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David Holman
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After months of working on locos and rolling stock, attention now turns to the signalling department. Belmullet currently only has the Arigna Town, three arm signal which was modelled on that one on the Sligo Leitrim that controlled three level crossings. Here, it covers arrivals to each side of the loop and also acts as an advanced starter. However, both the main platform and bay need departure signals, while the single slip ought to have at least a couple of ground signals, so these are forming the next projects.

 An order to Wizard Models quickly secured enough etched and cast parts to supplant what I had left over from the SLNCR signal construction, in the form of a set of Saxby and Farmer arms, a couple of cast posts and a couple of ground signal kits. The latter are actually GNR/LNER versions, but look very similar to the County Donegal ground signal from Alphagraphix. They are actually MSE kits and can be made to work. Was hoping to connect them to the blades of the single slip, so as these moved, they would make the discs turn. Unfortunately, the blades only move a couple of mm, but the signals should turn 90 or even 180 degrees, so quite how this can be made to happen, I currently have no idea! 

 Anyway, the kits themselves are simple enough once you've read the instructions a few times & have been placed in what I hope are appropriate positions. The discs can be turned by hand for photographic purposes.

 Elsewhere, while I had black and white acrylic paint out, the Irish Shell tank wagon has had the bare metal on the strapping touched in, while the undergrowth on the front edge of the baseboards has been significantly embellished with a mixture of postiche, coarse and fine crumb to represent weeds, dog roses and the like - though I'd still like to add some nettles eventually too.

 The photos show the existing signal, plus the new ground signals and a sketch of what the starters should eventually look like, plus the new ground cover and Irish Shell tank.

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Trackwork flowing very nicely in these shots, David. Nice to see the signalling being enhanced too. The Shell wagon looks right at home- sustenance for the Belmullet trawlers ? Please tell me that really is an SLNC large tank poking into view and I’m not hallucinating....after 9 months I’m seeing the things everywhere !

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Regarding the point throw and rotating ground signals, perhaps a lever or bell crank to multiply the linear movement of the points.

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 then a link to a crank or rack and pinion (or small geneva wheel?) to convert that to rotary movement. It'd take some adjustment to get it spot on though.

Or you could put a servo motor to rotate the ground signal triggered by the same switch as the point.

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Thanks Brack & especially for taking time to do the drawing. Must admit I had to look up what a Geneva wheel was/did, but what a clever thing it is!

 The photo shows my Megapoints control panel. If I'm honest, the system requires more logical thinking than I possess, but is certainly very effective & clever in the right hands. Indeed, though I thought I'd worked out what I needed, I didn't get the specification quite right and now realise that the separate starter for the harbour branch was probably better as a ground signal on the single slip. Meanwhile, I don't have enough ports left in the control panel to add extra switches for the ground signals. I could fit 'Y' connectors so the push buttons for the slip points also operated new servos for the ground signals, but the panel processors control the amount of movement of each servo, so the extra required would only be possible via a lever/bell crank, so it is easier to try and do it straight off the point blades.

 Unfortunately, the ground signals need to rotate 90 degrees, so I'll need to do some experimenting to see if that is possible. For now, they will have to remain cosmetic.

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On 14/4/2021 at 9:26 PM, Galteemore said:

Trackwork flowing very nicely in these shots, David. Nice to see the signalling being enhanced too. The Shell wagon looks right at home- sustenance for the Belmullet trawlers ? Please tell me that really is an SLNC large tank poking into view and I’m not hallucinating....after 9 months I’m seeing the things everywhere !

You can stop taking the medicine, it's Sir Henry lurking in the background. However, there are problems with the space-time continuum, as it is actually sitting fifty years on the future!

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Made a start yesterday on the two doll signal post. Am using Model Signal Engineering etchings of Saxby and Farmer arms. Have built a few signals over the years and the one word that best sums up the process is - fiddly!

