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Found 25 results

  1. Several years ago there was a conversation at Scaleforum (you know the one, I suggested to Brassmasters that they should produce an Easichas kit for a Hornby J15, they said great, go on and do the artwork then), now there is a kit available for purchase. The kit follows the usual Easichas principles utilising the existing Hornby motor and drive and providing new fold-up side frames and hornblocks to give springing on all axles. The kit can be built to either EM or P4 gauge. Replacement coupling rods are provided and brake gear on both the locomotive and tender can be removed to allow the wheels to be dropped out. The result is a sweat, smooth running locomotive. For details including a view of the etches and instructions take a look at the Brassmasters' site at http://www.brassmasters.co.uk/J15_easichas.htm To celebrate I made a little video following the progress of the pickup goods as it shunts at Clare. It has been a fun process working with the Brassmasters' guys on my first Easichas kit. I hope that it gives some people the impetus to convert their Hornby locomotives to EM and P4. thanks David
  2. Over the last month PPD have been kept busy with a couple of projects. I've been helping my friends at Brassmasters with a potential EasiChas project. As I mentioned a couple of months back the cab windows provided for the J17 in the PDK kit I'm building didn't seem to match the GERS drawing very well. I received the replacement etches from PPD and will see how they go together over the next week or so. The second project has been considerably more complex. Following on from the Easichas for the Hornby J15 i thought I'd try to apply the same principles to the Bachmann Ivatt 2MT. This is very much a work in progress and at this point I'm still at the 'can I get these bits to fit together well enough for me to keep going with the build and find the next set of problems with the etch?' stage. So far I have made the Easichas overlay fit and got the basic drive assembled. This utilizes the original chassis block, motor and gear tower. I've spotted several mistakes, mostly in the form of 'that hole needs moving by .5mm' but nothing too catastrophic. I over compensated for the lack of clearance between coupling and connecting rod so the cylinders, which are currently too far apart, can be moved back to a more scale spacing. I was quite pleased with the way the cross head folded up and soldered together. Using a similar principle to the brakes on my J15 these etchings can be tinned, concertinaed together and soldered up before removing from outer frame. There are some minor tweaks to make but not bad for a first attempt. The replacement tender chassis etch also folded up easily. Obviously I still have to assemble the valve gear, brakes, cylinders etc but it is coming along. Wish me luck as I make my second attempt of Walschaerts valve gear. This time I have will not have the advantage of etches from Dave Bradwell or his helpful advise on the Scalefour Forum. If this doesn't fit together I have only myself to blame! David
  3. When Hornby announced that they were producing a J15 I was very happy. A favourite locomotive read-to-run and an excuse to get a second to go along side my kit build model Alan Gibson. Edit 16/8/19 - Work on the J15 EasiChas has now made progress see later blog entry here https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/22523-j15-chassis-kit-design/ Initial inspection gave the impression of a nicely made model but the more I looked at it the more I felt disappointed. What on earth made them get the handrails so wrong! Instead of the handrail knobs sticking out of the boiler at the perpendicular they were horizontal. For no apparent reason someone had decided in the design process to add completely erroneous little mounting points on the boiler and then make the handrail knobs stick out of them horizontally. I can't even see a manufacturing reason for making this design choice, why would the boiler be easier/cheaper to make with the holes horizontal? It doesn't seem to be a mistake which has occurred on other similar models in the Hornby range. I just couldn't satisfy myself that 'it looked alright' and so the locomotive has sat in the drawer for over a year while I wondered what to do about it. The problem was how to re-drill the holes for the knobs in the right place and at the right angle in Mazak, which is horrible material to drill. I clearly needed some kind of jig, but it would have to be a complicated shape to hold a drill at the right angle. Using a combination of measurements from the works drawing which I had from the Gibson kit and measurements from the Hornby model I came up with a shape which could be bolted over the footplate which holds a brass tube at the correct angle. The opposite side of the jig is also angled so, when you put it on the bench the hole to drill is vertical. The two parts are held together by a pair of M4 bolts and the 3D printed material is strong yet soft enough not to damage the foot plate when clamped together. The original handrail was removed carefully and it was clear that it was a very nicely made unit. The knobs are pretty much scale and it can be reused as is. It took a little effort to pull it out from the boiler but a little bit of card to protect the boiler followed by using a scalpel blade as lever go it off without damaging either the rail or the boiler. Filing off the support 'bumps' was harder as several of them are quite near detail such as the washout plugs which you want to retain. The positioning along the boiler was done with a set of vernier calipers, measuring the distance from the front of the cab to the handrail hole and the subtracting