Finescaling a Hall - Part 2
The chassis is now pretty much done barring a few odds and ends like couplings and attention is now turning to the superstructure.
Again there is not much to say about the chassis build - it went together as per Nigel's comprehensive instructions... although I do prefer to get things running and tested at the earliest possible stage whereas the instructions save the installation of the worm until quite late in the day.
One part that did prove niggly this time was the brakegear etch. I don't know why but having had no problems with this part on the Manor, it caused the Hall's chassis to jam and it took quite a lot of trial and error and tweaking to get the coupling rods to stop hitting the brake blocks and finally discover that the back of one of the crankpins was also hitting one of the etched cosmetic springs.
I also discovered while trying to trace a squeaking noise that the front end of the footplate was sitting too low and the front splasher was fouling the driving wheel flanges so it was quite difficult to turn the leading axle by hand. Surprisingly this seemed to be having little effect on the running. This must be down to the chunky motor and the high gear ratio in the drive train. Anyway that issue has been sorted by adding in 15 thou of packing to raise the front end a little.
The wobbly middle tender axle seemed to be not too much of an issue when the Hall was tried on St Ruth. I was hoping to pad out the bearings somehow but having measured the pinpoint dimples I'm now less convinced that their depth is the main problem. They are most definitely bigger in diameter though, hence the extra play in the axle. Padding the bearings doesn't seem to be a very easy option and attempts so far have been unsuccessful. It has now had some 36SWG phosphor bronze springs added which should resolve the vertical play but not the fore and aft movement. We'll see how it goes.
Having done most of the chassis jobs I then immediately set about attacking the body. I was anxious to not allow myself the excuse of leaving the loco in its factory finish ad infinitum (i.e. like the Manor) and given that it said 'Great Western' in large letters on the tender side, it would have been very out of place on St Ruth.
Work on the body so far has included removing the Dapol etched plates - I was worried about this job but they pinged off with relatively little fuss when subjected to firm pressure parallel with the cab sides and applied to their top or bottom edges using a small screwdriver, the hope being that Dapol's glue was weak when subjected to shear forces (it worked anyway).
Another bit of uncharted territory was erasing the pre-1948 elements of the livery. Having read up on the subject, I tried using T-Cut. After over half an hour I'd only erased perhaps half of the Bristol coat of arms on one tender side so I gave this up as a bad job. It also left a very gloss finish and a 'ghost' where the printed crest had been. After trying white spirit and IPA on a cocktail stick with little discernable impact I finally resorted to more severe methods.
Some time back I'd managed to buy (probably by mistake) a pack of No. 15 Swann Morton blades. These are small things with a convex curve to their cutting edges. Sticking a new one of these in the scalpel and carefully dragging it across the lettering showed immediate progress and the finish left behind was not terribly different from the original Dapol finish. It's still taken a lot of time but I'm very pleased with the results. In some places I've also used some tiny strips of 1200 grit wet & dry to even out the finish. I've also attacked the firebox lining but have concentrated on trying to remove as much of the orange as possible, which has been tricky where the lining paint has slightly 'missed' the moulded band. I'm less worried about removing the black. There are also some very inaccessible bits of the rearmost band that I've left alone. Time will tell whether these come back to haunt me.
...Which reminds me... I still need to remove the buffer beam number.
The moulded handrails have been pulled away from most of the boiler. Some of the knobs popped out of their holes nicely, others snapped. I didn't have much choice here because one of the knobs had already snapped so I needed to gain some clearance to be able to fix that. I'm still not too happy with the size of the joggle on the left hand side of the smokebox but I'm not sure what can be done short of replacing the entire handrail which I don't want to do.
Finally the moulded coal has been cut out of the tender and the edges cleaned back to allow a real coal load to be added. I've taken this back flush with the insides of the tender moulding so a small strip of the original 'coal' remains but hopefully this will be covered up when the real coal is added.
A couple of photos in its current condition.