 I began with the post[s], using a 22ft cast white metal post for the main one and then sawed a second post into sections to make the other. Once assembled with 5 min epoxy, the two posts were drilled through about 2' from the top to take the pivot wire for the arms. The latter are etched in two parts [arm and spectacle plate], which need soldering together with a pivot wire attached. This is then fed through the hole in the post and fixed in place with a small washer on the other side. At the base of the main post two etched brackets are folded up and soldered in place with low melt, then the post is again drilled through for another wire pivot for the operating levers.

 Thus far, simple enough, but things now get complicated as the operating wires and pivots are added - plus the two lamps. The latter need careful positioning, so they are behind the two spectacle plates when the arms are up/down. The operating wire on the main post is fairly simple - just a matter of getting the length right, but for the subsidiary post [or more correctly 'doll'], which is the bay starter, this needs two pivots to get the operating wire down to the main post. Some railway companies were happy to take a robust operating rod straight down to the ground, but I prefer to route the wire to the base as, like the SLNCR signal, this means the entire unit can be removed for transport - or even to be shared with another layout.

 The photo shows progress thus far, though I need to rethink the linkage to the second doll as the weighted lever should pull the signal to danger should a wire break, whereas it is actually the other way round at the moment...

 As for linking the signal up to a couple of servos and the control panel, I may will need a lie down in a darkened room before doing that!

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Spent the last few days fettling the signals, so that both balance arms worked correctly, then added the operating mechanism, which goes below the baseboard. Basically, a piece of 0.8mm wire goes from the other end of the balance levers to pivots soldered below the base plate. Another 0.8mm wire will go from each pivot to a small servo, worked by the Megapoints control panel. This arrangement means the signal can be lifted out for transport, maintenance etc.

 So, cut a hole in the baseboard surface to enable the unit to sit level with the surface, then set about adding the all important details - in this case the platform [and ladder] for someone to climb up and attend the lamps, plus the finials. After that, it was a clean up and quick spray with primer.

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Signals may be fiddly, frustrating things to build [for me anyway], but they are a delight to finish off because they transform with only the minimum of painting. In this case, a coat of matt black from a spray can, then I hand painted the white bits, then added the red and white stripes to the front of the arms with black and white to the rear. Next came red and blue [not green, yellow light from the lamp turns blue green] gels to the spectacles, with some textured cement coloured paint for the base.

 The operating mechanism is yet to be fixed up, indeed it is something I'll need to psyche myself up for, involving as it does separating the boards and lifting No2 up to get at the underside to fix the servos. However, Belmullet at least now has an almost complete set of signals, though have just noticed that the point to the end loading dock ought to have a ground signal too.

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Filling gaps

 I don't know whether other folk do this, but I often find myself pondering and brooding over the make up of the trains I run on my layouts. For Belmullet in its early 1900s guise, a lot of time has been spent recently on the MGWR Mail Train, which is now finished. There are seven tracks in the fiddle yard and there have been more than a few furrowed brows over the last few months about how I might fill them. Some were fairly easy, such as a Sligo Leitrim freight, hauled by 'Small Tank' Fermanagh. This is made up of SLNCR cattle wagons, or private owner coal wagons from the Arigna mines, so that's three roads done. 

 A fourth road is occupied by a Waterford, Limerick and Western 'Mail Goods', with 0-6-0 Shannon at the head, with a 6w parcels van, 4w carriage truck and horse box from the same company.. However, have only recently realised that I only had two passenger trains, so have decided to turn the Mail Goods into a mixed train, by adding a 4w third class coach - more of which later.

 The fifth road was originally occupied by my Coey 101 class 0-6-0, but have recently decided to put this loco on freight duty - which is where a few more gaps need filling. Currently, I only have one GSWR van, plus a brake, so a couple more need adding to the stock building list. At least one open topped livestock van, plus an open or two are currently favourite.

