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John's Workbench a Mixed Bunch

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Bit of a Mixed Bag. Recently I have been catching up trying to finish a number of half started loco and rolling stock projects. To complicate matters a little in three different gauges and scales:).


About five years ago I decided to sample some of the locally manufactured kits of NZR locos and stock.




Model Locomotive Company 9mm Scale NZR F & S Scale NZR open wagons Runs on O Gauge track the kit is a mixture of whitemetal and brass stampings and a hell of a lot of lost wax castings. Most of the assembly work is complete just a uestion of adding the details.


The wagons are a mixture of whitemetal, resin and plasticard parts.




Whistle and Safety Valves




Westinghouse Pump, Headlamp and Turbo Generator blutacked in place


Because of the size most of these sub-assemblies will be pre-painted and pinned in place.




A bit closer to home TMD (SSM) MGWR E Class GSR/CIE J26


The main sub assemblies ready to go! The first etch brass Irish loco kit designed 1981 & the first brass kit I attempted which is still going strong.




Georgian Windows and Doors!


I am planning to use thses in a terrace of low relief houses on my Liffey Branch test track.













Edited by Mayner
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I always had a fascination with loading trains and have tried to build working storage bins in 4mm and G Scale.


Its important to make the hopper door in the form of a flap or grab arrangement as a sliding door quickly binds as the material being loaded is ground to dust.



Storage Bin


This one is based on a bin at a South Island Coal Mine, in Ireland there were similar bins for loading railway ballast at Goraghwood, Knockcrockery and Lisduff




Original Tinplate Hopper Door


The original doors were too small for the size of pebbles in the bin and the plumbers flux used was pretty corrosive.



The new door was fabricated from a sheet of KS Brass


The upper section attached to the base of the bin, the fold lines are marked/scribed with a scriber and folded up from one piece of brass in a vice. The single seam soldered with ressin cored solder helped out with Phosphoric Flux (rust proofer)


The sides of the hopper door are cut out with a tin snips from two pieces of brss sandwitched together, in this case I simply folded a piece of brass bck on itself.


The bottom part was formed around a bicycle pump the sides then soldered in position. I first pinned one of the sides to a piece of MDF and the bottom to a block of wood, clamped both in position then soldered the joint, then repeated the process to complete.





Before soldering the pivot/operating lever in position I checked that it would actually work by filling the bin and loading a few wagons.


I manged to solder the pivot rod to the sides without binding the whole assembly solid.:)


I have a HO Walthers Glacier Gravel kit stashed away so I may end up building an Irish 4mm version.











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  • 11 months later...

I was shocked to see that I had started a thread on unfinished projects 12 months ago, in soem cases there is been good progress and others nothing, but few items actually completed.


I had converted a Large Scale Bachmann centre cab diesel into a battery electric end cab similar to Southern Pacific No1 a couple of years ago. The main problem with the loco is visual towering over over Bachmann & LGB stock, the original was a standard gauge loco on narrow gauge trucks a problem not helped by the loco being built to a larger scale than the Big Haulier Range and most LGB stock.




She has been out of service since Christmas since I used the batterys and electronic control gear to convert the LGB DRGW Davenport Switcher #50 to battery control.




No1 is currently in Diesel No 1 to be trimmed down nearer to 1:22.5 with a narrower running board and cut down GE cab similar to the 1950s General Electrics supplied to US Gypsum that morphed into the U6-10 export designs http://www.thedieselshop.us/Data%20GE%20U4-B.HTML


I started work on a TMD MGWR tank about 12 months ago, I came across an unbuilt and seemingly complete kit along with 8-9 unbuilt and part built kits about 10 years ago. I was intending to complete this loco before giving 552 my first etched kit started nearly 30 years ago a long over due mechanical upgrade.



The kit is based on the loco in the original pre-1912 condition, before they were rebuilt by the Midland but kept their flush riveted smokeboxes and original cast Iron chimneys until late GSR/CIE days. I though of modelling the loco in GSR condition but desided to model the loco in GSR days.



