Next, I had to make it all look pretty.
I had started with an old Hornby 5 plank wagon, on the basis that it was a fairly short wheelbase, and I didn't really like the look of it anyway - it was in a bright blue livery with "Crook and Greenway" written on it. So I had not qualms about hacking it to pieces! I had seen on photos that the real life tenders people had made for their class 264 locos tended to be somewhat roughshod, cobbled together rather than carefully designed, with no one definitely example, so that made my life easier.
Firstly, I decided that 5 planks was just too many, so I took a knife to it. Now it's a 3 plank wagon! This means it retains the side door detail is all still intact (whether that's prototypical or not). A couple of coats of brown acrylic paint nicely covered up that bright blue livery. The photo below shows it next to another Hornby wagon body, for reference, this time in green.
Next came some details, picked out in black.
Once back on its chassis, it looks pretty good. The wiring is mostly all covered up. The metal weight no longer fits underneath the wagon body though, so I'll need to have that inside it instead. It needs weighting down a fair bit at the moment, because the wires are quite stiff and the wheels need to make good contact with the track while still overcoming the friction of the pickups enough to rotate. I'm hoping I can pile up some coal and other detritus in the wagon to hide the weight.
So that's all got me quite far, in the end. It's lovely and smooth, even over my dodgy insulfrog points, because I now have pickups on 4 axles instead of two.
There's still some work to do though. The pickups need a little tweaking to balance electrical conductivity against friction, but I'm hoping that running it around for a while will help to bed it all in. I'd also quite like to reduce the distance between the loco and its tender - in the photos I've seen the loco and tender don't have buffers between them. And my loco desperately needs a crew too. But it's an excellent improvement, and makes my pocket rocket much more controllable and feels less like a toy!