Jump to content

Warren Shephard 7mm 45XX Small Prairie


Recommended Posts

It’s been a  while since  I last posted on here, but  since  I completed my  last  build (Scorpio large prairie) I have  been busy with its little  brother  the  45XX  from Warren Shephard.

This will be  more  of  a  review than  a  blow  by  blow account of  the  build. Currently the  model is  completed with the  chassis painted in black etch primer apart from the  cylinders which have  been over sprayed with Halfords gloss black. The  loco body is  in Halfords grey etch primer awaiting the  top coat of  gloss BR green and  gloss black. Later it will be  lined  with a 45XX Fox lining set, then lacquered and  weathered  to a similar condition to the  large  prairie.

Here’s the box which will hold  the  completed model with some  suitable  packing added.



Here  are the castings (brass and nickel silver), pressings, nuts/ bolts/handrail knobs, Premier milled rods, plastic Slaters brake  shoes and  a CD with photographs of the  construction, plus instructions and  prototype photos. There are also photos of  the  etched sheets and  the  castings to assist identifying  the  parts.



And 6 sheets of  etchings – all brass 




Here are  the  coupling rods jigged up in one of  the frames to check the  spacing which was  found to be  spot  on.


There are two sets of instructions one with isometric drawings, and one  with text and photographs of the  model under construction, although there  are  no pictures of  the fully completed model.

The big negative for  me  is  the  lack of  half etch rivet detail on the  tank sides and  bunker.  Rivet detail  has  to be  applied with a  punch of  some sort (or fancy rivet tool if available)  into the “virgin metal”, using a  photo copied template to show the  rivet positions.  More  about this  later.

I started by constructing the  frames which are  quite straight forward. There  is  provision of  half etch lines to remove the  axle bush holes to facilitate the  use of working horn blocks, but these are not  provided.  Personally, I have  always achieved excellent  running with the  middle axle provided with some vertical movement, and  the  front  and  rear ones rigid so this is how I  built it. There is  no rivet detail on the  frames and  lacking a drawing to show  this, I did not  attempt  to add any. More importantly, the  etched slots for  the  spacers to fix the  front  and  rear pony trucks are set too high, so the  tabs  on the  spacers need removing to allow them to be lowered to the  correct height.  I did not bother to fill the slots as these are  hidden by  later additions.

Here are the  frames erected with the wheels and  brake  gear fitted . The incorrectly placed slots can be  seen above  the  front  brake hangs and behind the  rear driving  wheel. 


It  seemed impossible  to me  to fit the Slaters plastic brake  blocks into the cast hangers and  achieve anything like  adequate clearance for  good running, so I ditched them. These were replaced with suitable  brass section which is  more robust, gives  running  clearance  and  looks the  part.  The  four bolt brake hanger brackets are not  provided so these  were  also knocked  up from scratch.



There are no holes in the  frames for the  0.9 mm rod needed to mount the  hangers,  so the  position for  these needs to be  marked before  drilling. Here they are completed.



The  cross beams for  the  hangers are provided but  there  are  no pull rods  and  no indications as  to their  layout.  At  the  time  of  construction I had no  information on the  pull rod detail,  so I opted to copy  that on the  large  prairie.



Having looked  under the  55XX at Didcot ( which I think is  more  likely to have the  same  layout  as the  45XX), I believe I have got  it  wrong.   The 55XX only has one pull rod in the  centre  between the  cross beams, and  one rod running back to the brake  cylinder.  By the  time  I found  this  out, the  build  was too far advance  to start pulling  it  to bits and  re-doing, so I decided I could  live  with it.  In any case, from normal viewing  angles it’s not noticeable.  Looking  at the  comparison of  the  large and  small prairie, it seems to me that Warren has compromised with the  casting for  the  brake cranks at the  rear on the  45XX, which I believe is  for  the  51XX/61XX. Would  have  been nice  to have  a  note in the  instructions though.  Or maybe  I should have  done  more  research before  cracking on!

Next up the  cylinders. These  are just a  front  and back plate with a  wrapper  and  quite straight forward. The  slide  bars are castings (again for  the  large  prairie) and  need shortening.  I did  not  realise  this  for  some  time so they may  appear over long in some  of  the  posted  photos.  





