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Blog Entries posted by Brassey

  1. Brassey

    GWR Engines
    As can been seen the Beyer Goods is pretty much done, painted and numbered 334, but is still sans the springs above the footplate.  It also features DCC sound in the tender!

    The return of High Level meant that I got the RoadRunner gearbox for the Armstrong Standard Goods so the chassis is built.  I'm not too happy with the brakes that came with the kit but they fit and will be mainly hidden behind the outside frames.  I have finally standardized on 31.75mm for the axle length on these outside frame locos and they just clear the platforms!  Occasionally they clout the loading dock in the yard but I can sort that.

    Here the fittings have just been plonked on for the photo.  Looking a bit like a lost Dean Goods without the springs; missing the front sandboxes, the springs of course and a tender!  That's the next job.

  2. Brassey

    GWR Engines
    The two Metros have progressed in tandem.  Boiler bands added as the latest stage.  Next stage - attach the bunker to the whitemetal Wills kit after finishing the cab interior. 

    I finally got round to starting the Rod Neep kit a few weeks ago and a week off work has seen it almost finished.  It has filled -in coal rails on the bunker and will be finished in the pre-1908 livery hence the red wheels.  It will be 1445 which was at Ludlow in the Summer of 1912.
    The backhead is set slightly deeper and back because the rear of the motor shaft just creeps into the cab.
    What these builds have in common with the OSF 6 wheel goods engines also currently on the go is that they all have springs above the footplate.  So that is the next challenge.

  3. Brassey
    There is a strategy to my building 2 outside frames together.  Firstly they both shared the Armstrong Standard Goods S4 boiler.  The also had springs above the footplate which is a challenge I want to tackle in one go.  And I intend to build 2 outside frame tenders that also share the spring issue.
    So the Armstrong Goods now has a cab and rear splashers:

    Smokebox, boiler and roundtop firebox:

    The Beyer Goods, being bits of old K's kits, is further on but I have now hit a problem common to trying to get old whitemetal kits to work in P4:
    The width across the outside frames is 29.5 mm

    Alan Gibson OSF axles are measuring up at 31.75mm.  (Ultrascale OSF axles that I have for a Duke and a City measure 32mm)

    With 2.25mm to spare, this does not leave sufficient clearance to fit the AGW outside cranks which are about 1.5mm thick and then a bit more needs to allowed for sideplay.

    The solution could be to fit thinner, brass cranks (and I do have some in my stash).  But I am not sure about the appearance and also the idea of soldering them to the axles fills me with horror.
    Eagle-eyed would have noticed that the above shot is the Armstrong chassis not the Beyer one.  I have used the AGW axles on the Armstrong as, being brass, the frames are more slender.  These wheels are actually Mike Sharman.  Mike in his wisdom did not cut down his axles so I have a number of over length axles that I can cut down and use on the Beyer.  My worry now is if I make them too wide, they could foul on the platform edges.  At 34mm (which might be what's needed here) that's 8'6" which is near to the loading gauge.  Watch this space.  For some reason I seem to be choosing to build the most challenging of things at the mo.  Maybe it's lockdown!  I seem to have similar problems with my Metro builds (common feature the springs above footplate)  .
    In the meantime, here's the current status of the two goods engines,  the Beyer just needs handrails and then onto those springs.  As this was just a few parts on eBay, it did not come with any springs or castings.  The Armstrong on the other hand has springs on the etch that need o be laminated up.  Next stage, the remaining 4 splashers:

  4. Brassey

    GWR Coaches
    Continuing the construction of stock for my pre-grouping layout, focus has turned to coaching stock as I need something for the locos to pull.
    In the Summer of 1912, apart from the odd postal, parcel or fish van, the vehicles in the North to West expresses were all 8 wheel.  The local trains that shuttled up and down, between Hereford and Shrewsbury and some of the intermediate junctions such as Craven Arms, were mainly 6 wheel trains.  But the longer distance local services were 8 wheel non-corridor stock.  There was a daily LNWR through carriage from Cardiff to Newcastle (and back) that was not attached to an express and returned on the down York mail.  Must have been a tedious trip if you went all the way.
    There were only 6 GWR brake vans in the daily express roster of over 20 trains.  But more were employed in the locals.  So I need a few.  I am currently trying to concentrate on building the local trains two of which will have an 8 wheel brake van.
    First on the list is a ShireScenes K15/16 which I will build as a non-corridor K16 which can also double up on the expresses.
    Currently under construction, from top: E17 compo (IKB Kit), K16 (ShireScenes), C4 all third (ancient Mallard kit):

