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N gauge LSWR 3-Sub

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And finally a question: This sort of work always seems to require more hands than the average human has, does anyone have any hints / tips / clever inventions for holding and folding that don't require unnecessary expense? In particular I'm thinking of when it comes to soldering carriage-sides to carriage-ends.



Parallel action pliers Mark. I find these VERY useful for folding things as well as a handy small vice.


Also, I dont know if its much help now but when I make small handrails like that, I use a pair of 'needle' nose pliers (the ones which taper to a point), you can measure where the taper gives you the distance you need, mark it onto the pliers, then simply hold the wire in the pliers and then fold both sides at the same time. Serrated pliers also give a handy location for the wire.


Hope that helps a little.


Missy :)

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And finally a question: This sort of work always seems to require more hands than the average human has, does anyone have any hints / tips / clever inventions for holding and folding that don't require unnecessary expense? In particular I'm thinking of when it comes to soldering carriage-sides to carriage-ends.







Love the trick with the clothes peg. I might copy that idea.


I haven't soldered carriage ends, but I have done a smokebox. The picture below shows the basis of the technique:




This leaves my left hand free for pressing the side in with a file and my right hand free to apply flux, solder, and then the iron.


If you haven't found this yet, check out Connoisseur Models web site. I know it's O Gauge, but the instructions for many models are freely downloadable and include a wealth of information on the construction of brass etch kits. Like you, I'm quite new to this brass kits lark and I've found these instructions really helpful. (Plus, of course, the generous advice in these forums!)


I hope this helps ... Stephen


PS I've really enjoyed watching Frankland develop. I'm looking forwards to the next jaw-dropping update!

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  • 2 weeks later...

3-Sub update 07







What a lovely sunny weekend it has been ...
... spurring some quite positive activity in Frankland 
Remaining holes for grab handles drilled with my new cutting broach
Tumblehomes formed over adapted off-cut of fancy skirting-board
Tumblehome checked against etching of carriage-ends and all looks well-and-good
Apertures for bogie bolts opened-up with the reamer 
The reamer created a bit of a cone around the circumference, so I kept alternating sides and filed the cones as I progressed (didn't want to stress / distort the brass too much just-in-case)
Side wings folded up
Which means apart from the carriage-ends the only part of the etching left were the sole-bars/running boards 
I found an old door-handle spindle the other day, it's good, solid, heavy metal, and ideal as a straightedge and general 'knocking about' tool. So I used it to square sole-bars to running boards
Hopefully you can make out that the face of the sole-bar is clamped underneath the rule and the spindle is used to tamp the running board at a ninety-degree angle
Next I soldered the sole-bar/running boards into place 
And all nice-and-square too (well I have been practising folding and soldering with old bits of brass the last week or so :)  )
Next: bolts dropped through apertures 
Initially I experimented with bogie-spacers: a half-nut on the left, three washers on the right
At the moment the half-nut seems a better option. It's firmer (I can clamp it tight) and appears to give a nearer-correct riding height, but I'll reserve judgement until further tests prove one way or the other.
And we have a chassis!
The bogies are really nice and cosy with the underneath of the solebars, I did an initial test to check the bogies / wheel flanges where ok on a tight curve.
The only cloud is that once the bolts are threaded through the chassis/a half-nut/the bogie, there's not much room left to get the half-nut on the end of the bolt to secure everything in place. So I'll need to buy longer bolts, these are 6mm, so I think it will have to be 8mm

So that was yesterday (Saturday).





This morning I was up with the lark ...



First a test train was marshaled to double check the chassis would run happily around the curves on Frankland, and it did. 
By the way - in the picture above - I love how short and dinky my carriage (49') will be compared to later stock ... and I just calculated that my stations will easily accommodate two three-car units coupled together. I'll be really happy with that. 
But then I had a thought ...
If I'm using the motor and power / pickup bogies from the DMU Express Parcels Unit - then my EMU will need to match the ride-height of that.
On initial viewing they look quite different, just look at the gap between bogies and solebar on the DMU compared to my carriage - massive difference.
I thought 'oh dear!'   :(
But I think it will be ok - because on closer inspection I noticed the top of the bogies is consistent, and so is the baseline of the carriage, it's just that the solebar on the DMU is narrower. So hopefully I can fix an etched solebar to the exisiting DMU solebar (after filing it back of course) - and the ride-height of all the carriages will look consistent throughout.  
At least that's the theory!
So that's progress to-date.
Any comments / suggestions / thoughts?
One question still very abstract in my mind regards coupling: The units will each be semi-permanently coupled, with some form of standard coupling at one end only (the other being prototypically modelled). 
Finally a thanks to all contributors, your help and advice has been really useful. It's funny, but at first some of the advice I didn't quite understand, but as I reach certain stages in construction I suddenly understood what those comments referred to.
Thanks again,
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Hi Mark,


The 3 SUB chassis is looking really good. The minimal gap between the bogie frames and solebars is particularly effective, so let's hope that the drive unit you are using will not involve raising the chassis any higher.  I Think I have read that these units ran with two-car trailer sets at peak times. That could be another interesting train combination.


