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2mm Coal Tank test build

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Bad news about the BH Enterprises whistles, I've just used up the last of my 25+ year old stash.

 

Simon

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On 29/03/2020 at 15:12, Nick Mitchell said:

Having taken time off to build a Fowler 2-6-4T (plus a few other distractions), the Coal Tank is now back on my workbench for finishing off the seemingly endless list of details. I have reached the milestone of having attached every usable part from the etches.

 

At the rear end, I've added the tool boxes. These are home made, with the basic shape filed form brass and the hinge straps added from strips of shim. You can see in the photos that part of the underside of the tool boxes has been filed away to give clearance for the stay alive capacitors in the bunker. They might look a bit skinny - I was struggling to find good photos or drawings for these, so resorted to measuring a Bachmann 4mm model. A good coal load will partially obscure them anyway...

 

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The lamp irons were supplied on the etched fret, but I had to re-make the top one, filing it out of scrap etch. This iron stands proud of the bunker rear, with a second layer of etch across the bottom arm of the inverted T shape.

 

The bottom 3 irons were supplied as flat pieces of strip, which required bending all in the same place. I drilled small holes in the bunker rear to locate them, which was quite a delicate operation - the rear sheet didn't quite reach the bottom of the bunker when I originally assembled it, with the gap being filled with solder. Also, because the metal is only 4 thou thick, it is very easily distorted. I should really have put a reinforcing piece behind it, and marked/drilled the holes while it was still flat on the etch, but you live and learn! The irons were soldered in place from inside the bunker.

The rear vacuum brake pipe is a confection of copper wire.

 

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I had originally bought some tool boxes form N Brass. As with the rest of their Coal Tank castings, these were grossly over-scale - even if they were meant to be N Gauge. I had started filing them down, but in the end decided it would be quicker and easier to start from scratch.

Here is one of the castings, slightly filed, for comparison!

 

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I also had to re-make the tender filler. I haven't fitted it yet, but here is my turned version compared with the casting.

 

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I'm still pondering how best to fix the roof on, but it will need detailing. Coal tank whistles are very small indeed. I've had a go at turning one on the end of a length of 0.6mm nickel silver rod. The major problem is getting the slit narrow enough. I've done this one with a piercing saw blade and made it as deep as I dared.

 

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Some years ago (about 15) I got hold of a pair of really nice turned brass whistles from BH Enterprises. I recently acquired some more, but these were about double the size of the original pair. N Brass do a cast "Small LMS" whistle, which is similar in size to the original BHE ones. Turns out that for a Coal Tank, the whistle needs to be much smaller than any of these. By way of comparison, here is my current effort held next to one of the old BHE whistles, which is fitted to a 4F.

 

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On the chassis, I've added the operating lever for the front damper, which passes diagonally across the bottom of the firebox and ash pan - just visible in the picture below. I've also fettled the front guard irons so they don't touch the brakes (and thereby short the body to the chassis), and fitted sand delivery pipes.

 

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I've got some details to make and add around the cab area now, including the reverser and a tangle of pipes. Because the cab is fairly open, it will be worth trying to suggest some of the interior detail. Below is the start of the firebox back-head, sawn and filed from 1mm thick brass. The curved recess in the bottom edge will clear the top of the motor, which protrudes slightly into the cab.

 

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I agree about the N Brass castings, Nick. They often look OK, but they’re nearly always oversized, I don’t really understand why. 
 

Tim
 

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Posted (edited)

At the opposite end of things from Nick, I have finally started work on mine! 
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Edited by garethashenden
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I don't think I've seen the 0-4-2 version before :jester:

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6 hours ago, Ian Smith said:

I don't think I've seen the 0-4-2 version before :jester:


Waiting on a gear from Shop 3...

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Posted (edited)

Bit more progress, little bit every day. I tried to make sandboxes, and I’m not too happy with them, so I’ll try again. 
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The boiler and smokebox have been made, one from 9mm tube, the other from 0.005” brass. The reverse curve want nearly as hard to form as I imagined it would be.

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This has now been attached to the footplate and it’s starting to look like a Coal Tank!

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The cab sides have suffered a bit and need reenforcing. I’d also like some advice on how to turn the smokebox door. What do I start with and how do I hold it? 

Edited by garethashenden
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Gareth, I’ve only made 3 smokebox doors (but I’ve employed the same method for all). I start off with a bit of brass bar smaller than the smokebox door, face it off then solder a piece of 0.028” nickel silver sheet to the end of the bar. To get rid of all the corners on the sheet I have used a parting off tool parallel to the lathe bed to get an over-sized disc (my father and brother being toolmaker engineers would despair but it worked for me - but it did squeal a bit. I think I did the last one with a hand graver). Normal tools or hand gravers are used to shape and thin the disc from then on and when complete the smokebox door is unsoldered from the brass bar.

Ian

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Still picking away at this. The smokebox door went pretty well. The chimney, not so much. The first one was good, but I forgot to allow material for the bottom flare. The second one was much better, but the top has an incorrect dimension. The inner lip is 0.5mm too small, and I forgot the taper, so it’s a bit too stout looking. The flare is too thick, but obviously that can be fixed. Think I’ll just make a third.