    Bending over using bending bars:

    Forming tumblehome using a knife handle and a ruler:

    Box formed, underframe well underway and guards duckets added:

    I have deviated from the kit in that I am using Brassmaster torsion sprung 8' 6" bogies hence the 8BA screws.  I'll also be using castings from the spares box.  Everything, including the axleboxes, is on the etch for this kit.
    Strangely this ShireScenes kit did not make any provision for internal dividers so I have soldered a couple in to strengthen the whole as I thought handling may distort it otherwise.
    The E17 and C4 are on hold whilst I sort the bogies.
  5. Brassey

    GWR Engines
    As is my wont, I am batch building again, this time two GWR Metros (amongst other things).  Another blast from the past:  back in the day, M&L Leisure sold a discounted pack of 2 kits a couple of which I acquired.  The 633 kit in the header photo became surplus to requirements but it has donated some of its contents to this (re)build of a Wills Metro - mainly the bunker - hence its inclusion in the header.  The 850 is in the roundtoit pile
    These are the etches for the Rod Neep kit.  The chassis has been built since this photo.  They are dated 1986

    But I am starting with rebuilding my Wills kit.  The tank sides broke of from the front valance when I dismantled it.  (can't remember when that was!)
    Edit: you can see that I've filed off the rivets on the right hand tank side to be replaced later.

    I srcatch built a new footplate based on the Neep one as a template and, having fitted the front and rear buffer beams, I then decided it needed some rivets which was a bit back to front:

    The Wills kit is designed around the extended later bunker so the ends needed shortening as marked on the pic

    Soldered to footplate with bunker plonked on to check along with the cab front in progress.

    Now to the boiler which needed rolling (this from Nickel Silver).  Again the Neep kit providing a handy template

    Held in position with screws.  In the meantime both the chassis completed, the guard irons being the last bit to be added.

    and chimney attached:

    Currently the chassis and wheels are in the paint shop before final assembly.
  6. Brassey

    GWR Engines
    Like a lot of my stash, this is like the fisherman's knife that's had 3 new blades and 2 new handles but still the same knife.  I bought the Metro kit donkey's years ago and scratchbuilt a chassis in EM.  Then swiftly moved to P4 and scratchbuilt a compensated P4 chassis.  Then bought a new chassis and then bought an etched kit. 
    The original EM chassis had Ultrascale wheels which the EM Gauge Society sold at the time.  I recently put the EM wheels on the scratchbuilt P4 chassis to see if they would be usable and coxed around my P4 layout.  Ultrascale wheels are nice and I was loathed not to use them.
    Scratchbuilt P4 chassis with EM wheels:

    Having satisfied myself that it might work, I thus embarked on another distraction of building not one but two Metros including rebuilding the whitemetal one.
    I have two chassis from the Rod Neep/Perseverance stable (the etch is dated 1986!).  Herewith the second on my trusty Hobby Holidays jig.  This one has twin beam compensation and dummy valve gear.

  7. Brassey
    Last night I set out to scratch build a chassis for the tender for my Standard Goods.
    Having got the brass out, I ended up scratch building a loco chassis instead....
    Can you tell what it is yet...



    In the meantime, the Standard Goods has passed its buffer height test.  Must get on with the tenders!

  8. Brassey
    There has been progress on things other than GWR too.  This Special DX featured early in the blog but stalled.  The London Road instructions highlight an error when building in P4 in that the valance can foul the wheel crankpins.  One recommended course of action is spacing out the valance further with spare fret from the etch.  It also suggests slimming down the Alan Gibson wheels at the boss.  I did both and still it fouled!  I resorted in drastic filing just to get it running which resulted in a non-prototpical curvy valance.

    Having encountered a similar problem on a GWR Dean Goods build, I resolved to take both valances off and replace them with 0.8mm brass angle.  Before I took them off one-by-one, I soldered in a length of fret waste to hold the thing together as I feared the whole could buckle without the valance.  This shot shows the amount of fettling that went on too:

    Here's the result which I am pleased to say now runs.  

    The kit was devoid of the blower valve casting which fits into that hole in the smoke box and is operated by the handrail.  John Redrup of London Road Models has since sent a replacement so I can now get on and fit both and hopefully finish this one off.  The tender is half-built somewhere too
  9. Brassey

    LNWR Engines
    I've found that once I've built the loco, the enthusiasm for the tender wains.  Having built three 3500 gall GWR tenders for the DEan Goods projects in a batch, attention has turned to tenders for stalled LNWR projects.  Herewith 3 1800  gall tenders all from the George Norton stable now sold via LRM:

    Today the number plates arrived for the Special DX from Narrow Planet (along with a set for another GWR 517).  LNWR 3188 was at 31 Abergavenny in 1912.

