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Clan Line - P4ing the Merchant Navy

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The Fatadder


This project has been on the go for a rather long time...


It started off with the purchase of a Hornby Clan Line body off ebay a couple of years back, the intention to use it along with an etched chassis to model Clan Line in its preserved condition to add a loco to power my VSOE rake.

Unfortunately as I found out in the days following buying the body, such a chassis kit didnt exist. A Tender was added about a year later (purchased by mistake for another long term steam project (Tangmere), only to find out that it wasnt the right design but did match Clan Line (still need to buy a new Tender for Tangmere...)


And that was it for a couple of years until I saw a Hornby Merchant Navy chassis listed on the old version of RMWeb, having brought that I set about stripping it down to fit components intended for Tangmere (whos etched chassis is a long long way down the todo list these days), with the loco completely striped down I then realised that the wheels I had for Tangmere have imperial axles and were no use for Clan Line, so other than P4ing the tender and putting most of the chassis bits in a box, not a lot was done.


Cue another years gap until Warley yesterday, Whenever I saw Gibson at a show I either didnt think of Clan Line, or didnt want to waste limited spending money on wheels for a loco I dont really need. However yesterday a combination of some left over spending money, and the desire to work on something a bit different to the usual P4 rewheel jobs saw me finally buy the bits that were required.


Annoyingly I have left the box containing most of the parts for the front & rear 'bits' along with the body and the spring unit for the rear driving wheel back in Devon (thankfully I'm due down there at the weekend so can collect it!) But I was able to get on with the other two driving wheels, these have been fitted with the Hornby gear/bearings and quatered before dropping into the chassis for safe keeping. I have also added the rear driver into its slot for the time being.


The rear non driving axle was removed earlier in the year, and I now have the correct sized wheel to replace it with, this bits going to need more work though as I want to try and get rid of the huge gap above it! half tempted to see if there is some way to spring it as well (maybe a bill bedford unit bodged to fit the available space)


with the front bogie, I'd prefer to replace it with an etched one if I can find one.


I am going to fit a plasticard layer to each side of the main frames to get them to the prototypical width (along with realigning breakgear and the suspension springs.) This does need a little more research to find the old thread that mentioned what size to use...


The tender needs some minor work doing to the top to add the changes made to it in preservation, and will also get a new chassis with some form of compensation/springing


Finally the con rods, again on the lookout for a supplier of something a bit finer to replace the Hornby stuff with, particularly as a few parts have got slightly bent.


Will hopefully bring along a powered chassis to DRAG on monday to give it a bit of a test. I was thinking it would be a good idea to make sure it runs with just the drivers (and maybe the rear trailing axle) to make sure it runs properly before I start messing about trying to rebuild all of the con rods etc.

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Um. A chassis kit does actually exist. It's the one by PDK from their Rebuilt Merchant Navy kit, which Dave & Sheila King have shown willingness to quote for separately. I bought two.


The fold-up chassis includes the Kemilway-style rocking cradles for compensation, but there's nothing stopping you from installing your own preferred system. You will have to provide your own P4 spacers, but since the Bulleid Pacifics had a chassis width of about 3'3" anyway, maybe EM ones would be technically more appropriate!


The PDK valve gear is a bit rudimentary, but Bill Bedford does a "Rebuilt MN" valve gear etch which looks a lot better.

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Thanks for that,

for now will keep going with the Hornby block I have (given that I already have it and the wheels, and I suspect that the latter wouldnt be suitable with the pdk kit given how most etched kits seem to be designed for imperial axles.


Of course if this does prove to be a complete failure running wise I will certainly go and have another look!


Will go and order a set of the Rebuilt MN valve gear from Bill Bedford now I think.....

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