 As for the GSWR passenger, this comprises two six wheelers & have decided I would now like them to be hauled by an F6 2-4-2T. These were really built for the Valencia Harbour line, but [had it been built] the Belmullet route would have been similarly twisty, so an F6 moving north is not out of the question, while Galteemore of course has one on Rosses Point! Alphagraphix do a kit though it will need adapting to its original [oven type] smokebox doors. A couple of fish vans would complete things nicely.

 So that is six roads covered. The seventh is split in two, with in 1950s guise the railbus at one end and the railcar at the other. For the 1900s, the short [railbus] end will eventually be occupied by 0-4-2T Sprite and its semi permanently attached pay coach. In the longer road, there is room for a short goods train and news that Alphagraphix are due to re-release the E/J26 kit offers the chance of doing a MGWR goods, with the loco in lined green too.

 I quite like the idea of having each of the independent railway companies operating their own trains & stock. This side of the water, wagons in particular eventually all got mixed up, so that by the 1923 grouping, you could find a variety in most trains. Suspect it was the same in Ireland, so the GSWR freight, hauled by the 101, will have a variety, but the WL&W, MGW and SLNC ones will stay 'independent'.

 Among the stock I've built, this is not a problem, but having acquired two Richard Chown Dublin & Meath brake vans, I've wondered ever since how to include them. These are the ones in purple lake with salmon pink ends [!]. Richard ran them with Shannon on the Mail Goods, but the Dublin & Meath was taken over by the MGWR, so by 1900 should I suspect, be in brown livery. So, one at least can be repainted as the brake for the MGW freight, plus I have a horse box from the same company. A couple more MGW wagons should complete the line up.

 So, where does all this lead - and apologies if you are now bored to tears with my ramblings!

 The latest mini project centres on the WL&WR Mail Goods. In Ernie Shepherd's history, there is a nice picture of a four wheel third class coach which [unlike the parcels van] has plain panelling and doesn't need an awkward lattice cutting out, so can all be done with micro strip. Alongside this, am building a Waterford and Central Ireland Railway brake van. This company was actually in open conflict with the WLW for a while, over access to Waterford station, but later the former took over working its trains for a few years, before the WCIR became independent again. In the end, it was absorbed by the GSWR, so am hoping my model is vaguely plausible. One thing for sure, early brake vans are not easy to find, so this one is a bit of an amalgam of the WCIR and D&M prototypes. However, the rounded tops to the panelling nicely match those of the 4w coach, so fingers crossed!

 The models very much follow techniques used by David Jenkinson in his book Carriage Modelling Made Easy. Plastic sheet and micro strip make up the bodywork for both, while the spares box seems to have enough white metal castings for W-irons, springs, buffers etc. Deciding how my trains will be made up may cause a bit of head scratching, but if you can make stuff yourself, at least you don't have to wait for a manufacturer to produce one.

 

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Absolutely inspiring again, David!

You mention the Dublin & Meath brake vans taken over by the Midland. If these are strictly passenger vans, then brown as you say - but if they are goods or mixed train vehicles, grey or possibly a dark green colour, though I am uncertain when the MGWR abandoned green for brake vans in favour of brown. If you use the green, there's a model of Fry's in Malahide with this colour. I've to call in there soon, so I'll take a pic of it.

And yes, wagons inevitably got mixed up. I've seen pics of a GSWR van in Derry (Foyle Road), a DSER and a GSWR one in Achill, and a GNR one in West Cork!

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Seriously impressive fiddle yard David.  Great ideas & some eclectic collections not seen elsewhere.

I agree with the sentiment regarding building yourself.   The realisation you can build it if you can't buy it, really opens up the older eras of the hobby.

Well done & keep up the good work.

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Progress continues on the WL&WR 'mail goods' train for Shannon. Like most rolling stock scratch builds, you think you've got the model nearly finished, but it is the detailing that takes the time. However, the brake van is now just about there.

