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Tender brake gear - is it worth the effort?


Steve Sykes

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I'm currently attempting to build a loco using one of Allen Doherty's scratchbuild etches as a basis. I'm starting by building the tender and I'm working on the chassis. The etch includes brake gear but it's very delicate and I'm wondering whether it's worth the effort, as I have concerns about both its durability in service and its visibility. I think if I do use it, it will need some beefing up; is it worth the effort if it can barely be seen? Any one with any experience of this kind of thing to share?

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It might help if you say what you are building Steve. I think whether it is worth it depends how visible it is on the prototype. For example my Jubilee has brakes on 4 of the wheels because these are quite visible through or around the frames, but no pull rods as these aren't really visible. By contrast my J39 started off with full tender brake gear despite it being barely noticeable apart from the outer pull rods which you could see below the frames. A chassis rebuild to cure a short meant I had to take it all off and I've not tried to replace it as I decided it wasn't worth the effort (and the bits now look like spaghetti!).

 

Also does Allen's etch have one or two pullrods? It will need two for a split frame tender. In general brake gear (especially if the brake hangers are just soldered in place on to pieces of wire sticking out of the frames) is more robust if held together with pullrods - less chance of the "brakes" being applied inadvertently!

 

If you do add it it isn't too big a job removing it again if it proves to be too flimsy or causes shorting on the frames etc (consider adding insulating layer (tape or thin paper) to the inside of the outer frames to avoid this as a layer of paint won't be enough if the brakes are close to the frames - how do I know that?!)

 

Simon

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I think is something only the builder/owner can truly decide. For example I'm fitting brakes to all my coach bogies but some have queried why I am bothering because you can barely see them. As the builder/owner I would like to add them. That said, if an etch had not been readily available, my decision could have been different. If they really can barely be seen and the etch does not meet your requirements then you have to decide based on that situation.

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It might help if you say what you are building Steve. I think whether it is worth it depends how visible it is on the prototype. For example my Jubilee has brakes on 4 of the wheels because these are quite visible through or around the frames, but no pull rods as these aren't really visible. By contrast my J39 started off with full tender brake gear despite it being barely noticeable apart from the outer pull rods which you could see below the frames. A chassis rebuild to cure a short meant I had to take it all off and I've not tried to replace it as I decided it wasn't worth the effort (and the bits now look like spaghetti!).

 

Also does Allen's etch have one or two pullrods? It will need two for a split frame tender. In general brake gear (especially if the brake hangers are just soldered in place on to pieces of wire sticking out of the frames) is more robust if held together with pullrods - less chance of the "brakes" being applied inadvertently!

 

If you do add it it isn't too big a job removing it again if it proves to be too flimsy or causes shorting on the frames etc (consider adding insulating layer (tape or thin paper) to the inside of the outer frames to avoid this as a layer of paint won't be enough if the brakes are close to the frames - how do I know that?!)

 

Simon

 

It's one of the LSWR Drummond 700 class goods locos, which I'm intending to revert from superheated to saturated condition. Looking at photos the brakes aren't massively visible in the darkness behind the outer frames, but possibly the gap where they should be might be more obvious than their presence. It has double pull rods, one for either side, which are about 15 thou wide. The actual hangers for the brakes are roughly the same width in 10 thou n/s.

I think I'll have a go; as you say it can always come off again if necessary!

 

Thanks,

 

Steve

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50years ago when I discovered 'scale model railways' EAMES had for sale 00 'scale model locos' probably made in their workshops these did not feature brake gear so far as I can remember. These days if Hornby or Bachman issued comparable models today they would be rubbished. This is an example of how standards have improved. There are quite a few modellers pushing standards in 2mm onwards a lot of which features on RMweb. So if you feel you could have a go do so rather than kick yourself later for not having bothered. If on the other hand you feel it would be better concentrating on getting the basic body square and running true do so and leave brake gear for a later model.

I have a similar issue with my 0 gauge models one of which has working inside valve motion. On the early 4-4-0s and 0-6-0s there is a big space without valve gear (probably more visible than 2mm tender brakes) and if it can be made to work........

Don

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Personally Steve I wouldn't bother, its a lot of work for very little return. Remember this is 2mm and the trick is what can be left off without affecting the overall appearance - for me tender brake gear falls very much in to that category. I don't think comparing experience in 7mm has much relevance - having built a fair amount of stuff in 7mm what you realise is its a completely different modelling philosophy. The level of detail required in 7mm is frightening because it can be seen. One of the many advantages of 2mm is we don't have to worry about much of it. The thing that it is crucial to avoid at all costs is beefing up detail to make it stronger/easier to make. If its too small to do to scale, leave it off.

 

Jerry

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I think they're right, the gaps in the tender frames are going to be so small you'll never see it, but its up to you, a lot of modellers will put things like this on because it is a challenge and they know its there, even if nobody else can see it.

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Personally Steve I wouldn't bother, its a lot of work for very little return. Remember this is 2mm and the trick is what can be left off without affecting the overall appearance - for me tender brake gear falls very much in to that category. I don't think comparing experience in 7mm has much relevance - having built a fair amount of stuff in 7mm what you realise is its a completely different modelling philosophy. The level of detail required in 7mm is frightening because it can be seen. One of the many advantages of 2mm is we don't have to worry about much of it. The thing that it is crucial to avoid at all costs is beefing up detail to make it stronger/easier to make. If its too small to do to scale, leave it off.

 

Jerry

 

Well, since when I was very carefully drilling 0.3mm holes to open out the half-etched dimples in the brake hangers for the pull rod pivots, the etch was so delicate it twisted and distorted (cue bad language), I think perhaps I might give it a miss. I'd have to fabricate the whole lot out of something more robust so perhaps that's a project for next time.

 

Steve

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Well, since when I was very carefully drilling 0.3mm holes to open out the half-etched dimples in the brake hangers for the pull rod pivots, the etch was so delicate it twisted and distorted (cue bad language),

 

This size of hole close to an edge can be a pain. Drilling is better than using a broach but not perfect, as you have found. I sometimes (read "more often than not") bash them larger using a dressmaker/sewing pin and a toffee hammer. Another coping mechanism (which would not work for you here for obvious reasons) I use on some etches that seem to under-etch in these areas regularly - 2-361 brake levers is one example - is to cut the part in half across the hole and solder the flat of one part (in this example the brake lever) to the flat of the other part (in this example the hanger), ignoring the fact part of the 'hole' is now missing (not that you can tell once soldered and painted.

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