I've been struggling for a while to think up a catchy title for this one. It was originally intended as a Christmas project which would obviously have been 'Deck the Halls' but I didn't actually get around to starting that soon so the moment was lost.
For old times sake, I waited until the loft was again at sub zero temperatures before testing the Hall on Taw Bridge. I wanted to check that the coupled wheels would negotiate crossovers successfully (they did) and that it could pull a train - in this case 4 Ultima Hawksworth coaches plus an old Farish Mark 1 with an 'N' gauge coupling on one end.
The chassis for this has been in the gloat box since I was part way through the Manor build and was originally intended for a second Manor but I rather hankered after a Hall. It took me a while to actually acquire a Hall for conversion - they seemed to be going for some tidy sums. In the end I managed to acquire this one on Ebay as a pile of bits, the previous owner having dismantled it to replace a traction tyre. This was ideal for my purposes since I was going to take the thing apart anyway, The only snag was that it was in GWR livery (and still is).
There's not a huge amount to say about the chassis build - it went together as per the instructions, albeit more slowly because I spent a lot more time fettling the gears and polishing the wheel treads given what I've learned since building the Manor.
Being not quite the intended loco sat on the chassis, there were a few bits of extra work. I had to make my own balance weights from brass sheet to suit the bigger wheels. The body also needs a few other bits cutting back - namely the clip that secures the front of the footplate to the Dapol chassis. I also needed to file away some plastic from the insides of the front corners of the firebox.
There is plenty more to do - conn rods and crossheads being fairly obviously missing just now. I also need to sort out the centre axle on the tender - the Dapol chassis has much deeper recesses for this axle than the others so the middle wheelset flops around too much and the tender is prone to derailing. Longer axles aren't an option because there is a limit to how much I'm going to risk bending the tender frames to fit the wheels.
Finally of course there's the question of nameplates and livery. I'm hopeful of salvaging the original paint job but time will tell on that score. Nameplates are a vexed question given that the 'N' Gauge society is currently unable to supply any nameplates and I have not been able to find another source.
A couple more photos from the loft test session