    So I now have even more incentive to get on and get this finished.  Probably been about 6 years so far:

  10. Brassey
    The subject of my first blog is now nearing completion after only 8 years!  It has been a problem build right from the start.  
    I also painted it when I was really struggling with my airbrush so the paint is far from perfect.
    2306 was an early Dean Goods which numbers started at 2301.  In 1912 it was at Pontypool Road by which time it had acquired a B4 Belpaire firebox the Autumn before.
    This is mainly an old Mallard kit, narrowed footplate with additional spare parts from a Martin Finney Dean Goods including the more pronounced sweep of the cab sides.  It has a Comet chassis, Gibson wheels, High Level gearbox and Mashima motor but is still not too good a runner.  As a working layout loco it will do for the time being.

  11. Brassey
    To recap, the object of this exercise was to check platform clearances before finally fixing them down.  The County is one of only 2 outside cylinder locos that will run my pre-WW1 layout so it was the prime candidate for the job.
    The good news is that it clears, just, with about a fag paper to spare.  It does hit on leaving the fiddle yard on the down line but as this is under the bridge clearance can easily be remedied by some filing in what is not a visible scenic area

    The chassis is complete and running apart from the brakes and the footplate assembled.  The boiler is just plonked on for the pic.  I had to remove a lot of metal to clear the crankpins on the rear drivers as can be seen:

  12. Brassey
    A centre spacer got in the way of the compensation beams that are supplied on the etch so I replaced this with one I fettled from a Comet P4 spacer which was the correct width.

    I also removed some of the lower spacer (that's there to attached the pickup working) in order to make a bit more space for the gearbox.
    Latest status is that High Level hornguides fitted and the beams now in place with a suitable pivot.  Gearbox has been swapped out for a High Level RoadRunner at the mo which is pushed out the way o show the beam arrangement.

    Cylinders and slide bars now constructed and ready to be fitted.

    I only have one other engine with outside cylinders in my kit mountain to build and that's a Malcolm Mitchell 45xx which will be back dated.  As stated previously,  the reason for these current builds is to check clearances before fixing platforms and bridges on the layout etc.
  13. Brassey
    The current situation, whilst I stay at home for the duration, has given me the opportunity to progress with many outstanding layout based projects.  One of the things that has been bugging me for some time has been the issue of clearances which I really need to resolve before I fixed platform and overbridge in place.  The most likely risks might be Great Western outside cylinder locos.  As my layout is pre WW1 one of the main candidates is the 4-4-0 Churchward County which were reputedly introduced for the North to West route upon which my station is located.   So ignoring my cabinet of shame of unfinished kit projects, I have started a County to help me to finally nail down the bridge and platform locations.  I might stop once I have a rolling chassis with outside cylinders but this is the start.
    3828 County of Hereford was brand new in the Summer of 1912 (when my layout is based), so I don't need an excuse to finish it in outshopped condition.  I collected the latest SEF version of the kit as long ago as EXPO EM in 2012; it features an etched chassis:

    I started with soldering up the coupling rods in order to set up the chassis jig.

    I employ my now standard procedure which is to set the frames up initially as a fixed chassis in order to ensure the axles will end up all square.  This required temporally soldering in the bushes.  As can be seen, I pre-cut the horn guide cutouts in order to help removing them later once the frames have been set up.
    One acid test is putting the frames on the chassis jig at this stage to see if the axle holes actually match the coupling rods.  As elsewhere in my blog, some other chassis have failed this test!  But chassis lined up fine.

    So I proceeded by soldering in the spacers provided for which there are 00, EM and P4 variants.

    Thus I came upon the first problem.  The kit includes compensation beams and half etch location points for the pivot on the frames but a centre spacer is in the way of allowing these to function.

    I therefore had to fabricate a new spacer with a big enough cutout to allow the beams to pass through.  Fortunately the P4 spacers are the same width as the Alan Gibson ones I found in my spares box at 14.75mm

    I also had to cut down the lower spacer that's intended to hold the pickup base to clear the gearbox.  Current plan is to use a High Level Road Runner compact with a Mashima 1424.  Next stage is to put the frames back on the jig and solder in some hornguides.

