Tuesday 17 December 2013

Breathe in...

But carefully...

And preferably using one of these.  In response to the question from John Lewis over in a different place about the location of my spray booth, about twenty minutes ago it was here:

Sat in the middle of my desk, which is located at 90 degrees from where my modelling bureau is.  It's very convenient for the "overspill" of kits that is inevitable when something is being built. 

And (hijacking John McAleely's discussion elsewhere) it is also the depository for all of the tools that I'm using when I decide to do some soldering.  They are swept, en masse, from the left surface to the right surface to prevent them being splattered with liquid flux fumes.  Since doing this, even if it is imperfect, the incidence of rusting has significantly reduced.

The particular subject of the spraying is the inevitable Coffeepot, receiving a coat of varnish over the transfers before progressing on to the weathering.

I think that the camera flash has caused the red lining to flare somewhat!  It's nowhere near that bright in real life.  Now to leave it for an evening to harden, and perhaps make some progress on the chassis...


Monday 16 December 2013


Just for James, as he commented on model railways, Mr Sod and his Law...

This is the result of the third attempt at putting a lamp-iron (or rather socket, in LNWR style) on the front of the smokebox.

At least I managed not to make anything else fall off whilst putting this on.


Saturday 14 December 2013

Today's discovery...

If you put amps from your Resistance Soldering Unit on the 4.5V setting through an LNWR lost wax casting of a lamp iron, it *very* rapidly collapses.

Which is a shame, as using the 3V setting hadn't allowed the solder to make a strong enough join.  It's a good job that I have spares...


Friday 13 December 2013

Driving forward

Whilst I was spraying up the body of the Coffee Pot, I took the opportunity to drift a coat of black paint across the unassembled gearbox as well.

This picture shows the result, but it's mostly to show what a neat and tidy solution the High Level gearbox is for this model.  As with the Pug that I also built with a High Level chassis kit, this is a bespoke gearbox designed to fit compactly and unobtrusively within the loco.

I'm looking forward to installing it in the chassis and seeing how to fit the DCC chip around it...


Thursday 28 November 2013

Surprisingly enjoyable

I'm rather enjoying this lining lark.  This is the progress on the Coffee Pot, using a Bob Moore lining pen.

The black base coat is in cellulose, and the lining is in enamel.  This has proved to be a superb combination.  It's possible to allow the lining to harden slightly, then tidy it up with a very fine brush loaded with turps.

I'm sure that it was in the book by Ian Rathbone that I read this first, but it does make life very easy.

I'll look at the model again in the morning with a fresh set of eyes to see if there is anything else that needs correcting.  And maybe add in the brass of the window surrounds, to set off the red lining.


Wednesday 27 November 2013

Colouring the Coffee Pot

Have also recently had the opportunity to take the progress on the little GER Coffee Pot forward a step or two.  After the test assembly, related a post or two ago, it was time to set up the spray booth and put some colour on.

As I don't have a permanent workshop or working area, other than my modelling bureau, this has to wait until the house is clear and I can drag out compressors, airbrushes, spray booths, and all the other assorted paraphernalia of spraying models. 

The little tank engine was first broken back down into its constituent parts.  This shows just how many of them there are:

And of course many of them are quite small enough to be blown to the back of the spray booth by the airbrush if you aren't very careful!

However the loco body has a nice heavy weight to it, which helps keep it in position.  Wherever possible, I mount items to be sprayed in a way so that I don't just spray from the top or side, but can spray from below as well without touching or moving the model.  This takes place on an improvised mount that I rigged up from an offcut of timber and a few pieces of stiff wire cut from an old coathanger.  There are a varied of holes and a variety of length wires, so I can usually find a secure way of positioning the model.

The discolouration of the model is due to the use of some Carrs Surface Conditioner to prepare it for painting.  This was followed by a good wash in running water, and a careful blast with the hairdryer to remove any traces of damp.

The first coat to be applied was Comet Models etch primer, after which it was left to harden off in an airtight box for a few days...


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Blast from the past...

Last weekend I visited my parents.  They are a handy place to stay for a weekend at the Warley Show and it's good to catch up with how they are getting on.

