I have been undecided whether to have Morton Brake Gear on both sides or just one side on this wagon. The old packet of 9ft Brake Gear produced by Kenline contains two identical castings. I was sure that, while this might be OK for independent brake gear fitted to wagons with bottom doors, for this wagon it would not be correct. In my earlier modelling days I would have just added the brake gear as supplied. I wouldn't have batted an eye lid to any possible inaccuracy, hiding behind the thought that you only see one side of the wagon at a time, but today I feel different.
So what would the other side of the wagon look like? Are the brake handles identical? Should there be double V hangers on the side with no brake gear? I remember comments about rackets, reversing clutches, dog clutchs, cams and other technical terms concerning Morton Brake gear. What do they all mean? How and where were they all used? To those that are in the know about these things please remember that I am on a big learning curve with the whole of this project. The problem I've had is finding a wagon with Morton Brake Gear that has been photographed from both sides and/or ideally from underneath. While it might be possible to deduce from a single photograph whether a wagon has brake gear on both sides or not, it's difficult for a novice like myself to understand what the other side should look like.
Eventually, after rummaging through all my wagon books, I found a couple of pictures showing both sides of the same wagon. They're of a badly loaded NE 6 plank open wagon in J.H. Russell's book 'Freight Wagons and Loads in service with the GWR and BRWR' (figure 14 and 15). These photographs clearly show that the arrangment on the V hangers on each side was different. On the none brake gear side, there was a reversing clutch on the V hanger at the end of the brake handle. I've also seen photographs with a reversing clutch on the brake gear side of a wagon fitted with brake gear on only one side. But until I saw these two photographs of the NE wagon, I was a little unsure of the complete arrangement. But I now take it that the reversing clutch could be on either side of a wagon fitted with brake gear to one side.
So......my current understanding is that, Morton Brake Gear, on wagons with no bottom doors, has to have a reversing clutch on one side of the wagon to change the direction of rotation of the connecting bar between the V hangers on each side of the wagon, so that the brakes can be applied from either side of the wagon. Makes sense..........if I'm right that is.......?
Now to the model..............To try and show the reversing clutch, I carefully cut a piece plasticard to shape and then slightly modified the Kenline brake handle. While not 100% accurate, hopefully I have been able to capture the essence of a reversing clutch on the wagon.
OK.......by blowing up photographs this size does show up some issues, but overall I'm pleased with my effort so far. Door stops have been fitted since photographs were taken. Just drawbar hooks to be added. I was going to use Smith's 3 Link couplings until I realised that they are larger than the ones I'd used on my old EM gauge wagons. It had already been mentioned to me that Smith's couplings are a little over scale but until I saw the difference, I didn't realise by how much. I'm now waiting until I receive some couplings from Exactoscale before progressing this wagon any further. Once the drawbar hooks are fitted I can start painting.............