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Interesting and unusual structure on that 439, isn't it? No wonder you needed a clear photo from above it (actually alongside it there, but you knwo what I mean) as you'd never work out what was happening either from side shots or an aerial plan view.

Interesting to learn that the 52F side tanks are full of supports - could they still be filled with lead shot and araldite perhaps? One thing I like about araldite is that when freshly mixed, it flows very well; slowly, of course, as it's very viscous, but give it a little while and it fills gaps beautifully... Though putting it in first is no problem - that's what I've done on this C12 :).

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4 hours ago, Chas Levin said:

Interesting and unusual structure on that 439, isn't it? No wonder you needed a clear photo from above it (actually alongside it there, but you knwo what I mean) as you'd never work out what was happening either from side shots or an aerial plan view.

Interesting to learn that the 52F side tanks are full of supports - could they still be filled with lead shot and araldite perhaps? One thing I like about araldite is that when freshly mixed, it flows very well; slowly, of course, as it's very viscous, but give it a little while and it fills gaps beautifully... Though putting it in first is no problem - that's what I've done on this C12 :).

Shot of the C16 instructions here. 

20210202_121950_resized.jpg.7cad77c9a5c1e3a6ac0b52c932c496be.jpg

Unfortunately, like so many of the 52F "innovations" designed to make the kit easier to build (or solutions in search of problems, as I call them), the webbing has the exact opposite effect, as it actually positions the outer skin of the tank a fraction of a millimetre too high, meaning that the builder is forced into remedial work. I got caught out on the C15, but was ready for it on the C16. These have been described as the "Carlsberg" of loco kits; I wouldn't say they were that bad, but... 

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Wow, very interesting! Yes, that certainly does look to me like quite a complex inner structure, though my experience is much more limited than yours. I'll probably try building one at some point, because I find it interesting trying different manufacturers' kits, though I can't deny that the 'Carlsberg' label is not encouraging!

Were you pleased with the finished C15 and C16?

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11 hours ago, Chas Levin said:

[...] Yes, that certainly does look to me like quite a complex inner structure [...] 

 

Were you pleased with the finished C15 and C16?

Needlessly complex, in the name of making the task simpler - when in actual fact, as said, it made it harder. 

 

I got the C15 finished a few years ago - and almost immediately stripped the paint off and took the body to pieces; there were too many compromises in the kit that I couldn't live with. It needs a whole new boiler, smokebox and wingplates, mostly to get rid of the aforementioned "easi-build" features which introduce various compromises and inaccuracies. A very strange way to design a kit! 

 

I only started on the C16 in autumn, and had to set it to one side to do some North Eastern penance for my dad. But there's going to need to be a lot of scratchbuilding with this one too....

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Oh no - sorry to hear the C15 woes and I hope the C16 goes better, when you get back to it.

 

I think perhaps I had slightly the wrong impression of their kits, as I thought they were complex in an effort to be highly accurate and that they were consequently meant for the more experienced builder, partly because of their complexity and partly because of the perceived desire of such builders for greater accuracy. It didn't occur to me that the increased complexity was in pursuit of an easier build. As you say, that does seem a little counter-intuitive as we tend to associate easier builds with less complex design.

 

It's all relative though: I read of the LRM C12 I'm building being described as a good kit for the less experienced builder and while I know I made very heavy weather of learning about and incorporating compensation, that description does make me think that etched loco kits as a type must be considerably more difficult than I had anticipated - and considerably more so than white metal - as this build is no walk in the park. That's not a problem - far from it, as I get much more satisfaction from doing something difficult - but it does make me wonder what's in store with some of the other etched kits in my pile! It's a whole different ball game from wagons and coaches, isn't it? A box with a free wheel at each corner seems such a simple proposition right now!

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1 hour ago, Chas Levin said:

Oh no - sorry to hear the C15 woes and I hope the C16 goes better, when you get back to it.

 

I think perhaps I had slightly the wrong impression of their kits, as I thought they were complex in an effort to be highly accurate and that they were consequently meant for the more experienced builder, partly because of their complexity and partly because of the perceived desire of such builders for greater accuracy. It didn't occur to me that the increased complexity was in pursuit of an easier build. As you say, that does seem a little counter-intuitive as we tend to associate easier builds with less complex design.

