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40 minutes ago, D.Platt said:

Hi Tony ,

Regarding  ‘ Professionally built ‘ how many real professionals are or were out there ? compared to people like myself who had a day job but made a few kits for friends etc.

A friend of mine who couldn’t build anything , started buying a lot of locos from a certain stall usually at York , every one of these locos ended up with either me or my brother having to put right various shorting problems, I came to the conclusion who ever made them obvious did not test run them round any track circuit.

 

I have bought three locos of eBay ready made , a nu-cast B1 £20 , and DJH  82xxx plus WD for £70 for the two ! I have just completed the 82xxx on which I’ve replaced a D13motor with a high level gearbox with a mashima motor, added all the pipe work that was missing , so I have now a good looking loco which has cost me £50 !

The WD is going to get the Doncaster boiler , next job !  however it is becoming rare  to find these bargain prices on eBay anymore.

Dennis

Good afternoon Dennis,

 

Though open to debate, I'd say a 'professional' model-maker/painter is one where that is his/her principal source of income. They might have 'another job' (part-time, perhaps), but most of their 'work' time is spent in making/painting things. The best (not me) are proficient in both disciplines, though there are far more decent builders out there than there are decent painters. The best painters paint for the best builders. I've yet to find a guy/girl who can paint brilliantly, but who cannot build a model. The very best can do both! 

 

Relating my own case, my main job for over 20 years was as a teacher. However, personal illness cut that career short (though I did return part-time for a couple more years). Not wanting to be a 'parasite' (I've chosen that word carefully) on the state, on my recovery I looked for alternative means of employment; luckily finding it in model-making, writing and photography. Lucky enough to make these things my 'profession' when the top model railway photographer at the time (Brian Monaghan) retired, and at least two new model railway magazines emerged. Those, and a growing number of folk who wanted a loco built by me. 

 

To begin with, I still taught part-time (the equivalent of two days a week), but that soon interfered with my growing 'business', so I gave teaching up for good. At least I remained sane, which another 15 or more years in teaching would have produced the complete opposite! What cannot be denied is that I earned far more as a teacher (danger money?) than by any other later means. 

 

Eventually, I ended up as assistant editor/photographer for BRM, which I did (with great enjoyment) from 2003 until my retirement in 2011, aged 65. I still write, of course, still take pictures and still make models; the last mentioned, now only for myself and for mates. 

 

It would seem that many (most?) who make/made model-making/painting their career, started off doing something else.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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Re the discussions about "Blue Peter" & "Bittern" I hope these photos may be of interest .

  The shots at the side of the diesel depot were taken on7th Sept. 1968 . The engines had been moved there to allow passengers on a "Flying Scotsman" hauled railtour to Newcastle to see them as they passed .

  The shot in the shed was taken later in the month occupying their usual stalls .

                      Cheers ,

                              Ray .

P1010501a.jpg

P1010502b.jpg

P1010503a.jpg

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1 hour ago, josephmarsh said:

Thanks for your reply, If I can't get someone to build it then it will stay in the box, my hands wont keep still long enough to solder the parts if I could find out where they go.

I know some one that could paint if for me but they don't have the skill to put it together, "Thats how far they got" really just part of the chassis.

If anyone would like to contact me, I did include my email address in the last message, I usually can't find replys like this as I don't know where or when to look, Just luck I found this.

Thanks for your help.

Regards Joseph Marsh

 

Joseph,

You'll find any replies in the same thread where you placed your question. It's really is no more complex or mysterious than that.

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7 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

Does anyone have stories from both 'extremes', please (especially pictures)? Delighted or disappointed, it's all of interest.

 

 

A cautionary tale!

 

Loco building has never been my forte, although more recently, and following some expert tuition from Tony, I have managed to put together a small number - and they work well, but it remains one of my least favourite activities across the whole spectrum of railway modelling.

So it was that back in days when there were very few RTR Southern Railway locos available, and I was 'time poor and (relatively) cash rich' I started to look for a kit builder or builders to help assemble a growing collection of SR kits.

I tried three different builders, all of whom advertised in RM and appeared to me therefore to be 'professional', they all had reasonably long waiting lists but I went ahead and offered them each a different kit to build; they gave me their prices and I sent them the kits.

 

The first thing to say is that none of the three resulting models was perfect, and in particular my inexperience meant that I didn't ask any of the builders to go beyond what was in the kit - and none did. At the time, 20 years ago, my own inexperience also meant that I didn't know what else I might need to specify - lamp irons for example - nor was my own knowledge sufficient to specify detailed changes required for a specific loco in a specific class, and so I largely got whatever was in the kit (at best!).