 The first picture shows the plastic shells for both the van and the four wheel coach. The brake van though has been painted, lettered and given a bit of light weathering.  The nice thing about both models is that they have been made from what I had in stock, so it feels like they haven't cost me anything. They have, of course - a pair of wagon/coach wheels is around a tenner, couplings a fiver and sets of cast buffers and W irons another fiver each, so £25 is about the minimum for a 7mm scale wagon, plus of course a few hours of [mostly] pleasurable work.

 The rest of the pictures show the brake van with what will be the rest of its train - all WL&W vehicles, with a six wheel full brake, a carriage truck and a horse box. The latter has been reverse modelled from an SLNCR vehicle I built a few years ago, the prototype actually coming from the WLW. It must be said though that the brake van is decidedly dubious in terms of accuracy, being an amalgam of two early types -  Dublin & Meath and Waterford & Central Ireland. I thought about painting it in passenger livery, so that the whole train would be crimson lake, but in the end I didn't have any screw link couplings, so it's ended up dark grey.

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So, WL&WR 4 wheel third is now finished, albeit still lacking its vacuum pipes. Unlike the brake van, it is at least based on a photo of a prototype - No3, as shown in Ernie Shepherd's book. To be honest, it is not my best work, but should pass the two foot rule, and it runs well enough. The first picture shows it in Hycote Ford Burgundy Red, which is a bit too bright for my liking, so this has been toned down with Null Oil - a black wash from the Games Workshop range. This has resulted in a slightly scruffy appearance [which rather matches my workmanship!], appropriate for a coach that hasn't been painted for ten years or more. Lettering is from an HMRS L&SWR sheet

 The other pictures show it as part of my 'Mail Goods', with 0-6-0 Shannon in charge. There seem to be quite a few photos of trains like this, having a four or six wheeled coach at the head of a long rake of wagons and somehow I rather like this. Not many wagons at the moment, but in the long journey south to Limerick, I guess a fair few will be added along the way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Managed to find enough parts in my stores to build a new wagon this week, the subject being one of those dinky short vans that both the DSER and GS&WR ran. There are nice pictures in Rails to Achill showing one of each. Just 13'6 long, there appears to be many similarities between the two types and just a few detail differences. I've ended up doing the DSER one on the grounds that if it could make it to Achill, it could also reach Belmullet. An interesting plus point of vans like this is that being less only 10cm long, compared to over 15cm for say, an H type van, you can get nine of them v 6 H types in the same space.

 Construction is the usual Plastikard bodywork, with white metal fittings for W-irons, brakes, buffers etc, while lettering is my usual white ink & a dipping pen. The photos are a small homage to the Achill Island photos.

 Other work this week has involved necessary chores on the baseboards. Track power on the turntable has become intermittent, but managed to trace the problem to a loose lead, so that was an easy fix. However, more taxing has been getting all the control panel lights to be the right way round. LEDs show both which way the points are set and whether the signals are at clear or danger.

 The Megapoints system is seriously clever, but I often end up thinking I should have gone for something simpler. Each 'command' circuit board under the layout operates four servos and can be programmed to do certain things, like the amount of travel each servo makes, plus direction and even a degree of signal bounce. There are four push buttons on each board, so a sequence of these gives the desired effect. However, whether its just me or not, getting it all right has proved challenging, though it is hopefully now sorted.

 I've also decided that it will be prudent to be able to operate the layout from the rear, as well as the front, so have been doubling up the section switches on the loco shed. The push buttons for the uncoupling magnets and the controller socket also need the same treatment.

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Co-incidentally the May issue of New Irish Lines arrived at lunch time with drawings of three DSER wagons including that van!

A 3d printed version is available on Shapeways so I might invest in a few to kick start my van stock (1x GSR, 1X GSWR, 1xDSER) there's enough differences to make the distinct.

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22 hours ago, Angus said:

I love that van David the photo in Rails to Achill caught my eye too, I didn't realise the GSWR also had them, can you point me the way of a photo?

That shorter wheelbase type of van was almost standard prior to 1910 or so, and thus many examples lasted until the “H” vans were being produced at a serious rate of knots in the early 1960s. The West Cork system had loads of very old vans until closure in 1961.