 

It's all relative though: I read of the LRM C12 I'm building being described as a good kit for the less experienced builder and while I know I made very heavy weather of learning about and incorporating compensation, that description does make me think that etched loco kits as a type must be considerably more difficult than I had anticipated - and considerably more so than white metal - as this build is no walk in the park. That's not a problem - far from it, as I get much more satisfaction from doing something difficult - but it does make me wonder what's in store with some of the other etched kits in my pile! It's a whole different ball game from wagons and coaches, isn't it? A box with a free wheel at each corner seems such a simple proposition right now!

Chas,

 

I think the "suitable for beginners" description for etched loco kits identifies the least difficult judged by several parameters. I  think of these if asked for advice on a beginners kit.

 

Tank locos, with straight tanks (no flares). Less to  build than a tender loco so the builder gets a result quicker. 

Straight forward "chassis" design". 0-6-0s are perhaps the easiest although four coupled are perhaps easier in some respects with just one pair of coupling rods. 0-4-4s are also seen as a bit of a no-no. Some have built in compensation that is a great advantage, but may be a little too complicated  for a beginner.

Pre-formed/rolled boilers. Brass tube boilers, even if turned to length, require a little more work with a saw and drills, although it isn't too difficult.

Resin cast boilers, saddle tanks.

"Plain" cab design i.e. a simple roof profile. The C12 doesn't fit that but a NER/LNWR tank loco would.

 

There are others that tend to come up when you have a conversation with someone at a show. 

I tend to stick to kits of which I have first hand knowledge, either through building or designing it, although having helped out at LRM for many years, I now know a little about  many of the 60 plus kits John produces. It is also helps to know the builders railway interests. Little point in suggesting a LNWR tank loco to a GNR enthusiast.

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2 hours ago, Chas Levin said:

It's all relative though: I read of the LRM C12 I'm building being described as a good kit for the less experienced builder and while I know I made very heavy weather of learning about and incorporating compensation, that description does make me think that etched loco kits as a type must be considerably more difficult than I had anticipated - and considerably more so than white metal - as this build is no walk in the park. That's not a problem - far from it, as I get much more satisfaction from doing something difficult - but it does make me wonder what's in store with some of the other etched kits in my pile! It's a whole different ball game from wagons and coaches, isn't it? A box with a free wheel at each corner seems such a simple proposition right now!

Oh, carriages have their own little foibles too!

 

Etched kits may be more difficult than white metal, but the results are far better.

 

I don't know what makes some etched kits easier than others - I suspect the cab roof on the C12 moves it into the "difficult" category. My first was a Dave Bradwell J27, which conventional wisdom says is a "difficult" kit. However, it's such a well thought-out kit that, with care, it can be built by a beginner. But I did find the tender a struggle, and ended up having to replace Dave's 5-thou sides with 10 thou N/S.   

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1 hour ago, Jol Wilkinson said:

Chas,

 

I think the "suitable for beginners" description for etched loco kits identifies the least difficult judged by several parameters. I  think of these if asked for advice on a beginners kit.

 

Tank locos, with straight tanks (no flares). Less to  build than a tender loco so the builder gets a result quicker. 

Straight forward "chassis" design". 0-6-0s are perhaps the easiest although four coupled are perhaps easier in some respects with just one pair of coupling rods. 0-4-4s are also seen as a bit of a no-no. Some have built in compensation that is a great advantage, but may be a little too complicated  for a beginner.

Pre-formed/rolled boilers. Brass tube boilers, even if turned to length, require a little more work with a saw and drills, although it isn't too difficult.

Resin cast boilers, saddle tanks.

"Plain" cab design i.e. a simple roof profile. The C12 doesn't fit that but a NER/LNWR tank loco would.

 

There are others that tend to come up when you have a conversation with someone at a show. 

I tend to stick to kits of which I have first hand knowledge, either through building or designing it, although having helped out at LRM for many years, I now know a little about  many of the 60 plus kits John produces. It is also helps to know the builders railway interests. Little point in suggesting a LNWR tank loco to a GNR enthusiast.

