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Wantage Road 1880 4mm Broad Gauge


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If you don't know (but I'm sure you do) Wantage Road Station was actually nearer Grove and East Hanney than Wantage, but the name is correct in that it straddled the road to Wantage. I'm a bit of a fan of both the Broad Gauge and the Wantage Tramway, and I lived in the area years ago (long after the station and tramway existed unfortunately) so that's why I chose to attempt Wantage Road in the lateish Broad gauge era a few years ago. Progress quickly halted because I hit a few snags that I was struggling to find workarounds for. Problems like :


1 It's large and the wrong shape no matter what scale.

2 Mixed gauge track brings up the whole scale/gauge problem.

3 Everything to be kit/scratch built

4 Lack of space in present house

5 I've got loads of other period stock (enough to start a shop with, apparently)


I can't find my Cooke layout book at the moment, but a rough layout from the 1880 OS map on the NLS site is sort of like this (not to scale - platforms are smaller and yard is longer)




The problem is the Tramway running at a tangent to the station and the yard layout beside it. In 4mm scale from the turnout on the left before the headshunt to the end of the platform is just over 13 foot, with the other way 6 foot. Add to that the headshunt itself and curves for a roundy roundy (preferred) or two fiddle yards and it's far too big. I thought of building the station on a curve but considering how straight the line is and it's history, I couldn't bring myself to do it.


However, I think I've worked it out. I've restarted work on Wantage road and I'm a bit more confident it can be done this time. All buildings will be removable. The station building and platform will sit diorama like in part of a bookcase when the layout is dismantled and under the bed. Similarly the Tramway stock can be diorama'd on a shelf that I'll have to put up somewhere.


I've opted for 4mm over 7mm because of both the cost and the obvious size. I did consider 2mm but, as well as my failing eyesight, everything would need to be scratchbuilt and there's enough work already with the track and kit building. I've gone for EM rather than P4 for the 'narrow' gauge for similar reasons. In an ideal world it would be oo, but it wouldn't look right and would lead to more problems especially turnouts.


Luckily the platforms aren't that long, and I think with a bit of compression I can get the width down below 3 metres (means losing much of the headshunt). I have two 4 x 3 boards from an old layout that I can scrap and hopefully reuse for the yard.


Work will be slow as it has to fit around real life, the allotment and an overactive dog. Broad gauge wise, all I have is the Corsair kit (wrong time and part of the country) and an early coach kit so I'll be rejoining the BGS and selling off some bits and bobs to fund some purchases. What interests me most is the broad gauge slip coach that ran every morning, so that will be one of the first things to be modelled.


With the help of MRJ 17 I was going to make a start on the station building today, but realising I haven't got the right bond plasticard, I made a small start on a test plank for mixed gauge. My initial idea of reusing some strips of wood I was given by someone for the longitudinals (I think they're from an abandoned deagostini Titanic model) may or may not work (it's still drying at the moment). So not much progress today, but there's always next sunday afternoon.

Edited by Charlie586
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A little progress but not much.


Mixed gauge test track has had a bit more done. The top baulk was glued down first then the rail added. The other baulks had rail glued to them first to create a floating track which i thought would help with gauging. It turns out I only have one roller gauge, so work on this has stopped until I get another. You get the general idea from the photos though (I must have knocked the unglued baulk and rail while taking the staged photo as the gauge is well off)




I'd prefer the baulk to be higher as some photos show a larger dip in the ballast. So I may have a hunt round for some thicker wood or give in and use PCB.

I made a start on the first class carriage kit. You have to remove part of the bottom fold, and not having the right tools to hand, it took me a while. However both sides are now removed and folded. I also took a look at the Corsair kit and will get started on that soon. Not certain how to motorise it yet. As it's the wrong age I don't want to spend a fortune on and then not get much use. I suppose I could run an earlier date train with the first class carriage and temporarily backdate the station.



Next to do is spend some money at the BGS shop, start building the station and bridge, and convert a few wagons to broad gauge and maybe bash a ratio carriage. The carriage won't be correct but will be a start. I also need to start thinking about a Rover class.

Edited by Charlie586
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  • 2 weeks later...

I did say progress would be slow.


A bit more work on the corsair, but I haven't got the bearings that would have originally come with the kit so work will halt on that for a bit ( I also need wheels and a motor so probably best to get all the bits first) I'll have to come up with a quick fix for something to run.