The project stalled while I drew up a riveted smokebox and hunted down some missing parts plus a spare set of boiler fittings for a forthcoming project from Des. After hunting through my stock of funnels I the J15 funnel looks reasonably close, I just need to hunt down a suitable smoke box door as the beautiful Attock door supplied with the kit disappeared in the 1912 rebuild.




The etched smokebox came out pretty good and I could soon end up with a surplus of steam and diesel shunting and pilot locomotives.



Moving on to carriage and wagon, I have completed casting the next batch of narrow gauge wagons with plenty of seconds in the background. The mould has stood up pretty well but is getting to the end of its life showing signs of wear.




I have used planked Basswood in a number of wagons including this GNR Bread Contair wagon, the deck is finished with a acrylic stain. This was built from a Jeremy Suter kit, I still need to decide on whether to finish the whitemetal containers supplied or use the Pre-finished Provincial wagons variety or go for a CIE furniture container.




These NZR wagons have been lurking around for several years, lettering and kadees to complete. The low sided wagon is a composite whitemetal and polyester resin kit, the high sided whitemetal with a lost wax brass brake lever.




This KN has been lurking around even longer from my last attempt at resin casting in the 1990s, there are problems with the mould and it may be easier to start anew than try and re-work the pattern.




A few improvements on the S&E side at Keadue though its unlikely the C&L ever had an electrical side to its Signalling Department. The points are actuated through Blue Point hand operated point motors which also switch frog polarity and also do odd things like switching power control between controllers rather than section switches.


I have finally got around to hooking up the Blue Points to pull rods on the layout fascia $2.65 a throw rather than the $7.00 for the Blue Point boden cable and knob.






After years of complaint the Building Department has finally hung the engine shed doors, hopefully no one will drive into them. The doors are held in position with little brass pins or dowels drilled into the door and stonework. I need to line and whitewash the interior of the shed perhaps provide a tool bench and a light.




A real Flat World Society dilema The level crossing end of the station was very much an after though how to suggest the goods yard entrance and un modelled portion without falling off the edge of the World.


A single gate and ramp up to the loading bank and goods shed is modelled, the gate is glued to removable a section of rail that fits in a hole in the baseboard.




A new old brake van was needed for the coal train, the existing van is getting decrepit and the receently acquired ex T&D van and coach are kept on the main line and not allowed to stray into an odd corner of County Roscommon. The van is a Backwoods Miniatures kit very nice easy to assemble model but most vans lost the distinctive pannelling and ended up as rather plain boxes on wheels in CIE days. The paint was mixed locally and is nearer the later CIE light green that the darker shade used in the early 1950s.




Two staff members discussing Roscommon's chances of making it to the Connaght football finals or the pricee of a heifer at the Drumshanbo Fair

Edited by Mayner
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Some great work John,like the engine shed and brake van.I know what you mean about starting projects and never seem to get them completed,that is my biggest problem with modelling,half finished projects.One question,in a few of the shots there is a low relief factory type building,is it scratch built or a kit?

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Some great work John,like the engine shed and brake van.I know what you mean about starting projects and never seem to get them completed,that is my biggest problem with modelling,half finished projects.One question,in a few of the shots there is a low relief factory type building,is it scratch built or a kit?


Its based on the maltings at Grand Canal Street built from Wills Material Sheets part of a dockside layout I started but never finished, perhaps come day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The postman has been busy today two little packages arrived from the UK this morning one with loco and tender wheels the other with a pair of narrow gauge wagon kits and another package of wheels.


Parkside produce a wide range of narrow and standard gauge wagon kits in most of the popular scales, including a small range of Tralee & Dingle Kits while the BR Ply sided van is a good basis for a conversion into the ex-GNR Cement Vans and with a little more work a standard CIE H Van, while the BR Palvan forms a good basis for the CIE Sliding Door Pallet Vans.


These kits used to be fairly basic but they no longer fit into the cheap and cheerful category quality has improved dramatically over the past 20 years.