Yep, totally understood and in fact I'd spotted some of those points myself: the straight sided tanks and bunker, pre-rolled boiler. Actually I didn't have too much difficulty with the cab roof (which, while it isn't perfect, is acceptable I think; with special thanks to Will L on the Scalefour Forum for his kind help on correct placing for those Spark Shields:good:), not as difficult as getting the tank tops in place accurately:

1661217385_LRMC1220210202(1).jpg.d249698418fafa3285c85ea4e5cc2614.jpg

 

What I meant to convey was that I'm discovering just how much more difficult any etched loco kit is than a W/M one, or than a piece of rolling stok, so that placing this C12 somewhere near the start of the 'difficulty gradient' gives me an idea of what lies ahead. The sense of achievement though, and the pleasure in the appearance of it, are entirely commensurate with the greater efforts required.

I had no idea John produces as many as 60+ kits...:O

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1 hour ago, Daddyman said:

Oh, carriages have their own little foibles too!

 

Etched kits may be more difficult than white metal, but the results are far better.

 

I don't know what makes some etched kits easier than others - I suspect the cab roof on the C12 moves it into the "difficult" category. My first was a Dave Bradwell J27, which conventional wisdom says is a "difficult" kit. However, it's such a well thought-out kit that, with care, it can be built by a beginner. But I did find the tender a struggle, and ended up having to replace Dave's 5-thou sides with 10 thou N/S.   

Yes, carriages do have their foibles: clerestory roofs, for instance!

 

You may have seen Jol's post about some of the criteria he uses to categorise kits by difficulty level and you were right to pinpoint the C12 roof as significant.

 

I haven't seen anything by Dave Bradwell in person as yet, but I'm well aware of his reputation, though am I right that he's sadly no longer with us? What caused you to replace the 5 thou tender sides - were they too flexible to work with?

 

All in all I'm very glad I stayed with wagons and coaches for a few years so that I had a reasonable amount of basic skill before tackling the addiiton requirements of building a loco. Actually, I became worried that I might get so excited seeing something I'd built move under its own 'stem' that I might not want to go back to rolling stock (:rolleyes:) but while the thrill is indeed enormous, I shall enjoy interspersing my builds with simpler rolling stock projects as they'll be quite relaxing by comparison...

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24 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:

Happily, Dave Bradwell is alive and well (and does design excellent kits). I suspect you may be thinking of Dave Alexander, who passed away last year sometime.

So sorry, please excuse me and you're right, I was! :blush: It's all too easy to confuse names when you don't know the people themselves, but I must be more careful in future.

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5 minutes ago, Chas Levin said:

So sorry, please excuse me and you're right, I was! :blush: It's all too easy to confuse names when you don't know the poeple themselves, but I must be more careful in future.

Easily done: the reason I ended up building a Bradwell J27 in the first place was because my dad ordered the wrong kit: I told him to get the (much easier, white metal) Alexander one!  

 

You'll soon get to know Dave on the S4 forum - with Will he's one of the most generous with his advice on there. 

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While I figure out how to deal with the sidetank-to-boiler separation question, I got on with some of the bunker detail. It seems a bit early to be doing things like lamp-irons but there shouldn't be anything else major happening at that end of the body and I'm fairly good at careful handling, plus it seemed better to get on with other things while I'm temporarily held up:

 

1482244663_LRMC1220210203(2).jpg.f532f32efb539d3e4e59a61568ed5d64.jpg

 

1048539591_LRMC1220210203(4).jpg.1711a2308d324f9410836bde332214bd.jpg

 

729715295_LRMC1220210203(5).jpg.07e176bdae45c542a83eb4199782555c.jpg

 

237573072_LRMC1220210203(6).jpg.5110cfe75e2eba3d7ee17cd01f81218b.jpg

 

I'd forgotten to add the bunker side step when I had access to the inside of the bunker but it wasn't a big job to drill and then lengthen a slot to add it at this stage. That and the grab handle above it, on the left hand side of the cab roof, were added to these locos in 1901 so they're well within the period. No backing plate for the coal rails though, as that was added until around 1930. Needless to say, the lamp-irons look better at normal viewing distance, rather than in harshly lit closeup...