The  valve  chest cover  and  cylinder front covers provided in the  kit  are brass turnings, but  there  are no relief valves, slide bar lubricator pots or  valve rod linkages. I used the cylinder front covers but  replaced the  valve chest covers with castings from PR Components and  also sourced the  valve rod links and slide bar lubricators from him.  The  cylinder relief valves I go from Hobbyhorse.




The  vacuum cylinder is  a  nice  brass casting but  comes without a hole for  the piston  rod running from the  bracket at the  back of  the  right hand cross head. To facilitate easy removal I cut a  slot on the  underside  of  the  cylinder with a slitting  disc and mounted it on a  detachable bracket. The next picture shows the  layout and  also the  rear sand boxes.  No holes are present  in the  frames for  attaching the  sandboxes and  these have  to be  marked out  and  drilled by the  builder. Personally I think the  holes should  be  pre etched, as should  the  holes for  the  rodding for  mounting the  brake  hangers. 



This shot  from the  side shows the  relationship between the  cylinders and  the  vacuum cylinder and  also the  valve rod linkage from PRC. By this  time  the  cylinder drain cocks, sand pipes and balance  weights had  all been fitted.


Here is  the  linkage from the  brake rigging to the  brake standard in the  cab.



These are the  parts for  one  of the  bogies laid out after fettling.



And soldered up.



And from the  underside.



And  the  completed chassis with the  wheels  and rods removed. This  shows the  method of preventing the  middle  axle bush from rotating in the  filed “slot” which allows some  vertical movement.  There is  a  flat filed on the  flange of  the  bush and  a  piece  of  flat brass section soldered vertically mates with the  flat  and  prevents  the  bush rotating.  Normally  I would  have  added a  spring to bear on the  bushes, but  the  ABC gearbox and  motor is  mounted on this  axle and  the  weight  of  the  unit serves to keep the  wheels down on the  track, but  lift  if  there  are  any high spots.  Very simple and  effective.   



This  oblique view from the  rear shows the mounting  spigot for  the sandbox and  the scratch built bracket on top. Also visible  is  the scratch built mounting for  the  AWS (or  is  it  ATC on the  Western?) and  the  contact shoe from Hobbyhorse.  This  and  the  water gauge  in the  cab are the  only two white metal items on the  model.



And an oblique view from the  front showing the  steam pipe is  mounted on the “buffer beam” on chassis and  not  on the  actual buffer beam on the  main body.  The  rear one  is  mounted on the  actual rear buffer beam.


Here is  the  chassis with the  motor  and  electrical pick-ups in place. The  latter are phosphor bronze soldered to copper clad, picking up on the  tops  of  the  driving  wheels.


And  a view  of  the  completed  and  painted chassis from the  side.  The front coupling rod bushes are the ones supplied, modified with flats to allow  tightening and  fitted back to front to give maximum clearance with  the  crosshead.  I made  a simple box spanner from brass tube to aid fitting  and  tightening these. The retaining nuts on the  middle  and rear drivers are cast nickel silver from JLTRT.  I also have  a  double  ended box spanner for  these made from two different diameter lengths of  brass tube soldered together.  The  larger end  suits the  middle nut and the  smaller end the  rear.  I think I posted a picture  of this  on my  large prairie thread.


In conclusion, I found the  chassis went  together without  too much hassle. The incorrectly placed spacer slots, lack of etched holes for  fitting the rods for the  brake  hangers and  lack of  rivet detail on the  frames is  disappointing, as is the  the  lack of  castings  for  the relief valves, slide bar lubricators and  Valve rod linages. However, on the  plus side, the supplied castings  are  excellent particularly the  pony  trucks. From a  running point of view, the milled rods are  a  perfect match to the  axle holes in the  frames, and  I found the  chassis ran very sweetly first time without any need for adjustment or running in. Earlier  this week I ran it  on the  test track (with the body on) at the  Keighley club open day, and  it  ran perfectly. 

When I get  time  I will write  up the  construction of  the  body, but  that’s all for  now.



  • Like 13
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Peter,


Thank you for such an in depth build topic, I think it is helpful to many on the forum who are looking for tips and different build methods. All these rtr models are fine and a great boost for 7mm but there are plenty of us who still enjoy the challenge of building a working loco, be it steam or diesel.


Great to see you back,


All the best,



Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Glad to see you back and building.

