Wednesday, 29 July 2015

WF/WFW/WFDY Assembly Tips

Removing Support Structures

Carefully remove the support structure from the wagon.  It is suggested to use a sharp knife to cut the supports away from visible areas.  Take particular care around the steps.  Note that the steps have guards below them to protect them during production and shipping.  It is suggested to leave these guards in place until the majority of the finishing work on the wagon has been completed, to minimise the risk of damage during handling.

Once the majority of the support structure has been removed, carefully go over the wagon and cut away the small supports which typically extend from one part to another including, for example, inside the coupler housing.  An Exacto type hobby knife with a sharp pointed blade (Exacto #11 or similar) is quite useful for getting into the nooks and crannies.  

Go over the model and smooth off any remnants of the fine supports, expecially in the visible areas.  A sanding stick or small file can be useful for this.

Stiffening Rods (Optional)

The WF model includes provision for two metal rods to be inserted within the underframe structure to provide stiffness and guard against possible future warping of the plastic material over time.  Each of the transverse frame members includes two holes approx. 2.2 mm diameter, as part of the 3D print.  The metal rods also add a bit of weight to the wagon.

Location of Stiffening Rods

On the end sill, the hole for the stiffening rod is covered over by a 0.5 mm layer of plastic, opposite the handbrake assembly, as pictured below.  This can easily be drilled through for installation of the rod.  There is a corresponding hole on the diagonally opposite corner of the wagon.

Location of Hole for Stiffening Rod

The rods should be a maximum of 2 mm diameter and 188 mm long.  They can be of any strong metal, e.g. steel or brass.  One source of steel rod is threaded push-rods sold for radio controlled models by manufacturers such as Du-Bro, and available from many hobby shops.  These have a threaded section at one end, but the remainder of the rod is plain, about 1.85 mm diameter. Different lengths are available, e.g. Du-Bro #172 and #173.  Longer lengths are better as several pieces can be cut from it with less wastage.

Once the rod has been glued into position, the hole in the end sill can be filled with modelling putty and lightly sanded to restore the flat surface prior to painting.

Bogie and Coupler Mounting Holes

The mounting holes for the couplers and bogies have been printed at 1.8 mm diameter to suit 2-56 screws.  

Due to the difficulty of tapping the blind holes for the bogies, the 3D print includes vertical grooves in the sides of the holes to help the screws cut their own threads, so tapping the holes is not required nor recommended.  Note that the depth of the blind holes is 4.4 mm.  If using Kadee bogies, the supplied screws may need trimming to avoid damaging the floor of the wagon.

The maximum length for the coupler fixing screws is 4 mm.

Note: An economical source of 2-56 screws in various lengths is Little Bird Electronics.


The suggested bogies are Kadee #569 or #1569, the only difference being the width of the wheels.  Both Atlas and Athearn make similar bogies, but the advantage of the Kadee ones is that they add some weight to the wagon due to the use of a relatively heavy plastic material.


The WMC/WMD is designed for Kadee "whisker" couplers.  Either the #158 (scale size) or #148 (normal size) couplers can be used, with #262 draft gear boxes.

The draft gear boxes supplied with the couplers do not fit as they have a different mounting hole position.  The #262 draft gear boxes, which are available separately, are narrower and have been used because they allow details such as the brake hoses to be positioned the scale distance from the wagon centre line.  Also, the #262 draft gear boxes are easier to use as the lid snaps into position.

Because of the deep end sill on the WF series of wagons, the model has been designed so the coupler and draft gear box slides into a recess via a hole in the end sill.  Make sure that any remnants of support structure from the 3D printing process have been cleaned up from inside the coupler mounting recess.

The draft gear box will probably be a snug fit inside the mounting recess.  A hole had been provided for a 2-56 fixing screw to prevent the coupler from being pulled out.  Note that the maximum length of the screw is 4 mm, so it is likely the screw will have to be cut to length.  Provided a metal screw is first used to create a thread in the provided hole, a nylon screw (e.g. Kadee #256) can be used for the permanent fixing.  A nylon screw is much easier to cut to the desired length.

Note that the height from rail level to the top of coupler mounting surface should be 11.5 mm, the standard for Kadee couplers.


