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First time scratch building a locomotive.


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I have been building lots of loco kits and I would like to take my hand on having a go on scratch building a loco and thought of a SR M7 class.

I have been reading a book Scratch building Model Railway Locomotives by Simon Bolton.

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And a got a book of Historic Locomotive Drawings in 4mm Scale.

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Here is the M7 Class loco Drawings.

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Any help from you all out there is wellcome.

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Really nice to see that people have enough confidence to take on challenges like this. Most people hold themselves back and prevent themselves from creating great things. But I do have one question - why tackle a locomotive that is available in kits and RTR? (Wills/SE Finecast, Brassmasters and Hornby) Personally if I was to scratchbuild I would want to do something that hasn't been offered or the offerings are rather poor.

 

The first thing I would take on, however, is probably the chassis. Bill Bedford/Mousa Models made or make a chassis kit designed for the Hornby one so you could base it around that otherwise you will have to go for splitting a chassis from a kit. Next is the boiler and so on. I'm sure that book would explain just about everything. Those splashers will be a little difficult with the sandboxes on them.

 

Matti

Edited by Matti8
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21 minutes ago, Matti8 said:

Really nice to see that people have enough confidence to take on challenges like this. Most people hold themselves back and prevent themselves from creating great things. But I do have one question - why tackle a locomotive that is available in kits and RTR? (Wills/SE Finecast, Brassmasters and Hornby) Personally if I was to scratchbuild I would want to do something that hasn't been offered or the offerings are rather poor.

 

The first thing I would take on, however, is probably the chassis. Bill Bedford/Mousa Models made or make a chassis kit designed for the Hornby one so you could base it around that otherwise you will have to go for splitting a chassis from a kit. Next is the boiler and so on. I'm sure that book would explain just about everything. Those splashers will be a little difficult with the sandboxes on them.

 

Matti

If you are scratch building the chassis is the easy bit in terms of forming shapes. You might buy in wheels, coupling rods and brake hangers but beyond that you are not constrained.

 

I scratch built a GW Hall and tender several years ago and I learnt a lot from it which I have been apply to other projects subsequently.

 

The key is having a good source of information. I would be wary of Roche though. There are lots of mistakes in the locos I have looked at in the past. I can’t comment about the M7 but be aware.
 

Mark

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Hi Ray,

 

If you have built lots of loco kits then you have probably learnt a lot that will help in scratch building a loco. Can I ask if you have built brass/nickel silver kits from etches thta required bending and forming parts? This can be tricky.

 

Like you I reached the stage when I wished to scratch build a loco. I chose to build an Adams 0395 because a 6 coupled chassis is easier to build well than a 4-4-0/0-4-4. You will need to be a dab hand with a piercing saw and tin snips and it all takes time but it is rewarding! For what it is worth, I concluded that I had proven to my self I could do it and then continued to build brass/white metal kits, life is too short!

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard B

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31 minutes ago, DGO said:

Out of curiosity I've been considering getting the Simon Bolton book, is it actually any good ?

 

I have that book and I found it very good indeed.

 

He goes through all the steps required to build a loco, including the basic skills of marking up, cutting etc. I found it a very easy read - helped by his sense of humour.

 

Jon

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My biggest issue is guidance concerning material thickness, as an engineer and keen model maker for the last 40+ years I'm fairly confident in my skills and abilities but my engineering has been real world not 1:87 LOL, there's a small but significant difference and seeking others advice never usually hurts. I'm planning a Swiss Narrow Gauge alpine layout which in my case means electric since they only had steam locos from about 1892 - 1910 though a couple lasted until 1918 with electric ever since, I don't get Side Rods and Pistons, instead I get Rack and Pinion, Oh and rotary snowploughs :-)

 

One issue, I'm pretty certain all the locos I'll be working on have external frames, any advice ?

 

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2 hours ago, Mark said:

If you are scratch building the chassis is the easy bit in terms of forming shapes. You might buy in wheels, coupling rods and brake hangers but beyond that you are not constrained.

 

I scratch built a GW Hall and tender several years ago and I learnt a lot from it which I have been apply to other projects subsequently.

 

The key is having a good source of information. I would be wary of Roche though. There are lots of mistakes in the locos I have looked at in the past. I can’t comment about the M7 but be aware.
 

Mark

I meant that I'm not too kean on making frames. Wheels, rods and other parts are definitely no problem. In my opinion if I can't get pre-milled frames from someplace like AGW then I will just find a RTR chassis with the correct wheelbase and re-wheel it.

 

Matti

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I would second the previous advice and dump the Roche book - it's notorious for errors (as are several other similar books too); an Isinglass Drawing of the chosen loco would be a much better starting point (although I understand that the odd error may exist too), along with good photos, especially if you are constructing a certain member of the class as differences existed due to modifications etc)

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Whilst always keen to encourage new scratch builders please be aware that 0-4-4 locos bring their own box of challenges. Otherwise this is a good choice for your first set  of frames especially if they are split into front and rear sections. Models of this wheel arrangement often need a much narrowed rear frame section to allow the bogie the movement needed to negotiate tight curves and points. Somewhere out there, there is a 7mm LNER G5 I built using the American collection system.

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2 hours ago, polybear said:

I would second the previous advice and dump the Roche book - it's notorious for errors (as are several other similar books too); an Isinglass Drawing of the chosen loco would be a much better starting point (although I understand that the odd error may exist too), along with good photos, especially if you are constructing a certain member of the class as differences existed due to modifications etc)

You won't find an Isinglass drawing of a LSWR loco though, as they only cover the LNER.

