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Adventures in kit and scratch-building.


sej
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After being inspired by Jazz's beautiful model of this lovely little Armstrong Whitworth 0-4-0 Diesel Electric shunter and being asked to make a model specifically of "The Lady Armstrong" by a friend for whom I'd already built a rake of the four wheel coaches that ran on the North Sunderland Railway, how could I resist?

Now that my IT skills have begun to catch up with my soldering ability I can post up photos of how I did it. Hopefully.
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I cut and shut the coupling rods from a set of Rod Neep coupling etches that I'd got from ebay, you never know when things might come in handy. There are two of the longer ones, somewhere. The metal is some sort of steel which is nice as the prototype had polished steel rods. The wheels, including a set without rims for the jack-shaft drive where cheerfully provided by Slaters on Jazz's advice.

Fingers crossed that this, my first new topic post, comes out as I think it should!

Edited by sej
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Hi sej. I'll be following this thread with a keen interest. Happy building. Ken (Jazz)

 

PS Do you have a drawing for it? I would be happy to scan my copy I used from a very old model railway publication. It's not that accurate, I blew it up to 7mm on PC and corrected the measurements where required to get an accetably correct drawing. That coupled with some photos worked a treat.

 

You probably do not need this photos. But here they are I they are of any help.

 

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Edited by jazz
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Hi Jazz, many thanks for your reply and lovely photos. I'm following your current build with great interest. My drawings came primarily from the Oakwood Press book, "The North Sunderland Railway" which I re-sized by photocopier to 7mm. My IT skills lag so far behind that I have actually finished the loco, I can't seem to do computers and soldering at the same time...it took me a year to finish, including a broken hand and some other distractions. I thought I'd post photos of the build sequentially to show what I did. I was going to put a photo on this post but I can't presently find out how to!

Cheers

Simon

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Ah, I've discovered how to add more photos.

 

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These show; the side-frames, cut from hefty nickel-silver; testing for smooth running including the jack-shaft (carefully sawn from the rimless Slaters wheel) and then the painted, soldered frames showing the compensation beam and back-scratcher pick-ups

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Hi Ken, thankyou, I got the pick-up idea, along with many others, from an article in the Model Railway Journal. They work exceptionally well,especially with my bit of basic compensation and a hefty flywheel. The completed model can negotiate a Marks and Spencers receipt, I discovered recently!

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I shaped the cab-sides using a stuck on photocopy of the drawing. After I'd added the beading, the corners looked too square so I soldered on fillets of brass cut from Slaters axle packing washers and filed the corners to the correct profile.

In future I'm going to scribe shapes directly onto the metal before I cut anything out!

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I am really enjoying this Simon. I like the techniques you are using and may make use of them myself in the future.

 

I built one of Ken's loco scratch builds too (drawing and other information kindly supplied by Ken - along with lots of gratefully received encouragement), but mine was the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire 0-4-2 tank engine, Severn.

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Hi Rob, thankyou very much, I enjoy reading your threads. RMWeb is a great resource from which I hope to gain even more techniques and inspiration.

Much of my scratch-building seems to involve the rectification of mistakes, which while slow, really teaches me a few lessons!

I ended up with all these bits...

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and then this...

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That is looking good :)

 

I'm pretty sure everyone's scratchbuilding process is making mistakes and fixing them. On the 4-4-0 I'm building I have made 3 sets of frames, 3 cabs, 2 footplates, 2 smokebox fronts (so far), 2 sets of splasher tops, 2 goes at mounting the front bogie, cut and shut the firebox sides to make a better fit... the list goes on. It's like grand dad's axe.

 

The only parts that have not changed are the splasher sides, valances, equalising spring brackets, and smokebox sides. It's a worry when you know exactly what hasn't changed.

 

Regards,

David.

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Hi Ken,

 

Would this be another Severn or one of the other S&M Loco's? In any event I look forward to seeing it on your workbench.

 

Hi Rob. I am thinking 0-6-0T MOROUS But I quite fancy having a go at the Ilfracombe Goods HESPERUS 0-6-0 tender loco. It's time to do it that's the problem.

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That is looking good :)

 

I'm pretty sure everyone's scratchbuilding process is making mistakes and fixing them. On the 4-4-0 I'm building I have made 3 sets of frames, 3 cabs, 2 footplates, 2 smokebox fronts (so far), 2 sets of splasher tops, 2 goes at mounting the front bogie, cut and shut the firebox sides to make a better fit... the list goes on. It's like grand dad's axe.

 

The only parts that have not changed are the splasher sides, valances, equalising spring brackets, and smokebox sides. It's a worry when you know exactly what hasn't changed.

 

Regards,

David.

 

Wow that is some wasted material. For what it's worth this is how I avoid mistakes and waste. After careful consideration from drawings and photos, I decided how I'm going to actually construct the model. Using the motor/gearbox I lay that on the scale drawing to see how that will fit and what clearances will be needed.