Small starter holes have been provided to locate the square-shaped handrail near the handbrake at each end of the wagon..  The handrail can be formed from 0.4 mm brass wire.  The holes should be drilled out, e.g. with a 0.45 mm drill bit.  The diagram below indicates the dimensions for bending the wire handrail.

Ratchet Handbrake Lever

A short length, approx. 7.5 mm, of 0.4 mm brass wire can be used to simulate the lever of the ratchet handbrake on the end of the wagon.  Glue the wire into the vertical groove in the handbrake assembly.  The top of the wire should be level with the top of the groove, with the remainder of the wire projecting downwards.

Air Brake Hoses

Small brackets are provided next to the couplers on each end of the wagon for air brake hoses.  Cast plastic hoses are available from Detail Associates, part number 6206.  Carefully drill out the starter hole provided in the supporting bracket to suit the diameter of the "pipe" on the air hose.  A suggested drill size is 0.65 mm.

Uncoupling Levers

A small starter hole has been provided underneath the coupler, as well as a notched bracket towards the left side of the wagon, when view from the end.  The uncoupling lever can be shaped from 0.4 mm brass wire, with a 90 degree bend for attachment into the central fixing hole.   The horizontal portion of the uncoupling lever should be approx. 14 mm long.  The diagram below shows the approximate shape to aim for.


If required, additional weight can be added by gluing lead shot or small pieces of sheet lead between the various frame members of the underframe where it would not be seen in normal operation.

Iron Ore Containers

Apart from removing any remaining supports from the 3D printing process, the iron ore containers require little preparation.

The HO version of the container includes two projecting pieces, highlighted in yellow below, which should be cut off and filed/sanded flush with the bottom of the slightly larger, angled projections.  The larger, angled projections are intended to fit into the recesses in the deck of the WFW flat wagon to position the containers.

The reason for the deeper projections is to prevent the angled projections from being sanded flat if the printing supports are removed in the i.Materialise factory.


Either enamel or acrylic hobby paints can be used to paint the finished model.  The model pictured has been painted with Testors Model Master Enamel colour "Gelb RLM 04".  (Gelb is German for yellow!)

WSH/XM Ballast Hopper

Unpainted test model of WSH ballast hopper in HO scale.
Added details from brass wire, etc.
The WSH ballast hoppers were built in 1965 and were used on construction of the WAGR standard gauge lines.  Initially, all 45 wagons were standard gauge.

In 1970, 15 of the wagons were converted to narrow gauge and reclassified as XM, and are still in use in WA on the narrow gauge system.

In 1975/6, all of the remaining 30 WSH's were sold to Commonwealth Railways (later Australian National) and reclassified as AHVY.

From around 1987, most of the AHVY wagons were transferred to Tasmania, converted to narrow gauge and reclassified ZI, later being fitted with extended sides and roof and becoming class HD.

Because of the prototype use on both standard gauge and narrow gauge, the Marbelup Models WSH/XM model is available in both HO scale and Sn3½ scale.

Unpainted test model of XM ballast hopper in Sn3½ scale.
(No added details at this stage.)
Please refer to the WA Wagon Pages for more information on the prototype WSH or XM wagons.  There are also several photos at the Rail Heritage WA web site.  Hint: Search for "WSH" or "XM" under "loco - vehicle class".

There are quite a few photos of WSM's on the Weston Langford site (The link provided should search for "ballast" in Western Australia.)

Photo of WSH in almost pristine condition at work on construction of the WAGR
standard gauge project in November 1965. (From Weston Langford collection)
For details of history under CR/AN ownership see the Comrails and Rail Tasmania web sites.

The Marbelup Models "kit" for the WSH/XM consists of a one-piece 3D-printed body.  Some cleanup will probably be required to remove the support structures which are required during the 3D printing process.  Typically, this takes about 30 minutes.  The purchaser must also obtain, separately, bogies, couplers, fixing screws, brass wire (for details such as handrails), paint and decals.  Styrene strip is also required for the braces across the top of the hopper.

For more information, please refer to the assembly tips.

Close-up of WSH model showing added details (HO scale)
The WAGR conversion to narrow gauge was unusual in that the standard gauge bogies were retained and simply fitted with narrow gauge wheelsets, resulting in a "wide" look to the bogies.  Double sets of brake blocks were fitted to facilitate rapid gauge conversion if required.  The couplers also remained at the standard gauge height, so a special "gooseneck" coupler shank was fitted to the end wagons in a rake to couple to other narrow gauge wagons.

