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The following ‘step by step’ description is for internally decorating and adding a driver and passengers to an Airfix GWR Auto-Coach. 

Remove both bogies from the underside of the chassis by using a small and thin screwdriver; being careful to not damage the chassis when prising the concealed holding lugs away from the retaining holes, and set aside.

If a different coupling system is needed, then these bogies can be adapted now or later on. Also, if metal wheels are preferred to the plastic ones fitted by the manufacturer, then this is a suitable time to change them over and set aside for later refixing to the chassis.

Take the body and carefully remove the roof from the body, which is held in place by three projecting clips on each side of the roof that fit onto locating lugs at the top of the body sides. Care will be needed, due to the age of the plastic, and one or two of the clips could well break off....!  Also note which way round that the roof is positioned onto the body, as this will avoid an incorrect repositioning later on....! I usually mark one end on the underside of the roof.... just to remind me...!

Whilst doing this work.... always ensure that the delicate underside plastic moulded trusses are adequately protected, or ‘repair work’ will be needed....!

At this stage, the small bright wire handrails to the two passenger doors will need to be carefully eased out to allow the body to be removed from the chassis. If this is overlooked, then disaster will certainly follow.....!

The interior can now be removed from the chassis by unscrewing the small self-tapping screws.

For those who wish to make the body look more realistic with mahogany drop lights and window frames, then the glazing will need to be carefully removed and set aside for later. There are clear plastic retaining lugs which secure the separate sides and front glazing, and these will need to be ‘eased’, so as to expose the body for painting these areas with a dark reddish pink colour to represent the mahogany. The overall effect of doing this work is to ‘tone down’ the brightness of the cream paintwork.

Before painting the interior, clean all surfaces with methylated spirit using a cotton wool bud and leave to dry for about 5 minutes, before painting.

Usually, the floor, seating and exposed seat ends will need a different colour for each, but these colours will depend on which era is being modelled..... that’s if you are wishing to be ‘accurate’...!

Set aside to dry thoroughly for at least 12 hours, so that the paint has hardened.

At this stage, refix the clear glazing back into position, and now is the time to ‘populate’ the coach, and, even though there are several manufacturers producing good figurines, I tend to use the unpainted ‘Preiser’ range of seated passengers (that will have been previously painted by myself), as that is the cheapest option plus I can decide on the appropriate colours to suit the appropriate period of travel. 

Depending on what figures I have available, I tend to do a ‘dry run’ in finding suitable positions for them, so as to create a reasonable realistic scene. Then I use a small amount of ‘Super Glue Gel’ to adhere them in their places. As these coaches were used on branch lines, I try to achieve a ‘balance’ between not enough and too many passengers, so that the finished coach looks about right....!  That’s also the reason why each one of these that I work on is unique...!

Now is the time to reassemble the coach.

Firstly, replace the interior onto the floor of the chassis by using the self-tapping screws removed earlier, and ensuring that the weight is in its correct position...! Then replace the roof very carefully, and with gentle pressure, which should re-clip itself into position. At this stage, the small wire handrails to the passenger doors on each side of the coach will need to be carefully ‘teased back’ into their holes in the body sides.

The bogies can now be re-fitted into place onto the chassis.

Finally, the manufacturers seem to have decided that ‘Didcot’ is the only destination for all of these coaches...!  As we know, these coaches served a great many branch lines and destinations. Several years ago, I created a small thick paper sheet of different destination names for my model railway club colleagues that gave the them an opportunity to change the name. These sheets are now for sale on ebay, from time to time, but, if you would like to buy one of these sheets, then please contact me. Images

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