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Judith Edge kits - suitable for a beginner?


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There are quite a few Judith Edge diesel shunter kits that I'd like to build, however I'm a complete newbie when it comes to etched brass kits. I've read good things about the JE kits, however it would probably be unwise to go straight into a loco kit. Is there anything in their range that might be suitable as a first project, or can anyone recommend some cheaper/simpler alternatives to get me started?

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Definitely start with a brass wagon kit or two before trying a loco. As a beginner myself I would endorse the frequently recommended Connoisseur Models. One or two of their Skill Builder kits would suit the diesel era and they are well designed, simple to assemble and come with voluminous novice-friendly instructions and a guide to soldering techniques. 

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40 minutes ago, dpgibbons said:

Definitely start with a brass wagon kit or two before trying a loco. As a beginner myself I would endorse the frequently recommended Connoisseur Models. One or two of their Skill Builder kits would suit the diesel era and they are well designed, simple to assemble and come with voluminous novice-friendly instructions and a guide to soldering techniques. 

 

 

First etched kit I built was one of Jim's and I agree. Fantastic kits. Lowmac I think it was (or NE Ag Imp) followed by a Jinty. Look at the guides on the website as there is lots of good advice on subjects like soldering and tools. Previous to that I had only built plastic or whitemetal kits which had been stuck together with glue (I wouldn't recommend gluing WM nowadays)

 

Depends on if the OP is 7mm though, as he doesn't currently do the 4mm kits. Also worth considering he's not currently taking any orders.

 

I would still recommend a wagon though or even a coach kit. Comet/Wizard/51L have some very good starter kits. Maybe a NPCCS van such as a BG?


https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/

 

 

Jason

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7 hours ago, Sulzer said:

There are quite a few Judith Edge diesel shunter kits that I'd like to build, however I'm a complete newbie when it comes to etched brass kits. I've read good things about the JE kits, however it would probably be unwise to go straight into a loco kit. Is there anything in their range that might be suitable as a first project, or can anyone recommend some cheaper/simpler alternatives to get me started?

Some are easy to build, some aren't. I do try to make everything as easy to build as possible, the differences arise out of the prototype. What we recommend for beginners does depend to some extent on what they are afraid of - for example the chain drive Rustons (48Ds and 88DS) are easy to put together and the mechanical parts are covered by the High Level drive units supplied with them. Similarly some kits are designed to use motor bogies (although the best ones are no longer available) and this removes any fear of building the working bits.

The simplest to build is probably the Hunslet 50T 325hp 0-6-0DH, our steam locos are generally more difficult for a beginner as they all involve rolling boilers and tanks.

I'm always wary of the often quoted advice to "start with a wagon kit", mainly because most of the etched wagons kits I've ever built have been very difficult to build properly - and not because we only sell one (although that one is quite easy to build).

Contact us directly if you need any more information or encouragement (discouragement if you choose something a bit too hard!).

Judith and Michael Edge

 

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I suppose the ideal learner first model would have detailed instructions, a small number of parts, a few metal castings, and few rivets to punch.

 

I'd be wary of starting with a brass coach kit - they can be surprisingly complex and often require long metal folds and tricky curve forming for the roof and tumblehome.

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8 hours ago, Sulzer said:

There are quite a few Judith Edge diesel shunter kits that I'd like to build, however I'm a complete newbie when it comes to etched brass kits. I've read good things about the JE kits, however it would probably be unwise to go straight into a loco kit. Is there anything in their range that might be suitable as a first project, or can anyone recommend some cheaper/simpler alternatives to get me started?

Tell us which ones you're thinking of and some of us might have built them and can comment. Some of the challenges in the range include: rolling (especially sharp corners); rivetting (especially in 15-thou nickel silver); joining cab roof seamlessly to cab side; and laminated brass cranks that have to be put on steel axles. 

 

Don't believe the hype that you shouldn't start with a loco: the first metal kit I ever finished (and about the third I attempted) was a Bradwell J27: if the kit's good enough you'll get there. I gave up the earlier kits because they were clearly not going to end up looking like the prototype - that won't be the problem with Mike's kits, so your motivation won't suffer. Plus there's enough advice about building locos out there now thanks to the internet and forums, so it's not like the old days when the "don't start with a loco" mantra grew up. But do make sure you read all of that info, and ask questions.

 

It might also be useful to know that I spent the same amount on new tools (Hold and Fold, Antex 50w iron, etc) as I did on the J27. And then probably the same again on books about building etched kits... 

 

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Thanks everyone - I should have mentioned that I'm 4mm scale.

 

Some of the Judith Edge kits I've got my eye on are the NBL/MAN 0-4-0DH D2745-80, Barclay Class 06, and the Thomas Hill Steelman Royale 0-4-0DH. Also like the look of the Ruston 88DS and Hunslet 50T 0-6-0DH mentioned by Judith/Michael.

 

I'll do a little more research on soldering and what tools etc I need to buy, then bite the bullet.

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3 hours ago, Sulzer said:

Thanks everyone - I should have mentioned that I'm 4mm scale.

 

Some of the Judith Edge kits I've got my eye on are the NBL/MAN 0-4-0DH D2745-80, Barclay Class 06, and the Thomas Hill Steelman Royale 0-4-0DH. Also like the look of the Ruston 88DS and Hunslet 50T 0-6-0DH mentioned by Judith/Michael.

 

I'll do a little more research on soldering and what tools etc I need to buy, then bite the bullet.

The NBL/MAN was one of the first JE kit I made, and easier than the 06 (I don't know the other kits).

 

Bending the engine casing was fine (make a wooden jig), and joining roof and cab sides wasn't as hard as on some. You have to be very careful attaching the casing doors to the casing as they will look awful if skewwhiff. Look for (or ask here for) ways that people use to hold things when they're soldering them - for this job I use miniature clothes pegs which I got from an art shop in Oxford. 

