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David Holman
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Hi David, a second vote here for Archers rivets

https://www.archertransfers.com/SurfaceDetailsNscale.html

They can be ordered direct from the USA and service is normally prompt. 

I have used them to back date the cab of a 7mm Minerva Manning Wardle, they are easy to use can come in a selection of "gap" sizes.

Don't be tempted by the cheaper Micromark equivalent, I spent hours cursing my decision to save a few pennies, pale imitations I'm afraid. 

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H van

Eventually, with any project, I think you get into a kind of rhythm and so it has proved with this van. A couple of afternoon's work and suddenly it was all coming together: getting the other side and both ends done. That left the roof, couplings and small details like the door clips. The latter are certainly nothing accurate, just a couple of bits of plastic strip to suggest their presence.  However, things are now on hold until my order for transfer rivets arrives. The chassis needs a few of these, likewise the sides, so the model has been put to one side, as it is not worth painting until this is done.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with it, especially as it is just a van. I have a rake of Parkside BR steel mineral wagons that I gave the full Martyn Welch 'Art of Weathering' treatment to - rust first, then Maskol, top coat and peel off the Maskol to reveal the rust underneath. I'm still rather proud of them, but whenever they ran at exhibitions, they were barely noticed. Indeed, it is a standing joke at the Chatham Club that another member's model of an Isetta bubble car [bought from a second hand stall for 50p] got far more interest from the viewing public!

 So, for now, on to something rather different:

Midland Great Western J18/19 kit

 I treated myself to this Alphagraphix/Tyrconnel kit from the proceeds of my Fintonagh article in Railway Modeller. Well, that and a quite a bit more. Those of you experienced in the world of 7mm scale loco kits, will know that most of them are far from complete. This is not a criticism, for the Tryconnel kit certainly looks well designed. However, you still need to buy wheels, motor and gears. Slater's wheels are £22 an axle, plus there are the tender wheels and six extended axles for broad gauge and also a Precision Models 40:1 gearbox and Mashima motor. All this pretty much doubles the cost of the kit, but then you have many hours of [hopefully] fun putting it all together, while if such things are important to you, the finished model should be worth up to three times what you paid for it.

 Have included a few pictures of what you get with the kit - several sheets of etchings, some white metal castings for boiler fittings, buffers and the like, plus around a dozen pages of well illustrated instructions, including a nice scale drawing of loco and tender. The latter is the same version as used on the Tyrconnel G2 2-4-0 kit.

 I'm not yet certain which loco the model will actually become, though it will probably be a J19, with the X type, Belpair boiler and like as not an Athlone based loco too. Hence will need to refer to the GSR Loco 'bible' to choose one that had the G2 type tender and lasted Ito the 1950s.

 Made a start this afternoon and it took me just 45 minutes [yes really] to build a rolling loco chassis. Tyrconnel loco kits are cleverly designed in that the chassis is a single piece that you just fold up. Have made four of them now and it just works. A bit more care needed with the J19, as cut aways mean you can warp the sides, but my ancient set of bending bars came in very useful here. So, fold up the sides, fold down the two end spacers and add a third in the middle. The firebox coms next, again a single etch, then solder in the wheel bearings. The etched holes for these are a perfect fit, requiring no reaming out whatsoever. Temporarily fit the wheels to check the chassis is square and there you are. Well done Roger - if only all chassis were this simple!

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Correction on the motor gearbox. It's from Premier Components. Really can't recommend them highly enough. The gear box is a machined item and comes already fitted to the motor, so simply drops between the frames. Costs the same as an etched gearbox, but takes away all the variables.

 Premier do a big range of other stuff, notably profile milled coupling rods. For anyone scratchbuilding a loco, they are definitely the place to start as you can use them to drill the axles holes in the frames, meaning a rolling chassis first time, every time. Nice and chunky too.

 As for the cab on the J19, haven't checked if there are alternatives yet. If not, it will narrow the options somewhat, but am sure there will be a suitable prototype to follow.

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Research, Rods & Stuff

 Have spent a couple of interesting hours trying to decide which loco I'm going to model. The GSR 'bible' is initially a little confusing in that it suggests both U and W tenders were paired to J18/19s, whereas my Tyrconnel kit has the same type Z as used with the G2 2-4-0. Later, it says tenders were rotated almost at whim, while the instructions certainly show at least three photos of locos with the Z type tender. Hence the dive into my 'library'...