half the width of the jig. Drilling was horrible. The Mazak is a very hard material and I only had some nasty cheap .5mm drill bits. After several hours (and several broken bits!) I swapped to a decent Carbon Steel .45 drill bit from Eileen's Emporium and things became much easier. The hole which I'd 3D printed in the jig for the drill was sleeved with a short length of 1mm external - .5mm internal tube. Once I'd drill the initial pilot hole the piece of brass tube was removed and the holes enlarged to .75mm to take the handrail knobs. A little bit of filling was required on the original holes. With the handrail back in place I've just brush painted a little black on to cover up the work, the finish is better than the photo makes it look but I'll get the airbrush out to tone things down and blend the finishes together a bit more once the chassis has been rewheeled. To my eyes the handrail just looks so much better and I'm very pleased that it is still horizontal and in the right position vertically. (it lines up with the one on the cab side) and the boiler looks better without the extra mounting points which never existed on the prototype. I've purchased a conversion set from Alan Gibson to rewheel to Scalefour, There is a good guide to this on the Alan Gibson site at http://www.alangibsonworkshop.com/Hornby%20J15%20Conversion.pdf I'm not sure at the moment whether I can bush out the crankpin holes or if I would be better of drawing up and etching a new set of rods. Don't expect any rapid progress, but at least now I have the handrails sorted I can feel it is worthwhile. David Footnote - I apologise to all of you who have Hornby J15s and have been trying to convince yourselves that the handrails are ok
  4. The prototype J15 had 15 spoke 4'11" wheels. Unfortunately the nearest available from Alan Gibson in a 4'11" 16 spoke wheel or a 4'7" 15 spoke. Gibson sells a pack of the 4'11" 16 spoke wheels with 2mm axles as a conversion set for the Hornby J15 (which has 2mm axles) and on reflection the 4'7" really does look noticeably too small to me. The Brassmasters' sprung hornblocks come available as 1/8" or 3mm bore so my decision to use the conversion pack wheels meant I also had to use Gibson's 1/8 to 2mm bushes (part # 4M68). These soldered into the Brassmasters' hornblocks without difficulty and were a good tight fit. The Gibson wheels were of the design which doesn't have the crankpin hole fully molded/drilled - you just get a small dimple. The chassis will only run smoothly if all the crankpins are vertical to the wheels and the same distance from the centre of the axle. This is something which is pretty hard to achieve with just a drill in a pin vice and not much easier with a pillar drill unless you make some kind of jig. The jig just consists of a stub to mount the wheel on, this needs to be sliding fit so slightly smaller than the final axle size and an arm which has a hole through which the crankpin hole can be drilled. Using a bit of square tube means that the drill has two points held in place and will therefore drill at the same angle each time. Not very original or pretty, but functional. The shim on the right supports the wheel on its flange rather than it being supported on the plastic boss. Having made the jig I got 6 wheels fitted with crankpins. They may not be perfect, but if they are all equally imperfect things should at least run! I managed to get the wheels, bearing, extra washes to reduce sideplay and the original Hornby drive gear into the GW wheel quartering press and squeezed together. This is always a job I loath and it seems to always have a high 'F' factor but to my amazement I ended up with only slightly wobbly wheels. I've got to say that this is one of my least favourite jobs in locomotive construction! The coupling rods assembled together nicely with the joint being made using little rivets from Markits. The final rod pivoted easily but had no play in the joint. With the wheels in the chassis the crankpin holes in the rods were opened up with a broach to be just a fit for the Gibson crankpin bushes and amazingly the rods slid onto the crankpins and aligned well. One of the advantages of this type of chassis design is that you can assemble the whole unit as a rolling chassis and check for binds before fitting back over the original chassis block. I'm afraid I lost count of the number of crankpin nuts I Iost on the floor! The unit fitted nicely over the chassis block and because the Hornby tender can work temporarily with just a set of P4 wheels dropped in I was able to provide pickup to the motor via the tender to test the chassis. There are a few corrections to be made to the etch, at the moment the frames foul the footplate at one end so the body won't fit on quite correctly but getting something to move under its own power is always good for the motivation. There is a little clip on Youtube at https://youtu.be/QbPApw3bIyQ David
