Saturday 18 December 2010

An evening's work...

Making progress is great when you put your mind to it.  For once, I had an evening with very little in commitments to do anything.  We were staying in to wait for a friend who is coming up from Bristol for the weekend, so I retired to my modelling desk to get started on what was initially quite a daunting set of details that I'd identified.

The kit instructions are generally quite vague at this point, and there is only a single exploded diagram of the locomotive that shows *everything* that is in the kit, regardless of period or option.  Points that I came across on the way, and that I include for the education/amusement/despair of you, gentle reader, include:

- The Westinghouse pump mounting bracket does not have an identifiable location to fit to the kit.  It isn't visible on the instructions, nor any of my photos.  Logically really, as it's hidden behind the pump itself.  So I concluded that it can only go behind the lower part of the pump, as to be behind the upper would interfere with the reversing rod.

- Getting the lower ends of the pipes from the clack valves and the Westinghouse pump fixed firmly to the footplate promised to be problematic, as I didn't want to leave a visible gap at the end of them.  I solved this by flooding a blob of low melt solder onto the footplate, then fixing the pipe into this.  I could then use the tip of a scalpel and some needlefiles to pare back the excess solder until only a pipe-width remained.

- Most of us have an excess of different solders in our tool kit - USE THEM!  Last night I used four different types.  These are all from Carrs/C&L (no connection, just good quality stuff) and were 188 solder paint, 179, 145 and 70 degree.  Use each in its proper place and the job is so much easier.

- Details of what I believe are the sandbox operating linkages are not included in the kit.  I made these up from a couple of spare AG short handrail knobs and some 0.45mm straight wire.  They curve under the boiler, where it appears that the operating linkages to the cab run on the prototype.  I think that they are an extra detail that is rather quite convincing.

- Bending the front curve of a handrail is an absolute sod!  I've always struggled to get this even on any loco that I've built (not that there have ever been more than three of them before this), and of the correct radius.  This one isn't perfect, but it's not too bad, and I seem to have got the "elbows" to bring the length of wire back down the boiler side in roughly the right places.  I did it with a series of very small wreaks in AG straight wire using snipe nosed pliers.  If anyone has any other tips or methods that they can share, I'd very much appreciate it.

So what is the result of all this labour?  Here are a couple of (slightly blurry, as they were shot using the grey natural light this morning) pictures of it:

There are still a few more external details, such as pipe runs and hinges, to be fitted, but it's starting to look much less clean-lined than before, but is a workmanlike, good way.  Maybe some more to be done this evening, but in the meantime it's Christmas shopping!


  1. That's looking rather nice! I always find a completed (or nearly so) loco in raw metal is a very satisfying site!

    By the way, for removing excess solder I have a screw driver which is 'sharpened'; it has a carefully honed flat edge at right angles to the shaft and it removes solder along straight joins beautifully. If my description isn't that good, let me know and I'll take a photo!

  2. Thanks James. I've always used end of a scalpel blade for scraping back the solder, but inspired by you I raided the tool drawer.

    Take one surplus jewellers screwdriver, grind to an edge on a carborundum disc in a dremel, and you have a nice scraper :-)

  3. I'm pleased you found that useful! You'll find it's great for cleaning up brass kits when you want a nice sharp joint where solder's run along it!