As I was leaving, my father thrust a couple of boxes of railway stuff in hands, with words that he was clearing clutter out of the loft :-)

Much of it is pretty ancient Tri-ang and Hornby, and will be heading straight to Ebay as a job lot just as soon as I've photographed it and typed up the listing.  However two items caught my eye, and I'll be hanging on to:

On the left is the very first whitemetal kit that I built.  I think that I was about ten or eleven years old at the time, and had received it for Christmas from my cousin Robert Chester-Lamb, who was (and still is) running Bearwood Models.  In those days he actually had a physical shop in Bearwood, which was quite distinctive as it had a full-size GWR signal outside the shop on the pavement!  Sadly I can't find a picture of it online :-(

I recall that the wagon was an ABS kit.  It was a standard GWR five-plank wagon.  I clearly had pre-Grouping pretensions then, as I lettered it using the 1900s style of livery.  Actually, I recall that the livery was chosen because it was not hidden by the tarpaulin.  And the reason for the tarpaulin?  This being the first whitemetal kit that I'd ever put together, I had put the soldering iron bit straight through the side of the wagon whilst soldering the corners together, and needed something to hide the hole!

I clearly had as much grasp of engineering principles then as I do now, as the (supplied) pinpoint axles were running in the holes in the backs of the axleboxes, with no brass bearings.  It's a good job that it was in OO, as the axles won't stay square for long!

The wagon on the right is a Mainline hopper wagon.  I remember what a step forward these models (and Airfix/GMR) were in detail compared to the rest of the Hornby models that I had on my layout.  So what do you do with the best wagon that you own?  You weather it, of course...

Actually considering that I had no idea, apart from the fact that it must be rusty, it's not too bad with splodges of Humbrol "Rust" splodged on and worked in.

I'm not getting rid of either of these models.  They're going to be safely tucked away in a box.   I don't think that they will find a place running in P4 in a GER setting in 1911, but some things you just don't want to see go... 


Friday 8 November 2013

A small crisis of identity

As well as painting the main parts of the Coffee Pot, I also need to finalise an identity for it, and finish the appropriate number plates.

In the High Level kit, there are actually etched brass plates for all of the locomotives in the class that were built: the original four by Neilson, and the later four by the GER itself. Due to the choices that I made whilst building it, mine is not one of the Neilson engines.

This gives me a choice of four possible numbers that fit the body style. I have painted up the plates for locomotives 227 and 230.


Number 230 is the more famous one of the two, becoming famous as the Stratford Works shunter, and often displayed by the LNER at public open days. It was fitted with various accoutrements for the role, such as a Westinghouse reservoir, from 1916. As I'm setting mine in 1911, then it would still match the model as I've built it.

However I'm tempted towards numbering it as 227, just because it's less in the public eye :-)

The number plates have been filled in with a couple of thin coats of Precision vermillion paint, and left to harden for three or four days. Then the plates were separated from the etch, the tabs filed off, and the surface polished to bring up the brass finish.

This is done on a very fine sanding pad. I picked up a set of these at last year's Warley Show, and they really are quite nifty. They range from 1500 grade to the one that I'm using here, which is 4000 grade. It produces an almost mirror-like finish.

The pads are backed with a soft foam, which means that you can use them easily on curved surfaces, and also rinse them out after use under a tap, which brings them back to life. A very worthwhile acquisition for just a few quid.


Tuesday 5 November 2013

Time for a test build

Now, where was I? Ah yes, putting it all together.

Chris's instructions recommend that before you start painting, you do a test-build of the main groups of components to ensure that they all fit together properly. It makes a lot of sense, as my experience proved. And so to the lesson learned...

When I came to bolt the chassis to the body, everything lined up perfectly. The only trouble was that I couldn't seat the M2 fixing bolt properly because the head wouldn't fit past the protruding end of the compensation beam:


So (you can guess what is coming next...) the solution was to reach for the trusty Dremel with the "angle grinder" disc in it. I'm afraid that there is only a blurry photo of this, but a little discretion is probably best for the nerves of some:

IMG_7304.JPG I

After this, the way was clear. There were only a couple of small nicks on the inner faces of the mainframes. Nothing structural was damaged, nor even anything visible:


In the previous picture, you may have noticed a trace of blu-tack in the slot of the bolt head. This is my standard trick to ensure that they are held by the screwdriver and placed in the right location. It also reduces the cost of modelling by cutting down on the number of replacement purchases necessary to cover those sacrificed to the Carpet God. I literally smear a small amount of blu-tack sideways across the head of the screw or bolt and it fills the slot up nicely, enabling this to be done:


And as you would expect from a High Level Kit, it all came nicely together. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished thing after the test assembly. All of the major parts are together, except the cosmetic ones like the backhead detail and brake rigging:



And so on to the paint shop...