  5. The second test etch for the Easichas for the Hornby J15 arrived via Brassmasters. Once again a superb etching job by PPD. Most of the mistakes from the first etch were corrected, though there are a couple of minor changes to be made based on actually putting this together. I've also been putting together the instructions and one of the other Brassmasters has been attempting to follow them! I'm really happy with the way the basic chassis goes together and very pleased with the fold-up brake gear design which makes the brake hangers and brake blocks very easy to assemble. The chassis, coupling rods and brake gear went together well, I need to allow a gnat's* more clearance between the brake shoes and the wheels but that is easily corrected on the etch. The half-etch detail parts for the brake pull rods worked well to. The tender chassis needs some changes but I was able to make these physically with a piecing saw and virtually on the CAD drawing so that at least I was able to put it together to track down any other problems. The main loco chassis can be assembled and tested for rolling away from the Hornby body which is great for checking wheel quartering, clearances etc. The rods across the chassis for the brake gear get removed later allowing the brake gear to be removed and the wheels to be dropped out. The tender chassis is sprung with 'Continuous Springy Beams' and runs very nicely. I need to adjust the spring support points as the unit currently runs about .5mm low, but that is an easy fix on the drawing. The chassis disassembled nicely for priming and painting and all went back together again afterwards. I'm very pleased with the result which will be on the Brassmasters' stand at Scaleforum on Saturday. David * that is a British Standard Gnat, a little more than a smidgen but less than a bit.
  6. Well over a couple of years ago I asked my friends at Brassmasters about the possibility of them producing one of their EasiChas range of kits to fit the Hornby J15. These chassis utilize the original motor and chassis block put provide a method to fit EM or P4 wheels with some springing. The design has now covered a range of prototypes including various LMS, GWR and LNER locomotives. I have produced artwork for some of the Brassmasters range in the past (point rodding components and the original etched windows for the Scalescenes building range). These friendly 'non-commercial' arrangements have been great, I get the etches I want for my modeling and Brassmasters get an additional item to add to their range. I should probably have expected the response I got - 'go on and produce some artwork then'. I got a fair way through the design process with the help of the prototype drawings from the Great Eastern Railway Society, the CAD drawings for the 4F EasiChas from Brassmasters and a set of digital calipers run over the Hornby model. Progress was going quite well but was stalled somewhat (phantom understatement here) by a cancer diagnosis and eight cycles of chemotherapy. As a result I told Brassmasters not to expect anything from me. Fortunately the chemo did a good job and I was able to pick the project back up again, albeit slowly, to the point where the first test was produced last week. As with all test etches (the clue is in the name) there were a number of 'oh you idiot' moments where I realize that my drawing wasn't exactly what was in my head! This explains the strange missing bits of the brake assembly! Also, sometimes when you start to put things together, you find that some ideas were over-complex and/or difficult to build. In this case the reverse folds on the chassis etch were just too hard to bend. Still there were enough good parts to be able to start assembly on the locomotive chassis and I have now got as far as making the main chassis with the hornblocks and axles in place. I'd included a couple of two different designs for the coupling rods on the etch so I could see which was easiest to assemble. I think the version with just two thickness of nickel-silver will probably be what I go with. I like the fact that you can leave the tabs in place and bend them together which means that they stay put while you solder them together. Hopefully I should be able to get some P4 wheels into the chassis over the next day or two. A revised drawing for test2 is almost ready incorporating lots of changes based on what I've learnt so far. Thanks to the Brassmasters guys for their support and encouragement, particular to David Burton who has been having to deal with an email inbox full of dumb questions. I'll post more as the building progresses and announcements about the availability will be made via the Brassmasters website http://www.brassmasters.co.uk/index.html David
  7. There has been a bit of progress on my model of Clare in Suffolk over the last few weeks. The goods yard area around the cattle dock is coming on and I've planted the shunting signal which protects the exit from the yard (just in front on the J15) Looking the other way and the castle mount is coming on with the start of some walls on in. These have been molded in sculptamold and I've had a go at painting lots of 'dots' to represent the stonework which seems to be lots of bits of stone held together with lime mortar. I think this was mainly stones which could be picked off fields as there is no source of 'local stone' to quarry in the middle of Suffolk. Any decent blocks would have been robbed by the locals over the years since the castle was unoccupied. The goods shed now has windows and capping stones on the gables. I've tried to replicate the strange white-washed patch on the end which I have seen in the 1950's photographs. the yard crane is just resting in place, that is why it isn't quite central on its plinth. Aerial photographs show a line of eleven wagons in the siding beyond the goods shed. I can get ten wagons in which I think is an acceptable level of compression. The yard still needs ballasting. I've started on the ground-works down toward the river bank. The line here is curved much more steeply than the prototype and the bridge is shorted and on a curve. I'll make something similar to the original. I was surprised just how slim the centre pier is, one of my pictures allows you to count the bricks across the top and it was only 5 stretchers wide, so about 4'. As we don't exist in the movies where the protagonist can just say 'enhance that' when a blurry image appears I'd like your views on what this might be. Just along from the end of the cattle dock the aerial photo shows this. yes, that is as large as it goes. Guesses anyone?
