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Shiny domes and safety valve covers

Mikkel

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Oooh… shiny! This is the dome belonging to SECR No. 592 on the Bluebell Railway….

 

 

 

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…and this was the dome on my ageing GWR Buffalo class loco, painted brass on a whitemetal casting. Not a very favourable comparison, and my loco crews were in uproar.

 

 

 

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It was time for drastic measures. The whitemetal dome was removed by drilling from underneath. The safety valve cover caused more trouble, and had to be sawn off and filed down.

 

 

 

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I bought some brass castings from Alan Gibson…

 

 

 

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…and polished them by hand, using progressively finer grades of wet and dry to get that shiny look (other methods are available). The mould lines can be tricky to get rid of, but as Gareth kindly pointed out, if you just keep at it they will eventually disappear.

 

 

 

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So here is my “Buffalo” after a good clean and sporting her new fittings. She could do with a new chimney and various other mods, but for the time being I’m happy with this.

 

 

 

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My 517 class loco got a similar treatment, although in this case the existing fittings were unpolished brass beneath the paint, and were fixed very firmly to the loco. So I had to rub down and polish the dome and safety valve “in situ”. A bit fiddly and not quite perfect, but at least I managed to avoid major damage to the paintwork.

 

 

 

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So that’s it, the new fittings are in place and the footplate men are content again…

 

 

 

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… and feeling slightly superior about the SECR’s approach to safety valve covers.

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18 Comments


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I'm impressed with your dedication, which would put most 19th century cleaners to shame.

 

I tend to use 'silver' paint, with just a touch of 'gold', when painting brass fittings - it gets a little closer to your 'look', without the elbow-grease

 

It also looks as though you have just re-rehabilitated the much-despised 'toy-like' Tri-ang 'Lord of the Isles' dome :)

 

Mike

 

PS - I hope that you have applied some sort of protective lacquer or you will have to do it all again in a few weeks time.

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Both loco's look extraordinary.

I like the pictures of both loco's.

Looking forward to see them in one of your "layouts".

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I'm impressed with your dedication, which would put most 19th century cleaners to shame.

 

I tend to use 'silver' paint, with just a touch of 'gold', when painting brass fittings - it gets a little closer to your 'look', without the elbow-grease

 

It also looks as though you have just re-rehabilitated the much-despised 'toy-like' Tri-ang 'Lord of the Isles' dome :)

 

Mike

 

PS - I hope that you have applied some sort of protective lacquer or you will have to do it all again in a few weeks time.

 

Hi Mike, well I was under pressure from the engine men! :-)  I haven't used any protective lacquer, I hope it will work out OK.  I've had locos with polished brass domes before,and my experience is that while they will darken over time, it does take a while and is not more than can be polished with a cloth and some of that elbow grease every now and then. 

 

 

Very nice - thank you for sharing.

 

Thanks Oz, I seem to have a lot of these small projects on the go at the moment, everything going at snail's pace at the moment.

 

 

Both loco's look extraordinary.

I like the pictures of both loco's.

Looking forward to see them in one of your "layouts".

 

Hi Job, glad you like them. I think the polished domes and saftey valves "lift" the locos visually.

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Nice work, definitely worth the effort. I can see a twinkle in the eye of your engine men.

Cheers John

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Hello Mike I've just made a chimney and dome for a project I'm working on and the dome was made with a steel washer for the base flange to which a section (about 5mm) of brass tube was soldered to then the top was filled and built up out of solder, then in a similar way to the method you've used to polish your dome after initially filling to shape I finished off with wet and dry too and although for this loco they will be eventually painted when first done it was so shiny that the steel, brass and solder seemed to merge into one making the chimney and dome look like brass castings. Here's a couple of pictures of the dome on this link

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/92190-steve-caledonian-work-bench-making-a-brace-of-scottish-4-4-0s/?p=2026219

 

Regards steve

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So does that mean you're going to buy some Brasso now ?

Nice to see your project completed on the Buffalo Mikkel and the 517, well worth the effort.

 

Grahame

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Big improvement Mikkel! For what it's worth, I spray a layer of Humbol gloss varnish on my fittings after polishing. My 517 is about 10 years old and the dome on that hasn't oxidised yet:-). I guess I'm just lazy and know I wouldn't keep the brass work shiny any other way!