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Amazing to think, that in 2mmFS, one of these vans is a fraction over an inch long. The 5p coin is going to look quite big in comparison! Meanwhile, I continue to be astonished at what is out there. 2mm scale, 3D printed GSWR vans - who'd have thought it?

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 Much faffing about this week, to little visual effect, though hopefully it will have some impact on eventual operation. Belmullet has a provisional invite to this year's Uckfield show in October [though of course nothing is certain yet], so decided it was time to start sorting out presentation and operational aspects of the layout, in the hope that the show will indeed go ahead this time.

 So, first up, some planning. Belmullet was originally conceived to be front operated, like Fintonagh, but it now seems prudent to move operation to the rear at shows, in order to put a bit of distance to Joe Public. The downside of this is that the train driver will be mostly standing up, though the upside is that [at a pinch], one person could operate the layout on their own, albeit two will be best - one to drive the trains and one to man the fiddle yard and talk to visitors. A compromise to all this is that it will be difficult to fully enclose the scenic section, as the driver/operator will need to see over the back scene, so layout height will likewise need to be lower than planned too. While I'm sure there are alternatives, including using cameras or mirrors, the fact is, I aint no techie - indeed, when I go into a computer store these days, not only do I have no idea what much of the stuff on sale is for, I don't really care either! Perhaps I should, but electrickery holds little interest for me - I'd rather be making stuff.

 Enabling rear operation has involved duplicating the controls:

  • Baseboard 1 [station end], has the controller socket, plus three 'push to make' switches to operate the uncoupling magnets. Fairly easy to do, as the wiring all goes to/from tag strips, while [unusually for me], I'd even labelled things too. 
  • The middle board doesn't have any controls, but Baseboard 3 has the turntable crank, plus three section switches for the loco shed area. The latter were sorted as per BB1; the turntable was adapted by adding an extension & bracket to the other side, along with a hole in the frames for the crank handle.

 The photos hopefully give an idea of what is going on underneath the baseboards, including one of the Megapoints servo control boards. I've also included photos of the control panel itself - the one of the inside shows the vast amount of wires used, with triple servo leads linking everything to the mother board. The clever bit with the Megapoints system is that just a single [three wire] servo lead links the panel to the layout, with an additional couple of wires taking power from the transformer. No soldering either, it's all 'plug and play'.

 The final photo shows my latest acquisition, an Alpagraphix kit for an F6 2-4-2T. The idea is to build it in original guise, with a 'waisted' smokebox and oven type doors. Looks like I'll need to turn up a new chimney for it too, among other things, though this is not a priority at the moment as the presentation of the layout needs to come first.

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Last time, I was wittering on about doing the presentation aspects of the layout, but thinking about it, decided it could probably wait, not least because DIY supplies are getting expensive at the moment, particularly wood and board, so prices are going up too. Hence, attention has turned to the F6 kit instead.

 I'm still waiting for extra components for the chassis, so in a break from my usual practice have started with the loco body. As with other Alphagraphix kits, this one is well thought out, with instructions that indicate whoever wrote them, actually built the kit as well - not always the case in my experience with other manufacturers!  However, the curved footplate, cab, bunker and tanks mean this is not an easy kit to make, especially compared to the J26.

 The footplate is very fragile until the tanks, bunker and [especially] the cab splashers are soldered in place, so there was a fair bit of muttering and grumbling while it was all coming together - not unlike Galteemore's experience on his model I suspect. Fingers crossed, it is all sitting nice and square, but such things can still come back to bite you as other parts are added. Must admit the firebox is a curious affair, with  the front end etched as though it had been cut with pinking shears. The triangular bits are bent inwards and filled with solder, before filing flat, so until the boiler is made up, I've no idea how this works out. Equally, Roger's stuff has always worked out before, so watch this space...