 As far as I can tell J18s 590 and 588 fit the bill as having the Z tender and the correct cab sides for those supplied in the kit [see photo below]. Likewise, J19s 603 and 597. The others that I have photos of either have the wrong tender, wrong cab, or both. Note that my chosen model also requires it to be a J18/19 rebuild with the X type, Belpaire, superheated boiler.

 The main reason for sharing this of course is that there are among you people far more knowledgeable about such things than me, so am hoping someone can confirm that the following is a good choice:

  • Either J19 597, as my photos suggest this would fit the parts I have, or
  • J19 598, for no other reason than [like my Castle Rackrent WL&W loco] was also once called 'Shannon'. 598 is also shown as lasting until 1965, whereas 597 succumbed in 1959, but this is not a deal breaker.

Meanwhile, the loco chassis was completed in another 75 mins this morning - just two hours in total - by the adding of the coupling rods and brake gear. The former are shown in one of the pictures, being 'sweated together', using hair clips and barbecue sticks. A little light reaming was required after, but once fitted to the wheels and with a light oiling to the gears, when power was applied, they turned smoothly, with no evident binding. Given my locos are expected to work for their living and in particular  stand up to scrutiny at exhibitions, I can't begin to say how reassuring this is!

 Brake gear, on the other hand, always seems to be a bit of a faff for me, but for once all went well here too, so, as per instructions, the next step was a general clean up, prior to a coat of primer from a rattle can.

 By way of 'celebration', I cut out the footplate and valances from the etchings this afternoon. This is one of those steps that, no matter how often I read the instructions, a 'dry run' is essential for me to understand them. The footplate is not unlike that of the GSWR 101/J15, in that there are small splashers over the coupling rods - always a bit of a challenge to create. Here, the outer edges of the footplate are etched to half thickness, to which you add a further, half etched overlay. At first, when you tack solder it to one end, it looks too long, but once the curves are formed, it should fit perfectly. All I can say is wait and see for now, but it certainly looks like a clever way around the problem.

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Looking good David! The F6 I recently built had a similar fix for the curved running plate, although the J18 seems to have a bit more meat in the footplate which should make construction more solid. I found that building the superstructure with the loco clamped to a piece of Formica helped keep it all square.

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Fettling!

 After the fairly quick job with the chassis, things have since required a lot more care and patience. Galteemore's advice really useful in minimising finger singeing, though it's probably fair to say I've suffered less pain at the dentist...

 The half etched overlays for the footplate curves worked quite well - the problems mostly came with the splashers, which were decidedly fiddly to fit, but a lot easier once I'd screwed the footplate to a piece of wood. Moving the latter about also meant I could use it to line up the splasher tops too. 

 That took much of Monday and Tuesday - probably about five hours in total. After this came the cab. Sides, front and inside splashers were fairly straightforward, though I departed from the instructions by making the cab itself as a simple sub unit, which was soldered to the footplate afterwards, rather than build it in situ. Next came the Belpaire firebox - again a simple fold up. However, this was where the fettling came in. The tolerances on this kit are pretty tight and the firebox is a really snug fit into the cab front. It also has to sit between the rear and middle splashers too. So, file and check, file and check until eventually the half a dozen or so variables are gradually reduced and the unit starts to fit.

 That wasn't the end of it though, for the instructions now [sensibly] suggest a test fit of the chassis. Earlier, I'd primed and painted this, followed by a hefty weathering mix - Humbrol gun metal, matt black and bauxite - so back went the wheels motor and gearbox.  This showed that the rear armature of the motor needed removing, plus bits shaved off the underside of the footplate where the wheels were fouling. The crankpins needed trimming too, but [crossing everything], I think  everything is ok, apart from a slight tightness in the crankpins, which is to be expected at this stage. Hopefully, a bit of gentle reaming will get this sorted.

 The firebox hasn't been soldered in place yet, because the model is now at the crucial stage where you need to be sure that everything will hang together properly. Next up is the boiler/smokebox unit, so I want to make sure everything will sit nice and square on the footplate before I fix things in place. You can probably see from the third picture that the motor/gearbox is a pretty tight fit in the firebox, so in terms of running, am not out of the woods yet, because until I've fitted pick ups and wired these to the motor, I won't know if there are any shorts lurking in the splashers of firebox. Certainly hope not, because the only solution may be to raise to footplate half a millimetre of so to increase the clearances. As I said earlier - cross everything.

