Jump to content

Fence Houses 9F - a race against time!

Recommended Posts

16 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

I've got some more progress to report on my 9F, and rather than keep hijacking the general workbench thread, I thought I'd start a new one.


As a bit of background, I was one of the subscribers to Bob Jones' 9F kit project may years ago, and started building this one soon after they were delivered.

Once I had a basic rolling chassis sans valve-gear, there followed periods of experimentation around getting the valve gear to work, and subsequently getting it to reverse itself. These brief periods were interspersed with months and years of letting ideas ferment while I pursued other projects. Every time I saw Bob, he'd ask me about the 9F, ask when he was going to see it running, and remind my how old he was getting!



Next step is to finish off the tender body, which needs ladders, handrails, lamp irons, etc. fitting. Then the loco and tender bodies can be cleaned and sprayed with etching primer. While that's drying, I can turn my attention back to the chassis...

Great work Nick. I'm looking forward to seeing this on Fence Houses at York.


Nig H

Edited by Nig H
Trim original text
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

 ..... With Electras, not only do you get to keep your coupling hooks as there's no nasty lifting latch for them to foul, but you can have screw link couplings on display too!..... 

Same applies to Aj's and you don't have to do a 'soft shoe shuffle' with them when uncoupling! :D



Edited by Caley Jim
Edited for predictive text wrongly predicting!
Link to post
Share on other sites

You've made a lovely job of that. I have one still untouched in it's box waiting for the day that I am not to scared to start it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that there is nothing sexier than a loco in the bare metal


Even SWMBO was seriously impressed, but when I mentioned the 11 year build time, she said that I had better get started!!


Absolutely beautiful. Please,  bring this when you are at 'Lauries Lair' in June. I would love to see it in the flesh (or paint/metal).





Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

I've been doing some work on the tender, adding all the fiddly details which seem to take forever.


The main part of the tender body was one of the first things I worked on all those years ago, and I had forgotten most of what I did.

Although I bought 2 9F kits (I think I'll save the other until I'm retired!) I bought 3 tenders. The idea was that I'd use the BR1G as a practice piece, as I anticipated messing it up - I was still quite new to soldering kits together at the time and hadn't attempted anything approaching this level of complexity. My original plan was to build a BR1F tender to replace it (as happened in real life to the loco I had in mind).


Anyway, as time has passed, my period of modelling interest has edged ever earlier. Really, a 9F is too modern for me now, but I've always liked them, so I still must have one (well, two actually)... so to keep things as early as possible, my model is of the first one delivered to the Midland region - albeit to a completely different area to that which I'm modelling, but I really really like 9Fs! Although a Midland loco, 92008 needs a Western region tender, and my test piece has evolved into the final model and I now have a spare BR1F tender kit. There are one or two historic rough bits, but overall it will do. I thought I just needed to fill in a couple of gaps with Milliput before a final clean and paint, but I've just noticed that the front handrail stanchion by the rear of the coal bunker is leaning backwards...




Typical that the BR1G is bristling with so many handrails to get straight and level. My engine's younger sibling, 92009, was diverted to the Midland too. Fairly early on, that one lost its BR1G tender to the 9F that replaced Big Bertha as the Lickey Banker (92079 ?). Fortunately, some people took photos from behind as it helped shove trains up the bank, so there are good views of the double lamp brackets it still carried. These are made from the WR brackets in the kit, with extra uprights soldered on. In the kit, the half-etched lines for the bends are on the wrong side (unless I've misunderstood how they're supposed to attach) so I've had to add extra stregthening fillets of solder to the bends after assembling them "inside out". I don't think these look as delicate as the ones for the front of the loco somehow.




Bob's kit gives 3 options for the cab doors. I've used one of the "open" variety for the drivers' side, and the closed "scale" variety for the fireman's side.

I had a surreptitious play with one of Evening Star's cab doors in York the other week, to make sure I got the bends going the right way.




The kit was originally designed to use a fairly chunky open frame motor, but I have substituted one of the Association can motors which frees up a lot of space. I could have easily fitted in a slightly larger N20 without difficulty. Looking down from on top, you can see that there is potential to model the tender half empty.




For those interested in what lies beneath, here is the electrickery lurking in the water space. The decoder is a CT-Elektronik DCX74zD - positively ancient now, but I had it in the box, and it fit in the space nicely.

Despite its vintage, the DCX74 has the capacity (pun intended) to have stay-alive fitted... the capacitors for which are contained within the Kapton-wrapped parcel behind the motor - 6 x 220uF tantalum chip capacitors. The horseshoe shape of the capacitor block fits around the bracket with the fixing bolt that belongs to the tender top.