Wednesday 30 October 2013

Counting back...

One of the "problems" of today's state-of-the art kits such as the High Level Coffeepot is the sheer number of parts that they contain.

The etched sheets alone have 123 different components listed.  That doesn't include the multiples of the same part number, nor the (thoughtfully provided) spare of certain small bits that are added in anticipation of sacrifices to The Carpet God.  And it doesn't include the multitude of castings in whitem
etal and lost-wax brass either.

So I was thinking that I was reaching the end of the "build" stage and still had a number of components left on the frets.  Helpfully Chris provides pictures of the parts and their names and numbers in the instructions.  Matching back to these, I was able to eliminate all of the remaining parts as relating to other locomotives in the eight-strong class except these:

The long bits are the reversing rods, which are not fitted until the chassis is mounted in the body, so they were okay.  The small bits that look like steps, are steps...  I missed the bit in the instructions that said that they should be fitted.

So a quick whizz of the soldering iron, and they are in place on the front of the bunkers.

Next is the trial build stage, to ensure that everything goes together before painting starts.


Thursday 24 October 2013

Not forgotten...

I've managed to do a little modelling in the last few days, but had scarce time to document anything.

I haven't forgotten the Ulpha Light Railway whilst I've been finishing other projects.  And I was moving motorbikes around in the garage this evening when the last rays of the late afternoon sun caught the layout.

The quarry's industrial Pug moves a few wagons around under a threatening sky, to form tomorrow's early morning freight train.  I hope that it doesn't start to rain...


Tuesday 8 October 2013

Getting there...

The Coffee Pot continues to progress...

Last night saw sand pipes going into the body, left over-length at the moment so that I can shape them and trim them back when the wheels are fitted.  On the front end went the coupling hook - and Exactoscale one which initially I thought looked overscale.  Now that it's fitted in place, it seems to have just the right amount of heft to it.

I realised that I hadn't fitted the front lamp irons on the buffer beam either, so those went on.  At this point, the right hand side dumb buffer promptly fell off!  It was better that it happened at that point than after the paint had gone on the locomotive, so I only swore a little bit, then put it back on.

The photo with an appalling depth of field does at least give an impression of how it looks:

Back with the chassis, the last proper soldering job was to add the drain cock detail to the bottom of the cylinders.  Again, this is a usual highly detailed High Level confection of etched bits and fine wire.

I differed from the instructions slightly.  It was a little too difficult to drill all three holes in the cylinder bottom to locate all three wires into it.  I could probably have done it with a 0.4mm drill in the pillar drill if I'd wanted to.

So what I actually did was drill the hole for the central wire, and used that as the locating anchor.  The wires at the two ends were then tack soldered in place, which seems to hold them strongly enough.  Certainly if the model is knocked in a way that disturbs them, it's going to have bigger problems than a bent wire!

I realised afterwards that I'd taken the picture before cleaning up the remains of the solder paint.  The final result is much neater and reflects Chris's thoughtful kit design.

After this, the body had a good scrub and went into the ultrasonic tank, and I started work on the fold-up gearbox.  More to be done on that this evening, I hope...


Sunday 6 October 2013

Back to the Coffee (Pot)

It's been a busy few weeks, resulting in a lack of modelling.

However inspired by the sight of Will Litchfield's almost completed GER Coffee Pot at Scaleforum last weekend, I was provoked to start work on mine again and move it to completion.  Picking up the trail through the instructions, I was pleased to find how little there was to do.

The first task was to repair the damaged crossheads that arose during a very frustrating slidebar/wooly jumper sleeve interface.  I still won't go into detail of this, as the thought brings me out in a cold sweat.

The other impressive thing about Will's locomotive is the weight, for something of such a small size.  Will explained that this was because he had packed the saddle tanks with lead, as well as the bunkers.

I'm intending to leave the bunkers as they are until the final assembly is complete.  My worry is because they are distinctly to the rear of the rear driving wheels, adding weight may unbalance the front end, and make it less good at roadholding in curves.  However there was something that I could do about the tanks...

I started by cutting a length of 70 degree Carrs low melt solder into small ingots.  These were introduced into the spaces in the saddle tanks from inside, and flooded with flux.  The introduction of a hot iron with a large bit resulted in the solder flooding the space.  I was able to build up successive layers until the tank was full.  I then turned the loco onto the other side and repeated the exercise.


