Gather your supplies
• A Sides (2) 500 x 185 x 15mm plywood
• B Back 200 x 135 x 15mm plywood
• C Rear top/loco seat base (2) 300 x 230 x 15mm plywood
• D Firewall 200 x 50 x 15mm plywood
• E Front 200 x 185 x 15mm plywood
• F Front top 200 x 230 x 15mm plywood
• G Rear axle block 70 x 35 x 200mm plywood
• H Coupling pin 12mm-dia x 110mm dowel
• I Steering column 28.5mm-dia x 320mm hardwood dowel
• J Front axle block 70 x 35 x 100mm pine
• K Bearing block 70 x 35 x 100mm pine
• L Handlebar bracket 70 x 35 x 100mm pine
• M Handlebars (2) 80mm x 28.5mm-dia hardwood dowel
• N Top locking collar 65mm-dia x 15mm plywood Carriage (each)
• O Sides (2) 400 x 130 x 15mm plywood
• P Ends (2) 200 x 130 x 15mm plywood
• Q Base 370 x 200 x 15mm plywood
• R Axle block 70 x 35 x 200mm plywood
• S Carriage seat base 395 x 225 x 15mm plywood
• T Locator 195 x 125 x 15mm plywood
You’ll also need
- Primer, sealer and undercoat
- Gloss enamel in black and red (we used Dulux Super Enamel in Black and True Red)
- 10 x 100mm coach bolts with 2 washers (6)
- 8 x 100mm coach bolts with 2 washers (2)
- 125mm wheels (4-6)
- 95mm wheels (2)
- 50mm swivel castors (2-4)
- 50mm foam
- Red vinyl fabric
- 10mm rope
Cut all plywood components with a power saw. Mark out a 300 x 50mm step-down at back of sides (A) to leave raised section that will house steering mechanism. Cut with power saw and finish using handsaw. Glue and screw back (B) between sides, set 75mm in from end of sides to allow for rear axle block (see Ride-on Train Diagram, below).
Glue and screw on rear top (C), checking firewall (D) will fit between sides. Then add firewall to allow for difference in height between front and back tops. The firewall has to go in now so you can get at screws. Then add front (E) and front top (F).
Drill a 5mm hole right through centre of top of rear axle block (G). Then follow with a 12mm bit. Glue coupling pin (H) into hole.
Glue and screw rear axle block to loco so pin will point up and underside of block is flush with loco body.
Cut steering column (I) to length. Bore 28mm hole halfway into front axle block (J). Sand out to 28.5mm. Also bore 28mm hole right through bearing block (K) and centre of front top to house steering mechanism.
Glue front axle block to bottom of steering column, then push on block so it goes about halfway down column. Don’t glue yet.
After predrilling, attach 1 front wheel to front axle block with coach bolt so it’s centred on end. With loco on its side, place 1 rear wheel in position so it projects 35mm below bottom of side. Then push steering column through hole in front top until bottom of front wheel is in line with bottom of rear wheel. Then push bearing block hard up under front top and mark steering column.
Remove steering column and slip bearing block down a little. Apply glue, push back into position and drive a screw through block into column. Remove wheel.
Cut 25 x 25mm triangle off bottom corners of handlebar bracket (L). Mark in and bore 28mm-dia x 20mm-deep hole in centre bottom and in each end, centred 25mm down from top. Cut and glue handlebars (M) in bracket holes.
Cut 65mm disc of 15mm plywood using hole saw or jigsaw, then bore 28mm hole through centre. This is top locking collar (N) that supports steering column. Don’t assemble steering mechanism until painted.
Cut carriage components to size, then screw 1 side (O) to 2 ends (P). Measure 35mm up from bottom. Glue and screw base (Q) in place so there’s a 35mm space under base. Add other side by gluing and screwing to ends and base. Glue and screw axle block (R) to underside at back. Repeat to make as many carriages as you like (we made 2). Cut carriage seat bases (S) and locators (T).
With all components completed, fill screw holes and other blemishes. When dry, sand smooth. Paint with undercoat. When dry, sand very lightly. Apply 2 coats of black gloss enamel to loco, carriages and locators, and 2 coats of red to steering mechanism. Cut in around corners with a brush, then coat broad surfaces with a short nap mini roller.
While paint is drying, upholster loco and carriage seats. Sand seat bases (C, S) so they are not sharp. Lay vinyl face down and cut it so it is 125mm wider than loco seat on each side. Place 200 x 300mm foam and seat base on top, then pull up 1 long side and staple it in centre. Pull vinyl tight across seat so edges are rounded. Then drive in 1 staple on this side and 1 staple at each end of fold, 50mm in from corners, checking there are no creases on underside.
Drive in closely spaced staples at 1 corner of seat at 45° to edge of vinyl, then along remainder of long edges. Fold corner under so there is a vertical seam down edge.
Hold vinyl in position with a staple in edge of seat base at corner, then cut off excess vinyl.
Refold so you have a neat vertical seam down corner, then staple along folded edge on underside so vinyl stays flat. Repeat for each corner. Upholster carriage seats using 200 x 400mm foam.
Predrill and screw 125mm wheels to sides of loco and carriages using coach bolts, so centre of bolt is 60mm from back and 27mm up from bottom. Make sure there is a washer each side of wheel. Refix front wheels. Add castors to front of each carriage, spaced out from corners so they can spin freely.
Rub candle wax on top of bearing block (K) and underside of top locking collar (N). Feed front wheel assembly through hole in front top of loco and push down collar so top is sandwiched between bearing block and collar. Drive 2-3 small screws through collar into steering column. Then add handlebar assembly, making sure wheel and handlebars are in alignment. Secure with a screw.
Drill a 5mm hole centred 60mm down from top of carriage ends, then follow with a 10mm bit, being careful not to break out plywood on inside. Feed through rope and tie a loop at 1 end to feed over coupling pin. Tie a simple granny or figure-8 knot inside first carriage so loco and carriage are 220mm apart. Repeat granny knot for joining the 2 carriages, which do not unhook.
Screw seat to loco from underside. Centre and screw locators (T) to bottom of carriage seats. These seats are simply located in tray tops and can be removed.
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