 

And so to the outcomes....

One loco looked good, including a detailed lined livery, and it ran well; the builder has since built a large number of locos for me.

The second loco ran well but despite having a plain black livery I don't feel it ever quite looked right because it lacked so many detailed fittings - but I probably just about got what I paid for. However, I have never gone back, and when a RTR model of the same loco appeared subsequently it just served to re-enforce how poor the kit built specimen was.

 

The third loco was dreadful:

 

SJPP716002002180716.jpg.8460728f80a9fe10aa1a155a8ff71436.jpg

 

It is an SR ex-LSWR Adams T6 from a Jidenco kit and what you can immediately see is just how bad the lining is.

More to the point, however, is that various parts were not straight, the loco had no weight in it, the central driving wheels were the only ones with pick-ups and they didn't touch the track because the front bogie was set too high, and so on.... Needless to say it would not pull anything, in fact it struggled to move itself along the track!

I appreciate that Jidenco kits are not the easiest, but as a 'professional' the builder accepted the commission and at no time did he say that he would build it badly!

We had some acerbic exchanges after delivery, but I had foolishly paid my money when told the model was ready and I eventually gave up any hope of getting it fixed or getting my money back.

 

The loco stayed in the drawer as a reminder of my own inexperience, until about two years ago when I mentioned it on my own RMWeb thread, and said that I was thinking of flattening it with a sledge hammer; to my surprise, excellent & experienced loco builder @DLT kindly offered to see what he could do with it - and he has posted what he then had to do on his thread, which went way beyond the short list of faults that I showed above.

 

So after 20 years, I now have a working T6 ! :o

 

My feeling is that I learned a number of valuable lessons from the original experience, not least that 'professional' may not mean very much! I'd go along with Tony's list completely, but I might also add that if you are not an experienced and informed buyer, then tread very carefully; a builder who can tell you what they might do to enhance the kit and / or how they might adjust it to deliver an accurate model of your specific requirement would also be highly desirable - and if you can find one, they will not be cheap!

 

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

 

A cautionary tale!

 

Loco building has never been my forte, although more recently, and following some expert tuition from Tony, I have managed to put together a small number - and they work well, but it remains one of my least favourite activities across the whole spectrum of railway modelling.

So it was that back in days when there were very few RTR Southern Railway locos available, and I was 'time poor and (relatively) cash rich' I started to look for a kit builder or builders to help assemble a growing collection of SR kits.

I tried three different builders, all of whom advertised in RM and appeared to me therefore to be 'professional', they all had reasonably long waiting lists but I went ahead and offered them each a different kit to build; they gave me their prices and I sent them the kits.

 

The first thing to say is that none of the three resulting models was perfect, and in particular my inexperience meant that I didn't ask any of the builders to go beyond what was in the kit - and none did. At the time, 20 years ago, my own inexperience also meant that I didn't know what else I might need to specify - lamp irons for example - nor was my own knowledge sufficient to specify detailed changes required for a specific loco in a specific class, and so I largely got whatever was in the kit (at best!).

 

And so to the outcomes....

One loco looked good, including a detailed lined livery, and it ran well; the builder has since built a large number of locos for me.

The second loco ran well but despite having a plain black livery I don't feel it ever quite looked right because it lacked so many detailed fittings - but I probably just about got what I paid for. However, I have never gone back, and when a RTR model of the same loco appeared subsequently it just served to re-enforce how poor the kit built specimen was.

 

The third loco was dreadful:

 

SJPP716002002180716.jpg.8460728f80a9fe10aa1a155a8ff71436.jpg

 

It is an SR ex-LSWR Adams T6 from a Jidenco kit and what you can immediately see is just how bad the lining is.

More to the point, however, is that various parts were not straight, the loco had no weight in it, the central driving wheels were the only ones with pick-ups and they didn't touch the track because the front bogie was set too high, and so on.... Needless to say it would not pull anything, in fact it struggled to move itself along the track!

I appreciate that Jidenco kits are not the easiest, but as a 'professional' the builder accepted the commission and at no time did he say that he would build it badly!

We had some acerbic exchanges after delivery, but I had foolishly paid my money when told the model was ready and I eventually gave up any hope of getting it fixed or getting my money back.

 

The loco stayed in the drawer as a reminder of my own inexperience, until about two years ago when I mentioned it on my own RMWeb thread, and said that I was thinking of flattening it with a sledge hammer; to my surprise, excellent & experienced loco builder @DLT kindly offered to see what he could do with it - and he has posted what he then had to do on his thread, which went way beyond the short list of faults that I showed above.