I tried a couple of their T&D wagon chassis as a basis for some coal wagons then Parkside released a 3' Gauge Irish open wagon based on Tralee & Dingle & West Clare practice. The Tralee and Dingle was notorious for its cheap construction and poor management, but they got it right with locos and stock, with Tralee & Dingle hand me downs finding their way to the West Clare and Cavan & Leitrim.




The kits are fairly typical Parkside with nice body mouldings and the chassis in black plastic, the Tralee & Dingle wagon chassis is unusual by Parkside standards having the W Irons separate from the solebars.




I usually smooth the edge of the solebar by lightly rubbing it along a file, (draw filing) this takes out any ridges or moulding lines, some of the older Parkside BR chassis used to be rough in this respect.




Parkside supply brass top hat bearings with their 12mm and OO Gauge kits, this and pin point axle wheel sets is one of the secret of smooth running.




Gently press the bearing in with a pliers.




The W Irons locate into rebates in the solebar.




Check that the W Irons align before the weld cures.




Although the instructions recommends assembling the chassis before the body, I decided to fit the ends first in order to keep the solebars square. The little moulding pips need to be removed as they foul the sole bars.




Solebar and one end fitted

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Now the fiddly bit fitting the wheels and setting up the second solebar, the underframe ribs and ends help locate and align the solebar.




Two assembled wagons, the brake gear is the most difficult part, there is nothing to positively locate the brake shoes or vacuum cylinder, while the plastic shaft that runs between the V hangers is not exactly the most practical of ideas.




The wagon on the left is similar to a pair of T&D ballast wagons sent to the C&L in the 1950, while the wagon with rounded ends is supposed to be typical of West Clare Practice.




On the way to the paint shop surprisingly the Parkside wagons are the same width but shorter than my C&L opens.


Now for something completly different.


I bought a Bachmann Large Scale 45 Ton centre cab diesel several years ago, I was not happy with the appearence or performance, she towered above the LGB stock and had a habit of blowing up decoders.


The loco was converted to battery operation as an end cab unit a couple of years ago but I was still not happy with the general appearence




So a trip to the shops for re-building just need the overhead gantrys to look the part :)




The loco was stripped down to the underframe in order to "narrow it a little bit"




Re-assembly in progress underframe narrowed, new cut outs in body for radiator air intake grills and outlet, old radiator grill filled in, new hood access panels, low profile GE cab.




Cab fabricated from 0.75-1.5-0.75 plasticard and ABS. windows in 0.75mm material cut out with craft knife, 1.5mm with piercing saw and files.


These days I generally produce a full size drawing of the part and fix it to the plasticard with spraymount, as errors usually occur in transferring dimensions from a drawing to the material for cutting.




I kept the Bachmann 1:20.5 scale control stand although the driver will need to go on a diet to fit in a 1:22.5 Scale Cab its no worse that some of the NZR classes.




This could be a quick re-build as the little Porter is doing most of the work at the moment, and the steamer is a long term re-build into a C25 ,shorten front frame new cab, smokebox and funnel, new tender body, new tender bogies.


I will probably go for a DRGW style repaint more GSR paint with yellow trim and yellow warning stripes similar to the Georgetown Loop diesels.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another fairly productive weekend in 3 different scales, I basically promised myself that I would concentrate on finishing projects I had already started, though I have built some baseboards :).


The J26 is starting to look like a loco, with just some details to complete before painting.




The funnel & safety valve covers are temporary, the kit is supplied in its original condition the MGWR reboilered the locos before WW1 & GSR/CIE fited riveted smokeboxes and built up chimneys in the 1940s. The smokebox is my own and Des is sending a GNR "Ross Pop" safety valve cover & J15 chimney for my CIE version.


The E Class was Terry McDermotts first Irish etched brass kit released 30 years ago, and although complete building the loco is more like assembling a scratch-built loco (without having to cut out the parts) than the later TMD & SSM kits.




The main change from the instructions is I built the loco with a removabe roof, so I can model the cab interior, this involves removing the tabs from above the cab sides and a brass strip arrangement to hold the roof in place.


I built one of these locos in the 80s with a then state of the art Anchorage DS10 motor and Mike Sharman 40:1 gear box, the current loco has a Mashima motor and a Branchlines 52:1 multi-stage gear box which keeps the cab clear and provides greater low speed torque needed for freight and shunting work.