  8. For those who don't know what a J17 is, here is a picture. They were a James Holden designed locomotive built for the GER between 1900 and 1903, a sort of half-way house between the lighter J15 and heavier J20. As I hinted the J17 kit from PDK is also quite 'old school' by today's standards. The frames just had simple holes for the bearings, not even a half etched line as a nod that some people might spring or compensate their locomotives. Progress today has been quite swift, partly because I was working with such nice components and probably partly because I vaguely knew what I was doing with them! The High Level horn-blocks soldered in place easily, jigged into place by the coupling rods. I then added the spring carrier etches to the rear of the horn-blocks, using the 'space saver' design on the rear axle to give more clearance for the gearbox. Having fitted these I then widened the holes I'd drilled in the frames for the CSB (continuous springy beam) carriers. Following various recommendations these are made from Markits WD handrail knobs. Being parallel these can be fitted through from the outside of the frames and spaced from the frame so that the spring wire is the right distance from the frames to match the horn-block spring carriers. I fed a length of spring steel wire through them while soldering them to fit. The result was that the horn-blocks look to ride at an appropriate height and seem to be at the same level and 'sprung' the same amount - thanks due to the famous CLAG spreadsheet tool. One of the extra bits which had been etched was the springs, these solder to the bottom of the bearings and ride up and down with them. The result is that the wheels can easily be removed from the chassis simply by pulling out the sprung wire 'beam) Now I think I'll spend a few days procrastinating before I attempt to do anything with the wheels. David
  9. “It is fair to say this locomotive is a beast, probably the largest 0-6-0 locomotives at the time.” A mere flyweight! The G&SWR Drummond 279 class of 1913 was longer (just) but heavier (3 tons engine only, 12 tons engine plus tender). Well done for persevering, and making such a nice job of it. You do realize, since you’ve done this, that Hornby will now introduce an RTR version to go with their J15?
  10. Hi David, It looks beautiful and runs beautifully! Can I ask about your E4 - did you use the Gibson compensation method, ie with his hornblocks, or another method, and what motor / gearbox combination? Also noticed in your blog that you managed to fit a Portescap 1219 into your Gibson J15 - how did you fit it? With an MJT conversion kit or similar? Thanks very much!
  11. lovely work on you stour valley dream . im considering a dunmow nightmare myself ... .. . anychance of putting your j15 handrail jig on thingyverse ?
  12. Last Friday I had a particularly productive evening rewheeling my old Alan Gibson J15. The kit was built about 25 years ago (gulp) but had languished on the works sidings for a couple of years following the wheel quartering slipping and the wheels being so old that they were loose on the axles and no amount of locktite would hold them in place. So, finally I bit the bullet and ordered some new wheels from new Mr Gibson. The biggest problem with some of the wheels available from Colin at the moment is that the crank pin hole is not drilled through, there just a dimple as an aid to locate the hole. Friday gave the opportunity to use a friend's pillar drill (thanks Brian!) and with the aid of a little jig we drilled the holes in the wheels and got the crank pins put in. The wheels were quartered with the excellent jig (GW models). Saturday morning came the moment of truth when the bearings were slid into the chassis and the coupling rods put on crank pins. Much to my surprise and delight the chassis rolled away, and when the grub screw on the gear was tightened the loco moved smoothly. Tonight came DCC chip fitting, I had forgotten I had a TCS Z2 sitting in a drawer. It seems to be quite happy with the 1219 portescap and runs smoothly once I adjusted the CVs to give a more suitable speed range. David
  13. Very interesting. At some point a CR 812 is going to arrive which I will have to convert to EM, a locomotive of a similar size to a J15. I can well imagine that a good number of modellers would want to convert theirs to EM/P4 and should those excellent folk at brassmasters design a similar etch for the 812 I would be at the front of the queue.
