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The Johnster

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About The Johnster

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  • Location
    The mean streets of inner-city Cardiff
  • Interests
    Railways of course, especially those of South Wales, Photography when I can get out to do it, Latin American percussion, beer, ranting about stuff that winds me up and being a miserable old git.

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  1. This afternoon's correspondence has committed me to another 3 locos at least, 6762 and a topfeedless example of 57xx and one of 8750. O, well, what a shame, eh...
  2. Ah, I see, sorry, bit slow on the uptake on Mondays (and any other day with a y in it). No, I want to keep my 2721 as 2761. This is as you know a worked up Hornby and it's body tooling has the splashers correctly incorrectly (if you see what I mean) positioned for the incorrect Triang Hornby generic Jinty chassis it was originally designed for and which makes it unsuitable for use with a correct (for a JInty/1F, but not for a 2721 or 57xx) Bachmann Jinty/1F chassis. I have seen details of them re-chassised with correct Bachmann 57xx mechs that are incorrect for this model as the wheel/splasher relationship is not right, nor is the fishbelly coupling rod, and as my (recent production) Hornby chassis runs sweetly enough and there are irresolvable skirt and tank pitch issues with this model, I'll keep her as is for an occasional outing on the workman's or a quick clearance trip to relieve her crew's boredom at Control's behest to break the monotony of pilot work at Tondu. Despite her undeniable shortcomings and probably having been a bag of nails with the ride qualities of an iron mangle hated by everyone at Tondu post 1948, I'm rather fond of the old lady... She has no topfeed, of course, the genesis of your cunning plan, and 2761 in her final guise has been photographed to prove she had no top feed, at least not as withdrawn from Tondu in May 1950. Don't anyone take that as confirmation that she never had a boiler with a top feed, though, as however unlikely I consider it she may have carried a top feed boiler previously; some 2721s did. Her last overhaul was at Caerphilly between 1942-5 (the photo is at Swindon Works reception sidings August 1950 and shows her in austerity black with 'grotesque' G W R initials, signifying a Caerphilly job in that time frame) so she's more back story than I know about in pannier guise. The 1854 was going to be 1730, withdrawn on 31/6/48 and pushing the period envelope a bit, in that I doubt she saw much action in 1948, but Rail UK list 1870 as xfer from STJ, date unknown, but not withdrawn from Tondu until 31/10/50, a lot more 'viable'. I need to try to find out if she had a 57xx type cab; as 2761 is already in service with a half cab I wouldn't mind that, but whoever put her body together made a very neat job and she deserves a proper chassis. The existing one is probably beyond saving and crude by modern standards. This loco also has no top feed, but I really would like some 57xx/8750s without top feed. There's also 6762, a steam brake only 6750 variant 8750, new to Tondu 11/48 and at the shed until xfer to Swansea East Dock, a more likely location for a loco with no vacuum brake, 10/59, a long stay by Tondu standards. My quest for biodiversity requires yet another pannier, but I reckon it's a pretty safe bet that a loco built in 1948 carried a top feed until at least 1955... She's a bit of a mystery, though; why allocate her new to Tondu. Pilot work is the obvious answer, but having a loco not available for passenger work in 1948, when it was still all loco hauled at Tondu seems an unnecessary restriction and there can't, surely, have been a job that specifically required a steam brake only loco at the shed. These and the 67xx tended to gravitate towards dock or yard shunting work; doesn't sound much like Tondu to me! But there she was just the same, for 11 years and at least one overhaul! So, I'll do my Bachmann 57xx/8750 top feed removals the hard way, with a bit of cutting, a good deal of filing and sanding down, probably some filling, and a lot of bad language. Looking forward to the results rather than the work... You can't have too many panniers, you know. They're not all the same, honest!!!
  3. You bad man, ian, you have aroused my interest with another kind offer. I'd planned to leave the 'no top feed' project til after the 94xx (May 2020, allegedly) and use the 57xx chassis currently under the Limbach 94xx that was the result of another of your kind offers. There is a photo of my 2721, 2761 withdrawn in May 1950 on the reception roads at Swindon in the August, which shows that that loco carried a top feed, I also have a Wills 1854 without a top feed needing a new chassis, courtesy of more kindness this time from Philou, but that is probably 18 months away at least. If I could request your forbearance on the matter of 57xx/8750 bodies until after the 94xx turns up, I would be most grateful; give it to me now and there is the temptation of buying another chassis off 'Bay... This would also have the advantage of giving me time to try and research suitable candidates for a topfeedectomy. Ideally I would ultimately want a topfeedless 57xx and an 8750, far too many locos for my timetable. We don't know any modellers who have too many locos, do we!
  4. The Johnster


    Ecky Thump but that's a cracking little layout, sir!
