After completing the main structure of No.184, I have been adding a number of rather awkward parts, in order to complete the 'brasswork'. This is the last chance to show the model, before adulterating it with white metal and plastic components, and then seeing everything disappear under a coat of grey primer!
The fitting of these additional parts is difficult on a locomotiive with lots of flowing curves that are hard to measure accurately. My method has been to make paper templates, cut out by a process of 'trial and error'.
First off were the splasher tops, which I tucked under the footplate in front of and behind each wheel arch. Fitting these around the cab sides was particularly awkward but, once the paper parts had all been marked out, it was then easy to transfer the measurements to brass sheet.
I found that 'Cornwall Model Boats' supply assorted packs of thin brass sheet in 1, 2, 3,and 5 thou thicknesses. (their website is worth a look, as they have many items potentially useful for railway models) I used the thickest of these sheets (5 thou - 0.125 mm) for both splasher tops and footplating, while the others have been used for various small 'finishing' jobs,
I was pleasantly surprised to see that very little 'filling' was needed between the splashers and the boiler - the gaps had looked much larger when the wheel arches were 'open'. At the same time, I didn't experience any problems with wheel clearances, so this part of the construction went very smoothly.
The next step was to add the curved footplating. I first filled the curves behind the cosmetic outside frames with 'Milliput' putty and then, once again, used paper strips, laid over the curves, onto which I marked the positions for cut outs, to accomodate the splasher fronts and cab sides. After transferring the pattern to 5 thou brass sheeting, and cutting it out with a scalpel, I used super glue to fix the sheets in position on each side of the engine. I started to lay the sheeting at the front end of the chassis, pressing it down firmly, to follow the curves over the driving axles, and ensuring a straight edge, overlapping the cosmetic outside frames.
The join between the raised top of the firebox and the boiler was my final problem, which I wrestled with for some time! I first fitted boiler bands in front of and behind the area where the parts needed to be joined. I used jewellers' snips to make several short cuts into the leading edge of the firebox, where it is raised above the boiler, and then carefully folded these down to make the curved joining fillet. Finally, I cut a sliver of 1 thou brass shim to cover over the curved 'fingers' that I had made with the snips. It is not perfect but I hope that it will be adequate, one it has been painted. I added the other boiler bands, once the boiler and firebox had been joined together.
In some places, the side frames, formed by folding the sides of the main platform, were deeper than the cosmetic outside frames. I found it helpful to make a series of snips along the excess depth before using a sanding drum on my mini-drill to trim off the excess (10 thou thickness) metal.
So far, everything seems to fit and the chassis rolls freely, so here is a last look at the structure in its shiny brass finish:
There's still quite a long way to go but I can now be confident that a 'rolling' model will be achieved In the first instance, I shall power it with my 2.500 gallon Dean tender but I have left plenty of space between the frames, with openings below the boiler, to accommodate a motor in due course.