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Nice work, definitely worth the effort. I can see a twinkle in the eye of your engine men.

Cheers John

 

Thanks John. The photo of the driver (the background has been blanked out) was actually an attempt to see if my HTC mobile phone camera is any good for macro shots, as my point and shoot camera has now finally broken down. It's OK, but not good enough I think. This is also why the loco shots appear a bit dark.

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Hello Mike I've just made a chimney and dome for a project I'm working on and the dome was made with a steel washer for the base flange to which a section (about 5mm) of brass tube was soldered to then the top was filled and built up out of solder, then in a similar way to the method you've used to polish your dome after initially filling to shape I finished off with wet and dry too and although for this loco they will be eventually painted when first done it was so shiny that the steel, brass and solder seemed to merge into one making the chimney and dome look like brass castings. Here's a couple of pictures of the dome on this link

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/92190-steve-caledonian-work-bench-making-a-brace-of-scottish-4-4-0s/?p=2026219

 

Regards steve

 

Hi Steve, I've just been reading up on your loco build threads. You are doing some amazing wizadry with that solder! If you told me those were one-piece castings I would easily have believed you.

 

 

So does that mean you're going to buy some Brasso now ? Nice to see your project completed on the Buffalo Mikkel and the 517, well worth the effort. Grahame

 

Hi Grahame, yes, about 50 liters of Brasso should do it :-) No I dare not, just a bit of fat from the elbows and other places around my waist where I conveniently have it stored!

 

 

Big improvement Mikkel! For what it's worth, I spray a layer of Humbol gloss varnish on my fittings after polishing. My 517 is about 10 years old and the dome on that hasn't oxidised yet:-). I guess I'm just lazy and know I wouldn't keep the brass work shiny any other way!

 

Thanks Dave! The wonderful gleaming domes on your tank locos have been at the back of my mind for some time and probably played a role in finally making me motivated to get this done. I had no idea they were varnished, it doesn't show at all.

 

I'm a little worried about adding gloss varnish in my case though, as I once had an unfortunate experience with that (the dome immediately developed a very dull sheen). Perhaps it was just bad luck, but I swore never to do it again :-)

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I'm inclined to agree with Mike, the domes will tarnish and in small sizes despite your best efforts you'll be polishing the green paint around the dome as well.

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Thanks for the advice Northroader. I'm getting a feeling that I have misunderstood something.

 

Here are a couple of domes that I have had in a spares box (not airtight) for a long time. The large one is from Martin Finney and I must have had it for around 10-11 years. I can't remember the origin of the other one, but I think it may be older. The smaller one could do with a polish, but other than that I don't mind the slightly darkened sheen that they have obtained.

 

I have been assuming that this is how my new domes and safety valves will "weather" over the years, but perhaps I am missing something?

 

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Mikkel,

Lovely work as usual, inspiring/embarrassing us to greater heights of modelling excellence. 

 

Your 517, where is it from?  (Please do not tell me that I have read the complete blog on how you built it and have commented on it- that is of course possible)

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It must be the purity of the air in the mountains?!?

 

Or the breath of us Vikings  :)

 

I'll leave my new domes and safety valves for 3-4 weeks and see how it goes. If they show signs of tarnishing I'll give them another polish and some varnish.

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Mikkel,

Lovely work as usual, inspiring/embarrassing us to greater heights of modelling excellence. 

 

Your 517, where is it from?  (Please do not tell me that I have read the complete blog on how you built it and have commented on it- that is of course possible)

 

Hi Chris. Many thanks. The 517 is an Alan Gibson kit that I bought almost finished secondhand many years ago. It came in primer and needed a little TLC and a paintjob. No. 835 is one of the few that were not rebuilt with inside bearings on the trailing axle. I have been thinking about rebuilding it with a roundtopped boiler, as that would make it more appropriate for a 1900s layout. In its current form it is not really correct for anything before ca. 1911 if I remember correctly.

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As I mentioned on the 1854 entry,  the brass castings make a big difference.

 

I'm surprised that neither the SE&C nor its antecedents bothered to shroud the Ramsbottom valves in the same way that, for example, the LSW and GE did, which would have prevented any possible tampering with the setting as well as directing stray steam away from the driver's vision.

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That made me read up on Ramsbottom valves and how they were tampered with, despite the designer's intentions to reduce tampering. You can't beat a human being!

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