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What big wheels you’ve got!





I reached something of an impasse at the end of my previous entry in this blog. Lots of problems to be addressed but no clear routes to solutions.


Possibly the most striking feature of the ‘Waverley’ class 4-4-0s was their wholly-exposed coupled driving wheels. I therefore felt strongly that this was an aspect that my model had to capture. Unfortunately, there seems to be no commercial source of 24 spoke, 7 foot-diameter driving wheels and, while I fantasised a little about building my own, I quickly realised that it was beyond my skills and the tools that I have available.


Then, looking at my Tri-ang ‘Lord of the Isles’ model, I suddenly realised that its driving wheels had the requisite 24 spokes! For once, however, Tri-ang had not made their driving wheels grossly under-size but they did have massive tyres and flanges, which offered scope for turning them down to somewhere near 7 feet. So, the next step was to buy some spare wheels (Hornby X275/X276) for only £1.90 a pair.


Not having a lathe, I mounted the wheels onto a spindle and fitted them in the chuck of my stand-mounted Dremel drill. I then used a variety of tools, including a diamond slitting disk fitted in another mini-drill, and an assortment of files, to reduce the size of the massive flanges. Even with a minimal flange, the overall diameter (including flanges) was still 30 mm, so I decided to remove the flanges altogether from the leading pair of drivers. With a long, rigid wheelbase, I felt that this would give the locomotive some chance of negotiating curves.




Another important reason for reducing the overall wheel diameter is that the coupled wheels are mounted very close together, so any excess size increases the minimum possible wheelbase, which I felt would be even more obvious than over-size wheels. After completely removing one set of flanges, I found that I could use a wheelbase of 31 mm, which I was prepared to accept as close enough in scale to the prototype’s 7’ 5”.


Nevertheless, this compromise meant that I had to redesign the inside frames, so as to provide extra clearance between the driving wheels. Since I had drawn the original frames with the Silhouette Studio software, it was easy to modify the details, without having to do a complete re-design. I feel that the revised frames do not ‘look’ appreciably different from the original frames shown in my previous post.




I ‘tacked’ the frames temporarily to the boiler assembly by means of Uhu adhesive and then checked that all the wheels could be fitted, without fouling each other. Now my model was beginning to look like a Broad Gauge locomotive.




I assessed the appearance from different angles and believe that it has captured much of the ‘character’ of the prototype, even though it is not a strictly accurate model




Finally, I set the part-finished model head-to-head with my model of the ‘Rover’ class 4-2-2. This comparison revealed that I need to make further adjustments to the boiler pitch and the frame height but, since nothing is fixed as yet, this will be easy to rectify.




Of course, I’m not completely out of the woods, yet. There is still the matter of those bicycle-like splashers, with their brass facings.


Even so, I am very pleased to have reached the current stage, which at one time seemed an impossible task for me. I find it rather inspiring to see this mid-19th century locomotive coming to reality on my work bench.



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Great stuff, Mike.


When you first posted that Waverley pic (in the context of proudly showing where the pins were in relation to the spokes), my first thought was "jeez, those splasher clearances are zero!".

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Thank you, Miss P.  As I said, I'm not out of the woods yet - those splashers are 'challenging' :)

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Ah! One step at a time has lot to be said for it in such circumstances!

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That's an important step forward Mike, nice work on those flanges.


As always, time is the modeller's friend: Leave something for a while and the solution will come :-)

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Very nice. 


Just a thought. Given that the triang wheels are cheap could another set be used to make the splashers ? Turn the flange right off, thin the tyre down and they might even have a bit of a lip on the inside when the plastic centre is removed. 

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Great work Mike. It's always good to see early locos being tackled. They're never easy but the effort is always worth it. Really enjoying this project!



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Many thanks for all your thoughts and encouragement :)  I'll bear your idea in mind as I think about the splashers, Dave.  Those wheels are so cheap that I may lay in a few, because there are many early prototypes where I could use them..

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Don't carried away, Paul (but many thanks!) - there's a long way to go yet.


One friend commented that it needs some Duraglit :)

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Dare I mention cranks and coupling rods?

As KH1 said "one step at a time" :)


These Gooch engines do have a strange 'gawky' look but, apparently, they worked well.  I think it will look better when I've (hopefully) sorted the splashers and adjusted the boiler pitch.

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Thank you, Chris.  I've just had an idea for the splashers, which I hope to be able to write about before too long :)

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