  14. I've been doing a lot of test running over the last few days, running trains around at ludicrous speeds and watching what falls off where then trying to fix it. I've also had various older bits of stock out and been working over issues on them. So out of the draw came the old faithfully Gibson J15, powered by a small portescap with an extra idler gear. I tried shunting wagons in and out of the coal siding and it kept stalling so it was out with the cotton buds and lighter fuel. Just cleaning the wheels didn't do the trick so it was off with the lid to have a good look. What a lot of fluff! To say it worked better with out that lot in would be an understatement. (alternative title 'nice bit of fluff') David
  15. Having got the Marks Tey bound platform road laid together with the remainder of the track on the second baseboard I thought I'd celebrate with a bit of stock and some photographs. Having 4 coaches pass the 'Wheeeeeeeee' test along the main line was most satisfying! I've got enough rail to finish the Cambridge platform but will need to get some more from Scaleforum. A J15 sits with the pickup goods in the yard. This siding was also used as a lay-by. For some reason Clare castle has been replaced by a multi-way block! In the other direction an N7 leaves Cambridge bound with a pair of Gresley coaches on a local passenger service. At the other end of the yard 3 wagons wait for a load of sugar beet. How this siding was shunted is a problem because the point at the other end is directly in front of the good shed door. A locomotive would have had to enter the shed in order to gain access. I suspect it was horse or rope shunted but I don't see any signs of either a stable or capstan. Does anyone out there know? In the east bound platform sits a rake of Mk1's and a parcels van waiting for the rest of the layout to get built! Somehow Takeley's water tower has turned up in Clare! So next up in finishing the track laying on the 3rd board, getting the new track wired up (Simple as it is DCC and I already have the MERG CBUS and Server drivers available for the points) and then I think I get to cut the next board.... A quick update on the personal front..... Finished the 8th cycle of Chemo last week and the follow-up MRI scan shows that it has done what was hoped. Much relief in the Fen End Pit household.. David
  16. Saturday saw the first point get some 'workings' on the switchblades. The Turnout Operating Unit (TOU) was one of the perspex ones I'd made for the previous layout and the only modification needed was to shorted the length of the brass tubes that go up to just below rail level because the baseboard is now 6mm ply rather than 12mm MDF. The tie-bars are scrap brass etch with the two halves separated by a sliver of paxolin. This cruel enlargement makes it look much worse than it is! The colour of the perspex is fairly hideous, but the Turnout Operating Units have coped well with being removed from the old layout and stored. The sellotape is just used to hold the 3 parts together prior to inserting the screws. Sunday was a day out and a visit to the Gala Day on the Mid-Suffolk light railway. A grand time was had by all. Wissington was in steam along with 3 other locos and there was a very pleasant atmosphere. Last time I went there was just a few 100 yards of track against a platform and a couple of wagons, it was great to see how far they had come. The first section of the P4 got its first test 'under power' and a my Gibson J15 and rewheeled Hornby class 31 were the first out of the stock box to run up and down. Being the Stour Valley the J15 had to be first. The Class 31 was next because being a rewheeled job rather than any kind of sprung chassis it is my 'most fussy' item of stock. Work is now going on with the second point that sits at the other side of the goods shed. David
  17. The weekend saw the second point laid and the track at the other end of the yard started. I also spent a load of time installing the wiring. Now I know that sounds weird, installing the wiring before the track is laid but the wiring consists of 'CBUS' circuit boards from the MERG. The way I'm doing this means each baseboard gets one or two eight-way boards which drive a set of relays and MERG Servo-4 controllers. Once these are installed the 'wiring' is a case of connecting up the rails of the plain track to the two DCC bus-bars and the frogs of any points to the relays which switch them. This makes wiring very quick and easy. The other advantage of this system is that you don't have difficulties with building control panels before you can play trains! The J15 propels some vans into the track which heads behind the cattle dock. This shows that the next bit of track-work to tackle is the double-slip (gulp) The mill building is just there to give some scale, these two sidings were the rest of the yard, with a lay-by (still waiting for rail) in front of them. Looking at the pictures I can find it looks like the track towards the rear was used for loading while the one nearer the camera was used to store wagons prior to unloading or when empty. Looking forward to Scaleforum this weekend and getting the shopping list ready! David