Bit more work on the carriage, I soldered the overlay after I took the picture but didn't get a chance to take anymore as the dog got bored of not having her walk and created havoc.




Work has started on the station building. It's unusual being 3 storeys tall and set into the bridge. (hope it's okay to post this, if not I'll delete)




I've cut out plasticard parts for the basic structure according to the plans in BRJ. The front of the station is actually at an angle to the platform (the pic above is the side). Next job is to cut out the brick plasticard and assemble. I'm going to do internal walls and detail as well but that's not a priority. I'm not decided on windows yet. I've got some in a box somewhere but I have previously made sash windows from scratch, but I remember it taking ages so I may well find a good fit as there's enough to do already.




That's about it for now. I've rejoined the broad gauge society so will be ordering some bits soon, another roller gauge being the first priority so I can actually get more than a few inches of track laid.



Edited by Charlie586
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  • 3 weeks later...

Another few weeks seem to have flown by. A bit of progress to report, but nothing resembling a layout yet I'm sorry to say.


Until I get the wheels and coupling rod jig, I'm doing other duties on the corsair. Pushed fifty or so rivets out (messed one up, but it's gone back in almost seamlessly) and cut a few bits out the frets and cleaned them up in advance. I was planning on doing most of the bogie, but only got as far as the rivets.


Did a bit more to the carriage. As it's been my first bash at soldering for a while, it's taken a messed up overlay or two to get the nack back. Excuses over with, here's the pic.




I really should have followed the instructions instead of moving on ahead as I now have to drill holes in the sides and solebars which would have been much easier before assembly. Still need to scrape a bit more solder off before I'm happy with it.


Did some more on the station building. Decided it needed two laminated plasticard sheets as well as the brick front as three quarters of the lower floor doesn't need brick plasticard as its hidden. The windows for the right wall (the one that faces west) puzzled me as the plan didn't match photographs so I've gone off photos as these are quite a lot larger than the other windows.




The layout's going to need a Rover or two and as one isn't currently available to buy/make in 4mm, I'm going to have to scratch build. I did start one in 3d a while back, but I don't think the distinctive frames will look right in plastic. The drawings I have are the 7mm scale one in the Oakwood press book and the GA picture in Russel's book but that doesn't appear to be the right scale. I've started drawing parts out the old fashioned way, chassis first obviously, and am cutting out in plasticard first so I don't waste too much nickel silver sheet (at this stage anyway, I'm expecting to waste a lot later on) The final chassis should probably be lower than this around the firebox to save adding it on later.






Lastly, on top of the sheet metal are some baulks I got from Eileen's. at 3/16 square, it's more 14" than the 12" needed in 4mm, but it does give a good depth for ballast dips. Hopefully we'll have some wheels for next time.

Edited by Charlie586
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  • 3 weeks later...

I ordered a couple of carriage kits from the Broad Gauge Society, but I'm not touching them until I've finished the current (and incorrect date) carriage I'm working on. Problem is I need some 0.5mm wire and, even after raiding a couple of old blacksmith kits, I can't find what I know is there somewhere in the many boxes of kits and stuff.


Also, I still need wheels and a coupling rod jig for the Corsair so that's on hold until I get that ordered. Having just spent a wedge pre-christmas on the BGS bits, I daren't spend anymore for a few weeks.


So, I've been working on the rover. I'm sort of scratch-building 3: plasticard, brass/nickel silver, and a 3d model via blender. The plan is, by building the plasticard bits first I know what mistakes to avoid on the more expensive metal. The 3d model is a back up in case it goes wrong. I'm further ahead with the 3d model which is probably because it's easier for me to work on this in the evening than other bits. Metal working is normally a half hour or so when I wake up early (most weekdays). Not wanting to wake the rest of the house with drills and cutting discs, it's slow going.




The chassis pieces (4 in all, 2 plasticard and 2 nickel) are clamped down with the wheel centres drilled, these now need opening out and I need to decide on suspension or not (probably not). I made the nickel chassis deeper for the leading wheels than the plasticard version as it didn't look stable enough in hindsight (see previous post for pic). Next job is drill holes where I think the spacers should go then assemble with wheels which I don't yet have (see above). At least there's no coupling rods to worry about. Still not sure how to motorise it though.




