Booth Rodley Rail Crane build

Well, after many nights of little spurts of modelling, the Booth Rodley 15t diesel-hydraulic crane kit by Dapol is nearly complete. Well, it is actually complete in it’s construction and primary paintwork but now I need to weather it. The kit itself wasn’t too bad to construct. The biggest issue is that unlike the Airfix, Revell, Tamiya and Italaeri kits I remember, these kits don’t come with painting instructions and it seems there isn’t actually a prototype that this crane is based on. Anyway, I decided and majority Safety Yellow with a few detail pieces would work and I am quite happy with the outcome.

Tip #1 with this kit is to completely paint the jib before construction as it is a pain to get to the inside once built. I picked this tip up before I started building but I didn’t follow it completely … and was left with some fiddling.

Tip #2 is to thoroughly dry run parts as the mouldings and malleability of this kit mean that there were quite a few places where some fettling needed to occur before construction.

Tip #3 is to decide if you are going to do ‘wasp stripe’ ends BEFORE construction. Deciding this after I have already built the chassis made it a much trickier proposition – but it worked out OK.

So, on with the ‘construction journal’

Construction of chassis:

This was fairly straight forward and I hadn’t got many shots of it under construction. The main points of note here were to paint the bogies before final attachment of one side so you didn’t have to paint around wheels.

Also, as mentioned previously,  I would recommend deciding if you are going to ‘wasp stripe’ the chassis ends before construction. I ended up making a ‘pine-tree’ mask and applying, painting and then touching up … after I had already pretty much completed the chassis.

It was a bit messy but with a little fine painting, it tidies up OK.

Construction of crane platform:

Please, oh please, oh please finish painting your jib pieces BEFORE you put it together. This will save you time and pain. Also, be very, very careful where your glue ends up so it doesn’t lock rotating parts.

This shot shows the jib pretty complete and the main engine room just started. You can also make out that I have painted the handbrake wheels on the bogies white. Again, painting before assemble makes an easier job of a fiddly task.

Once you have started construction of the body, make sure you remember to counterweight the jib by putting some weight in the back of the cab. I used about 7 steel ball bearings from an old sliding cupboard door to properly weight the cab. These were then white-glued into place to make sure they don’t move around. I basically put the cab on a paint jar with the jib at full extension and then added ball bearings until they balanced each other.

Final construction before roof a-fixing to get all the cabling working properly. Then the roof was attached and all parts finally painted. I also added some white edging to the steps on the chassis (safety concious being that I am) and added the decals where it seemed appropriate as, like the paintwork, there are no guides to where the decals are meant to go.

Weathering to be completed, a more appropriate match wagon to be selected and some rusting/ageing of the far too shiny chain to be done … and then it can “ride the rails”.


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