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Edited by David Holman
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Looking good David - and some fine soldering!!  This sounds a most familiar tale though. Fettling the curves on my little tank  took ages. I was genuinely anxious that the rods would end up clouting the valances.  When I tried running the loco there was a shower of sparks accompanied by ominous grinding noises - before everything shorted out.  As you know better than I, it’s possible to build  Alphagraphix locos to 36.75 - but not always easy - I suspect that they are designed primarily for 32mm wheels which fit in that little bit more comfortably. To fix the issue, I had to take a Dremel to the inside of the F6 and grind away various bits where the flanges were rubbing things they shouldn’t. It was test and adjust all the way through but all came good in the end...looks like you’re sorting the issues as they come up! 

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Not sure about the soldering David, it is still as untidy as ever! What I have learned is to make the joins on the inside wherever possible, so they can't be seen too much. These days, I also aim to clean up after every session (using Shiny Sinks cream cleaner), hopefully keeping those hard to get at areas to a minimum.

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If you are to use Archer's Rivets (and they really are good) it's worth being aware that the sheets advertised as for certain scales or purposes (e.g the o scale freight car ones) cost more per rivet than the ones which just describe themselves as rivets in x size. I usually use 88016 on my O9 stuff, but you might need beefier ones for broad gauge stock.

Also, I find brushing a layer of klear on first, then once it dries putting the rivets on, then putting another layer of klear over them before you move on to the other side is recommended. I'm sure you can work out how I learned that one...

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Can anybody give me a couple of basic dimensions for a J19, please. Need the boiler and smokebox diameter for the Belpaire, X type boiler. Reason being, the Tyrconnel kit etched boiler works out at 4'6 and the smokebox 5'. However, the plan supplied with the kit shows a 5' boiler and 5'6 smokebox...

 Everything crossed in the hope it is the drawing that is wrong!

 Already finding I need to do some serious butchery on the footplate, for as Galteemore mentioned the other day, the kit is designed for 32mm gauge, hence the splasher tops are way too wide and the smokebox saddle won't fit between the leading sandbox/splasher unit. Shame the instructions didn't mention that, but hopefully easy to remedy.

 Have also noticed I need to cut a hole in the footplate to allow the inside motion to be seen - dummy as the motor drives the middle axle...

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Alan O’Rourke is pretty good on this David - an email to him can yield more information on many subjects. I have certainly found him a wellspring of helpful facts! On instructions, there was an interesting debate on the Gauge O Guild Forum lately as to whether a kit designer was actually the best person to write them - a case could be made for a joint effort with someone who had never seen the etches before and could come up with potential pitfalls or ambiguities that the designer may have unconsciously overlooked.

Edited by Galteemore
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Chopping and changing

 It was only on Wednesday when I mentioned how building a kit eventually reaches the stage when things start to hang together - or not, as the case may be. Soldering up the boiler and smokebox has created a couple of issues, that were outlined this morning - namely the width of the splashers and the diameters of the boiler and smokebox, so efforts have been diverted to trying to solve these.

 As the kit is designed to be built for both 32mm and 36.75mm gauge, this inevitably creates some compromises as the narrow gauge means the splashers are too wide, with additional danger of the springs fouling the boiler because they are too far inboard. No such problems with broad gauge, but decided I couldn't put up with the extra wide splashers, plus the smokebox unit would have needed trimming to fit between the sandboxes. So, out with the slitting disc and Dremel to slice a scale 3" or so off each side. This of course leaves large holes in the footplate, so I used some nickel silver strip to cover these and then soldered back the rear of the splashers to them. Not pretty, but once tidied up, it will mostly be hidden from view anyway. As a bonus, the nickel silver strip serves to strengthen the footplate, which is useful because I want to  cut a rectangular hole, between the front and middle splashers, which on the prototype would be open between the frames and allow access to the inside motion. Briefly considered adding working inside motion, but the motor drives on the middle axle, so that saves me £100 and instead will make up some dummy motion from plastic strip.

 At the moment, less sure about the boiler and smokebox, because as I said earlier, the dimensions of the etches don't match those of the drawing supplied. What does seem clear is that the kit uses the same etch for the boiler, smoke and firebox as the Tyrconnel G2 kit. Fine if the parts were common to both prototypes, but not so good if not. Interestingly, in trying to investigate, discovered my G2 needs renumbering as 659 had a round topped firebox! Mind you, nobody has thus far mentioned the error, but now I know, feel duty bound to alter it at some point.

 So, decided instead to fit the pickups and wire everything to the motor, so I could check to see if there was any fouling inside the splashers, which would be a pain to remedy. Thankfully, all was ok - the only sparking coming from one of the brake shoes touching a wheel. I've used 0.5mm nickel silver wire for the pick ups and also took the opportunity to ream out the coupling rods a little and file down the crankpin bearings [to cut lateral movement]. The result seems to be a smooth running chassis which hopefully can only improve as it gets run in.