All the best,



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Hello Colin, yes, I believe two-car trailer sets ran at peak times sandwiched between two powered three-car units.


It's something I've often thought about, although first I'll need to check the DMU motor can haul that many brass carriages.


As an aside: One advantage to modelling older stock is that because the carriages are shorter, you can get more in a train, which sort of makes your trains look longer - that's great for a small layout like mine :)

Edited by Southernboy
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Just reread this, I'm having similar "fun" with some WW Maunsells and Ironclads. I note you mentioned a bit of confusion with wire sizes, this site may help:-






While talking about wire, beading wire (for stringing beads even") is a cheap way to go for thinner wires, example  0.2mm  175metres for £4.40, 0.5mm 25M also £4.40 so looks like it might be priced according to weight, makes you wonder when you see some model retailers selling it by the 1 yard length at some exorbitant price, see here





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I like making handrails from guitar strings. Ask for light 9s or the thinnest they've got. You should be able to get 0.008" or 0.009". They are steel but in their favour they are difficult to bend or crease inadvertently so are much more resistant to my ham-fisted construction and repeated dispatches towards the floor during construction.

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Thanks Etched Pixels, that's an option I'll experiment with.


Thank you also Dorsetmike, link bookmarked.

I was interested to see you are building Maunsells and Ironclads, do you have a link at all to your work? At some point I will need similar for Frankland.




Thanks also richbrummitt - another avenue to explore :)

Edited by Southernboy
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  • 1 month later...



i have several worsley etches on the go and this one uses  the Grafar 108 bogie


though it may be of interest 







slots where milled out to hold it but I think they could be filed by hand 


hope it helps 






Edited by nick_bastable
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  • 1 month later...

Frankland 3-Sub 8:



For the last couple of months life has contrived to keep me away from this project, but I hope now to start picking up the pace again.

Firstly thank you Nick for your last post. I must say that I'd dismissed the idea of mounting the motor unit onto the etching for fear of inadvertently causing a short circuit, so was thinking along the lines of a plastic floor instead... maybe I should revisit that avenue.





So time for a catch-up on the 3-Sub:



A while ago I ordered from Etched Pixels some 'T' shaped door handles and here's what arrived ...



In the picture below you can see on the left the door handles, but what's that on the right? Grab handles! I wondered if they'd fit my carriages.




Below you can see a door and grab handle laid loosely in place ... the door handles were perfect but unfortunately the grab handles were too long.



The grabs looked nice and fine though ...



... and an improvement on those I'd been making from wire (below).




So I emailed Mr Etched Pixels to ask if he could make some grab handles to fit my 3-Subs and he said "Can do .. "



Meanwhile I carried on with the chassis.

I had found the 6mm bolts I'd ordered were just a fraction too short to feed through bogies and spacers and chassis, so ordered some 8mm from Westfield Fasteners:



I tried out the two options for fixing bogies ...






...and think I'll go for soldering the nut inside the chassis and screw the bolt up from underneath.


Next I made up the chassis and (temporarily) fitted the bogies for the other two cars of the unit ...



... it doesn't look much, but it was a milestone of sorts for me




Last weekend a small box dropped through my letterbox.





It was my handles from Mr Pixels!






I tested some out along one carriage side ...












I think they really are the business!







Below you can see the prongs on the inside of the carriage. I Superglued them from the back.




This morning I snipped the prongs back as closely as I could to the body.



I had deliberately used more rather than less Superglue to ensure the handles didn't snap free when I snipped the prongs off. It looks a bit rough I know, but I couldn't think of a better way of doing it. Maybe next time I'll try cutting the prongs shorter before inserting them (although that leaves less area for the tweezers to grip) ... hmm, I'm just thinking out loud now ... ignore me!


Anyway - next steps will be to form the tumblehomes and fix handles to the remaining carriages - also to form the 'bullet' shaped cab fronts. The cab fronts are a separate section to the sides - that's going to be an interesting exercise:







Well finally - did anyone notice that in the packet from Etched Pixels there was something else other than just handles?



I was gobsmacked to be honest. They are perfection - thank you Mr Pixels! I know just where they will go too - above the gates to the park where the tram shelter is.




So that's the update - hopefully it won't be so long until the next one.



