the extension piece for the side-sill along the bottom of the side. Glue the BVM side on the sill and the final piece of side-sill (with the other step) ensuring that everything is straight and square.


    Cut the centre-sills in half. Make some extensions the same cross-section as these sills and the same length as the BVM sides. (I didn't actually bother doing this - you can't see them from normal viewing angles anyway).

    Assemble the rest of the car much as Chivers intended - but you will need a new roof.

    If you want to, you could move the trucks back from the ends a little. I didn't, and remember that the further back the trucks are the more the couplers will swing out on curves. My combine couples fine with other Chivers and Boulder Valley cars on 14" radius curves - about the minimum for a Bachmann On30 Shay.

    I moved the brake columns on my car outside the end railings. In the standard position they effectively block one side of the platform. Carefully slice the brake ratchet and wheel off of the deck trying to keep it in one piece. Cut a short length of plastic rod or tube to fit on the end of the chassis. Glue this in place and the ratchet and wheel on top. Once the glue is thoroughly dry, drill through from below and fit the brake column and wheel.

    I used the non-window ends from the Chivers kit as partitions between the workers & baggage and baggage & first class sections. These helps to reinforce the body and keep everything square and it also provides a visual block so you cannot see down the length of the car.

    Cut a piece of 0.020" Plasticard the same width as the old roof and the length of the old roof added to the length of the BVM sides. The only tricky part of the conversion is rolling this roof. Find something hard, like a piece of metal, to roll it round. Spend time on this so that the curve is smooth and even. If anything, roll it too sharp, then you can curve it back again - in fact, it will maintain its curve better if you do over-roll then straighten.

    I fitted truss-rods to my combine. The vertical support were made from short lengths of styrene rod. I used cotton for my rods, though I will probably replace them with monofilament fishing line as the cotton is too fuzzy.

    [ last updated 28th January 2003 ]