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GWR Small Metro Tank (7) - Ready for Warley Exhibition!

Ian Smith


blog-0897659001416002470.jpgAfter a few trials and tribulations, I've done it!!! I've finally managed to scratch build a working locomotive in 2mm Finescale :sungum:


Since the last instalment, the sub assemblies have been primed with Halfords No 8 Self Etch Primer, the footplate sprayed with Precision Paints Indian Red. Before the buffer beams and footplate top were brush painted the pre-turned spring cups were super-glued in place behind the valances (the bond made more secure with 24 hour epoxy), and the assembly sprayed with Humbrol Satin Varnish. This was the first issue - the varnish dried very matt.


The bunker assembly and Boiler/Tank/Cab assembly were all spray painted with Cherry Paints Pre 1928 GWR Green. This is when the problems really started!!


The Cherry Paints green was quite unlike the Precision Paints Pre 1928 Green that I'd used on my saddle tank, so the whole of these two sub-assemblies were soaked in IPA for an hour or two (which is a really good paint stripper), and an old electric toothbrush used to take the model back to bare metal. Once the sub-assemblies were scrubbed clean and dried off the painting process was repeated with the contents of a very old tin of PP Pre'28 green. Before I did the black-work on the smokebox, tank tops and cab roof these assemblies were lined with Fox transfers GWR lining, and the handrails scraped back to the bare steel. The whole lot was then given a spray of Humbrol Satin Varnish. Guess what, this also dried with a very matt finish!!


Not being one to give up lightly, once everything had dried for a day, another batch of Humbrol Satin Varnish was loaded into the airbrush and everything given another coat - annoyingly this too has dried matt!!! I think another type of satin varnish needs to be purchased !!!


The buffer housings were re-drilled 0.8mm to clear out any paint that had strayed inside before the steel buffer heads and shanks were fitted and secured with super-glue from the tail end (which protrudes behind the rear of the buffer beams). The dome and safety valve casing were attached to the boiler with epoxy as were the tank fillers and the tool boxes on the tank tops. The whistles were fitted in pre-drilled holes in the cab roof and secured with a spot of super glue inside the cab.


The sub-assemblies were bolted together, and attached to the chassis. A test run revealed that what was once a lovely runner now didn't budge!!! :scared:


After what seemed like hours of frustration, the fault was eventually found to be the motor wire - I'd used a body fixing bolt that was too long at the smokebox end, and had effectively cut through the wire in the end of the motor :fool: . An order was quickly placed with Nigel Lawton for a replacement motor, and was luckily fulfilled in a couple of days. With the replacement motor fitted, the whole thing was reassembled (this time with a much shorter bolt into the smokebox) - once again the damn thing didn't run, so a couple of days were spent trying to get back to the smooth runner that I had a few weeks ago. This entailed removing the gearbox to ensure that the quartering was still good - it was. Taking the gearbox apart and reassembling it all again - it seemed that there was a slight bind in there somewhere which the small NL Midi Motor couldn't quite get past. Once it was all put back together again, it was put on the end of a mini-drill to run it in for a bit before everything was made whole again.


So after a few traumatic days, I now have a second engine that runs very nicely on my test track. The images below show her as she is at the minute.










There are a few things still to do :

Coal in the bunker

Crew in the cab (it also need a back head but I doubt that I will get that made before next weekend)

Brake gear (again I'm not in hurry to fit that)

The cab sides could do with being lined, but they are pretty small and the curve around the cab opening has put me off trying that just yet as I suspect I need to do that freehand.


Ideally, I would want her to have a bit of a sheen, so one day I will either try re-varnishing her, or she will have to have a complete strip back to bare metal and the whole painting/lining process repeated with hopefully a successful protective varnish.


Am I satisfied with my efforts (despite the problems encountered)? Yes, I'm absolutely delighted!! I've proved to myself that I can build a working locomotive in 2mm Finescale, and that will give the confidence to try some of the other models that I want for my branch line. Having now built 2 engines one with an Association etched chassis and one with a milled brass chassis, there is no doubt in my mind that for the engines that I want (which are predominantly small) that a home made milled brass chassis is the way to go. The saddle tank weighs in at 43g (with the Farish cast tank and footplate), the Metro tank is 39g (with lead in the bunker and side tanks), and in this scale loco weight is key. Happily, she will pull my train of 4/6 wheeled coaches without any sign of slipping.



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  • RMweb Gold

Looking lovely Ian! I've had similar problems myself with enamel varnishes either drying too matt, or too glossy. I now use Ronseal diamond glaze satin varnish mixed 50/50 with white spirit and sprayed through my airbrush. It doesn't seem to react with any underlying types of paint and consistently dries to a lovely, subtle oily sheen. I think the smallest size you can buy is 1litre which should last you a lifetime of 2mm locos!:-)


Well done on completing her, the greater the challenge, the greater the satisfaction at the end!



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Nice one Ian.


Having had 'issues' spraying Humbrol varnish, my usual recipe for a shiny finish is now Tamiya clear varnish (with Tamiya thinners). The only problem is that it seems to react badly if I use Microscale decal fixing products beforehand.


Other folks recommend Johnson's Klear. I don't think this is available as a household product any more but I do know where it can be had in small quantities for model paintwork purposes.


Regards, Andy

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  • RMweb Gold

Just beautiful Ian. I see you have discovered the reason I take so long to paint my locos - they go from sweet runners in the bare metal to dogs that require hours of fettling once decorated! There must be a law governing that principal:-))


I look forward to seeing her have a run on Highbury next weekend.



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  • RMweb Gold

Congratulations on another exquisite job, Ian. Must be a real relief after those sudden running problems. With the 4-wheelers it will be quite a sight.


I see what you mean about the matt finish, although I don't know whether it's at all visible from normal viewing distance in 2mm scale? (we simply don't have 2mm kit builders here, so I very rarely see such gems in real life).



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Very nice Ian, no wonder you're delighted - so you should be!


Bin that Humbrol varnish now - horrible stuff! Ronseal, as Dave says, is excellent, and I've also had brilliant results with Windsor & Newton Galeria acrylic varnishes (sprayed the matt is dead matt) over enamel. As long as it's given time to cure properly, enamel weathering over the top causes no problems either.

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Excellent work, Ian. After watching its development in your previous entries, it's really good to see the Metro completed.


I know it won't be easy, but I'd encourage you to have a go at lining the cab side sheets as, to me, the lining looks a little unbalanced at present. A much easier addition would be to paint the tops of the springs black. I'm not sure about the tops of sandboxes on the running plate. Comparison with the treatment of splashers and springs might argue for black, though it's difficult to tell from photos -- some, at least appear to have black edging. However, what I do wonder about is the red toolboxes. I think there may be an argument for those mounted on the running plate being red but, somehow, red boxes on top of the tanks looks odd to me. That said, I have seen a photo of a 517 in which the tank top toolboxes appeared to have black edging.



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