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Tales from the carriage shops

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another week or so should be clear






Wall and broken plant pots supposed to be part of an abandoned lime kiln or coke ovens/smelter, some landscaping and planting when the Triffids die back.




Pumpkin pie for Easter? needs to darken.




More pumpkins on the vine climbing our neighbours fejoa tree, starting to fruit sign of approaching autumn and longer nights.




Back in the workshop the "engineers" have set up the railcar final drive to get a feel for the new fangled gasoline powered technology. The motor is a 3v unit supplied with the kit gearbox and neophrane tube coupler by Northyard NZ local specialist supplier of model railway parts (mainly S Scale) Luckily the axle and worm wheel diameter match.




1st stage in building the railcar chassis, drilling out the axle holes with my Christmas present a 50 year old Unimat set up as a vertical drill and milling machine.


The first job was to clamp two strips of brass together with the aid of double sided tape, then mark out the axle holes and frame profile on the upper strip, centre pop the axle holes and clamp the strips in position on the milling table.


Next stage is to cut out the profile of the frames with a milling cutter, which should theoretically leave me with a pair of identical frames with accurately drilled axle holes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
So basically your excuse for the stoppage is "leaves on the line":D


Not exactly a stoppage more a case of running the weekly train when there is enough traffic. Tonight the logging train made it though from the landing site to the mill.




Meanwhile back in the workshop work continues on the railcar chassis.




1st serious attempt at milling and turning. I was intending to build the chassis with one fixed and one rocking axle but ended up fitting sprung hornblocks to one axle as I overdid the slotting.




Bolt together assembly with accurately drilled holes and turned frame spacers seems to be a lot quicker than the solder and fold up spacers used in most 4mm kits.




View of the transmission showing Northyard gearbox and silicone tube coupling. The motor will be secured in place using silicone sealant once the chassis is painted.




Little and Large G Scale T&D Inspection Railcar & 4mm CIE Wickham trolley


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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got around to a test build of the revised MGWR Horsebox. The ammendments were mainly to simplify the assembly of the brake gear and beef up the strapping detail on the horsebox doors so that it was not completely etched away in the engraving process.




Main body/chassis components


I was always fascinated by some of the early etched kits that were supposed to fold up from one piece of brass, something that did not really work with single sided engraving.




First task to emboss the boltheads at floor level. I use a riveting tool otherwise a centre punch or scriber will do the job.




Second task fold up the sides using an engineers square to make sure it folds along the line and the floor stays flat.




Check that the fold is at 90



Fold up the headstocks on the ends



Step Four fit the ends in place between the sides and solder in position


The ends locate into a half etched rebate in the sides, its simplest to solder the bottom section of the bonnet (dog box) end in place before bending the end to shape.




View of soldered joints


I generally use Carrs 145 (detailing solder) or 179 (sheet metal) solder with Carrs Red Label flux. For these joints I used a 50watt temperature controlled iron and 179 solder. The 50watt iron has enough reserve of heat to form a neat filleted joint.




Soldering completed at the dog box end.



Approx. 45 minutes work, horse box body assembled




Next episode will cover chassis assembly

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The axleguards and brake V hangers are designed to fold up from the floor.

The model can also be assembled with a compensated chassis on the 3 legged stool principal with a set of rocking w irons at one end.




Axleguards folded down I reinforced the w irons with a fillet of solder along the half etched lines.




Solebars & overlays

Probably the trickiest part of the assembly the solebars require to be bended to an L profile before being fixed in place.



Forming the solebars


Gently does it!


While a number of companies produce bending tools for etched parts, I have found an engineers square and a small vice with smooth jaws to be the most effective.


I basically clamp the work piece in the jaws of the vice and gradually make the fold using the square or a piece of hardwood stripwood.




Inner solebars soldered in place.



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MGWR Horsebox Episode 3 the Soldering Iron Strikes Back


Thanks for the comments Patrick, Kieran and Nelson. The design is nearly de-bugged nearly 12 months after preparing the initial design, its a slow process though I am a little steadier with a CAD programme than a craft knife or piercing saw.


Now for the really fiddly stuff.