  5. Modern production and marketing (and I'm not claiming any expertise beyond an economics O level) lends itself to production in runs with the bare minimum of parts required for cost effectiveness, so none are available as surplus for spares to hold in stock; holding stock of anything is costly and discouraged anyway. The models are reliable in general most of the time, but once they are out of warranty the idea is that there are no serviceable parts inside and you buy a complete new one and give the old one an exciting new career opportunity in the landfill business, or get rid on 'Bay if you are less worried by that sort of thing. So, holding stocks of spares or having people employed to repair models costs more than it does to simply replace the model under warranty or for you to buy a new one when the warranty expires. This does not chime well with modellers of my generation who are used to having the support of a spares department and the exploded diagram that comes in the box to order our own spares and do our own repairs, an experience that was a useful grounding when we came to build kits and not available to modern modellers. Loco repair is time consuming and hence often uneconomic if skilled hourly paid repairers are used, so there's not much market for them despite the high demand; costs cannot be reduced to a level that the market will accept, and some people do it for cost at shows for charity donations; this is not really an 'economic' activity and market rules do not apply to it. Split plastic or nylon gears result from several issues. The loco may have been heavily used or overloaded, a child may have attempted to push it along, wear may have allowed the gear to get out of alignment and jam, the plastic may have degraded and become brittle over time or exposure to sunlight, or chemically attacked by inappropriate lubrication, or something solid enough to cause damage to the gear may have got in there. Modern production, for steam outline at least, favours a return to 'traditional' worm and gear drives aboard the loco with nylon worms but brass cogs. These should have a very long service life and the worm will wear before the cog; you then replace the motor which will be on it's last legs by then anyway. This is another reason why you should not operate below the manufacturers minimum curve radius recommendation, as it will induce sideplay on the driven axle beyond the specified tolerance and increase wear on the worm. But many older models, including some still in production, will still have nylon spur drives and pancake motors, a result themselves of the desire to hide mechanisms so that correct daylight beneath boilers and detailed cabs could be featured, so the problem will be around for a while yet, with no easy solution. Perhaps there's an opening for the 3D printers here?
  6. And some of those are numerous and long-lived classes that covered a wide geographical range as well, Clive. No BRCW (kudos, Traing TT), and if you model the WR pre about 1974, a very popular period that yooda fort might be worth a punt from the manufacturers, but I don't know enough about marketing to comment, and Bachmann do (!), then the trade has never done much for your dmus beyond the 117, London and Bristol area (yes, I know they wandered a bit later) and not easily convertible to 116 for South Wales, Bristol, and West Midlands (not impossible, I've done it). LIma's 117 wasn't bad for the time, but it looks a bit crude nowadays and has to be kept meticulously clean and carefully driven to achieve smooth starts and stops. Their bubble car seems to have been an opportunistic response to a very large number of modellers who cut and shut their own. We now have a Baccy 117 in the pipeline, and 121/2 from Dapol. These have underframes common to the Swindon and Gloucester cross country 3 car, Scottish Swindon Inter-City and Ayrshire, various Derby 3 and 4 car suburban sets, and the 64' chassis Derby 2 car 114s, so it is possible that the situation may not be hopeless, either for future RTR or body kits for RTR chassis that might cut into yur list. I likes a good dmu, I does, especially in green livery with white cab roofs. But they are hardly the mother lode of RTR profitability and easy production with a seemingly infinite number of coach profiles requiring different toolings to attend to if you want to be as accurate as the modern market demands; many centre cars would need to be comparatively low volume production. Dmus are an area of very small but highly visually important detail differences in body profile and window profile, so you can't make a Gloucester cross country out of a Swindon one by having replaceable cabs, for instance, or a Swindon 4 car inter-city out of mk1s with B4 bogies. Trix had a go at this sort of thing with the Trans-Pennine, only actually producing one type of vehicle of a 5 car set of 5 different vehicles and padding it out with dmu liveried mk1s on incorrect Commonwealth bogies. They might've done better with a Clacton electric... Incidentally, you need 2 versions of Gloucester cross country 3 car as there were Buffet sets, and 2 varieties of centre car for Derby 3 car sets, TS & TC, not to mention 3 different cab fronts. No wonder manufacturers fight shy of them. And we all want the exact one appropriate to our period and area. Cost has always been an issue; how much do we reckon a current standard RTR Cardiff-Rhymney 116 6 car, one set with TS and one with TC, would set us back? Back in the day, when Triang were producing a trailer for their MetroCam and using a green suburban for their Southern Electric, and HD were doing the same for their North London emu, the marketing was very much that these coaches could be used to 'extend' or 'convert' your 2 car set to 3 or 4 car. Not sure how many people bothered, and Triang's MetroCam centre car was probably not a commercial success. It made sense in those days to pad multiple units out with loco hauled stock.
