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Re6/6's GWR loco builds (& re-builds).

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Over the years (too many to think about!) I’ve always had an interest in GWR engines. This all started with the conversion of a Hornby Dublo Cardiff Castle to ‘finescale’. It may have been converted from 3 rail as well but I can’t remember now.


I cut my loco building teeth on the usual Kays and Wills whitemetal kits. The first was a 94xx on a Triang chassis fitted with Hamblings brass wheels ('M.E.T.A.' finescale then. but crude by today’s standards) then the 14xx, 57xx, Saint, 52xx and a 4-4-0 County kit.


I learnt to solder and tried my hand with some of the early Eames/Jamieson ‘handcut’ kits in pressed nickel-silver. ‘Scratch aids’ as many have called them but a lot better than trying to cut my own back then in a hamfisted manner.


What really started it all was the acquisition of a brass scratchbuilt GWR Manor and a Stanier 2-6-4T in brass (it has been suggested that this may (or may not!) have been from a Hamblings brass kit similar in form to the Eames ones) They were sold to me by S.W.Stevens-Stratton, the editor of Model Railway Constructor.



The first project not in whitemetal, was the acquisition of a Jamieson GWR 61xx which only got as far as the basic body being constructed. I’ll probably build a Comet chassis for it in the not too distant future.


What kickstarted ‘the programme’ was the purchase of a P4 King which had a horrible and inaccurate Graham Farish cast lump of a body. This is being replaced with a Jamieson nickel body. The chassis is superbly built in what’s thought to be using early ‘Protofour’ principles with working piston valves at the front of the cylinders. All in all a superbly engineered chassis. I would certainly like to have met the builder.  I intend to replace the cast cylinder assembly with an etched Comet version.


Next came a part-built 10xx County body which was quite nicely put together but will need a lot of tweaking to get it looking right. At least it does have the right shaped cab and firebox unlike the Dapol body.


The ‘piece-de-resistance’ was the recent acquisition of a part-built Malcolm Mitchell 43xx kit with Portescap and Ultrascales. A real delight is this one!


This is the beginning of a long programme that will take some time. The brass/nickel locos will all be finished in P4 and the whitemetal ones will remain in ‘00’ some of which will be for the ‘Cambrian’ layout. There are many other projects that must take precedence like the completion of Balcombe Viaduct and station and the SR EMU builds!


These were the two that started it all all those years ago!


This was scratchbuilt in brass with a rather crude chassis. The tender needs replacing as does the cab and firebox. Fortunately there was some spare etches for these from the Malcolm Mitchell kit.



This is a model of an early version of the Stanier 3cyl used on the LT&SR and I believe after electrification they moved about in the BR(M) region. For that they should probably have the bunker sides modified as they were, I think. I have a Comet chassis and valve gear for it so it should look OK.



The 61XX. Again a Comet chassis will do nicely.



This one will be my favourite of these with the lovely well built chassis! It will have new valve gear and cylinders.




These work! The oscillating shafts can be seen. This lateral motion is driven by two eccentrics either side of the driven gear.



The 10xx County. Needs the joints soldering better.




And now for something completely different...in another class! Can't wait to get started on this one. Whether I can keep up to this professional quality remains to be seen!



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Look forward to seeing them progress,


The site of the Mitchell Mogul makes me think again about digging mine out and trying to get the dammed thing to work. Still haven't quite sussee out how to get enough clearance on the lead wheel...

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In 1992, a complete set of Ultrascales for the Mitchell Mogul was only about 25 quid. I look back on that and realise how far we've come....

£25 in 1992 = £45.16 in 2014. Looking at the Ultrascale web-site, the current cost for a full set for a mogul is £77.26. So, yes they have gone up in real terms, but it ain't that bad...


(Of course, I would say that having bought more than a few sets from Scalefour stores when they were discounted to clear)





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And now for something completely different...in another class! Can't wait to get started on this one. Whether I can keep up to this professional quality remains to be seen!



John, that looks really nice even in its current state, how are you planning on finishing it?

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Yes it does look nice Martin. It has a lovely brass 'patina' which will be a shame to cover! 




.....(Of course, I would say that having bought more than a few sets from Scalefour stores when they were discounted to clear)



likewise with the stock of Midland 5' 3"s which have been earmarked for the new Garratt! :sungum:



John, that looks really nice even in its current state, how are you planning on finishing it?