Having done both sides, the weight of the loco body is now a much increased 71 grams.  The next steps are sand pipes and cylinder lubricators - more fiddly work. 

Before that was a trial fit of the chassis.  This shows that there is actually much more space in there for the mechanism and DCC chip than I expected.


I hope to make further progress (and give the whole model a good clean) tomorrow evening...


Monday 16 September 2013

Model Railway Journal 225

The front cover of this issue of MRJ has now been landing on the doormats of subscribers and the shelves of newsagents for around a week now.

I'm feeling very quietly pleased with it, as I am the Guest Editor :-)
I was asked to put a copy together around six months ago, and had a very enjoyable time deciding what to include, and then discussing the articles with the various authors.  There was a certain thrill as the material started to arrive, and I could start putting together the issue.
I hope that the final result is a magazine that inspires with the quality of the modelling within it, yet shows that it is all very practical and achievable by any modeller that has a degree of patience and care.  I won't use the phrases "Average Modeller" or "Achievable Excellence" as I believe that they are already taken elsewhere!
Finally, my deep thanks to all of those friends that accepted my invitation to contribute to MRJ 225.  There was only one article that missed the copy deadline that I set, and that was the one that I wrote myself.  Typical!

Monday 9 September 2013

New Hornby product for P4 modellers...

Well, I can see a use for this. It was part of my wedding anniversary present on Saturday



Sunday 1 September 2013

Another addition to the toolbox...

Whilst I remember! This has been a most invaluable tool to use today:

It's a small (8cm in length) LED torch. We picked up a couple of these in a pound shop in Douglas on the Isle of Man during this year's TT. In case we needed to find our way back from the pub...

Earlier today, I was trying to re-thread the CSB wires through the appropriate mounts and bearings in the middle of the Y14 chassis with not much success. Future note to self - don't put a frame spacer directly above a hornblock as you won't be able to see the tiny hole in the bearing when you've put the wheels in place.

As all modellers know, good light is the key to accuracy and quality work. Despite it being daylight, and having two spotlights mounted on my workbench, I just couldn't see what the end of the CSB wire was doing. Then I remembered this torch in my desk drawer.

By putting the chassis upside down in its cradle, I could hold the torch in one hand and using tweezers in the other, I guided the wire through its hole first time. After the previous frustrations, that was a result!

Not expensive, easy to obtain, and well worth it for those tricky jobs. I recommend to the audienceit as a crafty tool to have available ...

So I must remember this dodge for the next time that I need it. Or design my chassis a little better. Ho hum...


Yesterday's progress...

Brakes and wheels on the tender, and brakes on the locomotive:



I've also remembered why I left off the tender toolbox- it's so that I can paint and line (!) it separately, rather than in situ. That's a remarkable amount of forward thinking for me...


Friday 30 August 2013

A little more catching up...

A little more of what I've been up to...


The last progress report on the Y14 was that the chassis had been dismantled, and the wheels repainted and lined. Now it is time to start putting things back together. First, I decided to make the pick-up mounting plates demountable :-)

This requires soldering some captive nuts to the frame spacers for them to be mounted on:

The painted coupling rods can also be seen in the background. Together with brass ends to them, they look very smart. Or they will do until they are weathered into a proper working condition.

This is the chassis back together:

The DCC chip will slide into the smokebox, followed by the motor itself as it did when it was running on DC.

I can't remember what gauge guitar string I used for the original CSB wires. This time it's 14 gauge, which initial tests by the push of a finger indicate is not too far away from the truth. This time around, I've started a document on the computer to list the CSB wire weights used in all of my future locomotives...

The next step will be to fashion some pick-ups and solder them in place. Then I can see if it is a smoother runner than before I dismantled it!


Tuesday 13 August 2013

In passing...

...I mentioned the weathering that needs to be finished.  I realise that I haven't posted any pictures showing the current state of this.

The initial rather raw body colour has had a first coat of black wash over it, to bring up the detail.  It has also nicely toned down the brick red to a much more workaday colour.  This is actually now very similar to the prototype colour photo that I have been working from.  This is of an industrial saddle tank locomotive, working in an ironstone quarry.

At this point I'm happy with the basic colouring, and the next step is to work up all of the detailed weathering of different types of oil mark, rust, coal, etc, etc.  Plenty of reference photos will be called into play for this as well.