  7. He’ll try, and console himself with the fact that he can stop worrying about the money for a while...
  8. Couple of 8750s. 9649, just run in on the goods loop with a parcels for Remploy, was built 1946 and allocated new to Tondu. Livery is probably right; never seen a photo of her in those days to confirm, but that was the standard livery in ‘46. She’d have probably carried this GWR livery until about 1953. I’m also fairly confident about the top feed, standard on new build 8750s by 1946. BR ownership is confirmed by the red backed number plates. She also carries a BR smokebox number plate and shedcode, which cannot be seen in this photo. Sister 9681, I loco I remember well from her East Dock days, was new build to Tondu in 1949, by which time the unicycling lion had come out. She’s on a passenger which will leave in a few minutes; the leading coach is the recently built and not quite finished ‘ersatz’ C63! The loco and train have got themselves turned around; the usual valleys convention was smokebox first up the valley. I’m on the lookout for suitable Tondu prototype 57xx/8750s from my period without topfeeds. My best photos are of 5756 at Abergwynfi, the 57xx I have modelled, which clearly had topfeed in the mid 50s. But I’d like at least one pannier with no topfeed if only to prove to Bachmann that I refuse to succumb to their topfeed tyranny...
  9. Like Tony, I've been assuming a K's kit and am suspicious of the glued in motor. Why would anyone glue in a motor? The most likely answer is that it was impossible to achieve meshing with the screw fixing, and one has to now ask what might cause that. It's poor building at best as Tony says, but if the kit was built according to the instructions, and the motor correctly positioned, it should ensure correct meshing of the gears. Should doesn't necessarily mean did, though. There may have been an uneven surface on the top face of the chassis block where the motor rests which has led to this situation, or debris that got in between the motor and the block without the original modellers' being aware of it. Faced with this and unable to mesh, having done it according to the instructions, an inexperienced modeller may well have resorted to glueing the motor as a bodge, being afraid to mutilate the chassis block. It's not unlikely that this was partly and temporarily successful, and that the model ran, albeit badly, and eventually burned out it's motor, in this scenario. IIRC K's kits (the few I built anyway) had brass chassis blocks and went together well enough. If you are going to make a restoration project of it, you can do no better than to follow Tony's advice and completely rebuild the loco. Few people know more about what they are talking about than he does, and it could prove a satisfying, fun exercise in it's own right. It'll probably cost you a new motor and gears, and quite a bit of time, though...
  10. To my mind the best looking of FR liveries for both locos and coaches. But it coincides with my own days of volunteering on the railway and this may explain my fondness for it. It particularly suited the 'modern era' L & B inspired coaches. I find the current liveries a bit twee and gaudy, though I'm sure the tourists love 'em.
  11. The problem with sapient pearwood is what happens when the exhibition punters upset it. 'The feet, the horrible feet...'
  12. Both Carmarthen and Aberystwyth Manors worked that route. The GW's answer to the Cambrian's axle loadings pre-war was the 43xx and the Dukedogs; Manors were not particularly developed with that route in mind but became associated with it post war after some bridge improvements and the installation of the Aber triangle as RJS has said. Neath (Court Sart) shed had a couple in it's last years, and I have no idea what they were used for; the nearest blue routes were miles away.
  13. I've been giving a bit of thought to redesigning the fiddle yard for better use of the space and increased capacity. It has developed in a bit of an unplanned way, and the original 4 roads have been added to piecemeal; there are now 7. I think I can extend the length of at least 6 of them and possibly put in a new short road capable of taking an auto train. Another minor issue is that the current setup requires all trains to pass over a 3rd to 4th radius curved setrack turnout in the fiddle yard throat, and my Ratio 4 wheelers don't like it. The idea is to build a new baseboard to overcome the problems of the extensions and their joins. There's no precise plan yet, and the possibility of a sector plate or part sector plate, or of cassettes, needs to be investigated thoroughly before any work starts, but the current situation is not something I regard as set in stone and beyond developing. Watch this space, but don't hold your breath!
  14. I have one LNER CCT, in late pre-nationalisation livery heavily weathered, on a BLT layout of Code 100 Streamline and one setrack curved point in the fiddle yard. It runs ok, but I have no diamond crossings! Check the back to backs and sit the vans on a mirror to check that the chassis of all 3 are square and all wheels are level with each other; you've probably already done this.
  15. Peco Wonderfuls were a distinct cut above Hornby Dublo, with IIRC separate handbrake levers, brake shoes in line with the wheels, working springs, and sprung buffers; they’d stand up fairly well to modern RTR. As such, they were also an improvement on early Mainline and Airfix/GMR, and still run rings around Dapol. Triang’s were frankly toys and Lima, not bad as body toolings, were a moulded blobby joke below the solebars. And they had nicely pre-printed liveries. Anyone who could manage an Airfix plastic kit could manage one, though they were a little more complex.
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