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Rain, Steam and Speed - William's Workbench


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When I was a youngin' my Dad built me an 8'x 4' roundy-round layout for my birthday, and took me to the Bluebell railway. Since then model railways had been a quiet echo in the background of my life; in experimental fits and starts, all very unfocused and unsatisfactory until put to sleep a few years ago. This year my wife got me a Flying Scotsman set to run around the Christmas tree and reignited the idea.

 

With some false starts, I've settled on 2mmFS as far as it is possible to do so without having a layout or much of anything, but with the kind help of a local association member and excellent modeller (justin1985), I've been able to take my first steps and make some progress - so here's a little thread to keep track of my progress in learning to kit build, track lay, build layouts and hopefully exhibit eventually. The thread title is not to imply a GWR flavour - rather just the name of a lovely painting, a print of which hangs in my office.

 

So far the only thing I've completed to 2FS is a single mineral wagon kit complete to a decent standard:

 

md7ynCR.jpg

 

I know I need to file the faces of the buffers, and I'm fairly certain I'm missing brake rigging but not sure where to find out where to add it. I found the brake levers to be very difficult, it's not clear at all how to bend them from the drawing - but other than that the only thing that stopped me from blazing through was the viscosity of my solder paste.

 

I've got some more freight kits, a loco kit and some part built point-work, so my broad plan is to keep practising with the wagons and finish up a little generic "photo plank" before moving on to more complicated matters and/or settling on layout.

 

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That looks very nice indeed. I picked up the 2mmFS starter kit, a 16T Mineral wagon I think, from the stand at Model Rail Scotland this weekend, although I model N gauge. It will be my first etched chassis build, so should be interesting.

 

Good work!

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Well, second van complete - this one was definitely a good learning experience and properly humbling. I decided to solder the wheel bearings into the W-irons before bending them up, which meant that I couldn't get a good grip for a sharp bend on the chassis sides and this had various knock-on effects on the solebars and buffer beams. I also only saw the brake lever bending template and properly read the instructions after I'd fitted them, so they're not perfect either.  For now I've just placed the van body on top of the chassis because on one hand the chassis instructions say "buffer beam sits higher than the surface of the chassis prototypically", but on the other hand the molding of the van has the ends flush with the sides - so there's a gap. My current thoughts are to sand the bottom of the van flat, then notch out the ends so the buffer beams slip in. I have also managed to put the bloody sides on upside down.

 

oTTvwgp.jpg#

Edited by Lacathedrale
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So with the body a bit of a write-off (luckily I have extra roofs and didn't stick it down) - what IS the best way forward to sort the chassis out? It seems to be broadly square, but it'll be impossible for the body to sit on it since the buffer beams are proud. Do I chop the body, or the chassis?

Edited by Lacathedrale
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I tend to solder as much as possible with the chassis still flat - including the solebar overlays etc if locate using the bearings - and then bend the sides down using a small jewellers vice that has jaws shallow enough to grip the "deck" of the chassis and then push the solebars down using a steel ruler. (The vice is a £50 knock off of the expensive Swiss ones commonly recommended).

 

I'm sure that isn't the "right" way to do it - as you've pointed out it is harder to grip this way (at least without a conveniently sized vice or long but thin enough smooth pliers). However my logic is both that its easier to solder when you can just hold everything down, rather than having to hold the 3D folded chassis somehow while you add the overlays, and it reduces the chances of the bearings slipping out of alignment when soldering more layers on. 

 

Looking at the van body, I'd actually be tempted to add a thin shim of plasticard to make up the difference. I think when I've built chassis similar to that I've actually ignored the fact that the buffer beam should be offset up like that and enlarged the holes in the main chassis ends so it can sit level. Not correct, but simpler than trying to notch the bodywork if it wasn't designed to suit.

 

J

 

Edit - this is the vice I got. It is a near as damn it clone of the expensive Bergeon one that Tim uses

Edited by justin1985
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Interesting, it seems I took the worst of both worlds then by soldering the bearings while flat, but folding up to fit the laminated solebars. Learning experience, and this one only took me a couple of hours instead of literally all night.

 

With regard to this particular van, all of the LMS van pictures I've seen show the buffer beam flat against the solebars, and the buffers without that extended rib, so I decided to file it flat. Here's take two, with the sides correctly oriented:

 

Z1yNixe.jpg

 

I'll hit the edges with some more butanone to meld them together, and hit it with some grey primer and see what comes out. Not as good as the wagon, but serviceable. I tried to use some Humbrol body putty to fill the tiny gaps but it was useless (or I'm just bad at it) - is there a go-to filler for this tiiiny stuff?