Hi Peter,

Thanks to you and John for the kind words. Yes it's been a while since I was on here but I have been building. I just don't have the time to write up the build on a regular basis, so thought I'd try a different "format ".


The down side is that you don't get the heads up on here when other people spot errors you have overlooked.


I'm progressing well with the painting, having got the green on and am now masking up in preparation for the black. The boiler is detachable so have already got the black on the smokebox using a rattle can. The running plate will need a little more finesse in getting into all the nooks and crannies, so it will be back to the airbrush for that.




  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Peter,

Very comprehensive review, with excellent photography to accompany it. It certainly looks like a 4575 chassis!

Kind regards,


Hi Nick,

The kit is for the 4500 variant and will not build the sloping tanks 4575 version.

It will be numbered 4567 when finished.



Link to post
Share on other sites

So on with the  loco body.

As mentioned earlier, there is  no half etch rivet detail on the  tank sides or bunker to aid punching out. The rivets have to be  punched into virgin metal using a paper  template pasted on the  reverse side to  show their position. All well and good (not  good  really), but the height of the  template outline does not  match the etchings, being too short.  It matches lengthwise but  not  vertically. This meant that vertically, the rivets would  be spaced too close. I found that by scanning the  template and  printing it  with the  “fit picture to frame option”, the  height then matched. The front  of  the  template overlapped the  front of the  etching but  I simply cut  that back to match and  went  ahead  and  punched  out  the  rivets. A cunning plan but  massively flawed as some of  you  will have  already realised.                                                                                                                                                post-13414-0-93058600-1484769045_thumb.jpg

The highlighted rivets are additional ones that I added.                                                                                                                                     post-13414-0-12363500-1484769048_thumb.jpg

Here’s the  sides and  the  running plate.                                                                                                                                                          post-13414-0-80113100-1484769049_thumb.jpg

Yes you’ve got it – the  horizontal spacing is  also increased, so the vertical lines of  rivets are spaced out  too widely!   It was quite  a while  before  I realised this,  by which time I had  tack soldered the  sides in place  on the  footplate.                                                                         post-13414-0-99133500-1484769050_thumb.jpg

So, three options  as I saw it. One, live with the  error. Two, dump the  etches and  make  from scratch. Three, punch back/flatten the  rivets and  re punch in the  correct position.  I went  for  option three which involved making a new  template using the  original as a basis. Here’s the  sides after removing the  rivets.                                                                                                                                                                                                            post-13414-0-21808400-1484769052_thumb.jpg

I left the  ones on the  bunker as they seemed OK.  As can be  seen from the  picture of the  template, you  also have to do the  same  for  the  bunker rear, the  front  of  the  running plate and  the  drop plate. I don’t  recall how  much jiggery pokery that involved but  I got  there in the  end. The sides  were more or  less acceptable after re punching, and  I know  the  error was mine in getting them so wrong, but  this  really is  a very poor method  of  representing rivets in an etched kit.

Here’s the method  of  producing  the  curve corners on the  bunker.                                                                                                                     post-13414-0-89083800-1484769053_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                 post-13414-0-76065700-1484769055_thumb.jpg

I filled the  gaps with low melt solder later on when the  back and beading were in place.

The inner cab sides and footplate.                                                                                                                                                                      post-13414-0-37423900-1484769058_thumb.jpg

And sides and bunker rear in place.                                                                                                                                                                                   post-13414-0-89688200-1484769059_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                        post-13414-0-46614600-1484769061_thumb.jpg

The smokebox saddle  is  fabricated from 6 etchings and plus 16 BA nuts and  bolts. The instructions say use  12 BA but  they would be far too big. post-13414-0-81457600-1484769112_thumb.jpg

The front boiler ring and  smokebox door  are pressings as is  the  rear boiler ring.                                                                                         post-13414-0-27771400-1484769116_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                               post-13414-0-02317600-1484769118_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                           post-13414-0-63909300-1484769119_thumb.jpg

The firebox is  front  is  also a  pressing  with the  wrapper formed around it. There are half etch lines on the  wrapper to mark the  areas to fold, but  no mention of  these in the  instructions.  I assumed these would  be  on the  inside and  folded appropriately. Wrong!  As can be  seen in the  next  photo, this  puts the  wash out plugs in the  wrong position – on both sides. Again it  was  some  time before  I realised, but  fortunately I was able  to remove, fill the  holes and  refit in the  correct position.