However in the meantime I'll be re-fitting the driving wheels to my Y14.  They've just had the red lining applied around the rim.  I was going to leave it off, and go for a road-dirt filthy look to cover the absence of the lining.  I changed my mind :-)

I must polish the ultramarine paint from the treads first though.  A much easier job to do with the wheels off the loco than on it.


A quart in a pint-pot

That's what it felt like after making the decision to change from DC to DCC control...

As I have a liking for small locomotives, fitting a DCC chip will always be a challenge, and even more so when the locomotive is virtually finished.  You may recall that my little L&Y Dapol Pug has transformed itself into an industrial locomotive (with the aid of a coat of brick-red paint) and was waiting only nameplates and a final weathering.

As befits this very ingeniously designed kit from High Level, the innards of the model are entirely packed with motor.  Additionally, due to the way that the build goes together, access to much of it is difficult without doing a partial "unbuild" to reach the interior components.  On the plus side, at least I had successfully wired up the loco for DC operation and knew that it ran reliably.  This is how the underside looked in DC mode:

There's not a huge amount of room in there to fit any type of DCC chip...

Fortunately help was at hand from other Scalefour Society members.  When I visited the Norfolk and Suffolk Area Group a couple of weeks ago, I took the Pug along with me.  I was helped enormously by NSAG member and DCC guru Nigel Cliffe who was present.  As he spends much time putting DCC into 2mm finescale locomotives, then the Pug gave acres of room in comparison.

Nigel suggested taking out one of the spacers used to mount the pickups and slipping a small DCC chip in under that.  His initial recommendation was for a CT DCX75, which is small enough to slip into the space.  I promptly ordered a couple of these.

I started work on the DCC conversion by taking out both of the spacers to make room for the chip to go in.  Because of the presence of the end of the compensation beam and various fixing screws, I couldn't quite slip the chip in under just one spacer.  However it did fit very neatly in place between the frames when both old spacers were removed:

To avoid any possible shorts, the chip itself has been wrapped in some plastic masking tape.  It's the little red package that has tucked neatly under the end of the compensation beam.  To make sure that it didn't dislodge when the Pug is in use, I used the tiniest amount of superglue to fix one end in place.  The thick red and black wires are the original ones to the motor from its DC days.  The very thin grey and orange wires that are just visible are the ones from the DCC chip to the motor.  These have been soldered to the motor wires (after cleaning up the old soldering gunk on the ends...) and covered in heatshrink tube.
I then installed the  replacement spacer to mount the pickups on.  This was slightly wider than the original ones, and was located centrally between the wheels.
I always have trouble with wires becoming detached whilst trying to solder pickups to the same piece of copper-clad, so I decided to create some positive location for these wires.  Using a fine drill (size didn't really matter in this case...) I drilled two small holes to take the ends of the red and black DCC wires.
The ends of the wires were then inserted to hold them in the correct place, and soldered securely.
From here it was just in to the home straight, which unfortunately for me always is a long and painful one...  I really am no good at fitting pickups on locomotives!  I can just about manage it, but they are a bit hit-and-miss.  The next "clean" build that I start on a locomotive is going to be and experiment with split frame collection...

With the aid of fine-nosed pliers, and a lot of patience, I designed and made the pair of three-dimensional wires that can be seen here.  They seem to fit well, and work effectively so far.

And that was it.  A successful DC to DCC conversion.  I hauled out my ZTC controller, connected it to six inches of test track and the Pug moved under its own steam.  It's a little jerky, which I think is the pickups needing to bed in.  The motor or wheels have not been touched during the conversion, so I shouldn't have disturbed those.  It could really do with a few minutes running on a circular test-track to loosen it up.  I'll have to see what sort of opportunity offers itself.

Many thanks to Nigel for all of his advice and confidence that this could be done.  Now to finish the weathering and put it safely to bed.


Monday 12 August 2013

Getting it all right...

Sounds familiar to you? 

Well, there's been something that has been nagging away at me ever since the GER tram locomotive was finished.  The Great Eastern experts that I know have been good enough not to point the error out to me, for which I thank them for avoiding relentless leg-pulling.  However SomethingHadToBeDone and last night I put the world to rights.