Edited by Lacathedrale
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Sorry to add to the issues, but does that chassis have a wooden solebar? Those LMS vans had a steel solebar. The steel solebar is available as a separate item for some of the association chassis whereas many of the newer chassis have steel and wooden options on the same etch.

 

I've learnt far more than I ever thought necessary about wagon diagrams and construction since moving from N Gauge!

 

The van body will be fine when seen from normal viewing distance.

 

Simon

Edited by 65179
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........ I decided to solder the wheel bearings into the W-irons before bending them up, which meant that I couldn't get a good grip for a sharp bend on the chassis sides and this had various knock-on effects on the solebars and buffer beams. 

 

Like Justin, I do as much of the build as possible with the underframe in the flat.  i find that by the time you have soldered on the overlays and the axleboxes/springs, they are stiff enough to stand bending down.  Do Not however attach the steps on the likes of brake vans before bending down the solebars!  (ask me how I know).  I design all my kits with a gap in the bend line between the solebar and floor to make the bending easier.

 

 - is there a go-to filler for this tiiiny stuff?

Take some shavings/filings of plastic (off the sprue), put them in a recepticle that will not be affected by your chosen solvent and flood them with said solvent.  Wait a few minutes until the plastic softens in the solvent and use the paste thus formed to fill the gaps.

 

Jim

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I think that perhaps the issue of the height of the bufferbeams in relation to the solebars and body relates to the differences between wooden and steel chassis wagons. With most of the former, of whatever type and builder, the wooden bufferbeams are taller than the solebars, generally the height of the solebars plus the floor, so the body sides seem to sit down between the beams. Not by much, just the thickness of the floor, but it is enough to show clearly, and especially with the thick wooden bufferbeams. By comparison, steel chassis wagon bodies are just really sat down on top of the (mostly separate) chassis, the solebars and beams being the same height. Some 2mmSA chassis are able to be built with either steel or wooden solebars and bufferbeams, and this is also where it can get confusing over deciding which bits to use. It often foxes me and I wonder if I have got the right mix of bits!

 

In the complete opposite to others I always fold up a basic wagon etch (after cutting all the bits out) before adding anything else, using a simple folding jig of two steel plates held together with 8ba bolts. Then I fit the bearings and add the overlays and other bits. I do it this way to ensure the solebars reach to the top of the chassis floor when adding the solebar overlays, so there isn't a gap between the solebars and body when fitted together. I used to get this when I first tried putting all the bits on and folding up the chassis last, which I didn't find half so easy.

 

I'm sure you will enjoy 2mm.

 

Izzy

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Izzy, thanks for your clarification, it would explain how the steel solebars could be taller, thus though the buffer beam extends about the chassis sides, so would the steel solebars.

 

With regard to folding, it seems there are certainly many ways to skin a cat. How do you deal with holding everything square and correct while the chassis is 3D? I appreciate there must obviously be ways and my particular example was hampered by dodgy bends on the W-iron areas, but I found it a right devil to keep square and tight.

 

Scott, I've heard of using Superglue and Talcum powder to get a very sandable filler, but these gaps are already hidden in recesses so I'd be worried about it blocking out detail?

 

Jim/Ian, should I switch to MEK instead of Butanone for any particular reason?

 

Lastly, Simon - you're right that this van should have steel solebars but I decided discretion was the greater part of valour for my first couple of kits. I'm going to take a swing at a couple more and take a view on whether to tackle the J72 or not. 

Edited by Lacathedrale
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Jim/Ian, should I switch to MEK instead of Butanone for any particular reason?. 

I now use DL-Limonene which I find pleasanter than the others.  It is not quite as aggressive and i find it helps to wet the two surfaces with it before bringing them together, however it seems to harden quicker than some of the other solvent I've used. 

 

Jim

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The DL-Limonene Jim mentions is, I think, the one recommended for use with clear plasticard, and laminating thin plasticard? Using the least aggressive solvent that will do the job seems like a good general principle!

 

For plastic kits, including wagons, I actually tend to use Revell plastic "precision" cement - the type that comes in a little tubby bottle with a long metal "needle". I think mine actually came as a freebie with a Revell model kit years and years ago. I find it is just viscous enough to actually help filling in small gaps by itself, but not so thick and gloopy that it leaves an obvious mark if you get a drop in the wrong place like the old Humbrol plastic cement in a tube.  

 

Funnily enough when I last built an Association plastic kit a few weeks ago and tried to use MEK to try and re-stick a joint that hadn't taken first time, it didn't make much impression on the plastic at all. Which reminds me there might have been talk of a change of formula in the official MEK? This bottle was bought about a year ago but not previously used. The previous bottle I had, which was more successful, was branded as "Plastic Weld" - don't know if thats the same or different formula stuff?

