Cooper-Craft 7mm open wagons

by Graeme Pettit

7mm 4-plank Wagon. Image courtesy Roger Bailey.

Photo courtesy Roger Bailey

The kits

The Cooper-Craft 4-plank and 7-plank wagon kits were my first real venture into building in 7mm to the foot, and I can thoroughly recommend them to any potential Great Westerner in this gauge.

Whilst the instructions are not ideal (working from a photograph would make life easier), they are sufficient to make a passable model of each. The parts are plastic throughout, making assembly very easy with any solvent type adhesive. Flash is minimal, and easily removed, and dry fitting before glueing ensured that any trimming took place without problems. The parts are well moulded, and well detailed. Coupling chain is provided – a nice touch.

Tips and improvements

  • A little extra work to open up the planking lines adds to the ageing process before painting.

  • Cutting the doors, inside and out, adds to the realism.

  • The buffers are horrendous, and even filing did little to improve them, so I would recommend fitting brass units, or castings.

  • The kit is not supplied with wheels or bearings – I used Gibson ones, which brings the cost up considerably.

  • On the subject of wheels, building the kit on a sheet of glass, or a mirror, ensures that all 4 wheels make contact with the ground – no need then for compensation units.

In conclusion

I found these kits very satisfying to build, being easy to make, and giving a pleasing end result. However, having to hunt around for wheels and decent buffers was a pain, and I would have preferred to have paid a little extra and had suitable components included in the kit from the start.