The coned part of  the  boiler is  represented only by the  part which shows above  the  tanks. Note the  etched hole for the  top feed is  too far forward.  There was no need to fill it  as it  is  covered by the  safety valve casing.                                                                                                 post-13414-0-38034500-1484769121_thumb.jpg

And with the boiler fitted. The  boiler is  held  by a bolt into a captive nut in the  smokebox, and  slots into the  coned part, so is removable  for  painting. The joint is  hidden by the  boiler band.                                                                                                                                                                    post-13414-0-48547700-1484769123_thumb.jpg

Next, the  rear cab plate which needed some correcting. The lower etched holes for  the  guard irons on the  look outs are too close to the  edge. There are also wrongly spaced, being too close to the  outer edge. First I covered the  holes with some thin shim and remarked the  position of  the  holes lower down and  re drilled.  To keep things simple, I decided to add an extra iron to the  inner edge so that I would not  have to reposition the  top holes. From what I can see in period photos, some  of  them appear to have had 6 and  it looks  OK. I also added the  cross rails.                    post-13414-0-74245700-1484769124_thumb.jpg

And with the  rails in.                                                                                                                                                                                                              post-13414-0-84935900-1484769125.jpg

After that it was mostly plain sailing adding the  footsteps, cab shutters, coal fender, handrails  and the  various castings.  The re positioned washout plugs on the  firebox can be seen in this  shot.                                                                                                                                                           post-13414-0-61343100-1484769180_thumb.jpg

However, another  error in the  design I noticed was the  cab cut out extending right up under the  eaves of the  roof. To improve  that I removed the  shutters, cut through the  beading about half way down the front edge,  unsoldered and  pealed it  away but  leaving  it  fixed at the  rear. I added a packing piece into the  gap and  re fixed the  beading lower down. I had to snip off a mm or so to allow it  to butt up against the  lower part of  the  beading and  filled the  gaps at the  top corners with solder and cleaned up.  I could  have  done  with lowering it  more but  that would  have  been more difficult to fill.                                                                                                                                                                                                         post-13414-0-27853000-1484769182_thumb.jpg

Finally the  cab details. The kit comes with a  very nice cast brass back plate plus brass castings for  the  fittings, and  it  looks  very nice  when assembled. post-13414-0-56891600-1484769183_thumb.jpg

All the  other cab fittings are brass castings apart from the tool boxes which have  to be  made  up from etchings.                            post-13414-0-94997200-1484769185_thumb.jpg

The  only item in the  kit  that I replaced was the  water gauge which sits  on top of  the  left hand tank in the  cab.  This  bore no resemblance to the  real thing so I obtained a  white  metal one  from Hobbyhorse.  Here’s a couple of  shots inside the  cab with the  roof off.   Cab dials were not  supplied  but  I had three turned brass ones that suited and  fitted these later.   The cylinder on top of  the  right hand tank which passes through the  cab front plate was not  included and  was made from  scratch.       post-13414-0-63346600-1484769188_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                         post-13414-0-68377200-1484769190_thumb.jpg

Apart from the  cab roof which had no  rivet detail, the addition of  the  rest of the  castings was quite straight forward.  I added the  rivet detail to the  roof based on photographs and  a  drawing by Ian Beattie from Railway Modeller.

Here’s the  tank top detail.   I drilled a hole just behind the  tank fillers to represent the  drain  on the tank top which allowed over spill from filling the  tanks  to drain away.                                                                                                                                                                                             post-13414-0-16242300-1484769192.jpg

Here’s a couple of  shots on my brother’s railway  before stripping it down for  painting.                                                                              post-13414-0-32465000-1484769193_thumb.jpg                                                                                                                                                                           post-13414-0-62942500-1484769194_thumb.jpg

Next up, painting  and  decorating.

Cheers,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Peter


  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

What an excellent result from what sounds less like a kit and more like a hindrance to scratch building! Strangely the rivet work on the side tanks looks to have given a more authentic look of riveted plate work.

Lovely stuff!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jon,

Many thanks.


