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Building Bogies

Page history last edited by Ian Stock 12 years ago

Building Bogies in 15mm Scale


Neil Ramsay

It is very difficult to find realistic bogies off the shelf in any of the larger scales. Even in the more popular 16mm scale there is a very limited choice of prototypes available.

In 15mm scale, with the exception of John Campbell’s County Donegal set in white metal, I don’t think there are any non American bogies around, so scratch building is the only solution. But bogies can be quite difficult things to build – from both a functional and aesthetic point of view.

The ideal solution would be to fabricate them in entirely in metal – but this is pretty demanding in skill and time. I have used a simpler method for many years, and although far from perfect, it gives both good running and a reasonably accurate appearance with much less hassle.


Basically I build a strong but plain metal superstructure and overlay with a plastic non functional decorative overlay.


I have recently completed a set of 4ft 6inch wheelbase bogies for two models of Lancaster built Lough Swilly coaches. These had to be of a special ‘low relief’ construction, as the coaches have double full length footboards, and even on my 7ft curves, scale width bogies would foul the footboard supports.

Nevertheless, the construction method is identical to a more accurate example –it’s just that I made the axlebox and springing detail flatter than it should be.

Picture 1 shows the metal superstructure complete. The side frames are cut from 2mm steel, with a ¼ inch brass section for the stretcher, and brass rod threaded 8BA for the end supports.



I then produced a detailed plastic overlay to represent the detail visible on the bogies sides. If you were making just one coach, it would probably be just as well to make 4 such overlays by hand . As I was making two – and possibly more to follow, I used this one as a master and cast the rest in resin to save time.



These were then drilled to take the fixings and the axle stubs, and superglued onto the steel frame sides.



The brakes are a bit of an afterthought, and are more resin castings just superglued in place.



The brass parts are chemically blackened, but the rest is sprayed with car primer and matt black car spray. The final effect is pretty convincing. I didn’t bother with brass bearings (easy enough to fit if you want), as I find the steel frames give great running without them.



Here is what they look like in situ - makes you wonder why I went to all that bother - as you can't see much.



One of the advantages of using resin castings is that you can really go to town on the detail – like these Tralee and Dingle bogies.



For plate type bogies, you can usually get away with a simple rectangular plate for the side frames, as on this Cavan and Leitrim example. The curved ends and drop down bits are all just plastic (about 2mm thick)



As the metal bits do all the work – these bogies seem to be more than durable enough. I built this LMS NCC example 11 years ago – and it has probably run several real (not scale) miles without any problems. Incidentally this is a good example of realism compromised by practicality – the original 40ft coach was actually an 8 wheeler, with the axlebox supports fitted rigidly to the solebars! I’m guessing there was a lot of sideplay on the axles.



My thanks to John Campbell for the engineering support and advice.

Comments (1)

Ian Stock said

at 4:55 pm on Sep 5, 2009

Great stuff, Neil. Could we have something on resin casting now, please? ;-)
How to do it, where to obtain the materials etc.

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