XM model in Sn3½ scale with 3D-printed bogies.
Rail Heritage WA photo of XM hoppers, showing they didn't always operate as a solid consist.
To obtain the correct bogie appearance for the XM Sn3½ model, Marbelup Models has designed 3D-printed bogies representing the original standard gauge bogies.  Larger than normal, 14 mm diameter, wheelsets to suit are available from Hollywood Foundry.

The "special" bogies are not required for the Tasmanian ZI version, as conventional narrow gauge bogies were used and the wagons were "lowered" to match the coupler height of other narrow gauge wagons.

These models are available to order now.  The approx. costs are:
  • WSH/AHVY/ZI HO Scale: $50.
  • XM/ZI Sn3½ Scale: $105.
  • Bogies to suit XM Sn3½ Scale: $40 per pair (not including bearings or wheels).
As always, prices are subject to change based on exchange rates with the Euro, so please contact us to confirm pricing before placing an order.

Customer Photo Gallery

This gallery contains photos of Marbelup Models products built and painted by customers.

Tasmanian HA and HH hopper wagons by Simon Chandler in Sn3½ scale.
The 3rd wagon in the train is an HH, which was made from two HA's welded together.

Tasmanian HA and HH hopper wagons by Simon Chandler (Jul 2015)
Two FD's and two VD's by Adrian Gunzburg (Apr 2014)
VD van with custom decals by Adrian Gunzburg (Apr 2014)
FD van by Adrian Gunzburg (Apr 2014)
ZBA Brake Van by Stuart Mackay (Feb 2014)
Four CXB Sheep Wagons by Neil Blinco (Feb 2014)
Water Columns by Doug Firth (Feb 2014)
Two CXB's built by Adrian Gunzburg of Melbourne (November 2013)
R1903 Diesel Loco, built by LE from Perth (September 2013)

WF, WFW, WFDY Flat Wagon (Standard Gauge, HO Scale)

WF "Test Print" Painted but with no added details
The WF wagons were among the very first wagons built at Midland Workshops for the WAGR Standard Gauge project in the 1960's.  The first few were built in 1964 and were used in construction trains, carrying sleepers and other materials.

The WF's were versatile wagons, carrying on-board a set of bolsters and stanchions which were stowed in slots in the steel deck.  The sides of the wagons included lashing rings for securing loads, and slots for container fixing brackets.

Starting in 1979, the WFs were reclassified as WFDY.

WFW Test Print with separate iron ore containers
WFW Test Print showing storage slots for bolsters and stanchions
Close-up of WFW.  Added details include handrail, ratchet brake handle, uncoupling lever and air hose.
From 1969, some were converted to class WFW to carry iron ore in specially-constructed containers, which were transhipped at Avon Yard, near Northam, to narrow gauge 4-wheel flat wagons for the remainder of the journey to the iron and steel works at Wundowie via Spencers Brook and Clackline.

Rake of WFW's with iron ore containers at Avon Yard in the 1970's
To recreate this unusual traffic, Marbelup Models has also created a 3D-printed model of the iron ore containers.  Although over 40 years old, the containers appear to still be in active service and have roamed at least as far as Broken Hill, as indicated by the photo below from Railpage.

WAGR Iron Ore Containers on AN wagons at Broken Hill
The containers are also available in S scale for modellers of the narrow gauge portion of the journey.

Please refer to the WA Wagon Pages for more information on the prototype wagons, including the WFW.  There are also numerous photos at the Rail Heritage WA web site.  Hint: Search for "iron ore".

The Marbelup Models "kit" for the WF/WFW/WFDY consists of a one-piece 3D-printed body in HO scale.  Some cleanup will probably be required to remove the support structures which are required during the 3D printing process.  Typically, this takes about 30 minutes.  The purchaser must also obtain, separately, bogies, couplers, fixing screws, brass wire (for details such as handrails), paint and decals.  Refer to the Assembly Tips for more information.

These models are available to order now.  The approx. costs are:
  • WF/WFW/WFDY HO Scale: $55.
  • Iron Ore Containers HO Scale: $20 each or $55 per set of 3.
  • Iron Ore Containers S Scale: $40 each.
As always, prices are subject to change based on exchange rates with the Euro, so please contact us to confirm pricing before placing an order.