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1 minute ago, David Holman said:

Being retired and Lockdown both help MM, especially when there is little to watch on TV too.

The bugger is that I like some of the repeats, your Chopping and Changing post sounded like one of the cryptic crossword clues I do with a friend by phone every day ........

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 Rightly or wrongly, decided to press on with the boiler and smokebox unit. Just made one addition, a disc of 1.5mm nickel silver to go between the boiler and smokebox, as a flange. Then added the smokebox door [dished, with the brackets soldered on] before bolting the boiler to  firebox, with the smokebox just loose at the other end. This enabled the combined unit to be trial fitted on the footplate, to which I now offer for judgement. There are plenty of you out there far more knowledgeable than me, so will be interested to get opinions. My own feeling is, while it looks ok, compared to photos I have, I think the smokebox looks a bit slim. Have included a photo of the prototype for comparison - the drawing supplied with the kit shows a smokebox 5'6 in diameter, whereas on the model it is only 5', so something is not quite right somewhere...

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When comparing to the photo, it looks fine to me; looking more like  the propotype is probably better than trying to make it fit a drawing?

 

I would agree with your earlier comment regarding a cut-out in the foot plate given the height of the boiler.  Even if you do not do dummy valve gear, I think it will look better, sometime the  dark area inside is einough to give a more realistic look.

 

Fine looking loco, and another fine build I might add.

Ken

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What Ken said! I also think the etched rivets may be slightly larger than scale, which affects the perception of how deep the gap is between door and outer rim of smokebox. Looks good to me though, and it has that essential step down between smokebox and boiler. P

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Looking great David.

Your point about the thinness of the smokebox;-

I notice the front sand boxes in the prototype photo are higher off the splasher and butt up under the side curve of the smokebox, where the model has much lower boxes exposing more of the smokebox vertical side, making it look thinner! One could add an extension to raise the sand boxes and fill in the gap?

When the front angle piece under the smokebox door that covers the front of the saddle goes in- this will beef things up a bit?

Eoin

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Hi David,

I've just sent you a PM, I am suspicious of the plan dimensions for the smokebox and boiler. As modelled they look about right (which is the aim of the game is it not?). 

I suspect if you had made the smokebox 6" wider it would have looked very wrong.

I agree with Murryrec that there is something off with the sandboxes though when compared to the photo( did these vary across the prototype?).

The sandboxes on the drawing I sent also seem to more like the model than the the photo

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Many thanks for all the help everyone, finding the comments very re-assuring. Roger is wondering whether or not I might have been sent the original test etches, but have sent him the photos below to see what he thinks. Have tack soldered everything together and followed Eoin's idea of raising the sandbox tops by a millimetre or so with some nickel silver. The valve chest cover at the front makes a difference too. You should be able to see that I've cut out a rectangle in the frames and footplate, which seems to open things up nicely and will look better once some dummy valve gear has been added. The boiler fittings are just perched at the moment!

 Thought it was probably time to tidy up the workbench a bit this afternoon as I was starting to lose tools and materials! No doubt, within a few minutes of starting again, it will be just as messy, but at least I know where things are again.

 

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Edited by David Holman
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David you can relax with 659 according to the "Bible" (GSR Locomotives by Clements & McMahon) she ran with a Y superheated boiler between 1932 & 1950s, before reverting to a round topped boiler, so its just about possible the loco received yellow numerals and tender flying snail between the formation of CIE in 1944 and re-building with a round top boiler. The 650 class boilers appear to have been treated as a common pool and all four types of boiler swapped between locos during overhauls. 659 No 13 Rapid had four  boiler changes each with a different type of boiler between 1922 & withdrawl in 1961.  No 27 Clifden 666 appears to hold the record with 5 boiler changes, 4 different types between 1919 and withdrawl in 1957.

Its challenging building a loco re-built with a GSR superheated boiler as no drawings are currently available of the locos in their re-built form or of the 1930s range of superheated boilers and smokeboxes.

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Lovely work and as said clean soldering does improve - as does regular cleaning. The thought processes in making up bits and trying before final fixing is really necessary .On one job I did we worked out as much coffee drunk as gallons of diesel purchased - we pointed out coffee was cheaper than diesel - it is  all in the planning that money can be saved !

FWIW DCC supplies have stocks of Archers rivets and currently dispatch twice a week ( Mon and Thurs) 

     https://www.dccsupplies.com/cat-583/rivets-and-fixings.htm 

Will get in the right part of the website. 