The Midland introduced these locos for branch line working and shunting and they seem to have worked mainly on the shorter branch lines like Loughrea, Edenderry & Athboy until replaced by tender locos or the ending of passenger services. In GSR days 3 were transferred to the Tramore line, others ended up in Cork and Tralee. They seem to have been a fixture as station pilot in Galway, while one of the last working at Liffey Junction until replaced by a G Class.





F Class injector.

Pipe on the top right hand side is the live steam supply, the U shaped contraption is the pipe from the saddle tank, crooked pipe on the left feed to the boiler, vertical pipe overflow.


Compared with an Irish loco detailing an NZR loco is fun and games, despite having a load of photos I ended up crawling over F185 in the dark to figure out the plumbing but thats another story.


Most of the detail castings are in cast brass which is an absoute swine to drill, fortunately I got a drill press for Christmas, I basically drilled out the pilot hoes in the castings and used Loctite rather than solder to secure the pipework. The injector well injects water from the saddle tank into the boiler using live steam.



Getting there.

Plumbing more or less fitted, the loco body splits in 4 sub assemblies, with the saddle tank, smokebox and firebox as one unit, the cab and bunker are removable.


On the large scale side body work modifications are nearly complete to the GE end cabbed diesel, I am thinking of a DRGW diesel scheme dark gray with tiger stripes on the ends, there has been a surprise spurt with the 2-8-0, I have narrowed the tender body by 1/2" and fitted the cab roof and the loco is now in proportion with the rest of my LGB & Bachmann stock.



DRGW C21 Mudhen?

This started life as a Bachmann Connie 2-8-0 a 1:20.3 scale model of a Mexican 2'6" gauge loco which is out of proportion both with 1:20.3 scale American 3' gauge stock and Bachmann & LGBs 1:22 scale narrow gauge stock.


Apart from the new cab the loco has lost its outside Baker valve gear and the running boards have been narrowed and the head amp moved from the middle to the top of the smokebox.

This will probably be battery remote control like the diesel as the Digitrax RC has proved un-reliable in the garden.

Edited by Mayner
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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest hidden-agenda

John the E class is catching my eye as i have one i built back in the day but it never ran properly for me as i got a chassis made and all these years later i discovered the top of the motor is touching the boiler and causing a short so lucky i still have the original chassis bits and may follow you in rebuilding her. Can you let me know where you source the new smoke box door as i may in time scratch build a new model or just get another kit and follow your rebuild.

Regards Gareth.

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J26 nearly ready for the paint shop, Inchacore style smokebox and chimney (SSM J15) smokebox door fitted with riveted straps. Only realised one of the foot steps was missing when I took the photo. Sandbox operating levers stilll to be added.








J26 stripped down to its main component parts, the chassis was spray painted with Howes Weathered black then sealed with a flat varnish before fitting wheels. The motor and gearbox will be concelaed in the boiler leaving the cab free for detail, this area is wide open in the kkit so I fabricated the cab floor/bulkhead in brass and fitted a whitemetal firebox backhead (probably Alan Gibson).


The next stage is to fit the wheels and get tthe chassis running which should be reasonably straight forward.




The NZR tank loco has been dismanted for painting, I have airbrushed the loco using a Floquil "Engine Black" and Flat Finish as a sealer. I will do the same with the plumbing sub assemblies, which should protecct against scratching during final assembly.




Des supplied a sheet of custom lettering for my C&L stock, most of the wagons are now weathered but there are still one or two in reasonable condition. CIE used solid rather than stenciled lettering and numerals on the C&L.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Going back to locos its about time I got the J26 running, the first thing is to sort our the wheels. Marikits or Romford wheels are probably the best option for OO or EM as they are simple to use, and with metal centres last for ever, for 21mm gauge Ultrascale or Gibson plastic centred wheels are the only option. Ultrascale are probably the best wheel on the market and will supply with axles cut to any gauge, the downside is a limited range, slow delivery and very expensive. Gibson have a huge range, reasonably priced but a lot of care required in their use. For the J26 I used a set of 4'6" drivers the wheels are supplied with OO & EM axles, but an extended axle is available.DSCF7789.JPG The 14BA crankpin bolt cuts its own thread in the soft nylon wheel centre and is secured in place with Loctite, the last thing you want is a in working loose when the loco is assembled. The next stage is to fit the power pick ups, press on the wheels fit the coupling road and test run the loco which I hope to cover in the next couple of episodes. Progress has been slow of late as I had a couple of miss haps with the large scale locos including nearly dissolving the body of one in paint stripper and damaging the cab of another during the final test fit.:(