Edited by Southernboy
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An update sooner than expected!
This morning I had a thought: Looking at the picture below you will see on the left-hand side that the prongs from the handles on the inside of the carriage after being snipped back are still proud by a fraction of a millimetre. Those that are just below the windows would prevent glazing being laid level. I had used Superglue to fix them and was nervous that filing the prongs back would knock the handles loose. To my relief the Superglue proved to be more robust than I anticipated. On the right you can see the start of filing the lugs back.
Feeling more confident, this afternoon I fitted handles to a second carriage side (the one at the top of the picture below).
I modified my method too: I loosely positioned all the grab handles first, then snipped back the prongs before glueing them. When the glue was dry I filed down the upper prongs (nearest the windows). After this I glued the door handles in place, and when dry snipped them back too. It's easier to file the lugs on the grabs before the door handles are fitted. 
Finally: I Superglued the retaining nuts for the bogie bolts in place. 
I'll later add a bead of Araldite around the nuts to be extra safe and secure.
Quite a productive few days for me :)

Edited by Southernboy
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Hi Southernboy,


An interesting set of photos in your latest updates. You are tantalisingly close to getting the bodies assembled now. Good that you realised the top legs of the commode handles would foul the glazing before getting any further!


All the best,



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Hi Mark,


Good to see you back posting - the 3Subs looking good - does it roll well on the layout?  I've got a few etched coaches in the pending draw so I am watching and learning, and amazed how neat it all is.


Keep up the good work!





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Hello Colin,

I'm quite excited about getting to assemble the bodies - just the handles on the other two carriages to do first.


Thanks Simon.

Yes, they roll in a very satisfactory fashion. I think the neatness comes from practicing a lot, taking time, and also from some good advice I have received in terms of materials and tools used.

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Hi Mark, its good to see you are back on form so to speak, your small break in posting had me slightly concerned that you might have lost interest! I mentioned you the other day to Allen (Worsley Models) no doubt he will appreciate photos of the finished project.


Nice gesture from Mr Pixels! :)




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  • 2 weeks later...

Frankland 3-Sub 9:









time for an update ... 


since my last post I've formed the tumblehomes and fixed door and grab handles to all three carriages:





.. and been soldering too:






I have soldered two sides and two ends together (but not yet soldered the four to make the entire carriage for the reason that follows) ...






What I completely forgot about was the nuts and bolts that will hold the carriage body to the under frame, so I have to order those from the 2mm Association this week.






I couldn't resist using some Blu-Tack to see how they may look when properly assembled:

















I do honestly think the the time taken to get the door and grab handles in place makes all the difference :)


Anyway, onto a couple of other matters ...



In the picture below are the N Gauge Society 8' SR steam bogies. Not quite the original LSWR bogies, but near enough with a little modification ... but either way, looking at the centre of the picture where the two holes are ...





I thought these could be handy for forming a semi-permanent inter-unit close-coupling. I'd snip them off and refix them so that one was over the other.  I have looked at other forms of N gauge and 2mm coupling and could find nothing that seemed functionally better.


At one end of the unit I'd have proper cosmetic hook and chain couplings. But what about the other end if I want to couple units together? I've looked at N gauge and 2mm offerings and none of them really grab me as a perfect solution.


Any thoughts?


My inclination is to go for a really simple, very small, home-made hook and loop. At the end of the day this is not an exhibition layout - just one for my own pleasure, so I don't mind 'Hand of God' intervening between camera shots ... although one day in the unforeseen future I may quite like to go for units splitting at stations so something more versatile may be required... 


Anyway, whilst waiting for nuts and bolts to arrive I thought I may as well look at forming the 'torpedo' cab fronts.


In the next picture you can see half-etched the shape of the cab front...







I used this as a template to make the former below ...





Looking at the picture now I can see I need to round-off the outer corners a little ( I never noticed until looking at the photo - funny how much the eye can miss no matter how determined we are to try to be observant).


So well, that's this weeks posting from the  Frankland Workshops :)


Have a good week every one !

Edited by Southernboy
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Don't see why you can't just put a loop of wire between those bogie holes or closer drilled holes.


I'd be wary of actually fixing them together, you want the bogies to be able to move relative to one another vertically, horizontally and to twist.



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Thanks stephenashton.


Thanks also Mr Pixels, 

Closer-drilled holes may be an answer ...

I wasn't planning to 'fix' them together an any irretrievable way - more a semi-permanent solution as I'm not likely to want to lift the units off the layout or separate the carriages save for exceptional circumstances.


Feedback appreciated :)      

Edited by Southernboy
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Hi Mark,


Just re-reading your most entertaining topic.  I have dug out a picture which shows the way the coupling of vehicles was addressed on a 2 HAL in 4mm.  I do not know if this would scale-down, but might be worth consideration.




The wire pictured is actually guitar string.  In 2mm .009" (9 thou.) would probably be thin enough, with .008" string being better (the thinner ones are  usually available in good guitar shops). This  would give an almost invisible link between vehicles and is slightly flexible, although in 2mm scale, the length of the wire would be at a guess only 7mm-8mm.  Those bogies are pitched very close to the carriage ends, so not a great deal of room for manoeuvre whatever you do.


All the best,



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