Along side the motor sits a diode and dropper resistor for the reversing gear motor housed in the boiler. 




Finally, a self indulgent picture of the loco and tender placed together... hopefully worth the 11 year wait to get it to this stage.

I really love this livery... I hope the black paint suits it as well!



Why rush an engine, Nick?  My Baldwin took 11 years to build...



  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Ian Smeeton said:

Please,  bring this when you are at 'Lauries Lair' in June. I would love to see it in the flesh (or paint/metal).


Happy to oblige. Unless disaster strikes it will be painted by then - Black, not flesh coloured! I will also have it with me at the Tutbury Supermeet.


6 hours ago, Ian Smeeton said:

Even SWMBO was seriously impressed, but when I mentioned the 11 year build time, she said that I had better get started!!


1 hour ago, CF MRC said:

Why rush an engine, Nick?  My Baldwin took 11 years to build...


Your Baldwin is entirely scratchbuilt, and on another level altogether. Credit for my 9F must go to Bob Jones and his exquisite design work - I just tweaked a few of the bits and assembled it.


To be fair, the model has spent most of those 11 years sitting on the shelf while I learned how to complete it by working on other projects. Like many people I seem to be better at starting locos than finishing them.

It has still been a significant time investment though. I feel that if I'm going to spend a lot of time on a modelling project, I want to get it as good as I possibly can. I'd rather spend twice as long, and be really pleased with it in the end.

Some people seem to be able to churn out award winning models at a frenetic pace, but not me.


There is a lot of pleasure to be gained from having taken ages over something but having got there in the end. When I started building the 9F I never imagined I would be able to finish it even to this standard.


  • Like 4
  • Agree 1
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just came across these pictures of some of the valve gear under construction. The files have a date stamp of June 2010.


The first picture shows how I made the valve spindles from 0.45mm dia. brass wire. It is swashed flat in the vice at one end, with a washer soldered on and then drilled through 0.3mm.




The next picture shows how the valve spindle and radius rod are pivoted at the top of the combination lever.

Two 0.3mm over-long nickel silver wires were soldered through the holes in the combination lever, from the front. The wires weer held upright in the vice, with the combination lever resting on the vice jaws, to make sure everything was square and the wires parallel.

The piece was then turned over in the vice (to hold the other end of the wires) and a sandwich of cigarette paper, the two rods, more cigarette paper, and finally a pair of washers was assembled. The washers were soldered in place, and then the excess wire trimmed and filed flush both front and back.




Next is the view from the front. You can see here how I have chopped off the lifting link that was etched as part of the radius rod, and drilled a hole for a pivot. The kit had 2 sets of these, so I was subsequently able to use the lifting link (with the radius rod chopped off it) from the other set. The valve rod slides in a length of tube which was set into the brass valve casting. The tube and rod are the stuff Model Signal Engineering sell as "bearing tube" for 2 and 3mm scale.




At the other end of the radius rod, you can see how I have made a brass pivot/holder for the expansion link. This was turned on my lathe, first as a solid disc 1.5mm thick, with protrusions front and back. The rear protrusion is more substantial as it is not visible on the model. The outline shape was filed from the central disc, and then a 1mm wide slot filed up the middle.

The etched expansion link was filed flat at the back, and the bit in the centre with the pivot hole in it removed by cutting and filing/sanding. The inside edges of the slot needed to be really smooth.


To solder the expansion link into the brass pivot, I made a special tool from aluminium with two thin little tongues. The front of the expansion link was gripped between the tongues, and the tongues fitted into the slot in the brass pivot. Solder could then be applied from the rear edge of the expansion link - carefully so as not to fill up the slots.


A brass crankpin passes through the slot, and allows the position of the radius rod to be adjusted.




Finally, here is an attempt at an end on view. The other pivot joints were made using the late lamented Association 0.3mm steel motion pins.




After this, the arms of the motion bracket from the kit were assembled around the pivot to hold it captive, as can be seen in photos on my previous postings.

  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally agree - stunning work, very jealous of what you have achieved there. Doesn't matter how long it look you, you achieved a fantastic result - really do need a Wow button!



  • Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Things are moving along - not quickly, and not as smoothly as I would have liked.

The photos below show where I'm currently at, with the loco and tender bodies painted, numbered, and lacquered.


The basic black livery was applied, this time with a dual action airbrush (Iwata neo). I put on a single coat of gloss black Humbrol, thinned with white spirit.

I think I might have got the mix a bit on the thin side in the end. The spray was initially a bit speckly, which I understand can be a result of too thick paint or too low air pressure. I thinned the paint a bit more and dialled the pressure up a bit. Neither of these things seemed to make much difference, but I'm just stabbing around in the dark really.