  14. Brassey
    On the workbench is a Great Western Barnum which I am building from an old Mallard kit.  It will be in the BR0 raised firebox without dome format which 3222 sported around early 1910.  The Mallard kit features the extended smokebox which a couple of the engines received shortly thereafter.  I do not find the extended smokebox attractive so I had to chop a certain amount off the front of all the frames and footplate.  This is quite a bold move as complete kits of these fetch large sums on eBay.

    The chassis frames are Alan Gibson which I think I did as a special order some time ago:

    Assembled chassis frames.

    The raised firebox needs a new cab front with the portholes pitched higher to clear it.  As I have no drawing of the front of these locos, I botched one together, stuck it on a piece of brass and cut it out.

    I had some Belpaire formers in my spares box which I cobbled together to create the raised version.  I have no idea where these originated and even if they are GWR but they will do.

    Completed firebox.

    Firebox, boiler and smokebox sub assembly

    Current state of play.  The wheels are Mike Sharman.  I will fit the rear axle when I know for sure that the High Level RoadRunner gearbox will be a good fit up into the firebox.

  15. Brassey
    Chassis and wheels painted.

    I am using components from the Finney Dean Goods to build this one which was designed to take a Portscap 1219 motor.  I have used the Brassmasters proposed replacement of a Mashima 1220 and High Level Road Runner plus with drive extender.  There is not much room to get this in particularly once you wire the motor! (I have since used thinner wire):

  16. Brassey
    As mentioned in the previous blog, the next project is to try out a sprung chassis. This is partly due to my objective of achieving optimum running. This is the Comet chassis with their hornblocks and springs that I've had in the kit pile for years. It requires a massive leap of faith that the rods will line up with the wheelbase as there is no means of adjusting this unlike with soldered in hornblocks, such as High Level, that I used on the previous 2 Dean Goods. Despite this, I set the chassis up in my jig as usual and have used the latest dodge of Romford wheels on P4 axles to check things. These wheels are undersize but do the job. So far so good. The rear retainers needed quite a lot of fettling otherwise they were too tight to allow the rear hornblocks to move.

    This loco will have "dummy" inside motion as sold by Brassmasters for their Martin Finney kits. The body work will be mainly leftovers from my Martin Finney Dean Goods kit that I acquired with full working inside motion. I cheated with the Comet chassis by soldering a MF EM gauge front spacer to the front which include the means to attach the inside motion. The eagle-eyed will spot that I have included the front compensation beam and rear holes for beams in case I am not satisfied with the springing and need to revert to compensation. Here are the etches you get. The wires lying around are not included.

    Here is the front cylinder block and slide bars with bracket to attach to chassis

    And made up. There are some rather small detailing parts that have been added to this that I doubt will be visible once it's in the loco

    Here's the whole thing completely assembled and in the chassis retained by a 10BA screw.

    I've since added the wires for the brake hangers and the chassis is waiting for the paint shop
  17. Brassey
    It's been over 6 years since my first blog on the subject so here finally is an update on the Dean Goods situation.
    Two have been seen testing goods trains on my track as I needed tender engines for the job. Both have recently acquired tenders. They are in the fiddle yards awaiting the next task.
    The first, number 2306, features the rods from the initial blog, on a compensated Comet chassis. It's mainly an old Mallard kit with a narrowed footplate and some alternative parts surplus to requirements from a Martin Finney kit.

    The second, 2478, has a High Level chassis with another Mallard fooplate and cab plus some scratch building above deck. I has an old Jidenco tender. It will be finished in the pre 1908 livery hence the red Ultrascale wheels

    Next there is a plan to try out a sprung Comet chassis though both two these might get converted to DCC before that; not to mention the ballasting
  18. Brassey
    For reference, here's an example of a drawing image I have scanned and scaled using a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop. I know the wheelbase so drew a line to that dimension and scaled the drawing to fit.
    On the pasteboard above this profile of the loco is another drawing from a different source but showing the other side of the loco. That is scaled the same way and hopefully both match (well at least the wheelbase will, which is fundamental)
  19. Brassey
    Despite my good intentions of building things straight from the box, I just can't stop myself from kit bashing. So in parallel to building an LNWR Coal Engine, I am working on Coal Tanks as the plumbing is the same. Also the painting and lining should be relatively easier before I paint and line the Coal Engine.

    This started out as a K's whitemetal kit but uses a London Road chassis. I have already made one chassis that works well and is my slowest runner which is probably down to the Mashima 1424 motor and High Level gearbox which I think is 50:1 coupled with the weight of the whitemetal body.