 

So after 20 years, I now have a working T6 ! :o

 

My feeling is that I learned a number of valuable lessons from the original experience, not least that 'professional' may not mean very much! I'd go along with Tony's list completely, but I might also add that if you are not an experienced and informed buyer, then tread very carefully; a builder who can tell you what they might do to enhance the kit and / or how they might adjust it to deliver an accurate model of your specific requirement would also be highly desirable - and if you can find one, they will not be cheap!

 

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

Good evening Tony,

 

A cautionary tale indeed, at least in part. I'm delighted you've got the loco (eventually) you wanted.

 

And, you wanted an H16, which I was delighted to build for you....................

 

679515899_H1617.jpg.4b705fd14bb712e7b69f2ccca3b768c3.jpg

 

2130812627_H1618.jpg.f5f64c5674f2cd557deef8b2eaa5381a.jpg

 

 

 

1230487926_H1620.jpg.276de563f7fe332fdff60f64f49e4e63.jpg

 

Which Geoff Haynes painted/weathered for you. 

 

But, here we have another 'cautionary' tale. How 'accurate' should (or could) models be?

 

A distinctive feature of many Southern locos are the huge front steps. Without them, the locos look naked at the front. However, as you have found, put them on and locos won't go around sharper curves without shorting or fouling as the bogie or pony wheels catch on them. 

 

When I built this loco, I tested it fully on Little Bytham and it ran round with no problems (minimum radius 3'). 

 

I'm still puzzled as to how to solve his problem for you (you've been very kind and not pestered me). Quite honestly, I don't know what to do, save taking the steps off. As it is, I've angled them slightly and shaved them as thin as I dare (for white metal). Their inner faces are also smeared with Araldite. 

 

Could brass steps be the answer? It might be, and, when allowed, bring it with you when you next visit and I'll make and fit some.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, APOLLO said:

Bittern at York shed 27 July 1968, BTEG (British Transport Enthusiasts Guild) West Riding Shed bash.

 

Am I right in stating that all these steam locos are preserved ?

 

Brit15

Great pix! (modern history)

 

Yep - all preserved. Black 5 5428 at NYMR; K1 62005 a regular at Fort William for the Jacobite; K4 3442 (61994) no longer a runner, destined for John Cameron's Scottish museum with No.9. N7 out of service at North Norfolk (I think)

 

1968 was of course the 'dark time' for mainline steam, pending the 'return to steam' in 1971 so many locos were stored around the country like this, not many preserved lines running, one or two steam centres. Many of today's steam fleet still in Barry Scrapyard ...

 

All very different nowadays! (Covid notwithstanding)

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56 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

 

 

A distinctive feature of many Southern locos are the huge front steps. Without them, the locos look naked at the front. However, as you have found, put them on and locos won't go around sharper curves without shorting or fouling as the bogie or pony wheels catch on them. 

 

 

 

 

Saint Olaves (below) is restricted to my outer curves because of the steps (and even then, they're not modelled as they should be, with the characteristic tuck-in). But to omit the front steps spoils the look of the engine, I feel, so I accept the compromise.

 

schools.jpg

 

I've managed to fit front steps to Lord Nelsons, King Arthurs and S15s and get them to squeak around the inner curve as well, but Schools seem to be a particularly challenging case.

 

Al

Edited by Barry Ten
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Tony and other experienced builders,

 

A couple of quick questions if I may about a Comet coach kit that I’m torturing my fingers with.  Firstly, having fixed the drop lights, solder has leaked through to the visible side.  Should I remove this before painting?  If so, what’s the best method.  Secondly, the Comet guide to coach building describes removing the “rebate”on the roof at each corner.  What do they mean by that?  Is it the bottom bit of the rail that will ultimately sit on the top of the sides?  

The sides and ends seem straight enough to me and it’s solid enough.  Nothing has fallen off when I’ve washed it although I’m sure my soldering can improve.

 

I also seem to recall a debate about how to fix roofs.  Comet suggest glueing.  Is there a better plan for aluminium?

 

Many thanks

 

David


ADA0A11E-9F74-482E-A605-F2DF276FC2A6.jpeg.ccded44af646f09392387e0d234cf6cc.jpeg

 

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1 hour ago, Tony Wright said:

1230487926_H1620.jpg.276de563f7fe332fdff60f64f49e4e63.jpg

 

Could brass steps be the answer? It might be, and, when allowed, bring it with you when you next visit and I'll make and fit some.

 

 

I had no intention of bringing that one up Tony, at least in part because I think it relates to what was probably my worst decision in setting up my layout - which was to make the curves too tight! Whilst they are all hidden and so they don't upset the eye, the H16 is not the only loco that I have that struggles with them, and several have had their steps removed or omitted.