 

J

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Your woes largely arise from using the wooden solebar I am afraid. Now we've told you, even if you get it working you will know for evermore that it is not right!

 

As to working with a chassis once folded up, hang it over the edge of a bit of plywood say 6-9mm thick. This allows you to solder in the bearings and then do the rest of the work on one solebar as though it was sitting flat on the workbench. 

 

Chris

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I'm sure this is all very run of the mill to this subforum, which seems to have a "Chicago Bulls in the 90s"- feel to it when it comes to 2mm experts, but here's my first attempt at a turnout. It's totally soldered without any concession for visuals; just to see if it functions.

 

Lg2HZOD.jpg

FoU0CXH.jpg

 

Happily, it does.

 

There's the tiniest bit of wobble on the straight arm going over the crossing nose and I'm not 100% sure why - I used some rail as a slide-gauge and the wing rails are both perfectly aligned and with zero slop. I'll put it down to just general inconsistency for now. I used the same rail-as-slide-gauge to arrange the tie-bar too; for now just some PCB as recommended to me which means the throw is only 1mm, and the blades shaved down to 0.1mm or so. I'm aware that this kind of actuation has a limited life due to the twisting stress on the pcb, but it'll function for now. The only other thing of note was that I had some real trouble with my roller gauges, I need a lot more practise to figure out what slot/orientation to use in what situation - I swear I spent more time rolling those little around on the rail head than anything else.

 

Next up, an SR van whose roof I have to slice myself off a large molding. 

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Thanks Ian, I'm hoping to take more full advantage of hand laying for some interesting, flowing track-work - That said, I've yet to test this in anger and I don't think I really can, until I've got the turnout situated on a larger baseboard so I can link the tie bar to a slide-switch and omega loop, etc. I think the best intermediate step however is to get this turnout, along with another laid in an 'Inglenook' layout that can be used as a glorified photo/test/programming plank. 

 

EDIT: Justin1985 suggested a fix for my turnout - using the rail slip gauge more aggressively by pressing the soldering iron against the wing rails while the slip gauge is in the groove. It worked a charm and the turnout's functioning as one would hope. 

 

z7fnc9V.jpg

Edited by Lacathedrale
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And here's the turnouts brother in a pegged easitrac format:

 

LQ1Prrn.jpg

 

Certainly these are spectacularly engineered kits - but it did leave me feeling a little hollow; I felt like I was painting by numbers instead of doing my own colours. It was however a valuable learning experience to show me that. I've got a milled (non-pegged) turnout base with an A6 shape to use with a hybrid plastic-base/PCB construction, but I think I'm going to bank further turnout construction until after my little photo plank is complete - now I've got two turnouts and enough rail, I need a little spot to run trains on to make sure it all works! 

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I laid out my turnouts and some easitrac for a little inglenook on Saturday morning.

 

IGPwCP7.jpg

 

I have spent many hours over the last few days tweaking and re-tweaking the PCB turnout. A number of problems:

 

- Didn't have enough plain track either side of the turnout to properly test a loco running through

- Too much pressure with the soldering iron when narrowing the wing and checkrail clearances made them too narrow and the wheels would ride up over.

- Used the triangle-gauge backwards when setting the curved closure rail so inadvertantly tightened the gauge

- Didn't set the clearance on the tie-bar properly so the wheels would ride up onto the switch blades

 

Right now, my Class 37 goes through backwards and forwards through both routes, but hesitates about halfway through (even though the gauge is now definitely wide enough  as far as I can tell) and occasionally derails (but I think this is because i've not got anything holding the tie bar other than pressure.) My little PO wagon goes through with no problems at all, so next thing is to triple check the B2B on the 37 wheelset.

 

Overall I've spent too long looking at it and prodding around, I'm going to take a break and make some more wagons to get something positive achieved.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello all,

 

I've been studying for some technical certifications quite hard, and swotting up for some interviews so modelling has been at an all time low. I went to visit Alexandra Palace with @Justin1985 and had a cracking time - my absolute favourite layout was Llangeserich (Llangeresich?) a 2mm GWR BLT set in Wales. It was basically the perfect size and very finely done too. 

 

While I was there I picked up a Stanier observation coach, and I figured I may as well take a snap of all the RTR stock I've got and yet to convert - but which should provide a decent snapshot of where things stand there:

 

jll9PZ0.jpg

 

 

The Jinty and all the wagons came as a lot sale, and though they are certainly not the same calibre as the 2FS association / NGS kits, they will do for the meantime with some matt varnish, a little weathering and new couplers I think. I also picked up a Midland signal box and station building - in reflection the latter probably too small to properly represent a BLT station building but may pull duty in my photo plank.