 

As a beginner, I had problems on the NBL with:

 

1. Cutting out and attaching the long front windscreen surrounds without damaging them (even with these, recommended by Mike, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Xuron-Photo-Etch-Shear-Scissors-High-Precision-440/283864944352?epid=2280517975&hash=item4217ab4ee0:g:6oYAAOxy3NBSh3Io; don't try to make a JE kit without these!). 

 

2. Getting the laminated brass cranks on to the axles and still having enough grip left for quartering. 

 

3. Attaching the treads to the steps. 

 

But I don't think these are insurmountable problems and probably just required a bit more method (homemade jigs, etc) than I had at the time. 

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7 hours ago, dpgibbons said:

I suppose the ideal learner first model would have detailed instructions, a small number of parts, a few metal castings, and few rivets to punch.

 

I'd be wary of starting with a brass coach kit - they can be surprisingly complex and often require long metal folds and tricky curve forming for the roof and tumblehome.

 

I think that's where the wires were getting crossed with the differences in scales.

 

I was suggesting a Comet kit which are a doddle to build and don't have any difficult bending or need to form tumblehomes (apart from on a few of the panelled stock).

 

Very much etched kits for beginners.

 

 

Jason

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1 hour ago, Daddyman said:

 

 

1. Cutting out and attaching the long front windscreen surrounds without damaging them (even with these, recommended by Mike, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Xuron-Photo-Etch-Shear-Scissors-High-Precision-440/283864944352?epid=2280517975&hash=item4217ab4ee0:g:6oYAAOxy3NBSh3Io; don't try to make a JE kit without these!). 

 

 

 

But I don't think these are insurmountable problems and probably just required a bit more method (homemade jigs, etc) than I had at the time. 

Thanks for your helpful comments David, the trick to cutting out the windscreen surrounds, in addition to the precision shears you recommend, is to carefully plan how to dismember the fret around the parts. Essentially to make one small cut at a time at one side of the part only - don't cut across a corner since the pressure of the shears will bend the window frame. The Xuron shears allow you to make short cuts into the fret without disturbing anything else.

Don't do what I see very often in kit construction where all the parts are cut out to leave a beautiful piece of brass lace - you don't want this, it's just scrap so chop it up as you go along.

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Hi,

 

I'm currently building a JE 06 which my brother bought for me last year, and I'm finding it an enjoyable, if tricky in parts, build.  Some of the tricky parts are of my own doing, I have only the full use of my left hand and 5% of my right after a stroke some years ago, so I have to find some inventive ways of holding things in place as I solder, and sometimes also to form some of the parts, such as the curve on the cab sides where they meet the roof.  However, with a little ingenuity, and some lateral thinking, it's coming along nicely.  Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I've also diverged from the suggested build order, mainly because it makes things easier for me.  Some good photographs are also helpful.  Also, if you're not too sure about your soldering, practise on some scrap etch first and try to use as little solder as possible to ensure a good joint as it saves on cleaning up afterwards.

 

For you first kit, on balance, I'd say try one of the NBL models, but if you feel confident and are prepared to take your time then try the 06 if you can get hold of one.  After all, problems are just challenges to overcome!

 

Roja

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13 hours ago, Michael Edge said:

Thanks for your helpful comments David, the trick to cutting out the windscreen surrounds, in addition to the precision shears you recommend, is to carefully plan how to dismember the fret around the parts. Essentially to make one small cut at a time at one side of the part only - don't cut across a corner since the pressure of the shears will bend the window frame. The Xuron shears allow you to make short cuts into the fret without disturbing anything else.

Don't do what I see very often in kit construction where all the parts are cut out to leave a beautiful piece of brass lace - you don't want this, it's just scrap so chop it up as you go along.

I usually cut parts off the fret with a sharp Stanley knife but use a block of steel to cut down on. This causes no distortion to the metal. If there is any cleaning up to after I hold the part in a tool makers clamp and carefully file any tab remaining. The key is to clamp it as close as possible to the edge you are cleaning.

 

Mark

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27 minutes ago, Mark said:

I usually cut parts off the fret with a sharp Stanley knife but use a block of steel to cut down on. This causes no distortion to the metal. If there is any cleaning up to after I hold the part in a tool makers clamp and carefully file any tab remaining. The key is to clamp it as close as possible to the edge you are cleaning.

 

Mark

All good advice, but on some of these parts there's simply nothing to clamp - they're less than a mm wide. You really need the etch scissors. 

 

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23 minutes ago, Daddyman said:

All good advice, but on some of these parts there's simply nothing to clamp - they're less than a mm wide. You really need the etch scissors. 

 

 

 There is always something to clamp if you have the right tool of adequate quality. Even with my sausage fingers I can hold my JE (and others) window frames etc in my parallel smooth jaw pliers and file the tabs away quite happily. Also, don't cut out such small fragile items on a flexible surface, don't cut close to the item to be removed, cut nearest the etch sheet and file smooth and don't use anything but the gentlest of pressure if using a knife blade, multiple cuts are the order of the day.

Thankfully, Mike's kits are high fidelity.

 

Mike.

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32 minutes ago, Daddyman said:

All good advice, but on some of these parts there's simply nothing to clamp - they're less than a mm wide. You really need the etch scissors. 

 

I regularly use the tool clamp for parts less than 1mm wide. The working gangway below required the tabs and etched cusp removed and the only way to do it without distortion was with the tool makers clamp.

 

Mark

FBA434E2-01E3-4606-8238-7E95137D8394.jpeg

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Sulzer: listen to what the last two posters said - they're right. I'd quite forgotten that I've been doing this clamping and filing thing all week as my etch scissors are blunt! 

20210115_180333.jpg

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