I've been making steady progress on the Sentinel. I'd initially started out this project with the intention of making a model of a BSC shunter with the backstory that it had been purchased by ECC, just like Denise. However the more it progressed, the more I thought it'd probably be better to just make a model of Denise herself. Fiction is, after all, only so satisfying.
While studying photos of the prototype, I noticed I'd made a boo-boo:
Can you see it?
It turns out that the short nose of Hornby's Sentinel is more accurate for the rod drive version, but that most chain drive Sentinels (Denise included) had a slightly different hood. Instead of a filler cap on the top and grab handles on the sides, there were folding access doors along the top, and a small vent on one side. So my nicely painted short nose went for a swim in the isopropyl alcohol, and once it was stripped I set about making the requisite changes.
I wasn't entirely happy with the thickness of the styrene strips, so after taking this photo I set about thinning them down a bit before paint. I also filled the small rectangular indents, two in the front and one in the side. Here's the end result:
I also decided to paint the inside edge of the windows black to disguise the thickness of the plastic, and while I was there I also painted the steel gasket around the sliding window silver:
Once I'd decided to commit to building a model of Denise, I removed the side handrail panels, and cut off the mounting lugs. The lugs were then re-inserted into the holes to plug them, and topped off with some superglue.
I set this aside to dry, with the intention of returning to it later to sand it smooth. As you can see, I'm only part way through painting the buffers, hooks, and lifting eyes black - this is extremely fiddly work that is best taken in stages!
With this done, I removed the exterior brake arm (not present on Denise), and while I had the chassis in hand comparing it to photos, it occurred to me that the axle journals are not as prominent on the model as they are on the real thing. This got me started investigating why this might be, and it turns out that Hornby made a couple of mistakes on this model. The first is that the frames are too far inboard, which places the entire journal and spring pack assembly further inboard. The second is that the axle journals themselves don't poke out quite far enough. On the real thing, the journal caps are almost flush with the valances.
This was going to be fairly tricky to fix...
The first thing I did was to carefully pry out the cosmetic frames from the chassis, and then even more carefully slice the axle journal caps off. These were then superglued to a square of 1mm thick styrene sheet. Once this had dried, I set about cutting and sanding the styrene to match the circumference of the journal caps, and the finished journals were superglued back onto the frames:
The next thing I needed to do was figure out how to re-mount the frames in the correct position. They are supposed to be in-line with the back plate of the step well, as on the prototype this is a single piece of steel plate running front to back. I decided to use a styrene sheet spacer that would take the place of the original frames, and act as a gluing surface.
These spacers were then superglued in place into the chassis:
I cut away the ends of the frames after the notch so that they would fit between the sand boxes, and removed the mounting lugs:
It was then a fairly straightforward process of gluing them onto the spacers:
I now need to do some touch-ups to the paint, but the end result is much better and really captures the "chunky axles" look of the prototype. I couldn't resist plonking the body on the chassis to get an idea of the overall look:
Starting to really look like Denise now! I'm really happy with how the axle journals came out, they're just under flush with the valances, which as far as I can tell, is about as prototypical as it gets.
Obviously I will now need to fabricate some wire handrails for the sides, for which I will have to buy some brass components. I'll need to make a vac tank to go on the RHS of the engine hood, and the more I look at it, the more I get the impression that Hornby's air intake is inaccurate, so I'll probably have to pull that and scratch build a prototypical one. Photo etched windscreen wipers arrived from Shawplan to replace the one that fell off, as well as laser cut glazing. My Sentinel and wasp stripe decals also arrived from Railtec. Once the transfers are set in place, any minor paint imperfections will be touched up, and then the whole thing will be set with Testors dullcote. Which reminds me, I need to pick up some gloss and dull for the decals.
Once all that stuff is done, I'll have a "clean" Denise, so then it'll be on to the weathering! That's when this thing is really going to come to life, the weathering will dramatically change the appearance. For now though I've got a fair bit more work to do before I'm at that stage, so expect Episode 3 soon.