  18. Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to get off work early and join some friends in an evening visit to the North Norfolk railway for a trip on the line and a tour of the engine shed and works. This was an excellent event and a good time was had by all. We can now all count up to 34 with ease! (you had to be there!). Although the light was fading towards the end I was still able to get a picture of the J15 Y14. What a superb locomotive and HOW COULD Hornby GET THOSE HANDRAIL KNOBS SO WRONG? (sorry for shouting but, I ask you...). I'm working on an etched drilling jig to hold a drill at the right angle to re-drill the holes in the boiler to fit scale knobs at the right angle. I've also made a start on drawing cutting templates for the first baseboards for the new P4 Stour valley layout and had a go at counting bricks to produce an end elevation of Clare good shed. It never ceases to amaze me what happens when you look at buildings in detail. Take this elevation. Nothing unusual there, a nice straight forward building, a couple of buttresses all simple and symmetrical. WRONG looking in detail and the buttresses on the right hand side are a completely different shape, one side has bricks at an angle, the other side appears to be stone. The one on the right hand side is about 1 1/2 inches wider. Drawing this kind of thing from photographs is so much better than 'making them up'. It is the quirkiness that gives building much of their appear and, if you try to make up the quirks is it so easy to misjudge things and over do it. Hopefully I should get back to having some stuff to blog about, our house extension work is nearly over (after almost a year). We have finally lost the skip from the front garden. I've still got most of the doors to paint but hopefully can get make a start on layout building. David
  19. The Ruston LBT moved into the paint shop this weekend. Unlike all of the Simplex locomotives on 'Fen End Pit' I thought this one should be a non-manufacturers standard colour. A bit of contrast seemed like a nice idea and looking through my photographs of LBTs I could find them in standard Ruston green, blue, orange and yellow. You pays your money and takes your choice. Roy Link had commented what a nice colour yellow was to weather so I decided on a standard 'plant' yellow as the basis colour. While several of the photos showed locomotives in preservation with certain 'embellishments' to the colour scheme I've resisted the temptation for red buffer beams or axle boxes and picking out the strapping in different colours. I've even seen a Youtube clip of one fulling lined out! Before painting I needed to sort out the headlights and these were made by getting some 8mm perspex rod and drilling a 3mm hole into the side of it to fit an LED. A suitably large resistor means that the lights are not too bright, but it is hard to do anything about the right colour balance. The while LEDs do look too 'white', a bit too much like halogen headlights, but there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it. I might try a slight wash over the front of the lens. I decided the best way to get power to the LEDs was by sticking a Molex socket into the body of the locomotive connected to the LED and then use two pieces of scrap nickel-silver etch to form the plug. You can see in this picture of the chassis how these stick through the foot plate to make the connection (Just behind the front corner). Having done this for the headlamps I realized it was a much better way to make the connections and so went back and replaced the connection I had made for the loudspeaker. This picture also shows the sanding gear (probably completely unnecessary in my sand quarry) which I fabricated from brass tube on Friday night. The body got sprayed with Humbrol Primer (no, 1) and then with Humbrol Trainer Yellow (Matt 24). Meanwhile I also primed the chassis and then brush painted with a mix of Matt black (33) let down with a little gray (67). I've started to tone things down a bit with some initial weathering. I've gone over the chassis with a burst of Railmatch frame dirt and also picked out the brakes and underframe detail with a little brake dust. The body also go a touch of frame dirt, applied to pick out some of the body panel joins in a vertical motion. The cab roof is significantly dirtier than the locomotive sides and as I reckoned no one would ever clean it. The engine also has some initial dusting which has picked out the shape quite nicely, There is still a lot of work to do in this area though. I've also put a fair amount of dirt around the air intake grill on the front. I'm quite pleased with the look so far. I'm particularly pleased with the way the chassis now looks like a chunky block of metal. I'll let it all harden off now and then try to remove some of the paint from the etched makers plates. Oh, and by the way, on a completely unrelated topic I couldn't resist the Hornby J15 when I went into City Cycles in Ely yesterday. I know I have a kit built one already but what the heck! David
  20. David, that really does look nice! I am a confirmed GWR modeller but everytime I see that the Gibson J15 and E4 are available I have to exercise great will power. One question though, are there balance weights fitted to the driving wheels? Craig W