Tie Bars


Although the wheelbase was quite short 9' the MGWR used tie bars between the W irons to stiffen the underframe. One of the challenges in designing etched kits is ensuring thin components are not etched away and that holes are not too large or too small. I drilled out the outer holes in the W Irons and tie bars 0.5mm with a drill held in a pin vice. I use titanium coated drill bits for this type of work as they and survive longer than conventional HSS bits.



Fitting the tie bar


I used 0.45mm brass wire as pins threaded through the holes in the axleguards to hold the tie bars in position while soldering.

Plenty of flux and very little solder on the soldering iron tip.




Tie bars fixed in position starting to look like an underframe




The really-really fiddly stuff brake yokes and pull rods


Probably best left out for a layout model.


I am lucky enough to have a general arrangement drawing for the MGWR meat van which has a similar design of underframe.


The stretcher bars are provided for OO or 21mm gauge and the assembly designed to be removable in order to paint the underframe and fit the wheels.




Yoke and stretcher bars


After a false start with 0.7mm brass wire as stretchers (I could not remove the gear to paint the model after fitting the wheels) I re-designed stretcher bars are designed to slot into the yokes.



Assembled brake yoke stretcher assembly ready for soldering


The white slab is a heat resistant ceramic soldering mat available from Microlux in the USA. The material is soft enough to take a pin or the end of a stretcher bar.




Nearly there assembled yokes with 0.7mm brass wire stretcher bar and pull rods attached


The 0.7 wire is soldered to the yokes the actual pull rods will be secured in position during final assembly.


Next episode Detailing

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Episode 4 Detail


I prefer solder to cyanoacrylate when working with sheet metal, I usually make a hell of a mess and the stuff usually goes off in the bottle with our humid Waikato weather.



Solebar overlays

These are simply glued or soldered to the sole bars. The knobbly bits are used to support the handbrake shaft and fit at the end closest to the V hangers.



Glue applicator and Xurco tab cutter


All that's needed is a bottle of Red Wine or 10 Year old malt.


I used a Microbrush applicator but the business end quickly got clogged up with half cured CA. Not sure if it would be a good idea to try and keep the applicator clean as you go with MEK or acetone.



Cover slips


The bodywork of MGWR non-passenger coaching stock is quite distinctive with a wagon rather than coaching stock style construction, with cover strips protecting the joints between the body framing and planked body panels.


The raised cover strips are applied separately as its not feasible to represent this type of 3 layer construction with normal engraving technology.




Horse Box door strapping


The doors strapping is designed with a jig to help keep everything in alignment while gluing or soldering in position.


The raised detail is designed to locate in place over half etched channels and lines.




Body with strapping and cover slips fitted


The tabs joining the strapping to the jig can be cut off with a fine nips or a sharp knife. Roof still to be fitted to the dog box section




Sheetmetal work more or less complete one side

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bit of light relief after the fine detail work on the horsebox.




Marking and cutting out the cab windows from .040" plasticard for the large scale 2-8-0




One set cut another three to go. The outline is scored half way through on one side, the diagonals half way through from both sides, than snap out the triangular shaped pieces of waste.




Windows cut minimal cleaning up needed.




Window frame fits into rebate in cab side built up from 3 layers of plasticard.




The 2-8-0 should be back in service later this month once the radio control gear arrives. The loco has been out of service since 2011 after an apparent overload and decoder shut down. I could not find any problem with the motor or the loco wiring at the time, but found a dead short on the motor when I was re-assembling the loco last week, luckily enough I had a spare motor in stock, also replaced driving axle. The loco is in an automotive satin black, but I found an unopened bottles of Floquil Grimy Black, Weathered Black, Gunmetal & Graphite which should result in a more interesting finish.




On-board battery power a pair of 7.2v rc-car batteries. Rc-receiver and control gear will be mounted in the tender, misht even fit in a sound unit. Loco in background was an earlier conversion finished in Floquil Weathered Black.




2 AAA batteries on board power Model T Railcar




Nearly finished and detailed, have to find the headlamp lenses and missing door handle.



DCC demonstration

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  • 3 weeks later...