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5 hours ago, Daddyman said:

Easily done: the reason I ended up building a Bradwell J27 in the first place was because my dad ordered the wrong kit: I told him to get the (much easier, white metal) Alexander one!  

 

You'll soon get to know Dave on the S4 forum - with Will he's one of the most generous with his advice on there. 

David, I meant to say, that's actually quite a nice story - that you built the etched kit because you had it by accident: perhaps that worked out better in terms of the finished article than if you'd built the intended white metal version!

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Meanwhile, I looked for some more pictures showing clearances between side tanks and boiler and found some interesting examples.

With apologies for the variable quality, here are a C12 followed by a C13:

 

1952430424_Sidetank-to-boilergapC121957.jpg.2a9944c273d85c15cb7938dde385493a.jpg

 

55261918_Sidetank-to-boilergapC131948.jpg.e958aa4504e326dd176e5b6d9ce8253a.jpg

 

If you look closely, you can actually see a shadow, cast by the side tank, on the boiler, which indicates that there was indeed a substantial gap.

And here are a Z5 and a J71, where the gaps look wide enough to put your hand into, as wide at least as the grab handles by the cabs:

 

2015626101_Sidetank-to-boilergapGNSRZ51938.jpg.bfbb589591abf178fd87b066e1f336e1.jpg

 

1823259736_Sidetank-to-boilergapJ711947.jpg.f569cf9946a4a0b74e2ac8c9b2f8a4dd.jpg

 

I was undoubtedly in the condition we discussed earlier, conditioned by early RTR to the point where I'd completely failed to notice this aspect of side tank loco construction: I now feel much better about the gaps on my C12! :)

That being said, I'm still not happy to have quite such a wide gap as viewed from above.

I shall very carefully measure everything to see whether I've made a mistake with positioning somewhere to explain it, but initial measurements a few days ago did not suggest so.

 

However, whilst busying myself with other things (as shown in the previous post) I have evolved a plan to reduce the gap a little. I had thought it wouldn't reduce it enough, but now I've seen these photos - and others I won't take up bandwidth posting in addition - I think it should be perfect: I'm going to add just the upper sections of the inner tank sides to the inside edges of the tank tops, using a thickness of brass that will reduce the gap suitably. The new inner sides won't extend downwards far enough to cause clearance problems, they'll just be cosmetic, visible for a few milimetres. The important thing though is that by attaching them to the tank tops' vertical edges (and dressing the joint suitably) they will close up those gaps that trouble me so much! :good:

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Chas

 

As I am currently test building the round tank version I have spent a lot of time looking at that joint. There is a very clear picture on page 12 of Yeadon of a round tank loco it shows the tank font up against the boiler cladding. On page 26 there is a photo of the square tank version (the one you are building showung a similar close arrangement. There is a rod which I think is to the blower that passes throgh the front so I think it is just a plate that extends past the tank inner.

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12 minutes ago, Paul Cram said:

Chas

 

As I am currently test building the round tank version I have spent a lot of time looking at that joint. There is a very clear picture on page 12 of Yeadon of a round tank loco it shows the tank font up against the boiler cladding. On page 26 there is a photo of the square tank version (the one you are building showung a similar close arrangement. There is a rod which I think is to the blower that passes throgh the front so I think it is just a plate that extends past the tank inner.

Hello Paul, thank you, that's very interesting. Would it be possible please to post a picture on here of the page with the square tank version, showing the joint? If not, please could you tell me the exact volume and title - I don't have any volumes of Yeadon yet - and I'll get hold of it straight away.

 

I didn't quite understand the last part of your final sentence though, where you said "I think it is just a plate that extends past the tank inner". Do you mean that there is a plate fitted between the tank inner and the boiler side, to fill or cover the gap? Perhaps something like the 'modesty panel' that Stephen (Compound2632) mentioned in a post about this on Monday, after looking at the photo I posted of the Great Central loco with the railwayman posing with an oilcan?

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11 hours ago, Chas Levin said:

David, I meant to say, that's actually quite a nice story - that you built the etched kit because you had it by accident: perhaps that worked out better in terms of the finished article than if you'd built the intended white metal version!