 

I know that you remain keen to solve the issue and once we are allowed to meet, I'll be very happy to accept your kind offer.

 

Tony

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I built professionally for 5 years after being made redundant from a job I'd been in 20 years. I soon found that I had a waiting list of at least a year. I was charging £20 per hour at the time. I didn't take a deposit, but asked for stage payments, which worked well for me and my clients. My philosophy was that I would build for my clients as if I were building for myself, that is I didn't build kits straight from the box, they would be improved as much as possible. So they were not cheap. If there are any problems ( rarely ! ) they come back to me for repair, I don't like other people fiddling with them!

I was lucky- I had lovely clients - all of which became friends, there were just a couple I didn't get on with - they were ditched.... I enjoyed the work, but I'm happy now to have the opportunity to work on my own projects.

I was challenged once over the price of an O gauge Crostie 9F build, my response was to say ' how much would you expect for five weeks work?' "Ah... yes..."

 

Completing part builds..... best avoided in my experience, although a couple of my mates seems to thrive on them!

 

Regards

Tony

 

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4 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

Good evening David,

 

I certainly agree that (if the price is right) buying a 'finished' model for its wheels/motor/gearbox is a very good idea. Even if the bodywork is rubbish, as long as the mechanical parts are working and undamaged. then the body can be chucked or broken up for spares. 

 

The problem with buying 'partially assembled or 'badly-assembled' locos is if the parts have been damaged or broken in the process (as Graeme King has alluded to). As long as this is not the case, a night's soaking in Nitromores and you'll end up with a kit again (all the worst kit-built locos are glued together!). However, if there are gross file marks causing surface damage and the ill-fitting of parts, then only regard such a purchase for its mechanical parts. I've even seen sheet metal locos glued together, and the worst problem usually faced with their like is bruised brass/nickel silver parts - impossible to eradicate in many cases. 

 

As Andy (The Green Howards) has suggested, if one is capable of rebuilding a poorly-made kit, then there are some real opportunities out there (though I have no idea how eBay works; nor really want to). I have, however, picked up some real bargains at shows............

 

Though some of these have been seen before, it was in a different context.

 

749966190_60103elevated.jpg.b984649c75d6f8e2026740f422fb351a.jpg

 

Years ago, friends and I used to attend the Gloucester swapmeet (at the time, the largest in the land). One dealt in second-hand items (but always took more things home with him than he brought, filling my car's boot!), another just liked the company and I sold second-hand items, usually donated by parents/grandparents for the school fund at the establishment where I was teaching.

 

On one occasion, we were alongside a guy who had a Wills A3 for sale. It was part-built (not very well glued together), but no damage had been done to the castings. I'd brought a Hornby-Dublo box (just a cardboard, red, striped thing) which had once contained a cement wagon. The box was in perfect condition. I had no idea what to price this piece of old card at, but I asked the bloke how much he wanted for the Wills A3. 'Not my thing' he said (the rest of his stand was full of die-cast or tinplate tat). 'How much for the box?' he asked me. 'Not my thing. Do you fancy a swap?' I replied. He almost bit my hand off! To this day I'm convinced both of us thought the other a complete fool.

 

What did I subsequently do?  A dunk in Nitromores, scratch-build a chassis, purchase wheels/motor and rebuild it; into what you see above. I even painted it myself! 

 

1069999499_09A160119.jpg.21ee0f6b5e97cf76290b4826286d42fa.jpg

 

A few years ago, acting on behalf of a widow, I found new homes for the kit-built locos her late husband had built. He'd started the A1 seen above, but it didn't run very well. What he'd made was generally very good (soldered construction), but, like many kit-built items, the running was jerky and stiff. 

 

I'd inspected all the other locos which had been completed, made sure they ran well and got very good prices for them. But, what to do with this? In the end, I offered what I thought was a fair price (which she was overjoyed at), stripped down the frames, installed a new motor/gearbox and completed it. Geoff Haynes then painted it. I think I've ended up with a good-looking model which now runs exceptionally well, though I think I'll replace the bogie wheels, if not the drivers. 

 

613437395_ModelLocoBlackFive05.jpg.97ab7229ed0318000d23af4a7eabae04.jpg

 

163745343_ModelLocoBlackFive07.jpg.ba232818d05b2073cf3696e847f8a3bf.jpg

 

In 2019, I bought this Model Loco Stanier Five from a trader at a show. The building of it was atrocious, and, although it had a Portescap motor, the running was dismal. Fortunately, despite the dreadful building, none of the parts was damaged (though some bits of the tender were missing).

