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A Quick Diversion



Partly from frustration and partly because I like to see things move I decided I wanted to do a little project that was going to be reasonably quick to get to a stage were I could run a loco. About 2 weeks ago, at Expo EM I purchased an unbuilt Wills Finecast kit of an 1804 GWR Saddle tank, last week at Railex I also obtained the etched nickel silver chassis from SE Finecast and some Gibson wheels for it. So on Friday evening I decided to make the chassis. These Finecast etched chassis go together really quickly and using my Avonside jig made a nice square chassis in no time at all, a Comet GB1 50:1 gearbox and a Mashima 1620 mated to t made up the power plant. So on Saturday morning I sprayed the chassis with etch primer and left for 24 hours. Meanwhile Saturday evening gave me a chance to start on the body. So far all was going I might have my running chassis in time to test run it at our club evening on Wednesday.


Sadly Sunday did not go to plan and I had no time until the evening to touch it again. Still I managed to paint the chassis at least and solder a few more bits on the body. I like to only fit Gibson wheels once if I can, so wanted to paint the chassis before fitting the wheels for the first time. Monday evening was spent adding the wheels, making the motor fit and working on reaming the rods out to take the Gibson crank pins. Only a few hours, so it has motor and wheels fitted, rods on one side ready but not finished on the other.




Maybe I will get time tomorrow to do the rods on the other side and add the pickups, if not then the test run will have to wait another week. Still I did cheat and have run it with a 9volt PP9 battery and the rods loosely fitted, it seems to run acceptably, but the proof will not be known until the chassis is finished. I am a little nervous about the crankpins since I had to drill the wheels as the holes for the pins were missing. It would be easy to have one of the crank pins out of alignment and end up with a binding chassis.


The other interesting thing is what the prototype really is. It is not an 1804 Class saddle tank as it says on the box, nor is it really an 1854 which is what it was latter renamed to be. From looking at my copy of J H Russell I suspect it is really a variant of the 1701 class - maybe somebody out there knows for sure?


As a quickie project, for some nearly instant gratification, it is not looking too bad - of course finishing it is another matter

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I think you're right about the kit being based on something closer to a 1701, although I seem to remember a debate in one of the mags a long time ago about whether the cross-section shape of the tank was correct.

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I have a set of plans (Railway Modeller Sept 1963) for a GWR 1854 Saddle Tank drawn by CJ Freezer.  The leading paragraph of the text of the article says that it was drawn for Bob Wills so that he could make a kit of the 1854 Saddle Tank.  The drawing itself purports to be of no. 1751, the last to be converted to a pannier.


Hope this helps



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Not sure why it said 1804 Class on the box, probably a misprint for 1854. AFAIK there was no such class, 1801-12 being the last lot of the Wolverhampton 645/1501 classes which, through rebuilds, effectively became a single class. Forty-eight of these received Swindon S4 boilers and matching three-course tanks, so ended up looking very much like other similarly equipped classes. I can't see much in this model that would definitely say it couldn't be one of these.


However, as the models were later labelled 1854 and Ian has mentioned the drawing being No 1751, this seems a better bet. Why do you think it is a 1701 rather than an 1854? Yes, there were minor differences between different lots when built, but most acquired the S4 and three-course tanks well before WW1. As the RCTS volume notes when discussing the effects of the 1900 boiler pooling on the 1854s, "...class distinctions disappeared and only in minor details could the earlier "1813" class be distinguished from the later "2721" class, or, apart from valances, from the Wolverhampton "645" and "655" classes."



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Looking again I did something stupid when I checked in my copy of Russell and associated the wrong caption with the drawing, whoops. So I have ended up causing some confusion for nothing. Sorry about that.



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No need to apologise, Mark. Russell did that a few times as well...



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Nice to see one of these being built, Mark. It seems to be one of those kits which has been around for ages but that you don't see many of being actually built. Or maybe they were all built before the advent of the web :-)

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