 

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Well, if the bodywork was a bit of a challenge, the cab roof was a decided pain in the fundament. It is a single etching, which needs forming over the outline of the front, side and rear of the cab. Easier said than done - not because there was anything wrong with the etch, rather that no matter how accurate it was, errors in construction easily result in gaps or short comings.

 In my case, I can only think that the tabs and slots used for the bodywork didn't quite line up because there was a bit of leeway in their fitting - hence the one piece cab front/roof/end didn't sit right and not only was there a gap between it and the firebox top, but side tanks didn't mate up with the etched outline on the cab front. So, what to do..?

 In my case, I decided to solder a new fillet to the inside of the cab front, then carefully file it to match the profile of the firebox top. I ground off the etched sections which are supposed to line up with the water tanks and similarly ground off the beading on the cab front, around the firebox top. With hindsight, a better idea for the kit would have been to provide this beading as a separate curved etch, so it could be used to cover any small gaps between the two. I will now need to fashion something similar from brass strip.

 Curving the whole section and then soldering it in place took me the best part of four sessions. However, 'tis now done and hopefully careful application of filler and sanding back will ensure the final coats of paint hide any blemishes.

 Meanwhile, this morning an interesting parcel finally arrived, in the shape of a 12 inch pizza box. Inside was my order for a new turntable from Kitwood Models. It's been a while since I first asked for it, but what seems to happen is that Kitwood wait for a certain number of orders to accumulate, before embarking on production - in this case a run of sixty or so. The box contains a wealth of laser cut timber parts, along with an electric motor, necessary gears and plunger pick ups, brass wheels, etc. The kit is actually sold for American [or Australian] outline 0n3 scale, but hopefully, with a few cosmetic additions, I can make it look the part for 36.75mm gauge. Indeed, it may just take precedence over the F6 for a while...

 

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Excellent David - although you’re giving me flashbacks !! It is a most exacting task and I remember a lot of fettling, filing and filleting too-  nice job you’ve done though.

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After the challenges of the main bodywork, the chassis has proved relatively straightforward. My order from Premier Components arrived on Monday, containing their excellent machined gearbox, but now fitted with a Canon 1833 motor instead of the previous Mashima, which is no longer available. I'd also ordered some more axle bushes/top hat bearings and various bits and pieces recommended by the Alphagraphix kit. I've used Slater's bushes in the past, but the etched holes in the frames require significantly more reaming out to make them fit.

 The frames follow the usual Alphagraphix practice of being a single fold up etch, which always works well and gives a very square base to add all the other stuff. This includes a clever motor cradle: for 36.75mm gauge you add the top hat bearings the wrong way round, soldering them to the cradle [not the frames], so the whole cradle pivots downwards if required. The cradle also doubles up as the ash pan sides and means the motor and gearbox are neatly hidden between the frames, leaving plenty of room for extra weight in the side tanks and boiler. The motor drives the leading driving wheels.

 The front and rear pony wheels include a simple springing system [a bit like on the 6 wheel coaches] and there is enough side play available to go through my 6ft radius curves and points. After a bit of gentle reaming of the bearings, all wheels now rotate freely. Being a four coupled loco, there is only a single pair of coupling rods to deal with. The etches need to be paired up for double thickness, but once done and added to the driving wheels, a quick test showed these also run freely. Despite building over 60 locos in various scales and gauges, I'm still really pleased, if not surprised, when this happens first time, but is certainly proof of well designed etchings.

 Brake gear was [as usual for me], a bit of a faff - I just never seem to have enough hands or fingers! However, it went together well enough and includes representation of the linkage from the vacuum and hand brake controls in the cab.

The body work sits well enough on the chassis, as shown in the photos. Very little cleaning up has been done so far, apart from washing off excess flux, which certainly shows the benefits of soldering joints from the inside, wherever possible.

