In this post I actually start to build the kit...
Folding the Body
The one job that was worrying me most of all (and probably delaying me starting work) was bending up the single etching that makes the loco sides and roof. Logically this semed like the place to start construction, so at least I would get what seemed to be the worst job over and done with very early in the build.
I'd built up some confidence (and tools) with the two wagon kits that I built as 'practice'. In particular I'd found that my solder sucker was a nice convenient diameter for rolling 2mm scale roofs. I'd also figured out a way to create some "poor man's bending bars" without shelling out any extra money. I did this by using two ground steel parallels clamped together using a couple of toolmaker's clamps plus the thick part of an engineer's square to bend the metal over. Parallels and clamps are the kind of stuff that tends to accumulate in my workshop on the grounds that it will come in useful one day. The parallels are something that I made myself on a workshop experience session when I was a student. The clamps were bought at a show many moons ago from Shestos or Squires. The photo below shows these tools (without the loco because I took this photo yesterday just for this posting).
It took some thought to figure out the best sequence to do the rolling and folding. In the end I did it in the following order:-
- Roll the roof around the solder sucker and then gently increase the radius using my fingers until it matched the etched bulkheads.
- Clamp a body side in the bending bars at cantrail level and then make the cantrail bend by using the thick part of an engineer's square to fold the roof over, lining up by sight against the bulkhead. Do the same for the other side.
- Clamp the lower part of the body side in the bending bars and make the slight fold needed at the waistline.
I then checked the final result by putting in on a glass sheet and manually trued up any twist that had crept in. The folded body looked like this
Getting Ready for the Cabs
The cabs are rather a long story, but I think they are crucial to the 'look' of the front end of the loco which is by far the most important thing in getting an end result that looks right. As a result, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to figure out the shape of the real thing and get this part of the model as 'right' as I could.
This was the first point at which I started to depart from the kit. First of all, I wasn't 100% sure how the kit was intended to be assembled - should the ends fit between the sides or vice-versa? Having measured the bulkheads, nose ends and the backing etches for the nose I concluded that they were all of the same width so the ends were intended to be fitted between the sides.
The published drawings all agree that the sides of the loco taper inwards from the cab doors to the nose ends - presumably to give better clearances on tight curves. This was also pretty clear from some of the photos, but it seems that the kit assumes that the sides stay parallel all the way to the nose, making the nose too wide.
On the next point I am less certain, but my reading of the photos is that the sides of the nose ends are vertical and not sloped as per the kit. This then begs the question of whether the part of the main sides below the waistline are vertical or sloped inwards. My judgement (based on comparing the alignment of the handrails with those of the sides of the nose) is that there is a slight inwards slope to the lower sides, but less than the slope found on the bulkheads in the kit. If I'm right then there must have been a slight twist in the cab sides to give a smooth transition from the main sides to the nose end.
Back to the kitâ€¦ I don't yet have the chassis that I'm intending to fit but wanted to have some rigidity in the body so decided to fit a couple of bulkheads anyway. These were soldered in level with the ends of the main roof - this is not prototypical but gives maximum rigidity to the cab area during the next operations. I added some 5 thou nickel silver shims between the bottom of each bulkhead and the loco sides to reduce the inwards taper of the main part of the body below the waistline.
In the next installment I will cover the construction of the cabs.