 

The best bet for a decent M7 drawing is the Bradley book on Drummond Locomotives from Wild Swan, which has the general arrangement drawings of both short and log frame versions.  But GAs aren't that easy to work from, although it might be worth checking the Roche drawing against the GA to see how accurate it is. 

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Having just completed my own first scratchbuild, can I offer a couple of suggestions?

Build something that you could not obtain through RTR or a kit, so that it will be truly unique. Ideally, it should be so obscure that the  RTR market will never show any interest! An added benefit of this is that you should have fewer experts coming along to tell you that particular loco never ran in that livery with that style of whistle (or whatever).

Follow the KISS principle. For a first attempt, keep to a prototype that is as simple as possible. 

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Best wishes 

Eric

 

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19 hours ago, Matti8 said:

Really nice to see that people have enough confidence to take on challenges like this. Most people hold themselves back and prevent themselves from creating great things. But I do have one question - why tackle a locomotive that is available in kits and RTR? (Wills/SE Finecast, Brassmasters and Hornby) Personally if I was to scratchbuild I would want to do something that hasn't been offered or the offerings are rather poor.

 

The first thing I would take on, however, is probably the chassis. Bill Bedford/Mousa Models made or make a chassis kit designed for the Hornby one so you could base it around that otherwise you will have to go for splitting a chassis from a kit. Next is the boiler and so on. I'm sure that book would explain just about everything. Those splashers will be a little difficult with the sandboxes on them.

 

Matti

Hi Matt I.

That book by Simon Bolton is very good. My Idia in modelling is to make thing, kit build or scratch building, I think that in modelling not by thing of the shelf ready made.   

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Morning Ray, When l scratch build l get as many drawings as l can get hold of (as they all differ), then search the internet for hopefully loads of old photos, then plan my approach carefully, remember buddy its 99% confidence and 1% skill, you go for it Ray, watching with interest....

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19 hours ago, DGO said:

My biggest issue is guidance concerning material thickness, as an engineer and keen model maker for the last 40+ years I'm fairly confident in my skills and abilities but my engineering has been real world not 1:87 LOL, there's a small but significant difference and seeking others advice never usually hurts. I'm planning a Swiss Narrow Gauge alpine layout which in my case means electric since they only had steam locos from about 1892 - 1910 though a couple lasted until 1918 with electric ever since, I don't get Side Rods and Pistons, instead I get Rack and Pinion, Oh and rotary snowploughs :-)

 

One issue, I'm pretty certain all the locos I'll be working on have external frames, any advice ?

 

In this book by Simon Bolton give you the thickness of the of the Brass or nickel silver.  

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11 minutes ago, georgeT said:

Morning Ray, When l scratch build l get as many drawings as l can get hold of (as they all differ), then search the internet for hopefully loads of old photos, then plan my approach carefully, remember buddy its 99% confidence and 1% skill, you go for it Ray, watching with interest....

Thank you George you are my inspiration as i have been following your threads on here. 

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Ray,

 

I agree with everything that burgundy and everyone else has said above. I started scratch building locos 4 or 5 years ago and it is very satisfying when you end up turning some bits of brass etc into something that works.

 

My preference is to build models of relatively obscure prototypes which are not available in kit or RTR form - this way you are likely to end up with something which is unique and clearly 'yours'. I have concentrated on the Hull & Barnsley Railway and less-well-known North Eastern prototypes (single wheelers, crane tanks etc). I find that I get just as much enjoyment from doing the initial research as I do actually building something. 

 

I started off with simple 0-6-0 locos with inside cylinders and followed the KISS principle. As others have already suggested, 0-4-4 locos can be more challenging to get 'set up' correctly. However, if you have experience of 0-4-4 kits and know 'how they work' you will be OK. 

 

What you will find is there is plenty of constructive support on here whichever way you decide to go. 

 

Cheers

 

Chris

 

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15 hours ago, doilum said:

 Somewhere out there, there is a 7mm LNER G5 I built using the American collection system.

I thought the American current collection system involved using the loco wheels to pick up current from one rail, and the tender wheels to pick up from the other, with the wheels on one side of each shorted out to the axle, and hence the frames, as necessary. I believe the G5 is an 0-4-4 tank loco, so do you mean a split-axle collection method?

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32 minutes ago, Nick Holliday said:

I thought the American current collection system involved using the loco wheels to pick up current from one rail, and the tender wheels to pick up from the other, with the wheels on one side of each shorted out to the axle, and hence the frames, as necessary. I believe the G5 is an 0-4-4 tank loco, so do you mean a split-axle collection method?

The G5 came as an unmade brass body kit from the bring and buy stall at a Wakefield show at Unity Hall. Included were a full set of Walsall wheels, insulated one side only. It occurred to me that if the bogie was isolated from the rest of the loco I could arrange an American style collection. The main frames are  a short 0-4-0, rather like some toy locos and collect current from the non insulated wheels. The rest sections were made from Paxolin and are narrower almost fitting inside the main frames and carry the bogie pivot . The completed bogie then has a flexible wire  direct to the motor. The rest frames were semi permanently fixed to the floor of the rest superstructure whist the front part bolts in the usual manner. It proved a reliable performer one a little lead was fixed in the bogie.

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52 minutes ago, Nick Holliday said:

That make sense, although you are only picking up with two wheels on each side. Obviously works in 7mm, but might not be so effective in 4mm.

Time for someone to give it a try?

One final point, if I recall correctly, lots of lead in the front of the boiler to take body weight off the bogie.

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12 minutes ago, doilum said:

Time for someone to give it a try?

One final point, if I recall correctly, lots of lead in the front of the boiler to take body weight off the bogie.

Or put a spring between the Bogie frame to the loco chassis. 

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