At present I'm thinking about a dirty GW green with 'British Railways' on the tender. The instructions state "1945>48 BR plain green on takeover with 'British Railways' in GW style on tender" .....then again....depending on which 'number'/style this one is based on. it could be black with "bicycling lion' totem on tender with 'LNWR style lining'' ....but only if it might be a model of 5370, 7313 and 9314!


What I've got to do first is identify the particular build that has been modelled. Looking at MM's instructions it would appear to be a 'minefield'. This one has the extended rear frames with longer 'original' cabsides (were these ever changed for the window type during works rebuilds?). Did some survive in this form to the end? It doesn't have the additional heavy front buffer beam extension but does have outside steam pipes. All very confusing. According to the notes there was much swapping about of boilers and fireboxes, frames, chimneys, S/V bonnets etc... Simples.....I think not!


What I'm sure of is, it's a beautiful professionally built piece of kit by Laurie Griffin. It certainly puts my skills into place. My 'comfort zone' is basically the simple 'Jamieson' stuff with adding detail to bring the work up to standard.



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  • 1 month later...
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Another one dug out that I must get finished!


It's a Mitchell kit that I bought from the 'Home of 0 Gauge' (remember them!) about 15 years ago, built to this stage but never turned a wheel since.


There were incorrect instructions and some brass fittings missing so I complained and I got a personal letter of apology from Pete Waterman himself explaining that he'd sacked the particular packer (my kit wasn't the first with missing stuff!) which is a nice souvenir.


I took it with me for an operating session on 'Ramchester'. (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/50114-the-ramchester-chronicles/page-17&do=findComment&comment=1568310 Surprisingly it ran pretty well, even if there was only power pick-up on one wheelset.


I soldered it all together with my then new-fangled resistance soldering set with a reasonable degree of success and 'neatness' (for a novice)


It really does warrant finishing, but I don't have any plans for any 7mm layout!




Also there was another visitor in the form of a beautiful steam railmotor which was built by Vic Burles



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John, as you say the 43xx's are a modelling minefield. Looking at your model it has the later motion braket which places it, generally, in the 5384 - 7321 series. If it has the elongated middle splasher on the driver's side then it's only 5384-9. From 5390 they had a "normal" one but the cabs were 3 7/8" lower and 6" longer! The good news is that by 1949 they all had the tapered chimneys and all had reverted from 83xx (with buffer beam weight) to normal. Nos 6362-9 and7320/1 were built with outside steampipes and most of the rest were converted between 1931 and 1959 but not all! If you have a number in mind I'll look up when (or if ) it was converted. Of the 3 numbers you gave only 7313 fits the bill but it didn't get outside steampipes until 8/58 so was probably in lined green by then. Hope this helps. Ray.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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A few more items have come light that will be needing attention in due course. (Well I knew that I had them somewhere!)


The coach is a Mallard Dean 40' all 3rd Dia 49 (IIRC!) needs proper compensated bogies and sprung buffers.


I made it maybe 35 years ago (when they were new out) but does need tidying up. The glazing (plastic) needs replacing with the newer method of using  0.7mm glass cover slips. There's nowt that looks like glass than glass! Foot boards are a bit mangled over time.




The vans are a variety of plastic kits of their day. Don't know if such things are still available. I can't remember just what each one represents!






And finally a Kay's 1363 which needs new motion, chassis and wheels to make it run nicely.


A pretty little engine. Am I right in thinking that a proprietary one is being released? If so that will make number 16 for me that has been 'brought out'! Still have a load of kits on the shelf.....!









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  • 2 weeks later...
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Returned home tired after a good weekend at S4um with the Baron and CK.


I picked up my little 16xx from Mark Clark who scratchbuilt me a lovely compensated P4 chassis. The engine was from a Sutherland kit of yesteryear which had been almost invisibly soldered together by Malcolm Mitchell. With that sort of provenance, it deserved a chassis and paint job much better than I ever could do.


It runs like a dream in 'slug mode' and I'm very pleased with Mark's light weathering job.


It just now needs some screw link couplings, crew, coal and tools. It will be destined for 'Netherhope' and maybe 'Callow Lane' subject to authorization.





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