 

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My airbrush has been out, and I've given my coal tank a coat of Precision 2-pack etching primer (using Ian Rathbone's recipe of 1part paint, 2 parts activated thinners and 1 part cellulose thinners). This was followed by gloss black enamel (Humbrol 21) thinned 50:50 with white spirit.

The spraying process felt less stressful this time, following a weekend pre-lockdown with Ian at Missenden, and I was more in control of things. For the gloss, I was using lower air pressure, less paint, and moving more slowly. The results are below. The surface is not as smooth as Mr Rathbone himself would achieve, but I'm pleased with it.

 

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The roof is loosely placed in position in these pictures, hence the daylight showing.

 

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The stress returned with the application of the transfers.

Well, actually, it was not so much the application, but what came next...

 

I'm using un-shaded straw coloured transfers, as that's what most Coal Tanks seemed to display round about the time I am interested in.

The Fox transfer sheet has 14" letters and 10" or 12" numerals.

This restricted me to a 5-digit numbered engine (as some of them became when a particular number series needed to be vacated in the 1930s) because they mainly received 12" numerals, whereas the locos retaining 4 digit numbers tended to have 14" numerals.

 

I wanted to portray an engine without push-pull gear, that would have seen around north Manchester around the time of nationalisation. 27619 (originally 273, then 7619) fitted the bill, calling Plodder Lane home as 1948 dawned. It was to have become 58890 under BR, but did not last long enough to receive its BR number or livery, being withdrawn from Speke at the end of '49.

 

The Fireman's side turned out OK: The 6 looks to be leaning back, but sometimes they did on the real thing.

 

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When it came to the Driver's side, some bits of the transfers started flaking away.

Part of the serif at the bottom right of the M went, and some chunks of the 7 disappeared too. I can only think that perhaps the paint and the varnish were not in perfect registration on the transfer sheet.

The 7 was bad, so I replaced it with another one. This also had some bits that disappeared, although they were not as large.

In the end I decided I couldn't live with the 7 the way it was, so decided to make a 3rd attempt. I had left the decision too long, as it had already stuck, and when I removed it the paint underneath came away too:

 

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Unfortunately, my tale of disaster didn't stop there.

In the above picture, you may be able to notice that the cab rear handrail has come adrift at the top end. I don't know how many times it got soldered back on during construction, but superglue is the only option now. I fully expect it to be a regular source of frustration!

 

Also, I had attempted to brush a thin wash of cream on the inside of the cab. Capillary action had drawn the thinned paint through some cracks in the cab front sheet and out onto the front of the engine. 

I applied this cream paint the top half of the cab rear as well. Photographs show plenty of LMS liveried coal tanks with what looks like plain black cab rears, but a few are definitely a lighter shade. I figured that since I had put so much effort into the cab interior, having it paler would help reflect a bit of light in there and make the interior slightly less invisible.

Obviously, the gloss black helped this to creep into more unwanted places, like down the edge of the cab rear and along the bottom of the tank trunks.

 

I thought I could remove this stray paint by soaking it up into a brush dampened with white spirit.

That worked, but alas a bit too efficiently, and I managed to remove some of the black paint from a couple of places along with the cream.

 

Some of the black paint had rubbed off the footplate edge under the cab too (also visible in the above picture) and I decided I needed to re-spray a few places.

 

Not wanting to go through the experience of aligning and replacing transfers again, I decided to try and mask off those already in place and spray only the bits that needed re-covering. The photo below should illustrate where I was aiming for, with the bunker being an extreme case of optimism that I wouldn't end up with ridges against the masking and the edges of the existing paint.

 

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Well, I did end up with some ridges. I thought I might soften them a little with white spirit blown on with the airbrush... (will he never learn?) but didn't have much success other than at creating extra ripples.

 

It was now 50:50 whether I was going to need to rub down the entire bunker panel and start again. 

I had a go at very gently rubbing the edges of the ridges and ripples with 1500 grit paper, and applied a new transfer 7 to see how bad it looks.

 

In the picture below, I had recently applied decal setting solution  (Micro Sol) which is why the surface round the 7 looks a bit crinkly. This will shrink down flat in a little while to match the others.

 

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Have I got away with it? I think that once this panel is varnished an d weathered, it will probably look OK.

 

To end on a more positive note, I bought some Citadel "dry" paint by mistake last year. I wanted some gold paint, and didn't understand what I was buying. When I opened it, it was more like golden jelly than paint, and I thought it had gone off. A few minutes later and YouTube had set me straight about this paint which is specially made ready to dry brush. It is intended for highlighting the details of goblin armour and the like, but I though I'd give it a go in the cab of my coal tank. I'm quite pleased with how it has picked out the controls. Maybe I should have a couple of goblins in there shovelling coal...

 

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Now I need to paint the chassis, and then weather the two halves as one complete unit.

 

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This looks very, very good Nick.  I haven't started any of mine.  I got 4 etches - 3 to hopefully produce working locos from and one for spares/learning (aka mistakes).  Not sure when I shall summon the courage to begin having a go - a few too many wagons need finishing first before starting yet another project!

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