 

 

With regard to the photo plank as mentioned no real progress has been made, to speak of - I've sodded around with the PCB turnout a little more without any real success. I think I need to give it another go, from scratch - certainly many lessons learned already.

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Hello all,

 

I've been studying for some technical certifications quite hard, and swotting up for some interviews so modelling has been at an all time low. I went to visit Alexandra Palace with @Justin1985 and had a cracking time - my absolute favourite layout was Llangeserich (Llangeresich?) a 2mm GWR BLT set in Wales. It was basically the perfect size and very finely done too. 

 

While I was there I picked up a Stanier observation coach, and I figured I may as well take a snap of all the RTR stock I've got and yet to convert - but which should provide a decent snapshot of where things stand there:

 

jll9PZ0.jpg

 

 

The Jinty and all the wagons came as a lot sale, and though they are certainly not the same calibre as the 2FS association / NGS kits, they will do for the meantime with some matt varnish, a little weathering and new couplers I think. I also picked up a Midland signal box and station building - in reflection the latter probably too small to properly represent a BLT station building but may pull duty in my photo plank.

 

 

With regard to the photo plank as mentioned no real progress has been made, to speak of - I've sodded around with the PCB turnout a little more without any real success. I think I need to give it another go, from scratch - certainly many lessons learned already.

 

 I'm stepping into the 2FS territory for the first time too and enjoying your posts as a month or so behind your progress at the moment - although a fair amount of N gauge stock to hopefully convert at some point. 

Edited by Steven Draper
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  • 6 months later...

Well, the break between post #20 and post #22 was 8 months, and this is the result:

 

 

Note, despite vigorous cleaning on the wheels and the trackwork it's still a bit mucky, hence the prodding - but believe me when prior to video'ing the loco went through at a crawl both ways.

 

The root cause of the issues for this point was using the triangle gauge and inadvertently narrowing the curve route. This was fixed in my previous work,. but contributed to a length troubleshooting process which sapped my enthusiasm to finish up. To get it to a working state there were a few tweaks:

  • There was a misalignment of one of the exit road rails after the easitrac transition, which cause derailments coming from the exit road, so I used cyanoacrylate to fix that.
  • I twisted a slight joggle into the straight stock rail, when it didnt' have one before
  • I smoothed the edge of the point blade which contacts the straight stock rail, and ensured it bent slightly inward, so as not to catch the wheel flanges.

 

The tie bar still needs to be held in one position or another, but I'm hoping that an omega loop attached to a DPDT plastic switch will give enough springyness for this not to be a problem.

 

The easitrack turnout is totally broken - both switch blades are electrically dead. My intermediate thoughts are to remove it from this board and replace with some straight easitrack just so I have a 'full' working model.

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Well, the break between post #20 and post #22 was 8 months, and this is the result:

 

 

Note, despite vigorous cleaning on the wheels and the trackwork it's still a bit mucky, hence the prodding - but believe me when prior to video'ing the loco went through at a crawl both ways.

 

The root cause of the issues for this point was using the triangle gauge and inadvertently narrowing the curve route. This was fixed in my previous work,. but contributed to a length troubleshooting process which sapped my enthusiasm to finish up. To get it to a working state there were a few tweaks:

  • There was a misalignment of one of the exit road rails after the easitrac transition, which cause derailments coming from the exit road, so I used cyanoacrylate to fix that.
  • I twisted a slight joggle into the straight stock rail, when it didnt' have one before
  • I smoothed the edge of the point blade which contacts the straight stock rail, and ensured it bent slightly inward, so as not to catch the wheel flanges.

 

The tie bar still needs to be held in one position or another, but I'm hoping that an omega loop attached to a DPDT plastic switch will give enough springyness for this not to be a problem.

 

The easitrack turnout is totally broken - both switch blades are electrically dead. My intermediate thoughts are to remove it from this board and replace with some straight easitrack just so I have a 'full' working model.

 

If the point is good otherwise, why not just solder a couple of jumpers to the blades?

 

Regards

 

Ian

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I did exactly that and after some head scratches I realised that when I put the plank away last time k hadn't put any droppers on the stock rails either - that fixed it worked great! Both ways and in tandem with my previous effort.

 

Unfortunately I managed to snap BOTH tie bars (PCB in half, peg hole on the easitrack one) so now nothing is working and I will need to re do it all.

 

Time for a large glass of wine and to think about something else.

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