 

So, the price offered was accepted (around £60.00 if I recall) with relish.

 

A few months later, dunk the body in Nitromores, strip down the frames (inserting the Portescap into something bigger), replace the driving and bogie wheels (though perfectly all right, the originals were generic) and pick-up a Bachmann tender at the same show, second-hand for £12.00. Then, a complete rebuild (with a DJH motor/gearbox). Geoff Haynes is currently painting it. 

 

The loco was of little use to the trader (he had heaps of RTR items in many states of repair - or lack of it), so he was glad to get shut of it. But, it could have really only gone to someone who could rebuild it, make it work and 'exploit' its potential. 

 

For those who can't do this, avoid such items like the plague!

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

  


Tony,

 

Buying a kit built locomotive built by someone else is always risky and can involve more work than starting a new kit from scratch. However it can be a much cheaper way of buying all the parts that make up a locomotive kit.

8C93E5E5-B2E6-4B08-9E2B-0047CAE49533.jpeg.34bae28de79cc8fa77c98bf87ad71687.jpegAs you know I’ve been building locos for Retford and as an example here’s a locomotive I’ve just bought. This is an A3 built by an unknown builder from a DJH kit. It cost less than £100 on eBay. It is of course built in OO so at the very least I’ll have to convert it to EM.


It does, unusually, run very well as it has a Portescape motor and is very free running.  However it has a double chimney which it would not have had in 1957 so that will be changed but the biggest problem is that whilst it doesn’t look too bad the lining is not good enough and so it will have to have a complete repaint. I don’t know if it’s glued or soldered together so if I do strip the paint and it’s been glued together it might all fall apart and I end up with kit.

 

I think I’ll do the EM conversion first, 

get it to run properly, test it on Retford and then address the issue of the lining.


Sandra

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1 hour ago, Clearwater said:

removing the “rebate”on the roof at each corner.  What do they mean by that?  Is it the bottom bit of the rail that will ultimately sit on the top of the sides?  

On the roof there is a rib running along the length on the underside which sits against the coach side (both keeping the sides the right distance apart and giving a surface to glue on.

 

This needs filing off at the ends as it will foul the etched end and prevent you getting the roof on properly.

 

let me know if you would like a photo showing exactly what I mean as I have a roof  suitably modified sat on my workbench at the moment and can take a photo in the morning 

 

as for fixing, I use Evostick which seems to have done the job nicely so far.

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14 minutes ago, The Fatadder said:

 

 

as for fixing, I use Evostick which seems to have done the job nicely so far.

 

Agreed, Don't do as I did, and try and use cyano - I thought it would be more controllable, but the resultant bond was too brittle and the sides kept separating from the roof.

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17 minutes ago, Barry Ten said:

 

Agreed, Don't do as I did, and try and use cyano - I thought it would be more controllable, but the resultant bond was too brittle and the sides kept separating from the roof.


and by evostick, is it this stuff?  I like to check to make sure I’m not getting the wrong stuff!
 

thanks

 

David

036D3D9B-F967-4A34-BA6E-DBCE9E27CA42.jpeg

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Regarding "professional" loco builders. Geoff Brewin told me that he used to build locos for other people when he worked for an optician. He got fed up of working for others, so set up on his own and continued building locos for others. It was he quality of Comet kits that led him to get involved. Whilst the building of locos for others was not his main source of income, I considered him to be a professional loo kit builder because he built them for other people and accepted payment.

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10 hours ago, LNER4479 said:

Great pix! (modern history)

 

Yep - all preserved. Black 5 5428 at NYMR; K1 62005 a regular at Fort William for the Jacobite; K4 3442 (61994) no longer a runner, destined for John Cameron's Scottish museum with No.9. N7 out of service at North Norfolk (I think)

 

1968 was of course the 'dark time' for mainline steam, pending the 'return to steam' in 1971 so many locos were stored around the country like this, not many preserved lines running, one or two steam centres. Many of today's steam fleet still in Barry Scrapyard ...

 

All very different nowadays! (Covid notwithstanding)

 

The N7 is under restoration at the EARM - I think they are hoping to have it done for it's 100th birthday (2024). It's been missed as been out of steam for a while now.

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I've been using Copydex to attach carriage roofs (and goods van ones too) where the design demands the roof goes on last, on models of both plastic and metal construction for many years.

 

I think the one on the worked-over Lima GUV in the attached photo has been in place since 1998 but others have been removed with ease when necessary.

 

John

2020.01_Lima GUV_G052c [r].jpg

Edited by Dunsignalling
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