Yes it's a shame that so much "scratch building" is required as it spoils what would otherwise be a very good kit. The etchings (apart from the rivet issues) fit very well and the castings are superb. The vertical rivets which were redone have turned out OK. In the first picture on my brother's railway, the first line look to be skewed near the bottom but that is just due to reflection. ​For the bottom line, there is a half etched groove on the back which helps keep the line straight, but the top has to be done free hand again, and that could have been better.


As a post script on the chassis, one further omission, is the large hole in the frames just behind the rear driving wheels. I could have drilled this out but would then have needed to move/modify the spacer for mounting the rear pony truck. Mostly the hole (half of it, as it is obscured by the wheel) can only been seen in broadside views, so I decided to take the pragmatic view and pass on it. As they say, "you can see it, but I know it's not there".


It's all painted and lined now awaiting the plates to arrive, and then I will varnish and lightly weather it as I did on my Scorpio large prairie. So far I'm very pleased with the results and in my opinion, it compares very well to the two ready to run models currently available.




Edited by PAD
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here we go with the painting and lining. As always the model needs stripping down to its various components and given a good clean before any paint goes on. Up to now, after removing any excess solder my favoured option was to scrub everything with shiny sinks or hob bright. Both do an excellent job but can leave a residue which clings to solder in the joints and takes a lot of rinsing to remove. I’d heard good things about Viakal lime scale remover being good for cleaning models before painting, so I decided to give it a go. It does an excellent job and does not leave a residue.

Painting the chassis was mentioned earlier so I’ll concentrate on the body. Halford’s own brand acid etch grey primer was used as the base coat. It goes on very easily giving a very smooth finish.



The bracket applied to the smoke box door is for mounting the number plate. It has a round pin through the centre fixed into the door for strength. An idea I got from MRJ after reading an article by Malcolm Mitchell. The little piece of shim on the bottom edge of the buffer beam, covers the original position that I fixed the steam pipe. It was too far to the right. There’s a little gap that I filled before the top coating.



And a shot of the tank top detail.



Top coating was Halfords Ford Laurel Green diluted 1:1 with cellulose thinners and applied with the airbrush. This shows how the boiler can be removed. It makes the painting and lining a whole lot easier.


And masked up for application of the Black. Again Halfords gloss black diluted 1:1 with cellulose thinners and airbrushed. The smokebox had already been done previously.




And after spraying and removal of the masking tape.



Inside the cab after fitting the finished back plate and glazing.



And assembled.




Here’s the tank and bunker with the masking tape applied ready for lining. The dividers are used to determine the position of the transfer from the edge, and mark the masking tape (Tamiya) for cutting. I have to say, I always approach this part with trepidation, but in this case I had no real difficulty or problems. I must be getting better. The panels need to be cut up and in each case the corners are applied first, and then the gaps infilled with the remaining straight bits. The curved lines at the bunker extension were also applied separately. For the larger panels, I cut the longer lines in half as well, as the shorter lengths are easier to apply. For straightening the lines against the masking tape I found it easier to use a wide flat brush. In this case I used a half inch, but next time I’ll try a wider one.



And some shots after completion, with the route code and later small BR emblem also added. The route code discs are off center, but this position is correct for 4576.






The plates arrived yesterday so once they are applied, I’ll be lacquering and weathering as per my big prairie. Note, that the valve rocker cover and boiler support bracket, were hand painted afterwards in green using Railmatch post 1928 GWR green. It's not as glossy as the Halfords car paint but a close match colour wise. Lacquering and weathering will hide that.


I will post some shots when that gets done.



Edited by PAD
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question about the paint.

You mention that the paint was diluted 1:1 with celly thinners - do Halfords do Laurel green in a can, or did you thin (further) paint from an aerosol?


Many thanks - Emma

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Emma,

They do it in a rattle can. If you decant it for use in an airbrush then it does not need diluting. Decanting is of course a pain.


Halfords will mix up any car colour if you know the ref number. This is what I refer to and this needs diluting. I'm travelling most of the week but will check the number when I get home and let you know.



Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Steve,

Overall it's not a bad kit. The castings are all brass and excellent, but the etchings have their faults as mentioned in the build. That said they fit well and it does make a nice model.


I still have to lacquer and weather it, but have been distracted with the Gladiator L1. I'll get to it soon and post some pics when it's done.



  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

This one has been on the bag burner for a while but I finally got the lacquer on to tone down the finish. I gave is a light weathering with the airbrush but it needs a bit more plus some dry brushing.








  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...