However, when it came to finding a suitable kit that didn't go beyond my budget I found the choices some what limited and in most cases unappealing. So I decided to break my own rule and go for something big again.
I seriously considered the Scorpio 9F, as having built the BR Class 8 from the same stable, I felt it would be a good kit to build. However, I was inspired by Richard Lambert's incredible build of the Finney 7 Duchess on Western Thunder, and having always wanted a Duchess, I thought what the hell. That said, the Finney Kit is way beyond my budget so I plumped for what I belive is the next best in terms of design, quality, price and availability, namely Gladiator or David Andrews.
I don't think there is much to chose between David Andrews and Gladiator, and I believe the kits are almost (if not totally)identical. Mr Andrews is not taking orders at the moment, and in any case I thought that David Hill having recently taken on the Gladiator range deserved some support, so the kit was purchased from him at the Doncaster show. Here's what's in the box.
As well as the above, there is a selection of brass rod to complete the parts. A set of Slaters wheels were purchased at the show, and I'll be getting an ABC gearbox/motor later.
A contributor on here mentioned an issue with the cast firebox/ etched boiler boiler joint, and I discussed this with David before I purchased. David explained that he will be looking to modify the master to improve the casting, but I did not see it as a reason not to buy the kit, as I felt it could be easily overcome. Basically the diameter of the front ring of the castings is @ 3-4 mm too small. The boiler diameter checks out OK.
I wanted to deal with this asap, so decided to start with the body rather than the chassis. This shows the error.
I had an idea how to correct it, but first I needed to knock up the running plate cab and smokebox. Here's the running plate.
As can be seen, without the frames to bolt it to, it is quite flexible, so I made this simple cradle from chip wood before proceeding. I had a length of 1in by 3/4in chip wood, very straight and flat which I sawed into suitable lengths and glued together with PVA. I then ground out a recess for the boiler to drop below the running plate and bob's your uncle, a rigid flat surface on which to work.
After fitting the cab, I turned my attention to the firebox. It is a bit tight against the cab front, so I decided to widen it for a better fit, to avoid excessive filing to get it to fit. First I cut it in two halves by scoring along the centre line on the top with a scrawker and ruler. In each case, I then splayed the front "ring" to match the profile of the boiler. This was done by immersing the front few mm into boiling water to soften, and then gently easing to the curve with my fingers. I then made a fillet with 60 thou plastic card, glued into a "T" shape with plastic weld. When this was thoroughly dry, I epoxied it to one of the halves and a again set it aside to cure. Next I offered it up to the cab front as a template (with the cab/running plate on the wood cradle) and epoxied the the other half to the first. Here's what you get.
I also noted that the smokebox wrapper is slightly over long by about 2mm. See the gap behind the rivets at the rear. The edge should be just next to the rear row of rivets as at the front.
I'm jumping ahead here, but if you don't shorten it then it will overhang the steam pipe casting when it should be flush.
This is after correcting by removing 1.8mm from the rear edge so it sit back flush.
And with the three parts sitting on the running plate.
I'm happy that will all fix down nicely when epoxied/soldered, so I'm putting it to one side and making a start on the chassis. I don't want anything permanently fixed to the running plat until I know how it all sits on the frames. In any case there is a lot of detail to be added to the running plate before the boiler goes on. Here's the frames prepped up with the scale rule below just to give an idea of how long they are. At about 13 inches they must be the longest I've handled.
Edited by PAD, 11 July 2017 - 21:45 .