Thanks, Chas! Yes, I suppose there are not many people who can say they built a Dave Bradwell kit by mistake! 

 

 

Re your C12, I don't know the class at all, and it seems Paul Cram may have answered the question. For what it's worth, here are a couple of pictures of other people's models; they all show the tank tops coming up to the boiler - though they may be the wrong sort of C12. 

https://kelvinsrailways.com/category/locos/page/5/

https://www.lskauctioncentre.co.uk/auction/lot/776-Craftsman-models-white-metalbrass-loco-kit-for/?lot=365495&sd=1

 

I think there was also a picture of a (real) C12 from above in an old MRJ. It was in an article on weathering, and showed the loco in very clean black paint, but with an implausibly dusty smokebox that looked like a modeller's bad weathering job. Someone may know the issue I'm referring to. 

 

 

 

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David,

 

the Craftsman C12 in the link doesn't look particularly well assembled so I wouldn't want to infer too much from that photo.

 

The O Gauge models, also a square tank C12, shows to my eyes at least, a definite albeit small gap between the tank top and boiler cladding The third photo down is the clearest.

 

Searches of the MRJ online index for LNER C12, GNR C12, 4-4-2T, etc. didn't turn up any results for me.

 

Jol

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12 minutes ago, Jol Wilkinson said:

David,

 

the Craftsman C12 in the link doesn't look particularly well assembled so I wouldn't want to infer too much from that photo.

 

The O Gauge models, also a square tank C12, shows to my eyes at least, a definite albeit small gap between the tank top and boiler cladding The third photo down is the clearest.

 

Searches of the MRJ online index for LNER C12, GNR C12, 4-4-2T, etc. didn't turn up any results for me.

 

Jol

Thanks for that, Jol. Others' models of course don't necessarily show how the prototype did it. But Chas' gap does look rather wide. 

The C12 wouldn't be in the index as it was only a photo in an article on weathering. 

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Thanks David and Jol for your suggestions. I'd agree with all your points - that the Craftsman kit might not be the most prototype-friendly example in terms of accuracy, that the fully painted O gauge BR example (a much tidier assembly all round) does show a small gap and that the gap on mine is currently wider.

 

I think the combination of some of the photos I posted yesterday (especially the C12 and C13) and this O gauge model gives a good idea of where I need to be heading: a gap is fine - and almost certainly prototypical (not just for this loco but for many sidetank locos, as I have now learnt) but the gap I have currently needs to be reduced.

 

I'll double-check that I haven't mis-aligned anything (in case it can be re-aligned) but assuming not, I'm still fairly attached to my idea of adding just the top sections of cosmetic inner tanks sides to narrow the gap. I'm pretty sure the outer tank sides are right as they were very carefully located in the slots in the footplate and perpendicular to it. Not only that, but the front wall / bulkhead of the cab had to have a sliver of material filed off in order to fit snugly - nothing much, probably about a quarter of a mil, but that would seem to suggest that the distance between the outer tank sides is right.

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1 hour ago, Chas Levin said:

I'll double-check that I haven't mis-aligned anything (in case it can be re-aligned) but assuming not, I'm still fairly attached to my idea of adding just the top sections of cosmetic inner tanks sides to narrow the gap. I'm pretty sure the outer tank sides are right as they were very carefully located in the slots in the footplate and perpendicular to it. Not only that, but the front wall / bulkhead of the cab had to have a sliver of material filed off in order to fit snugly - nothing much, probably about a quarter of a mil, but that would seem to suggest that the distance between the outer tank sides is right.

Looking again at your photos on the last page, it looks like the tank fronts are closer to the boiler than the tank tops (sorry, you may have mentioned this; I came to the debate late), and that suggests your solution would work. Often, though, in the time it takes to do a repair job, you can make a full replacement, which will often be neater and stronger. So the other option is to replace the whole tank top with something half a mill or so wider, using the original as a template for holes. 

 

Sorry you've had these problems!   