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More challenges

 It seems to me that, as the basic parts of a kit come together, so do the chances of it not happening as intended. A couple of degrees out of alignment, a millimetre or so the wrong way and [just as everything should be lining nicely], suddenly problems appear. I remember once getting lucky with a 7mm scale white metal kit of a narrow gauge Baldwin 4-6-0T - nothing lined up, but somehow the sum of the parts was greater than the whole and it looked fine. Not so here though, for having made up the boiler and smokebox units, assembling them on the footplate showed all was not well.

 The boiler was simple enough to make, especially as I still have the club's set of rolling bars, while the smokebox has a neat inner frame to help you along. However, because I am modelling an F6 in near original condition, this has meant making it 'waisted', rather than straight sided, so this has meant making a new front, complete with oven type doors. The biggest problem here was adding the strapping, hinges, handles & so on, which was really fiddly and I ought to have used my RSU instead of a conventional soldering iron. I tried adding rivets using my GW Models press, but this didn't work out well, so they were sanded off & I'll eventually add them using ones from an Archer's transfer sheet.

 So far, so good, but in assembling the pieces problems arose. At the firebox end, there is a 3mm gap, which is supposed to be filled by bending out saw toothed sections on the firebox, but it didn't look right to me, so instead I've added a short section from curved brass strip and then filed it to be a nice fit. However, both the drawings and photos show the joint should curve down to the boiler from the firebox top, so I used a piece of 2mm brass wire, plus lots of solder to emulate this. As it stands, some filler will be needed though to get the right shape.

 At the smokebox end, there is a very noticeable drop down to the boiler, which should be in three shorter steps. Had I been thinking ahead, I could have cut two discs from 18 and 15thou brass sheet, which would have had the bonus of closing the gap at the firebox end. Instead, I used 0.9mm brass wire, bend around the join. Once soldered in place, this was carefully filed to a square profile, then a second ring of 0.7mm wire was added on top and given the same treatment. I then needed to add a new front boiler band from thin brass strip and did the same to the front edge of the firebox. Finally, I used a piece of small section L shaped brass, bent round a piece of one inch pipe to make a piece of beading to hide the join between the firebox and cab front.

 Still with me? Well done, because the work was indeed as tedious as this must read!

 One correction I now need to do is to grind off the top steps on the coal bunker, as early on their lives, these engines had no upper coal rails, so the steps weren't needed. However, I have a question for the cognoscenti among you - the water filler sits in the coal space, so would it have been originally as tall as it was later, to stand above coal rails?

 Speaking of corrections, am pretty sure I'll need to turn a new chimney, while the casting for the dome looks decidedly anorexic - compared to the drawing, it should be a scale six inches more in diameter. Life is complicated they say, that's why it is fun. Allegedly....

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The little F6 is taking shape now, with most fittings added. It's a runner too, as pick ups were fitted this afternoon & wired to the motor.

 I used my mini lathe to turn up a new dome, as the casting provided is a good scale six inches too thin according to the drawing. Wasn't sure about the chimney either - in original form, the F6 chimney tapered towards the top; later versions are the other way round and photographic evidence suggests they were replaced with the latter before rebuilding with a straight sided smokebox took place. In the end, decided to use the casting provided, but did a bit of gentle fettling to reduce the size of the top flare and make a more pronounced top lip too. Something else that needed trimming was the water filler casting. Photos in the Oakwood Press book on the Valencia Harbour line show the filler was lower before raised coal rails were added.

 Before fitting the pickups, the chassis was cleaned up and sprayed with etching primer [Halfords rattle can], then used 5 minute epoxy to add small pieces of pcb to the frames to take 0.5mm phosphor bronze wire. Driving wheel pickups are easily hid up in the side tanks, those on the front and rear pony truck are tucked behind the wheels themselves as there is nowhere else to put them. It seems to run really well, though the gears are a little noisy at the moment. However, there's no lubrication yet, so hopefully a bit of gentle running in, along with some grease will quieten things down. Initial testing suggests the F6 should be ok with two six wheel coaches, but if not, there is plenty of room in the side tanks, boiler and firebox for ballast.

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