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I don't know how you have the patience for that John! Surely the tolerances with all the various arms and cranks is silly small, getting increasingly more difficult as the number of drive wheels increase? Is is really tricky to get a smooth running system? It's the one side of the hobby where I happily sit on the ditch and admire others' work. I am though looking forward to the instalment on pickups etc., something I do need to tackle on some of my stock. Richie

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I don't know how you have the patience for that John! Surely the tolerances with all the various arms and cranks is silly small, getting increasingly more difficult as the number of drive wheels increase? Is is really tricky to get a smooth running system? It's the one side of the hobby where I happily sit on the ditch and admire others' work. I am though looking forward to the instalment on pickups etc., something I do need to tackle on some of my stock. Richie

Richie its more a case of determination than patience, my biggest problem is impatience rushing things and destroying models or starting projects and not having the patience to finish them. Building a working chassis is probably simpler than detailing a loco or coach, provided the axle and rod centres line up you should have no problems. I cut my teeth with OO Gauge Craftsman 02 & 07 diesel shunter kits http://www.pagenumberone.co.uk/layouts/dock/Stock.htm before tackling EM or 21mm locos. The Craftsman kits are quite dated but simple to assemble using Marikits Wheels and a modern High Level Gearbox and motor, Comet produce excellent replacement chassis for most British rtr steam locos which will basically run for ever. The number of driving wheels makes little difference at one stage I had a nice little side-line building DJH Austerity 2-8-0s taking on average 30hrs to complete a loco.

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I don't know how you have the patience for that John! Surely the tolerances with all the various arms and cranks is silly small, getting increasingly more difficult as the number of drive wheels increase? Is is really tricky to get a smooth running system? It's the one side of the hobby where I happily sit on the ditch and admire others' work. I am though looking forward to the instalment on pickups etc., something I do need to tackle on some of my stock. Richie


I've just started my first loco kit (DJH 02 shunter) and apart from my own fudging (decided to replace all cast handrails with wire replacements, what a mistake!) it's gone together really well. The chassis is a bit sloppy, but hoping I can sort that out. Came with a motor, wheels and all. Thought I'd get some practice in before the D&M kit comes my way and always wanted to try.


Now I need to work out how I DCC it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

After building two rakes of coal wagons I thought it was about time to show it actually runs too. First off 3T with a laden coal special.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzctNhlwjAE

6T with the daily mixed empty coal wagons
need to do some work on the sound effects :trains:
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  • 4 weeks later...

A bit of work on the NZR loco to give the eyes a break, I broke the loco down into sub-assemblies mainly for painting and adding detail. The main sub assemblies were spray painted in Floquil Engine Black with a coat of clear finish, alas no more Floquil Testors are discontinuing the Floquil range of model railway paints. DSCF8169.JPG I have yet to add boiler bands and will probably use Presfix or similar lining transfers neat and self adhesive.





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NZR tended to follow American rather than British locomotive practice from an early stage pioneering the Pacific (4-6-2), Mountain 4-8-2 types. Older locos such as the Fs were retrofitted with air brakes and were fitted with acetylene and later electric headlights. The Model Locomotive Company F was supplied with lost wax electric headlights and a turbo-generator, but I needed some brackets for them to sit on. The turbo generator sits on a little table on top of the smokebox, while the head and tail lights are supported on angle brackets. I made up the brackets from scrap brass, first I marked out the general shape for cutting using a Square and Engineers scriber. DSCF8215.JPG The end result.








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