Work has begun on the footplate both plasticard and ...




Nickel silver (I intentionally cut it too wide, though I'm regretting it now as it means cutting it again). The photo isn't the best, but you get the general idea. The prison-style snapped hacksaw blades with tape on are for getting in the splashers and centre hole. It's surprising how much noise even this makes at half five in the morning.The splashers should be the next job but I'll probably do the cab next instead




And the 3d rover from blender, Very much a work in progress. I'm not sure 3d printing will do the frames justice but there's only one way of finding out. The plan is the 3d body will also sit on the same chassis, so at the current rate this will be finished before the actual body (and possibly before the chasiss).


Sorry if this reads like a scratch building thread instead of a layout thread. I have done a tiny bit more work to the station building but didn't take any photos, maybe I'll do a bit more to that next and take some photos. A baseboard is still a month or so away, and there's no point having track without wheels, but what I'm hoping is enough bits will be ready at roughly the same time to make it look like a layout.




Edited by Charlie586
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  • 4 weeks later...

About 4 weeks later and not a great deal has been done. Most work has been on the Rover, both in real modelling and also in 3d.


Some parts have been cut out / shaped and generally filed both in plasticard and brass / nickel silver. I probably should have finished the plasticard one first, but sometimes it doesn't happen like that.




As I'm waiting on christmas, and all the hints I've dropped for things that will be handy, I can't really buy anything until afterwards. So, I'm still wheel-less (apart from ones with too large flanges). However I'm going to make a bigger effort to do some layout modelling this month, do a bit more to the station building and cut out some wood for the first board. I also need to make a start on the cakebox diorama so some work will be done on this too.


This time next year, Rodney...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Done a bit more on the station building.


Layers of plasticard were built up in the usual way with windows and doors cut through. Getting each piece square was probably the most time consuming part, but I made more work for myself by making each piece of plasticard square then laminating and realising the bricks didn't quite line up so I had to make the whole thing square again. I'll be laminating first next time.








It's getting there. The windows are only roughly cut for now while I try to match them. I've got about 6 different packs in various boxes that I'll try to sort out over christmas. Next big job is to tackle the bridge as the middle level joins onto it, which should be fun. I'll wait on sticking the sides together until I get a bash on with the bridge.


This video from the youtube about the recent replacement is helpful although the bridge itself is obviously not the original brick one, a lot of the original brickwork remained/was rebuilt in the same style. It also clarifies the brick bond and bridge top detail which my eyesight was struggling over. Around the 2 minute mark is what would have been the old entrance on top of the bridge.



A staged photo...




vs the original (the separate shelter gets in the way but you get the general idea)





Finally, the outside frame for the rover is nearly done (well it's close to the right shape, still needs finishing and rivets etc). Problem is it took ages to do and as it's a sandwich frame I have to make three more. I'm thinking of using plasticard for the inner frame and maybe even making the loco detailed one side only. The 3d prints for the frames will be arriving from shapeways soon so that is another option if the rivet detail works.





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  • 4 weeks later...

I applaud your tenacity to do the broad gauge, I am looking forward to the result.


Thanks. To say it's slow going would be an understatement, but I've always wanted to try it. I hope to be ordering a load of wheels in the next week or so and will be able to put the Rover and the Corsair chassis together then.

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There were drawings of the station before track quadrupling in an early copy of British Railway Journal. I don't have a copy to hand at the moment but IIRC it was edition # 9 or 10.


Hello Phil


I've been working from the stuff in BRJ 17 which has a 4 page piece by Nicholas De Courtais and Paul Karau including drawings of the station, this might be the one you mean? I need to get a copy of the revised Tramway book in case there's any more photos in that one of the station area (though I think it's unlikely)

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Hello Phil


I've been working from the stuff in BRJ 17 which has a 4 page piece by Nicholas De Courtais and Paul Karau including drawings of the station, this might be the one you mean? I need to get a copy of the revised Tramway book in case there's any more photos in that one of the station area (though I think it's unlikely)

That must be the one.

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  • 1 month later...

Another month or so in, and I still haven't ordered the wheels. I'll be at the point soon where it will hold up work, so I need to get a crack on with that.


Done the floor on the six wheel coach that is far too early for 1880ish (but I have actually got these wheels which is typical).