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5 hours ago, Daddyman said:

Looking again at your photos on the last page, it looks like the tank fronts are closer to the boiler than the tank tops (sorry, you may have mentioned this; I came to the debate late), and that suggests your solution would work. Often, though, in the time it takes to do a repair job, you can make a full replacement, which will often be neater and stronger. So the other option is to replace the whole tank top with something half a mill or so wider, using the original as a template for holes. 

 

Sorry you've had these problems!   

No need to feel sorry David - it's all part of the challenge and overcoming each obstacle enhances the sense of achievement :).

I've now been over the structure very carefully with my digital calipers (good quality Mitutoyu, that I test regularly) and there's nothing screamingly obvious. I can see a very small divergence (20-25% of a mil) in a couple of places, but it's difficult to believe that's what's lead to the gaps. Yet it must be so.

 

So, rather than dweeling on the problem, let's solve it!

 

You're right that the tank fronts are closer than the tops - in fact, the gaps at the front look acceptable, comparing them to photos. Well spotted and no, I hadn't mentioned that before. I intend angling the inserted pieces inwards to the tanks, so that they follow the curve of the top parts of those fronts (and therefore follow the curve of the boiler, as must presumably be the case on the prototype) and I think you're right that it should work.

 

I take your point about repairs often taking longer than replacements; however, getting those tank tops in place accurately was not easy (there is an etched line along the upper inside of the tank sides to use as a visual guide, but no physical aides to location), both in relation to the tank sides but especially in relation to the cab roof, whose correct seating depends on them. Doing them again does not appeal :unsure:. Also, the folded up inner cab splashers are a fold-up section of the same piece of brass and everyting's been securely soldered in place... long story short(ish), removing them would be very difficult and would probably cause fairly serious damage. No, I think fabrication is the answer here...

 

In the meantime, looking for other details to deal with, I realised i'd almost missed the small grab handles on either side of the raised section of the footplate, just forward of the tank fronts. The holes for the handrail knobs are present in the raised footplate section, but the thin overlay containing rivet detail that's sweated over them doesn't have the holes and once covered up, they're easy to forget: fortunately I've spent sufficient time looking at C12 photos lately I suddenly realised I hadn't done them:

452125150_LRMC1220210204(2).jpg.726a116976cf6ce0c2e3742a0026a936.jpg

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10 hours ago, Chas Levin said:

I take your point about repairs often taking longer than replacements; however, getting those tank tops in place accurately was not easy (there is an etched line along the upper inside of the tank sides to use as a visual guide, but no physical aides to location), both in relation to the tank sides but especially in relation to the cab roof, whose correct seating depends on them. Doing them again does not appeal :unsure:. Also, the folded up inner cab splashers are a fold-up section of the same piece of brass and everyting's been securely soldered in place... long story short(ish), removing them would be very difficult and would probably cause fairly serious damage. No, I think fabrication is the answer here...

 

I see your point, Chas - probably easier to repair in this case, given that the cab splashers come with the package. There's similar set-up on the LRM G5. 

 

For future reference, you could create a jig from a piece of scrap metal (or even wood) to go inside the tank to hold the tops at the correct height while you get them in position. If you use your Mitotuyo when forming the jig*, there's no chance of going wrong. Once you have the piece of scrap to the right height, solder it to the lower edge of the tanks only - that way it can be removed once it's done its job, without disturbing the tank tops. 

 

*David Brandreth on the Scalefour forum had a very nice (but naughty!) tip: use the Mitotuyo to measure and to score. Modelling has been much more ... pleasant (is that the word?) since I adopted that trick.    

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Yes, I probably should have had something under the front ends of the tank tops to help hold them. It was one of those situations though where I got to the point of having things aligned fairly well and decided to go for it - at any rate to tack in place - and see if I could get it right. The rear ends - the in-cab fold-up parts - held their position fairly well, I had thin card shims under the tops where they rest just above the cab-front bulkhead and aluminium hair clips holding the front ends, which sat in the etched guide line along the inside of the tank sides just deeply enough to hold their positions: in and out with the iron and it worked :).

 

And yes, I've also discovered the accurate joy of scribing (gently) with the end of the caliper jaw... though I only do it occasionally and carefully, as I worry that it'll blunt the sharp end and lead to - admittedly tiny - inaccuracy.

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