Anyway, I avoided getting runs and gritty bits, so I'm not too upset. The end result was OK, but if I wanted a pristine finish to the model, I would need to have put another coat on. Weathering will hopefully cover up some of the deficiencies. Already the black is wearing through to the primer on corners and raised detail where I've been handling it to put the transfers on - and believe me, that job has required plenty of handling!


Transfers are Fox for the 8" cabside numerals and tender emblems. The numbers had to be individually applied, which was a nightmare getting them spaced evenly and lined up. I've been using Micro Sol to bed them down and disguise the varnish film, which was working really well until the very last number on the second side. Disaster struck and the paint plus primer underneath broke and a bit peeled away, leaving a shiny space where the '9' should have been.


For the '9F' above the number, I was initially stumped until I discovered two sheets of ancient Woodhead transfers. These had a single F and a 6 which became the 9. The colour and size are right, but they were almost impossible to see to cut out of the sheet, and the varnish is really thick. Still, at this size, it is just the impression of a marking being there that is required. If anyone knows where to get currently produced lettering this size, I would love to know.


Once the hole in the paint had been carefully touched in, the '9' was finally installed and the whole lot given a coat of Testor's Dullcote lacquer from an aerosol. It has left a slightly mottled finish, but I'm quite happy with it as a base for weathering. I don't think Ian Rathbone will be worrying about the competition from me any time soon!




The right hand side of the loco is not as good as the left. There's some wrinkling of the paint surface still to the left of the 9, and the thick varnish under the 9F has visible edges still. The Dullcote has made it look an awful lot better that it did, however.




I'm pleased with how the transfers have gone on the tender on both sides.




While the paint has been drying, I haven't been idle. A few more pipes have sprouted round the rear end of the chassis. i hope this is the full complement now!




I also rebuilt the valve spindle cross-head guides, as I haven't really been happy with them for years. The new left-hand one is in the centre of this picture:




And here's a before and after shot of the right hand one (before is on the left). The cast brass outer ones were lost from the valve chest castings to make room for the combination lever. This may have been necessary even if the valve gear hadn't been made to work. Fortunately there are etched parts on the fret (presumably from which Bob made the master for the casting) which I used for the rectangular part. The difference is not profound, but the unsightly gap is filled in and the fixing is more secure (the wire at the bottom of the part now fits into a hole drilled in the end of the valve chest, rather than just bending round underneath it). More importantly, it won't be bugging me for the next 11 years!




I have also got round to making the brakes at last, and added the sand delivery pipes to these. These are another cunning design, and will fit onto studs underneath the chassis.

The curved section is to fit round the gear on the right hand end of the 4th axle.




The smokebox numberplate is one which Bob supplied (as an after-sales service) with the running number of my choice.

Evidently somewhere over the last 11 years my brain had mis-remembered which loco I had decided to build.

Imagine my delight after finishing numbering the cabside 92008 turning to horror as I realised that I had asked Bob for 92009 way back when!

Fortunately, my second 9F (assuming this one doesn't finish me off) is to be 92058, and I was able to take the 8 from one of those plates (they came as a set of 4, each with slightly different font size) and do a "cut and shut" job.




I don't know how much further I'll be able to get before York... I just hope it still runs when I connect everything back together!

Edited by Nick Mitchell
  • Like 11
  • Agree 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 4
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
9 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

If anyone knows where to get currently produced lettering this size, I would love to know.


Hi Nick,


I realise it's a bit late but Railtec Transfers do loco sets in 2mm which include the power rating.

I have some for my Ivatt 2F and standard 4MT tank.




They are produced to order but turnaround time is pretty quick.

I've no connection with the supplier other than being a very satisfied user.

Edited by Argos
better link added
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

92008 has survived the journey to York and happily run 10 scale miles on Fence Houses. She romped away with a rake of Chris Mills' metal bodied hoppers. I believe this is the first time a loco of mine has pulled a train all the way round a layout successfully! She should be nicely run in by the time I pick her up on Monday evening.


Sorry, no photos this time - you'll have to come to York and take your own... Please post any nice ones here :)

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nick Mitchell said:

I've just got home from a highly enjoyable day visiting York Show.

The whole show was great as usual, but obviously the highlight for me was seeing 92008 strutting its stuff on the magnificent Fence Houses.

I'm very grateful to the Fence Houses team for looking after her over the weekend, and for allowing her to stretch her legs in such a lovely setting.



Wow - totally superb and very inspirational.  I hope you are very proud of what you have achieved with that loco, if I had the skills I certainly would be!  Brilliant.


As a matter of interest, is this kit still available, or was it an older / one-off run?



Edited by MarshLane
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...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.