And tried to add the dummy bogie/wheel carrier, but I then not only bent part of the solebar but also realised I must have messed up the calcs when cutting part of it away as there's not a great deal of room in there for the wheels. I've put it to one side for now. I might be able to bend it out a bit with pliers.




Back to the Corsair (another of the not the right area/time gang). I had a fettle of the white metal bits, but the castings don't fit that snugly. I think using filler after it's glued is the best way, though the rivets will be very close to where it will need filing down.






Started to solder some Corsair splashers up, which was quite fiddly. When it comes to the Rover, I'm seriously considering making wooden templates and soldering them inside the template. Might take a bit longer, but there's six of them so at least they'll be identical and it won't be quite as frustrating.




And on to the rover. A few more bits cut out, including a start on the second of four frames.




And a staged picture or two courtesy of pound shop imitation blue tac (which is a lot easier than soldering)






The chassis seems too high in places and low in others the wheels and boiler may or may not hide it, so it might end up having a shave/haircut. Of course I need wheels first and will get on with that asap...






Edited by Charlie586
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  • 6 months later...

So, I haven't given up it just seems to be 6 months since the last update. The allotment comes first in the summer and this year has meant a lot more watering so time's been limited. 


What I have done is a bit more feckling / fettling of the frames






I tried out some riveting using the traditional pin in pin vice with a donk from above. Obviously it was never going to be as good as pre drilled / etched holes to press out, but it's passable. I tried to take some pictures but they didn't come out well, I'll try again without a flash next time.


Always looking ahead, I've been eyeing up the Hawthorn class as a next engine (even though they were based a lot further west than Wantage). For a start there's no outside frame, but also it's not a single so should be a lot easier to attempt to build and motorise. Some Hawthorns were converted to saddle tanks, I really like the picture in this link of Ostrich. Having a saddle also gives a little bit more room for a motor too. Anyway, must finish the Rover and Corsair first.




I've picked up a few wheels from ebay over the months, but still not got the full set for either Corsair or Rover. It was worth waiting in case some bargains came up, but unfortunately only a couple did. Next job is to order some from Gibsons.


That's about it for the last 6 months. However with summer drawing to a close, I should be able to get cracking again. With any luck we'll have something that runs in some form or another by christmas.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Just saw that It's just under a year since I started this thread and still nothing even resembling a layout. Hope your patience can last another year (or two).


I tried to order wheels, but got stuck in a missed call loop with Gibsons that got a bit silly, so I've dug out the chequebook and will post an order in next day or so.


First up the rivet detail on the Rover frames.




A little bit hit and miss, a coat of paint might improve it, but the real problem is fretting out the small detail takes forever. Considering they're sandwich frames and I'm looking long term at more than one "Rover" (first is Bulkeley but I keep calling it Rover) a better method is needed.


The 3d print frames I made up were like this




I think it's an improvement so I'm going to put frame fretting work on hold while I try something else. Shapeways do print in brass, but it's not cheap so I'm thinking along the lines of making up an etch and getting PPD to print it. I reckon I can add a few more bits as well to the etch (splashers and valences, anything with rivets). I can do 3D CAD so surely 2D CAD should be similar. It's just learning a new program and how to present it in an etchable way (hopefully)


On the subject of splashers and valences, I soldered up the Corsair ones




It took a few goes, after pinning and clamping failed, the only way I found that worked was to hold them and burn myself while I soldered the middle together. After that, tweezers worked for doing a cm or two at a time. Just need finishing off and excess solder removing.


Had a look at the room inside the Corsair body




The motor poking out is one of the cheap Mitsumi. It fits, obviously the middle part of the firebox needs cutting away (the instructions mention that too) but attaching a gear box to the mitsumi is supposed to be awkward. I've got a few other kits in a box with motor and gearbox so I'll get them out and check.


Lastly, the Hawthorn class. I scaled down a picture from the Broad gauge drawings book. The corsair valence is the right shape, but the valence goes the whole length, which should be fun. Anyway, I need to finish the Rover (Bulkeley) first before thinking about any others.




Now I've got a bit more time, I'll dig out the station building again and restart work on that. Maybe I'll even start on a baseboard one day.


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  • 2 weeks later...

A cheque has finally been sent for the wheels. Not sure how long they take to turnaround, but I've got enough to keep me busy in the meantime.