 

Now to the stage of cutting out your parts. Some are easy and taken directly from the scale drawing. BUT as in preparing drawings for etched kits, you have to make allowances for the thickness of the materials at joints etc. (Easily done, for instance, at the joints on a cab front/ back and sides. Just deduct the side thickness x 2 off the width of the front/back plates.)

 

Now the real tricky parts are things like the boiler, splasher tops, smokebox and wrapper etc. where measuring these from a drawing is not easy. Unless you have engineering mathematical skills. (I do not)

 

So this is where thin card or even thin plastikard becomes very useful. I make templates I purposely cut a little over size and trim back until a perfect fit is obtained. Transfer that to your metal, cut out and hey presto, no waste, just a little finnishing with the needle files. Using the template for each duplicated part also ensures each one cut out is the same size. Using the first cab side, for instance, then using the newly cut side for the template for the 2nd side only makes the second side slightly larger and therefore increases the chance of ending up with an out of square cab etc.

 

I do confess to using a lot of kit manufactures ideas in construction, as well as those developed by my long experience.

 

I hope this helps in making life easier, I love the satisfaction of seeing a model all build by your own hands.

Edited by jazz
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Thankyou everyone for your interest and replies, all very encouraging. We all tend to think that we are the only ones who make mistakes!

Brilliant advice Ken, and keeping the templates would allow me to make duplicates, although my organisational skills are possibly not up to knowing where I've put the templates afterwards. I have started to keep all the paper-work and sketches in plastic slip folders. I do draw sketches for details and small parts but it's never occured to me to do the same for the main parts. Of course, it's not going to stop me making mistakes but as you mention, it should save time and metal in the long run! As I make a start on my GWR "Earl Cawdor" I'll post what I do. I'd be interested in your thoughts on preparing kit etches.

 

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I have tended to try stuff out directly in the metal, this rather Christmassy view from last year shows how I worked out the angle of the motor and flywheel to clear the bonnet...

 

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etched kit designing has changed radically since my day to that. I did kit design in the old days on a draftmans drawing board (A bit like writing letters instead of emailing & texting, I guess) Now-a-days it all CAD and that is alien to me. What I do know is kits are far more acurate these days. (There are a few exceptions but they tend to be older kits from the period of the then new CAD)

 

My kits used expensive to produce but very accurate milled chassis and con rods. The etches were test built, then adjusted as necessary. Again a bit expensive to do that and even today, a few producers are prepared to do that. (Profit margins were very small but I traeted is a hobby rather than trying to make a living out of it)

 

The casting side of things are much the same as my day. Again some kit manufactures do do make replacement moulds as often as they should.

 

Good masters make for really nice castings and that is what I look for in a kit. Minor mistakes in the etches are not such a problem as they can be relatively easy to put right. Even to extent of binning the ofending part and making a replacement form my stock of brass sheets in various thickness.

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Yes, my latest frames and splashers had lots of drawings done before being cut out... and there has been a lot of scribing and measuring before cutting going on too. Luckily most of the model is tinplate so not too expensive to throw away.

 

I was able to get a 7mm drawing of the loco to work from so I use photocopies from that as templates where possible. For other things, like the spectacle plate where having the centres of the windows and the boiler centre marked is useful, I draw it in CAD and can then print as many as required. Another useful feature of CAD is to be able to draw a line of rivets all evenly spaced. I used that for the ashpan.

 

Still, I expect it will be a while before I've broken my bad habits and subscribed fully to the "think first, cut later" school.

 

Regards,

David.

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Hi David, how do you find CAD? I've got a Corel programme and went on a weekend course on how to use it, but my IT skills are currently so lamentable that it's a hundred times quicker if I use a pen and paper. I'm keen to use CAD, particularly for producing art work for etches to speed up my scratc-building, but at the moment it just slows everything down!

 

Simon

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Ozzy,

 

It probably isn't an ashpan, I just mean the bit of the firebox below the footplate and between the frames.

 

Simon,

 

I agree CAD can be slow. I don't use it that often and find it always takes me a while to get back into the swing of using it. However it is certainly worth knowing for doing high precision stuff, or just for being able to easily ensure things like circle centres and radii are where they should be.

 

It has various other advantages too. For instance things like cab roofs, if you don't know what the radius is you can make a curve between points or lines representing the cab sides and then squash it until it looks right. That's not exactly high precision and doesn't handle compound curves, but my building abilities don't stretch to that either.

 

Another good thing is you can type what you want, rather than draw it. So you can type in (and later change) the coordinates of lines and circles etc which is sometimes easiler than drawing them if you know exactly what you want.

 

Regards,

David.

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Thankyou David, I'll persevere with CAD for my Earl Cawdor, though I may cheat and pen and paper it first!

There was an interesting article in a recent MRJ about scratch-building and drawing out, it also shows the use of a pantograph engraver. I wouldn't mind one of those!

 

Some more build photos of the Lady A...

 

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I've a photo of the loco running in summer with the inspection hatches on the bonnet open to cool her off, apparently. I wanted to show the panels individually. So I built them all separately, after adding the beading and then soldered them to the bonnet superstructure.

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  • sej changed the title to Adventures in kit and scratch-building.

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