Thursday, 16 November 2017

Precursor Tank details

LNWR Precursor Tank No.44 c.1906

LNWR 44 was built from a Taff Vale/Dragon Models kit with many improvements and additional detail. Ample motive power is provided by an MSC Models motor and gearbox with 3 stage 40:1 helical gears. The completed engine weighs in at just over 1kg with space for more weight if necessary. I intend to test run her with a reasonable load at the Running Day next weekend on the Carlisle club layout. The cab interior is finished now so construction of the engine is complete.

LNWR 44 cab interior detail

I did not have a GA drawing to help with details of the cab interior, I don't think one exists,  so I've done my best with what information I have been able to glean from a variety of sources. I could have added more but restrained myself from filling the cab with dubious or speculative details. The cab rear spectacle plate features a coal hole at footplate level, access doors to the coal space and tool boxes and a brake wheel, note also the opening cab doors. All components are brass or nickle-silver, either sourced from LGM or made by myself, no white metal was used in the construction.

LNWR 44 Cab interior and backhead detail.

The backhead and front spectacle plate are a unit and can be removed for painting; the glazing slides between the inner and outer spectacle plates. The bottoms of the windows are six feet above footplate level so the crew needed some means of levitation to see out of them. The model's interior step arrangement is based on that of the LNWR Bowen-Cooke 4-6-2T which was introduced only four years after George Whale's Precursor Tank and which has a cab of comparable proportion and fortunately for which a GA drawing exists. The GA shows that the coal hole and shovelling plate of the Bowen Cooke engine was well above footplate level, a novel innovation which eased the fireman's task. I suspect that George Whale may have had a similar consideration for his crews, however the designer of the Precursor Tank kit thought otherwise so I 've deferred to his judgement in this case and left the coal hole at footplate level.

Contemporary photos of crew working in these engines confirm the existence of the interior step arrangement which served to elevate them well above footplate level and enabled them to see ahead through the cab windows.

The roof of the model slots into place and can be removed to facilitate painting and later examination of all the interior detail.

Exterior of cab of LNWR 44 with door open and showing some interior detail

LNWR 44 smokebox and buffer beam details

The removable lamps have brilliants set into them, clear to the front and red behind. The author's nickle-silver smokebox door replaces the white metal casting supplied in the kit. There are a large number of tiny brass rivets replicating the real think in the hinges of the "piano front" and larger bolts can be seen on the bottom of the smokebox wrapper, these tiny brass fittings are inserted into holes and soldered in from behind.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

G&SW timber wagons painted.

G & SW 10ton swivel bolster wagon.

My attempts at printing a number for the wagon and a "To Carry..." plate to fit inside the raised edges of the etched plates that came in the kit just didn't work, the paper rectangles didn't fit properly and looked scrappy. So I removed the metal plates and replaced them with printed paper ones which I glued to thin Plastikard sheet to give them more body, the effect was much improved.

My artwork was for number 12783 which is the only register number known for these wagons, it didn't take long to substitute a "2" for a "3" to produce a different albeit speculative number plate for the second wagon which was then scanned, sized and printed to produce the plate. The smaller plates, "To Carry 10 Tons" were produced similarly ; the tare or weight of each wagon appears on the bottom plank under the "G".

Nos. 12782 and 12783 paired together.

The colour used to paint these wagons is my own interpretation of the G & SW's light grey goods livery. All below the solebar is spray painted, all above is painted by hand, in both cases with enamel paint ; transfers are HMRS Pressfix. A light weathering mix has been airbrushed from below which unifies the colour scheme and helps to tone down the bright white of the transfers and number plates.

Sketchbook page with hand-drawn artwork for number and load plates

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A pair of GSWR timber trucks

G & SW 10 ton timber trucks.