Robert  

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David said - Thought it was probably time to tidy up the workbench a bit this afternoon as I was starting to lose tools and materials! No doubt, within a few minutes of starting again, it will be just as messy, but at least I know where things are again.

You should see my dining room table - at least you are losing your tools and bits in a bigger space. One end is "Workbench" - the other end (for the days I fancy working on them) is the Mac Air surrounded by correspondence, logbooks etc. Ireland in 1964, before you ask - I'm meant to be doing China (1996 - 2002). Every time some good soul orders kits, the logbooks etc get moved to check the kit, pack it etc ......    No wonder I've not really completed anything!DSC03376.thumb.jpg.17c095fdf74bcd789a2ef41d40f3a70c.jpg

You may wonder at the various tubs - holding bits or for carrying things up to the loft to check they fit. The platform is the final part of Richhill's Down platform under construction. The important tool is the yellow-handled job - the Olfa knife which I use to cut Plastiicard - what a wondrous invention (Well - it works for me!). Not today's paper, by the way - it's stopping me gluing the platform to the cutting mat!

Now David is certainly getting there with his L Class (or was she a Lm?). Brass locos look terrific during construction - keep it up David. I hope we are all spared to see her running at an exhibition!

Edited by leslie10646
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Ready for the paint shop?

 Well, a primer/witness coat anyway. Thanks again for the reassuring messages about the look of the J19, they gave me the confidence to press on and complete the model.

 On the loco, most of the soldering work was done, so it was out with the 5 minute epoxy to add the boiler fittings, buffers etc. The chimney and safety valves were fine, but the dome was certainly not at all like the prototype. However, as it was too big, it was a fairly simple case of filing and sanding it down to something more acceptable. A good trick when fitting chimneys and domes is to wrap some sandpaper around the boiler and use this to get them to sit properly.  Have always used 5 min epoxy for boiler fittings - even the turned/cast brass ones - because it gives you just enough time to  set them up, rather than using solder. Another slight anomaly with the kit is that if you are modelling a J19, the sanding operating rods are too short, though brass strip is easily substituted. 

 After that, it was a case of tidying up - lots of it. I try to be really careful here, not least because of my mediocre soldering, but also because it is rare to get a kit where everything fits perfectly. It may have been designed with close tolerances, but half, even a quarter of a millimetre here or there in construction and you soon start getting unsightly gaps that need filling. Unwanted blobs and runs of solder too, while the paste flux I use always needs an extra clean.

 So, lots of work with files, emery boards, scrapers and the like, followed by applications of car body filler and then back to more sanding and scraping. There are still one or two obvious bits left, but after a while it all gets a bit tedious and fingers protest at the number of glass fibre brush splinters they pick up. Plus, over the years, have come to realise that you never get it right first time, so stop, wash and clean with 'Shiney Sinks' cream cleanser. Very occasionally, the first coat of primer does cover everything, but mostly you need a second round of filling, so why torture yourself for too long?

 There was the tender to do, of course, so the loco body was put to one side for a while. As with the loco, the tender chassis is a delight to make, being another single, fold up etch. Indeed fitting the brakes took most of the time, but the chassis was easily done inside a couple of hours, including springing for the centre wheels. The tender body is likewise pretty straightforward. Half etched lines help with curving the flare on the top edges and there are not that many parts anyway. The only two additions I made were firstly to reinforce the bottom edges of the cosmetic outside frames and secondly to make the brake standard stronger. 

 The outside frames etch is very thin, probably only about 5 thou, so they warp when you solder them to the body. Thin brass strip soon beefs things up. As for the brake standard, always wonder why anyone tries to make these things in cast whitemetal - a material that is far too weak. Sure enough, the handle broke off almost immediately, so replaced it with some wire, soldered to some brass tube which was then fitted into a hole drill in the top of the standard.

 A few more castings to fit & all that was left was the drawbar. Not sure what went wrong here, but the model fireman would need to be an Olympic athlete to jump the gap with a loaded shovel - it must be about two scale feet! So, made a new one from brass strip.

There are still more things to do of course - a raised cab floor and fall plate, plus some dummy inside motion. At least it runs fairly well [better when run in and properly cleaned], though it sits 0.5mm high as have needed to use some 20thou Plastikard to stop the driving wheels shorting somewhere inside the splashers. Then there is the painting, lettering and weathering, adding coal, crew, couplings and so on. So, still a fair way to go, but the next time you it, the shiny brass will have gone. There is something rather nice about a polished brass model, but needs must! The final picture shows the J19 next to my G2. Hopefully, they will make a nice pair.

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