This is the locomotive as I previously left it:

And this is it this morning:
When I originally painted it, I was also painting the nameplates for my industrial Pug at the same time.  So I sploshed some black paint into the Y6's number plates, polished them back, and carried on with the weathering...  Forgetting until it was all finished that GER number plates are distinctively red as a background, and not black.
Of course, as all of the reference photos that I work from are in black and white, I didn't twig to it as I was going along...
Anyway, all it took to put matters right was some careful puddling of buffer beam vermillion into the plates last night and then leaving it overnight to set hard.  This morning, with the paint safely dry, I used a couple of small sanding blocks, first at 3200 grade, then at 4000 grade, to polish the paint from the brass and allow it to stand out.
Then of course the number plates stood out like a sore thumb (struck by a particularly large hammer...) compared to the weathered finish of the rest of the locomotive, so I used the same Citadel Miniatures black wash to tone them down slightly.
It's only a small change, but I'm really pleased with how it looks.  I now actually can declare the locomotive "finished"...

Saturday 15 June 2013

Things to learn about DCC: #38

If you notice that one wheel is wobbling sideways slightly when rotating, don't try and check it with a metal back-to-back gauge whilst it is still on the rolling road.

Because you will then remember that even though the power is off at the controller, the track is still live with 16V AC. And you will get a little crack and a spark when the circuit is shorted by the introduction of said gauge...

Ho hum, live and learn, etc.


Thursday 13 June 2013

Tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Well, it's been a while!  It's not that I haven't been doing any modelling at all.  It's merely that I've had a couple of other big things on the go, and the very little free time that I've had has not been devoted to posting about my own modelling.

However I'm now seeing light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel, and there will be more updates soon on progress on various modelling projects.

As a taster, here's a quick snap of my tram locomotive being run in on the rolling road. 

I set it up to start programming the various CV values (or finding out what the default values are) on the chip inside it.

In a surprising piece of pre-planning, I've actually set up a simple spreadsheet to record these.  Of course this will not just help with this locomotive, but others in future.  Now if only I'd made a note of what size motor it was *before* I put the top back on the locomotive...


Monday 4 March 2013

Shiny brass...

Currently spread out across my dining room table...


Last week 5522 Models took delivery of its first order from the etchers. Twenty sheets of shiny brass, containing an assortment of Midland, LMS, LNWR, and other components.

Now to work out what they all are!


Saturday 2 March 2013

Another round...

Part of the silence over the last couple of weeks has been working out exactly what I've done to my Beer & Buckjumpers thread over on the Scalefour Society Forum. When I last came to make an update, it wouldn't allow me to post any pictures as illustrations.

Thanks to some digging around by WebmasterRob, it appears that I've hit the limit in size of a single thread.

So over there I decided to reset the clock and get started again with Another Round. If you have a look over there, you'll see that it has started up in the On My Workbench ("OMWB") section. In the meantime, over here the modelling continues at Beer & BuckjumpersAnd there is quite a bit of modelling to catch up on, so I'm looking forward to it.


Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!

Friday 1 February 2013

Missenden choices...

Well, that's my choices sent off to Missenden for the Spring Weekend.  These were the available options:

  • 4mm Locomotive Kit construction (2 classes)       
  • 7mm Modelling
  • Painting and Lining
  • Trackwork
  • Baseboards, Scenery and Buildings
  • Weathering

First choice is Weathering, and second choice is Loco Building.  I could have chosen to go and start on yet another loco kit.  However I fancied something different and will be trying to make a dent into repairing and finishing these:


The aim is not just to wind up Tim Shackleton (the course tutor, but to bring these back to running condition, and the standard of finish of the last couple of wagons that I have shown.

Hope to see some of you there!


Sunday 27 January 2013


The Y14 tender is now making progress. I've just gone "ping!" with the first 0.6mm drill that I've broken since I purchased my Proxxon drill stand. However that is nothing more than I deserve as at the time I was pushing sideways on it to use it as a mill to cut out the coupling hook slot!

All that to save me digging out the pliers to adjust my piercing saw :-/

Lesson learned, and I've now done it properly. Here's the tender top (refered to by Chris correctly as "a big b*****d piece of brass" with the coal space cut back to the correct size, and the buffer beam in progress.

 And this is the old and new buffer beams tack-soldered together to enable me to drill through the coupling hook slot. Giving rise to the "ping" moment... You can also just see at the right hand side of the right buffer hole the pilot hole for the correctly placed buffers. They're off-location by quite a bit!

And finally the old and new buffer beams separated, cleaned up, and side by side for comparison:

Now back to the soldering iron!