Friday 29 January 2010


After another bout of five or six wagons having new couplings fitted, and generally renovated, I fancy something different.

So before diving straight into a full etched kit, I thought that I should warm my skills back up on an easier RTR conversion.  Rather than a simple conversion using drop-in wheelsets, I have two of High Level Kits' replacement chassis for the venerable Dapol Pug.

I bought these two bodies over a decade ago, and made a start at scratchbuilding a chassis for one of them using hand-fretted frames.  Since then the HLK chassis kits have arrived, and I've parked my effort to one side.

So this is what I have: one stout white box, and one body with original chassis and motor.


The body will be backdated and repainted in L&Y colours, but that is for the future to worry about.  In the meantime, what's in the box???

A comprehensive range of plastic bags, full of all sorts of bits.  Several sheets of very comprehensive instructions, including a cross-reference to an article in Model Railway Journal.  I've added some Alan Gibson wheels, and with the kit I bought a suitable motor and gears.
So apart from some etched L&Y number plates, the kit is complete.

Let's hope that I get some free time tomorrow to get started!

Sunday 24 January 2010

In the cradle

Two things came together this morning: Allan Goodwillie's post on the use of ad-hoc jigs to make modelling easier (here: and me chasing another upside-down wagon around my workbench. Grrrr!!!!

Whilst fitting and tweaking S&W couplings, my activity seems to require one hand for a soldering iron to melt the parts in, and one hand to hold whatever I'm fixing, and then one hand to stop the wagon sliding around the workbench.  Now I'm not anatomically gifted, so this has become very much of a sweary language moment, particularly when I drop the part that I'm trying to fit.

So out with the camping mat and the steel rule and the craft knife.  A few swipes, a waft of the hot-glue gun and I now have this:

The central fence means that I can use it for either low sided stock on the left side, or taller wagons and vans on the right hand side.  A bit like these:

Held securely in the cradle, they are like this, with the innards exposed for easy work:

When I next go out to the garage, I'll look for a piece of board that I can glue it to.  Whilst it works as it is, a little more weight underneath will make it less likely to slide around.

A note on construction - if you're using a camping mat, unroll it and let it rest for 24 hours, to get the curl out of it.  Otherwise you'll find that your base and fences aren't straight and may even try and pull against the glue into curves.

Saturday 23 January 2010

Causes of poor running #137

Or idiot's mistake #6..  Look at it how you will :-)

As part of renovating my fleet of tired P4 wagons, a Coopercraft GWR open wagon with sheet rail came to hand.  I've had a preliminary look at it, taken off the old S&W couplings that were not as well-fitted as the ones that I build now, and given the wheelsets a spin to see if there was any wobble.

There wasn't, but one wheel was catching very badly on the brakeshoe.  Looking at the one on the other side, it was running well clear of the brakeshoe.  Odd to find.  So I popped the wheelset out, and looked at it carefully, and this is what I found.

Notice the difference?  When I had checked, and presumably adjusted, the back-to-back setting on this wheelset I had made a simple mistake.  I'd pushed the wheels along the axle until one was far back from the coning, and one was actually sitting over it.  So although the wheelset was to the correct measured back-to-back, it didn't sit squarely in the chassis.

A lack of care on my part, and something to make sure that I don't do again in the future, but if you get poor running from a particular piece of rolling stock, it's something else that merits checking.