I've recently made myself a promise not to start any new projects until I finish some of the part built, stalled projects. We will see how long that one lasts, but by way of a start on this new resolution I got my Mallard Models GWR Duke out of its box and have done a little work on it over the last week.
Although it may not look like it has progressed much, there has been a fair bit of fettling going on. I removed the pickups I had put on before, they were a little fragile and prone to get caught and short on the body. It now has much neater pickups made by winding some springy wire around a small diameter rod to create a spring. It means the pickups are very much shorter and less prone to getting in the way or moving around and creating shorts. The rear wheels have the pickups mounted on the underside of the frames, the front drivers on the top surface of the frames. They still need a little adjustment, and I managed to bend one so have a short again at the moment, but I think they will work out better than before.
I have also put some work into the balance, with lead added where possible and making the tender bear down on the loco to help move the balance aft. There is still some room in the firebox for some more lead, but I want to get some sheet lead to cut to profile rather than using the lead shot. I should be able to add about 5mm thickness of lead against the cab bulkhead - inside the firebox. Also by the time there is a white metal crew on the footplate I should have more weight to bring the balance back.
The dome and safety valve went on, the former being a large white metal lump that had an adverse effect on the previously mentioned balance. The cab roof was rolled and soldered on tonight, along with the ribs underneath and progress has been made on the tender with the addition of the axle boxes and some white metal castings since the loco last graced these pages. I have also put the steps in place, although I managed to melt part of one of the etched steps (middle tread overlays) with the RSU when I removed the probe before taking my foot of the peddle - actually I sneezed so it was not entirely my fault. There is still need for a considerable amount of cleaning up to remove some of the excess solder. Also the fall plate has been put in place and the ride height of the tender and loco is now much better.
I also found I am missing the tender tank vents, hopefully I'll be able to pick some up at Railex this weekend.
I've started to make up the cranks ready for the fitting of the rods, but I want to get the thing balanced better before I put the rods in place. Drive is to the rear axle via one of Chris Gibbon's very neat gearboxes. this means I can keep all the cab detail whilst keeping the gearbox between the frames and nothings shows below the frames. The motor is a Mashima 1020 mounted vertically in the firebox - not sure if this will ever be up to pulling much of a load - we shall see.
Still lots of little jobs to do, making up the last of the cranks, tank vents, smokebox dart, lance cock, more cab detailing, handrails, buffers, lamp irons, sand boxes, the list seems to go on forever and all that is before any thought of painting, transfers etc. Although my new resolution may not include painting as I might well go for a batch painting session or save up the models to take to Missenden and do the painting there under the expert's eyes!
[Edit - addition of the two later photos to illustrate what I was trying to describe]