Definitely not Irish but possibly what might have run if the main lines were built to the narrow gauge or someone got hold of some bootleg GSR paint ;)






The loco is fairly heavy rebuild of a Bachmann 2-8-0 to resemble a Rio Grande loco.


The loco is finished with Floquil dirty black with the smokebox in graphite and the whole loco finished in a semi gloss clear.


I originally finished the loco in satin black and was not happy with the 'colour"


I will try and add something Irish and in 4mm soon

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You sitting on a stash of Floquil Mayner?:tumbsup: My stash is getting smaller, which is sad. I really like the finish you can get with it, the C21 looks great. Which just about sums it up.


We sound like junkies talking about our stashes of Floquil maybe its the xylene/toluene Dio-Sol thinner :Happy1


Most of our local hobby shops stocked Floquil so I built up a reasonable stock, but its starting to run down a bottle of paint does not go far on a G Scale loco


Well spotted for identifying the loco as a Baby Mudhen the original Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 looked totally out of proportion with their Big Haulier and LGB stock & the C21 was the simplest conversion and a lot easier on the finances than trading up to Accucraft


http://www.accucraft.com/modelc/AL88-120-C.htm Herself would have serious questions to ask if I spent $3000 on one loco :dig:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got around to detailing the Midland Horse Box and Meat Vans, using superglue rather than solder for a change to attach overlays which took a bit of getting used to.


I used cocktail sticks to apply the superglue to the overlays, and used the end of a tootpick dipped in Tayima extra thin cement (MEK/acetone) to clean up any excess glue as work progressed.




Removing cover slip/door hinge overlays from the fret.





Overlay attached corner plates have to be wrapped around the corner once the end detail is applied.



One side with beading and solebar overlays attached



Completed Meat Van



Horse Box



Close up detail Meat van


I have some minor design modifications to simplify assembly of the brake gear for the production version of the kits which should be ready for release in the Autumn.


I now have enough of these vans for a typical Midland section train, next stage will be to complete the test build on the 2-4-0s.

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  • 3 months later...

Time for the spring track repairs, including a spot of weeding ;)




C25 on the weekly mixed The yellow reefer is probably loaded with cold beer and fresh vichels for the mining and logging camps.




Gondalas spotted under the hopper for loading

Should have seen it before weeding. Moss and other plants thrive in this area section of line is in shade most of the day, sleepers bleached out after 7 years service though no other noticeable damage to probably get another year before re-sleepering.



Major re-modelling at the main station/yard

The spur on the left was recently added and is to be extended into a loop. Main running road lifted for re-sleepering



Re-sleepering the crossover from Main to passing siding and yard

Baseboards are open top principal built outside! All timber is pressure treated (CCA) pine been in use over 7 years without sign of rot.

Track is supported on decking timber on 2"X2" cross members on weed mat on 1' welded mesh on 4"X2" framing on 4"x4" piles concreted into the ground.



New switch ready to go in at East end of spur


The new siding is mainly to allow through freights to set out or collect cars without having to switch the yard, without the problem of cars running away down the grade!

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Tralee & Dingle railcar on a dry Mid Winter day

The bridge is on a lift out section for gardening.



Railcar passing a freight on a newly rebuilt section. The track quarry screenings ground cover is laid on a butyl rubber membrane on 19mm treated ply on the usual 4X2 treated pine framing.

I am only running battery power at the moment as there is too much hastle cleaning track in damp weather.



A ray of Sunlight catches the caboose

A bit the east side of Alpine Pass on the South Park line this town is in shadow most of the winter time but we don't have to deal with snow or too much ice though! The bush (jungle) on the left grew up during the past few years after a large gum tree blew over during a winter storm

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  • 2 weeks later...

IMG_2915 (2).jpg


Another repaint No14 posed on newly re-laid main track


Based on Rio Grande Southern 4-6-0 No 20 converted from a Bachmann 4-6-0 No 14 has been the backbone of the fleet since the Connie 2-8-0 threw a wobbler with a faulty motor in 2011. No 14 has used up my stock of GSR (Floquil) weathered black paint ;) though I have two unopened bottles of Scalecoat acrylic for my next repaint.


IMG_2917 (2).jpg

C21 arrives in the siding with a freight as No 14 holds the main


All is not what it seems in this photo the light is closing in and the C21 is on a rescue mission.