Firstly, the Corsair kit. The front bogie is soldered with a single bar that will have a small amount of play and trying to solder it up while keeping it perfectly square and keeping gauge has failed me on two attempts now.




It's also lucky I forgot to solder the valence on before trying this as it would make inserting/removing the wheels very difficult. What I've done for the next soldering attempt is cut some lengths of plasticard to build a cage type thing to help keep it square. Hopefully I'll get a chance to solder it sunday morning.




Made a start on the tender by roughly cutting out frames, and did a tiny bit more to the smokebox parts. I should have donked some rivets in before bending it, but that would have made life too easy.




Finally read through about 6 tutorials on inkscape and various etching companies guidelines and have made a first, tentative step into 2d CAD.




Basically, I'm tracing round an imported picture of the frame (the more solid line is what I've done, the fainter line is the picture) . It needs a bit of editing as I've gone a bit skew in a few places. Above the frame is a start on splasher backs and valence, but I need to fiddle with the settings to get them to line up properly. Before I go much further though I need to adjust the scale as it's only scaled to eye and not exact pixels. Superimposing a picture may help with the rivet placements so i'll add that as another layer. Luckily Bulkeley is probably the most photograped of the rover crew, but getting an exact side on view for the full length of the beast is proving difficult.


Hopefully next time we'll have fun and games with wheels.

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Back in the dim and distant past I was part of a small group that built a mixed gauge 4mm layout called Wytham Wells.


It was a branch terminus that ran over a Brunel viaduct. This was the early 1980s and there was even less BG stuff around (kits etc)

than now. The BGS was in its formative years and hadn't got into its stride with their kits.


We used PECO Code 100 rail with the top milled off to give a bridge rail profile and mounted it on longitudinal strips of

copperclad with 'sleepers' at suitable spacing for the BG only sections and very long 'ordinary' sleepers for the mixed gauge. Incidentally, we used

16.5mm for the standard gauge, not EM or P4 whih got us a few dark looks in certain quarters.


We did manage to have enough rolling stock to run the layout and 3 locos. 2 BG, a K's Rover (that was nicknamed Spot and tender drive) and a scratchbuilt,

vertical boilered 'Tiny' that ran on a Tenshodo Spud with extended axles, plus an 850(?)Class saddle tank that was 'narrow'.


Everthing else was scratchbuilt including the very impressive viaduct. The locos, the viaduct and most of the track (including milling the rail) was done

by Dave Wyse. Andy Wells did the electrics and I did a bit of everything else.


We exhibited it a few times but it never made the mags at all, sadly. Sadly too I don't even have any pictures either. If anyone does, I

would love to see them.


I hope your enterprise goes well and you complete it to your satisfaction.





Edited by steve1
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Hello Steve

Thanks for looking. Sounds like an excellent layout, especially the viaduct, I wish I'd seen it. Shame there aren't any photographs. It must have been highly difficult 30 odd years ago, even getting information that is now a click away must have taken ages to get. There are quite a few more kits around now including a 3501, but the Rover isn't available at moment (hence the attempt at a scratchbuild) and that is the class I really want to get the full picture of the expresses running to the west country. 



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Wheels haven't arrived yet and didn't get a chance to solder over the weekend. But I have done sawed more brass and even some nickel silver.




the long piece of brass is the firebox, which I add some detail to before bending. The tender frames I thought I'd done more work to than I actually have (based on photo in previous post). The nickel silver is for the two piston heads on the front of the smoke box (I think they're called this or something similar?) It has a very faint circle scribed to it that I'm cutting round. It will need some rivets donking through from the back and an inner circle scribing. I probably should have added these details before cutting out in case I mess it up.




I also had a go at rolling the boiler. I haven't got rolling bars so used a socket on an allotment seed catalogue, then used a smaller one. Getting the ends curved seems to be the hardest part, my next attempt will be to curve the ends smaller than the rest then open them back out. I think maybe the thinner brass would have helped.




A bit more inkscaping. I'm getting the hang of bezier curves now so the curves in the frames look less jagged. I've also done a fold up for the sandbox as they'll be a lot of room left on the etch sheet so I'll try to fill it.




And some blendering. This is a start on the tender frames for a 3d print in case it all goes wrong. This wasn't too hard as I could copy and paste from the engine's frames I've previously done.