  21. A few months back I was tempted by a pair of Hornby coaches while in Model Junction in Bury St. Edmunds. I had a rake of 3 old Bachmann suburban coaches in BR Blue but these weren't really suitable for my period and move to a less urban setting. I was prepared to re-use the Bill Bedford sprung bogies from the Bachmann set to go under the Gresleys. The shape isn't quite right but you can't really tell. While wandering around Scaleforum I had looked to see if anyone had any Gresley bogie sideframe casting, but I couldn't find anything anywhere near as good as the Hornby plastic mouldings. On Friday night, with some trepidation, I took a piecing saw to the bogies and was able to cut the frames off without too much damage. The foot steps are very fragile but I managed to only break one off which I was able to reattach. I had to take a burr to the back of the moulding to make space for the pinpoint bearing to move up and down. The moulding was stuck onto the bogie unit with Evostik and the complete bogie repainted. I was able to fill the rather large hole in the coach floor with various plastic tubes and some epoxy prior to screwing the bogies back to the body. Given the quality of these coaches there really isn't a great deal more to do with them. I'll give it some slight weathering at some point but I'm very pleased with the results so far. The second Lavatory Composite will get converted over the next few months. It looks rather nice with the J15 and the rake will look very suitable behind the E4 once that is finished. The E4 is currently in the paint shop. The primer has gone on and so far so good. David
  22. I had assembled the tender chassis originally using the Alan Gibson hornblocks supplied in the kit. This were the units with a tiny spring which provides some downward force but where the hornblock itself is designed to sit on the end of a bolt which passes through the top of the horn guide. The theory is that you can adjust the bolts to get the ride height for each axle correct. From my experience I find this very difficult and the resulting ride is very 'hard' and it is too easy to have one axle have either too much or too little load. Techniques have moved on and these days people rave about the simplicity of 'continuous springy beams'. This is basically a posh way to describe a piece of wire which supports all the bearing. The clever bit is in the positioning of the pivot points for the wire but helpfully there is a spreadsheet available which make this simple. For this tender I purchased some High Level kits hornblocks and spring support tags together with Alan Gibson 'shoulderless' handrail knobs which make the pivots for the wire. Rebuilding the chassis only took an evening and the resulting transformation in the ride quality was remarkable. This picture clearly shows the spring wire, the handrail knob pivots and the socket which is used to connect the motor power from the DCC chip in the tender. The construction of the body has come on too. I was able to purchase from Alan Gibson a lost wax casting for the front springs which I used instead of the white metal one originally supplied in the kit. This has meant that I could drill holes in the foot plate and solder the spring in place rather than try to stick white metal to the foot plate. These springs are situation in a position where I could just see them get knocked off with handling. Obviously the motor isn't usually at that angle so the next picture has a little bit of wood just to hold the motor at the correct angle! Friday evening also saw the lamp irons go on the front of the foot plate and then yesterday I made the pipe run down the foot plate and fitted the pipes and coupling to the buffer beam. At this point I was looking through photographs in various books and realized that the combination I have modelled with the side window cab also had a different arrangement of safety valves. This meant adding an extra casting and reattaching the valves. This has the benefit of meaning the locomotive now has a slightly different boiler in terms of its look to my existing Gibson built J15. It also means I have tied it down to a specific locomotive 62781 which is handy as this is one of the smokebox door numbers supplied in the kit! This evening has been spent giving the body work a good clean with fibre-glass brush, Cif and a paintbrush. The downside is bits of fibreglass in the fingers but on the positive side no bits fell off in the process. So I'll let it dry out now and take some pictures of it all assembled tomorrow. David
  23. Hi David, Looking good! The J15 looks excellent. I'm building the Nu-Cast version at present. The kit and your handy work have brought out the best in the little J15. Keep up the blog. All the best, Mark
  24. It looks like it will be a shame to paint this. Some cracking fettling and finishing. How long do you think it has taken you so far? Only asking as I have a Gibson J15 that has been in stasis at this stage since 1996! Cheers Jan
  25. A couple more pictures. Firstly this is the switch end of the three-way. The check rails were basically just soldered on to the copper clad using the a set a Scalefour Society jigs to locate them. I was given some old Studiolith rail which is actually a little thinned than the current bullhead available from C&L et al. In reality the guard would probably just have been a piece of angle iron rather than rail, but it was rail I had to hand. To give you some idea of how the lower level relates to the main layout here is a picture of the J15 with a train of vans on the viaduct. Ultimately I intend to have a wagon turntable where the Southern van is taking a track under the viaduct and into the factory. David
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