These timber wagons ran in pairs so really I had no option other than to build a second to make a pair with the one I made and featured on my blog in April this year. The kits are from the Celtic Connection range from Taff Vale & Dragon Models and were built from the etches for their pig iron wagon, as the timber truck etches are currently unavailable, so some considerable modification was required to correct the brake gear. I thickened the sides of both these wagons by inserting wires between the inner and outer skins to make them a scale 3" thick, the resultant gap between the sides is neatly disguised by the metal coping strip soldered along the top edge.

The stanchions on the ends of the bolsters are attached to the bolster sides by chains so they can be removed enabling the outer loops for attaching chains to be positioned either inside or outside the stanchions. Each of these loops has a hook attached and a chain with a turnbuckle is linked to one of the loops on each truck.

I removed the cast lettering on the weight and number plates leaving them blank as I intend to print suitable paper plates for these which will have the advantage of legibility and correct colouring.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

LNWR Precursor Tank

LNWR Precursor Tank No.44 built 1909.  3' 3" bogie wheels, exterior sand boxes and Bowen-Cook buffers.

Pete's Precursor Tank was built with the aid of a Dragon Models set of etches and the brass castings that come with the kit though without any of the white metal fittings supplied which were replace by components sourced elsewhere or by scratch building, an example of this being the smokebox door. Construction is complete apart from the cab interior which awaits delivery of an LGM brass backhead casting. There has been a good deal of improvement made to the basic kit and additional work has been done using contemporary photographs as reference to ensure that all exterior detail is included in the model. The basic inside motion parts from the kit have been fitted, viewed from the angle of the photo the slide bars are just discernable in the gloom between the frames.

The engine is powered by an M1833 motor mounted in an ABCGears gearbox which is mounted upright on the rear driving axle. Current pick-up is through wires bearing on the treads of the drivers and the rear of the bogie wheels on one side of the engine; on the other side the wheels are shorted by means of a wire inset behind the spokes. Slaters' wheels are used throughout, the axles run in brass bearings which slide in slots in the robust 0.7mm side frames. The upright motor leaves no space in the boiler for a flywheel, however the running qualities of the model were more than acceptable when she ran on the Carlisle club layout last Saturday.

The cab front is double skinned which allows the inner skin to be removed at this stage for detailing. The backhead and all its attendant fittings and pipework will be attached to this inner skin, an arrangement that also facilitates glazing at a later stage. Similarly at this stage the rear bunker assembly can be removed to allow access to the cab though later this will be soldered into place; the roof will be soldered on too as this will add strength to the structure. Nevertheless the large cab side cut-outs, generously proportioned rear windows and hinged opening doors will ensure that the cab interior detail remains much in evidence.

Monday, 14 August 2017

HR Passenger Tank... construction complete.

HR46 Passenger Tank.

HR46 was built without the aid of a kit, though there are two kits available for the engine neither the current Lochgorm kit nor the old Shedmaster/LGM kit was used, past experience suggested that scratch building this particular prototype was the answer. The model does however rely on LGM  for the majority of the castings required. Construction is now complete and the model awaits the paint shop. HR46 will be finished in plain though dignified Drummond II unlined green livery, which I can manage to paint myself.

The mudguards are fastened to the frames which rather restricts the movement of the bogie so the engine will not negotiate tight curves. At CDOGG on Saturday on the club layout she did not run as well as I had hoped and at times I noticed that the bogie wheels were lifting slightly on curves, a sure sign that all was not well. Back at home in the studio I set about remedying this problem and to this end I filed away as much metal as possible inside of the bogie wheel wells and painted this area with epoxy glue so there could be no problem with shorting out with the result that the engine now negotiates the standard 6ft radius curves and pointwork of my home test track in exemplary fashion, whether the model will now run similarly on a club layout remains to be seen. At the moment the engine runs without a flywheel, which is a situation that I'd like to remedy and one that I'm looking into.

HR46. The cab doors open and close and are fastened shut with a sneck similar to the prototype.   

The Highland Railway Passenger Tank bears many resemblances to HR53 "Lybster" which I built previously and which the design of the Passenger Tank was based on. There are also many differences, the Passenger Tanks were by no means copies of their predecessor.