Hopefully I'll have wheels for the weekend.

Edited by Charlie586
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Wheels have arrived




It took a while to mount them on the axles (I'd previously cut some nickel silver rod to the right size as obviously they don't come with axles long enough for broad gauge) but I had a few hours today to sort of play trains.


First up the Corsair




Just a rough guide of the bits held together with blu tack. I got 2 types of 6ft wheels one has the right number of spokes but the wrong throw (this is in the picture) the other has wrong spokes but a nearer throw. The throw is too big so I'll swap them for the others.


The original IKB kit came with a bearing of sorts (seems to have been hexagonal - I'm guessing a nut that had been drilled out?) but with the current version you just get the etches and white metal lumps so I've been trying to get a workable bearing/bush into the space. The ride height looks okay to me, so the bushes need soldering now. I did try to introduce some compensation by building a homemade hornblock, but it didn't really work so the chassis will be rigid. What i should have done is just bought some hornblocks but I'm limited moneywise. The picture has reminded me I still need to remove the excess white metal from the tank.


And the Rover




I'd miscalculated the running plate clearance so had to hack a bit off before it would sit properly.




Again more blu tack, but it's looking a lot more rover like now it has wheels. The running plate needs more taking out of it for the splasher holes. One thing I am now worried about is I think the chassis nickel silver might be too thin, but there's only one way to find out. I have tried to think about compensation / springing. Again I didn't want to / can't afford to pay for hornblocks, which may prove to be a mistake as soldering it rigid would be very difficult to get it round any sort of bend. I have got some 2mm bushes with a large outside diameter (1/8th), filing a flat in opposing sides might mean it will have a bit of up down movement in the frame for the smaller wheels with the driver soldered rigid. As for motorising, still not a clue which motor or gearbox, but I'll have a bash at powering the driver and if it fails have a go at the tender.


For the next bits, I need a chassis jig to solder the two up, but cant afford one of the fancy ones so will try to make something square ish to solder around/in between. I've been searching the house for something with sides 24mm apart I can use as a jig but have come up with nothing. I've got some aluminium and blocks of wood so will give it a bash. The other big job is the splashers, especially the large one. I've got a plan for constructing that, but it's probably flawed...



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Just discovered your thread and I’m following with a great deal of interest as I too am building a mixed gauge em layout. ( See Nampara for Hendrawna in the cameo completion forum. ) Do feel free to pm me if you think I can help in anyway.


Very interested in your proposed Hawthorn class 2-4-0st build as its on my list too. Do you have a drawing to work from? Or are you going to work from photos?


All the best,



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Hello Duncan


Thanks for looking. I've seen your thread before, I really like your track work. The only Hawthorn drawing I've come across so far is the original tender version in the Sharman 7mm book, but the wheelbase doesn't seem to match the side on picture of Wood at Plymouth in 1890 so I think it's safer to pick a photograph and work to that. This photo of Dewrance is currently my favourite.




The lack of a decent front on view will mean it involves a bit of guesswork. Once I get a basic tender version (maybe even a plasticard one) I'll have a bash at Ostrich as well, though I think the saddle tank may take some time. Saying that, I really need to finish the Rover first, or at least have some track and something that moves.



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Back again for more fun and games, broad gauge style.


Didn't get too much time this week, but I had a go at a splasher.




As the diameter of the splasher is roughly 2cm, I had the idea of boring a hole in a piece of wood with a flat bit to help with soldering, as the splasher top can be pre bent and placed in the depth. However, I forgot the hole it leaves isn't level, so I'll need to drill through 1 piece of wood and stick it to another. I really need a bench drill ( and a lathe etc) for this kind of thing so christmas hints are starting to be dropped.




I also added some rivets to the splasher top (this piece will make 2 splashers), but my phone camera isn't really good enough to pick up the details. One of the rows of rivets is a lot better than the other, which is annoying as it will stand out. The front of the splasher has a cut away which I'm only part of the way through cutting out. No time for soldering again.


Typically for the 8ft driver, I've got  32mm and a 38mm bore type drill bit when I will need a 34/35mm to do the same thing. I suppose I can line the hole with plasticard to reduce the diameter a bit?




I clamped a few bits of aluminium and drilled holes through (again without a bench drill it won't be 100% accurate) which when bolted together at 24 or 24.5mm will have a roughly square area for soldering the chassis up (obviously further holes / cutouts will be needed).




