Thursday, 21 July 2016

Austrains FS Carriages - Review and Upgrade

Hi all,

I fairly recently purchased a pack of Austrains FS carriages in Indian Red livery.

These carriages are very nice out of the packaging, are well weighted and run very freely.

The beauty of these carriages in real life though is that there was many varieties and modifications done to them over the years and into preservation.

Given this, I thought I'd customise my carriages to represent more of a 'preserved' look, more specifically the look of the carriages used by LVR on their Picnic Train tour that I was lucky enough to go on back in December.

I have found that that unless you are modelling a specific carriage, anything goes in terms of details and modifications as long as it achieves the look.

The Model:
Straight from the box.
Out of the box the models are very well presented. I'm no rivet counter, and being 28 have not had the experience of travelling in these carriages with the exception of tour trains. 
In terms of performance they are very well weighted and roll freely. I haven't had a chance to run them around the layout but they are sure to perform well.
A massive elephant in the room for me though (I havent read about it anywhere else) is the spoked wheels in the 2AN bogies. Modellers and experts more familiar with these may know better, but from research I cannot find any record of spoked wheels being fitted to these bogies. 


As mentioned they look great out of the box, however there are several improvements I feel can be made.
First and foremost is the wheels; I can't stand the look of the spoked wheels. I replaced these with Auscision 36" Finescale wheels 10.5mm diameter x 25mm width.
Another improvement is the roof. The torpedo vents are quite good, but the roof is moulded smooth, with no 'mathloid' seam lines.
To do this, I removed the vents by gently lifting them with a pair of small snips. The quite freely come away from the roof, and stored them to ensure they don't get lost.
10mm Tamiya masking tape strips installed onto the roof.
This process is quite tedious, and there are several alternatives, including using a teabag. I preferred the tape option however as I think it produces a good look and is easier that cutting teabag material to size. 
One this is finished, I reinstalled the vents. The vents on both ends are for the toilets; I have seen photos of these being the torpedo type as well as the fletner type. As I had some spares around, I installed fletner vents to the ends, and reinstalled the torpedos through the remainder. A dab of glue on the underside is all that it took.

After the vents are reinstalled, note the fletner vents on either end. 

A last minute decision was made (after checking my spare parts box) to change the Austrains 2AN bogies with AR Kits 2BS. I've noticed many of the preserved carriages have the 2BS type fitted, and I'm not particularly fond of the 2AN as installed (Bergs are the only ones who have gotten the 2AN 'right' in my opinion, though I haven't seen Casula's latest).

AR Kits 2BS bogies, primed but not painted.
Compare the pair.
Before painted I added a few extra pipes under the wagon for the air lines and between the brake cylinder and air tanks. I also added a handbrake chain, air hoses and changed the couplers to Kadee No.153 'short' shank scale heads, and trimmed the pin beneath,

After painting the roof and bogies, and adding some weathering to the under-frame. 
In painting the roof, I first applied Tamiya XF-15 'Flat Flesh'. I didn't add tape or a 'mathloid' material to the ends as from photos the ends usually have a 'step down' in them anyway. Once dry I masked these off and painted the remainder of the room Aqueous Hobby Color H77 'Tire Black'. It's critical to ensure the sides of the roof are properly painted in this process. 

Once this was dry I removed the masking and lightly added some more Tire Black to the ends, just to give it a bit of a more 'dirty look'. 

I painted the bogies a plain black colour, and coated the new air lines and chain in black as well. 

For the weathering, I mixed some Vallejo 'Sand Yellow', 'Dark Earth' and 'Gray' until a nice grimy colour was formed. I then lightly went over the bogies and underframe until I was satisfied with the look. I've found that the preservation railways tend to keep the bodies quite clean, but the under-frames will inevitably end up grimy. 

FS 2010 in company with 3526 and a NVFF van.
3265 and 3526 lead a newly upgraded FS 2010.
Next will be the other FS carriage from the pack. I'm hoping Austrains or SDS re-release the BS and BSR carriages in the near future so I can have a proper 'heritage' set going with the above steam locos. 



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great article .Nicely presented and informative article.
    Shipping People