Cab interior detail.

Detail of door sneck on inside of door, also tablet catching apparatus attached to cab side sheet.

Detail of mudguards attached to the frames. Note also the tank balance-pipe behind the step and the brake transverse shaft attaching to the brake pull-rod behind the mudguard.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HR Passenger Tank backhead and cab interior.

HR46 Backhead complete.

I based the Drummond Passenger Tank backhead, to some extent, on that of the HR Loch class engines, for which a GA drawing exists. My presumption is that the Loch backhead followed standard Highland practice, so in taking this as my example I should be working on the right lines. I also took note of the backhead of the preserved Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T which my wife photographed from inside the cab. I thought that a Scottish engine, similar in many respects to the Passenger Tank, might afford some insight into the mysterious world of backheads c.1900.

The castings used in my reconstruction were mostly from LGM though I found the castings on offer from 62C Models useful too and of good quality, the injectors being from that source. Most of the castings I used were reduced in size and remodelled to some extent to suit the miniscule backhead. As an example, the bottom parts of the water gauge castings were cut off and replaced by a small tap, made from a hand rail knob and a length of fine wire, which reduced their length and enabled me to fit them above the shelf over the firedoor, which I reduced in width to leave room for the firedoor opening lever which is on the right, you can see its handle just below the water gauge.

On the left hand side of the spectacle plate can be seen the driver's brake valve which is connected to the injector on that side by a "flexible" connection. In reality the two are not connected at all, the flexible hose only butts against its continuation in the dark corner of the cab to enable the inner spectacle plate and backhead assembly to slide upwards for removal. There is an inner and outer spectacle plate, which much simplifies glazing at a later stage.
There is a metal plate on the cab floor under the firehole which is a detail I took from the preserved Caledonian engine, the floor planking, which is flush with the metal plate, is made of stripwood from a model ship kit.
The handle of the token exchange apparatus, which is out of sight outside the cab, protrudes into the cab behind the cab door stanchion.
The reversing lever, which attaches to the inside of the left hand inner tank, was a mini construction project in its own right. The tanks flank the backhead on either side of the cab and detract from the already restricted area of the cab, leaving little space in the model available for an engine crew ( see my previous post for a solution to the crew problem).

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

HR Passenger Tank... more progress.

HR 46 Superstructure practically complete.

The superstructure is almost complete and detail work is well under way. Castings for the tank top water fillers need a little modification and the dome needs rather more drastic surgery as I had to remodel the (wonky) safety valves which are mounted on top of them.
The smokebox door is made from 0.45mm nickle silver sheet cut to shape and persuaded into a convex shape in a doming block after which much filing produced the result above.

Cab interior partially finished

Some of the cab and backhead fittings are in place in this view, most of the castings have been sourced from LGM and need modifying for best effect. On the left cab side wall is the driver's brake valve that I cut down to size and at the same time moved the handle to the nearside, this apparatus will have a pipe that connects with the left hand injector which has yet to arrive though I've ordered what looks like an appropriate pair from 62C Models. Fastened to the the right of the spectacle plate is a lubricator again cut down from an LGM casting to a more reasonable size. The backhead water gauges look too big and need reducing in length, I may cut them down and add a small tap to the bottom which might leave room for me to fit a firebox door handle. The handle for the tablet catcher can be seen protruding into the cab between the stanchion and the inner side tank.

Opening door with cut-out to accommodate the tablet catcher mechanism. 

The hinged door has a sneck which fastens behind the front cab stanchion to keep the door closed. Inside the cab can be seen the coal hole door which opens by sliding upwards : beyond is the brake stanchion.

HR 46 Crew in action poses.

The driver is from the "Heroes of the Footplate" range which is now available from Chris Smith at "Invertrain". The fireman is my first essay in producing a shovelling figure, moulds for this are currently under development. Adding figures to the cab points up the very restricted space in which crews worked in these little engines.