Chopper Tank

Chopper Tank

Crew are R2 and RW3 from "Heroes of the Footplate".

There was only 4′ 6" between the tanks in the cab of a full size NW Chopper Tank; the model has even less…a mere 3′ 6". The crew are from my "Heroes of the Footplate" range; they’ve been chosen as they are posed appropriately and don’t add to the cramped feel of the under scale cab area. The fireman is a mere strippling of a lad and doesn’t take up too much space…he wipes his brow as he leans on his shovel, it’s hot work on this engine. The driver in contrast is an older character; he’s a dual pose figure and I’ve assembled him with his alternative arm which rests casually on the tank top. His position in the doorway leaves plenty of open space in the cab and gives an impression that it’s less crowded than it really is.

Chopper Tank on the CD0GG layout.

Chopper Tank runs through the station at CD0GG.

Here’s the LNWR Chopper Tank running with a short train through the scenic section, which occupies half of the layout. Detail work is well advanced and to a very high standard, though work on the layout is still in progress…there’s more to come. The Chopper Tank performed very well, there were no derailments at all and she ran for more than an hour smoothly without a problem; I was very pleased with her performance.

An L & Y visitor to CD0GG
An L & Y Atlantic, a fine scratch built model by Peter Fitton, on a visit from Preston, stands in the station on the CD0GG layout. I thought this picture showed off well the high standard of modelling on show at the Running Day today. The very detailed buildings and other structures are by David Gibson and Jeff Davidson with complementary groundwork by the other Carlisle club members.

LNWR 2-4-0 Chopper Tank

I found the kit for this model in the ABS Models catalogue and built it some time ago; the basic kit has had a good deal of modification and improvement and in addition I’ve spent most of my spare time over the Christmas break fiddling with the engine to improve it, my other projects have temporarily stalled. You can’t see most of the improvements, they’re inside the engine, but she’s a good runner now and I think the time spent has been worthwhile. The new roof with its characteristic double row of rivets took a lot of effort to seat properly, it has to be removable for access, if I could just solder it in place there’d be no problem.
I resolved to fit a fly-wheel and short-out the wheels on one side too, which would enable me to do away with the wiper pick-ups, at least on one side of the engine. Brian at ABC Gears replaced the Mashima 1833 motor with an M.1824 which just allowed room for a fly-wheel when the motor was mounted on the front driving axle facing back towards the cab, rather than on the rear axle sitting upright as previously. The chassis needed a good deal of modification before the motor eventually slid into place; it was a tight fit. I used an MSC fly-wheel which fits onto the motor shaft with Allen screws, much better than glue…you can take it on and off. Initial trials with the new motor and fly-wheel were encouraging, the engine ran smoothly and, despite having a less powerful motor than previously, still had considerable pulling power; I’m sure the Mashima 1824 is quite adequate for a little engine like a Chopper Tank.
At this stage I resolved to strip the superstructure and give the engine an upgraded paint job to go with the re-desiged mechanism, so into the Nitromors she went. It wasn’t as simple as that… it took a lot of work to strip her down. As a further improvement I replaced the original wire couplings with cast ones from CPL; you can see the working spring, washer and retaining nuts which bear some comparison with the real thing in the open area behind the buffer beam.

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