Lastly, I dug out the test track / plank to look at the new baulks. I'll get them painted first, but what I'm wondering is whether the packing used between rail and baulk is really necessary in 4mm. Maybe I'll try it for the test bit and if it's too much of a problem, I'll drop it for the layout


This is a picture I took at Didcot years ago, although the fence gets in the way, it has the ballast dips that I want to recreate.




The packing is sort of visible but only if you know to look for it. There are bolt heads as well, but that might be going too far. I'm going to need some ballast as well, as I don't have anything light enough to use. I'm wondering whether it's time to start selling a few of the 00 boxes of stuff I've got lying around. I've not got the room to do anything with them so it makes sense, but as they say, you never know when you might need something.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Another week and a bit, still not finished yet. 


I cut out the splashers and splasher backs and fronts for the 8ft drivers. This took a lot of time, especially the front as I over cut it then filed back, but as it's only 2mm wide, I didn't want it to bend at all. Just a little bit of filing left to do, and the back needs chopping in half obviously. I've also marked out for the front splashers for the smaller wheels on the inner piece that was left.




I do get the odd 'why the eff am i doing this' thought, I suppose it's normal but then I remember the lack of space we have. I also get the occasional, 'maybe I should have gone for 7mm scale if I'm scratch building everything', then I remember how much 7mm wheels are. I'll keep plodding on. The fairly good news is I've only the inner of the sandwich frames, the cab roof and a support or 2 for the smoke box then I've cut everything out. Apart from the fiddly bits and the tender of course. And the soldering.


Looking at ballast and track, I thought that instead of buying several types and seeing if it was the right size / colour, I'd break some rocks in the hot sun, so to speak.




I'm no geologist but i think it's sandstone or limestone that breaks up fairly well with a hammer. The colour isn't far off what I need either. But ...




It's too big at the moment. I can have a go at bashing  it up more, but it's seems to be a fine line in how hard you hit it between dust and slightly too large.


I had a look at all the photos I had (the Christopher Audrey's book has some of the best), a few photos online are here 











I've come to the conclusion that the best is larger than rail head width, about 1 - 1.5 mm. I'll smash up a bit more stone, but I know I'll end up buying some.


You might have noticed above I painted the baulks, here's another pic




For some reason, the bass wood has taken a pinkish tinge. I tried again with a darker paint but it's still a bit red / purple (to me). I'll try again, if not I'll dig out the bucket of dark oak shed preserver I've got and try that. Also, in the tracks above, the nearest has packing (plasticard painted black) the farther one doesn't. I think the packing one looks better, but maybe a slightly lighter colour (pictures seem to be very dark brown). Luckily nothing is glued down yet.


Finally, the thing to try and keep things sort of square while soldering is ready. 




I've pre-drilled axle spacing holes for both the Corsair and Bulkeley, so next time the iron is out I'll be soldering them up.

Edited by Charlie586
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Managed to get the soldering iron out today, but by the time I'd set it up I didn't get much time before packing away.




The squareomiser has a few problems. I didn't make the holes big enough for bearings and I forgot I needed to cut away some of the aluminium to actually get the iron in at a decent angle. I managed to solder it eventually but had to do it blind (and at an odd angle) and two of the cross braces are in the wrong place so I'll have to redo them. I'll try to get up early one day in the week and have another go.


Another problem is my eyesight while soldering. I think I need a magnifying glass rather than stronger than I normally use reading glasses. I've got a helping hands type thing, but it was cheap and the glass on that doesn't seem to help at all.


Most of the other work this week has been on cad for future rovers. The current one I'm building is based on this now tatty drawing




I rounded the odd dimension here and there, actually quite a few are rounded, but the wheels are a bit tight. The CAD one I'm doing is from the general arrangement, but I may adjust the front wheels as even with P4 flanges the flanges make the wheels look too close.




Current CAD drawing. One or two of the curves need a bit more work as they look jerky. I tried to place the rivets from the picture in the Sharman book, but that picture doesn't quite match the GA, so I went for 2mm (half a real foot) spacing for most of them which matches pictures. A few more to do then I need to decide on the front wheelbase before doing much more.


I also started to cut out the firebox dummy supports and a bit of work on the tender frame, but that was about it for this week.

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