    However, in my enthusiasm and haste, I failed to paint the wheels before fitting. I need a couple more Coal Tanks so I started building another chassis before finishing this body. I'll decide later which chassis will be on which loco. So I had to drill the crankpin holes on another 6 x H spoke A Gibson wheels in addition to those for the Coal Engine; a glutton for punishment:

    As is my current practice, I extended the frames at the front and I replaced the frame spacers with Comet's P4 version. What I failed to do was measure these first. The standard for P4 is 15mm. However the Comet are slightly under. In addition, the London Road frames have a slot half etched that locates the spacers.

    This further reduces the width between the frames and compounds a problem to the extent that the motor I wanted to use (a Sagami which is 14.5mm wide) would not fit. So on the next chassis I made my own spacers to a wider width. The moral to this is to always check all the measurements an never assume something is correct. A lot of these items were created in the pre CAD days and so are not as dimensionally correct; in P4 some of this makes a difference.
  20. Brassey
    I like to build the running plate along with the chassis to help check for clearance. It might not be so obvious from this shot but it shows how the guard irons hold the front buffer beam in place. There is not much else to hold it. The instructions say leave 1/2 mm over on the valance at the front to fit into the slots in the buffer beam. But there are not such slots! My objective was to try to build something straight from the box. The valances are over scale. At the moment they are holding the running plate flat so I will live with them for the time being. I think they would have benefited from being curved about 1/2mm further back from where I bent them which would look more prototypical but this is nit-picking
    At this stage I'd fitted the spacers to the chassis and the front stretchers for the brake hangers. The shot shows how the brakes would foul if I had not cut the guard irons down.

    The LRM kit gives EM spacers but not 18.83 ones. I wanted to use the extra width rather have to resort to lots of washers so replaced these with Comet P4 spacers. The chassis has half-etched guides for the spacers fore and aft so it took a bit of fettling to get these to fit and all square.
    I made up a motor mount centre spacer from some scrap nickel silver and also fitted the pivot for the compensation beam. Next I reset the jig with the coupling rods again:

    Once locked into position, the jig rods are removed and reversed. At one end they are turned down to 1.5mm to fit the couple rods. The other end they are 1/8 inch for the axle boxes. The camera has distorted this but the jig is square :

    The High Level horn guides had previously been bent up and the bearings fettled so that they just about fall out under there own weight. They are colour coded so I don't mix them up:

    The chassis is offered up to the jig with the jig rods through the fixed axle. At this stage I had already fitted the centre set:

    Here's the same from the other side. I used an old spring from the Perseverance system to hold the horn guides in place and tight up against the frames prior to soldering:

    The latest P4 dodge is to use Romford/Markits wheels to check a chassis using P4 axles. My Romford wheels are so old that they have not been drilled for crank pins! I also don't have a screwdriver to tighten them so I could not set the quartering but the chassis did run freely.

    Reverting to the London Road Model's jigs for setting hornguides as one last check, this shows how the rods fit the axle spacing ok. It also shows how far out the rods and frames are out. The hornguides should be centred in the cutouts but they are hard up one edge. I did fettle a little off the the front cutouts just to ensure they do not bind which they don't:

    Next I have to fit the remaining pieces for the brake hangers and then paint the chassis prior to fitting the wheels. This will take some time as I have a backlog of painting and also the Alan Gibson H spoke P4 wheels are not drilled for crankpins so I have that to do too (not the first time)!
  21. Brassey
    For those who may have been missing a shot of my coupling rods, here's another set, this time for a Coal Engine from the LRM kit that's underway:

    Both sets are shown mounted on my chassis jig. They matched and fitted first time. Result, or so I thought?

    The guard irons on some LRM kits are designed to attach to the bodywork rather than the chassis. I guess this helps get them the correct width for OO modellers but as I model in P4, less of a problem for me. The problem I found on my DX build was that the front brakes fouled against them and I could not refit the chassis once they were on. I tried various fettling and bending to remedy this but eventually they snapped off on the DX. They do help position and strengthen the front buffer beam so, rather than attach them to the frames, I cut them in half. One half is attached to the running plate as per instructions but the remainder I have attached to the frames. I may live to regret this but, as I use the old style wooden brake blocks, this should leave room to fit them. You can just see the join here.

    As can be seen, I cut through to make the cutouts for the horn guides but left them in temporarily with a top hat bush to help align the frames on my jig to aid getting things all square. More about this later.
  22. Brassey
    Well today I have completed putting together a set of Dean Goods coupling rods which is the first job completed after an abscence of 26 or so years. These were a trial run for a set for the Special DX which is up next. Will put some images up when I have got far enough and worked out how to do it.
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