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At The Dawn of Time - Chapter the Second



In which the Author maketh a prosperous Journey towards Penydarren in South Wales - where he suffers a sudden Misfortune which leaves him stranded upon a remote Shore...


It has been some time since my initial post on this model  Part 1  when all seemed so promising.   Now, like a message sent in a bottle by a castaway washed up years later on a distant beach I suppose I should write up further developments with what is currently a stalled model.


After much internal debate I finally decided not to attempt a wooden cladding to the boiler, as painting and assembling the cladding round the boiler and the valve gear and gubbins round the cladding just all seemed too much.


Slowly but steadily good progress was made. Yes - I managed to stick the cross-saddled holding the axles in the wrong place and had to remove them and reposition. The carcase of the model was spray-painted matt off-black (Games Workshop Chaos Black from a big aerosol can) as were quite a few of the valve gear and drive components. I was careful to assemble everything so that it would move where it was supposed to move , although the meshing of the gears isn't quite perfect - as can be seen here - and it isn't really free turning in one direction











The crosshead moves reasonably freely , even after painting - as a railway modeller I set about making sure everything slid as freely as I could , and gear teeth were checked over to ease any meshing difficulties. The wheels were on, the motion more or less erected....things turned, fine in one direction, not quite so fine in the other, and I was still harbouring hopes of ultimate motorisation ,once I had finally got my head around what Airfix envisaged happening underneath the plastic stand. A motor was supposed to be fitted there, along with a battery - and presumably a switch as well - and I think this was supposed to drive something and thereby turn one of the wheels , so that the motion moved . Effectively the locomotive would work backwards - the wheels driving the motion.


The display base itself was built up, though I'm not quite sure if the stand mounts would hold the loco perfectly level , or so that the wheel would be in contact with whatever's turning underneath. (There's a slot in the base , where this would have protruded, and come in contact with the rim of one of the wheels.)


But still - so far , so good, or reasonably so , and all the problems looked as if they might ultimately be resolvable with a little thought, care and ingenuity.


Then I added the big flywheel and - disaster!


I tried turning the drive train. It was very stiff. I pushed a little harder - and the great flywheel sheered off.....


Somehow the shaft at the back had become  stuck to the bearing when I added the flywheel (presumably solvent got where it should not have been) - and the simply twisted off and sheered at the bearing as I pressed. The damaged area is visible on the bearing bracket at the rear of the boiler.


I tried to drill out the shaft end to take a short piece of brass handrail wire to pin the flywheel back on - but couldn't drill centrally


The only thing I can now see to do is to melt  a short length of 0.45" brass wire into the end of the shaft from above (i.e. the side) , and drill a hole to take it into the centre of the flywheel. A (very small) drop of superglue would then be used so that the wire would "pin" the flywheel to the shaft.


I suppose I could just glue the flywheel in place and abandon all hope of a working model. But having taken quite a lot of trouble to build the kit with moving parts that actually move I'm very reluctant to do this.


Woe is me! The poor mechanical trilobite has been consigned to the shoe box for some months while I get on with other projects that I haven't broken (yet)




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I went along to the Trevithick bicentenary exhibition in Merthyr: marvellous full size working replicas of Trevithick’s loco, steam bus, etc. Marvellous, but very poor turnout by the  townsfolk. And for a incredibly important remembrance of Merthyr, and the world’s, history. All the best with this, looks just the ticket. Dai Davies (ex Merthyr)

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Ah, fond memories. 


Those historic series airfix kits were part of my youth. From memory the motorising kit was separate and drove a small wheel with a rubber band for friction onto the main wheel. It was the same  motorising kit for the beam engine and the petrol engine. 


Mine didn't go round very well either........ 

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