I had just finished track cleaning and sent out No14 and another track powered loco No 11 to clear the yard and haul back their trains to the garden shed, when the DCC system shut down with a dead short. I could not find the fault later I found a small coin had fallen onto one of the circuit breakers that protects the DCC command station and shut down the entire system::(


A bit like the saga of Tralee & Dingle 8 in the spring of 1952 when they could not get 1T to steam. The C21 had to make an extra two trips to haul all the stock home to the shed, No 11 & 14 got to fly.

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  • 3 months later...

I picked up a G Gauge model of Schull & Skibereen No4 Erin from a modeller in the UK that was moving up to 3½" Gauge standard gauge. The loco was built in plasticard on a Playmobile (LGB) chassis.




Although the plasticard modelling was reasonably good, work was needed on the chassis and the loco was earmarked for conversion to battery radio control as pick up was poor due to spark eroded tyres a common enough problem with older LGB locos.


Before overhaul/conversion I compared the loco with an Ian Beattie drawing that appeared in a 7mm Narrow Gauge Association collection of Irish narrow gauge locos. While the loco is reasonably close to the drawing of the loco in its original condition, it appears to have been built to 14mm rather than 15mm scale in order to use the Playmobile rather than a scratchbuilt chassis.


Erin Ian Beattie DRg.jpg


The mechanical overhaul is basically complete the connecting rods were re-jointed with solder rather than glue, new crossheads machined to replace the original with strangely off set piston rods.


The prototype was one of the first locos in Ireland to use Walschaerts valve gear, though most of the motion was hidden by an inspection panel.




Bogie pivot machined from brass to replace the existing nut and bolt arrangement.




The radio control wiring harness includes a charging jack, changeover switch and Deltron receiver. I am planning to fit a small battery pack in the loco for shunting and use a battery trailing car with 2 7.2 battery packs for line work and visiting layouts.




I will try and fit an LED in the head lamp, acetylene headlamps were a distinctive feature of the Schull and Dingle lines


I will probabably end up scratchbuilding a short S&S train, although Worsley Works produce parts for some of the coaches they are to the more common 15mm scale for Irish 3' gauge and likely to dwarf the rather small loco.

Edited by Mayner
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finding a suitable battery to power Erin turned out to be less of a challenge than expected. I managed to pick up a 14.8V 1400 mah Li-Poly battery that fits in Erin's boiler without too much surgery.




I originally wired the loco up with a charging jack and switch gear in the cab with the intention of charging the battery in situ or power the loco from a battery in a trailing car a fairly common G/large scale arrangement


DSCF4291.JPG Usually I hid the switch behind a panel or under a tender but there was no room on this small loco, the radio receiver is on the left of the cab and is about the size of a HO or small O gauge DCC decoder.


Its not a good idea to charge a Li-Pol battery inside a plastic loco, the boiler is removable to allow the battery to be removed for charging. Most of the wiring is redundant I will replace the RCS switch gear with a simple DPDT switch, remove the charging jack and fit a poly switch to protect the battery, I have fitted a low battery voltage alarm.






Erin looks very small coupled to Bachmann American 1:22.5 scale equipment both Erin & the Bachmann coach are underscale for 3' gauge and overscale for 3'6" Cape and NZ Gauge. The coach was recently re-painted from green into maroon using a motor spray enamel, the railway has one other coach which may appear in a shabby purple lake or rebuilt into one of those GMC gas-electric Doodlebug things.


Erin's visit to the shops is tied up with a New Year resolution to complete a large backlog of unfinished projects starting with the G Gauge ones as they seem to take up the most time and space. Next in line air reservoirs and plumbing for a pair of tender locos.



Erin has worked a few trial trains. Next stage is to build a new cowcatcher for the front end sort out the wiring and tidy up the paint work.


I have tried cleaning a section of the boiler with enamel thinner while the varnish/weathering cleans off fairly easily the underlying paintwork (possibly motor enamel) appears to be good.


Does anyone know if removing the varnish and weathering with enamel thinner is an option or whether a fresh coat of varnish would work

Edited by Mayner
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