This is a resurrected Project in.
Restarted in November 2017. I have modified a number of operations to this build, not because the original design was wanting but because I wished to improve it further to my satisfaction. I have found this is often the case with kits that have been blown up from 4mm originals because of the different building techniques between to the two scales. There has been much rewriting of the original text.
One of the reasons this got put in the cupboard was that the insulation on the driving wheels failed. I had cut the spokes and Araldited two of them but when tested across a meter they were live. I spent a couple of hours recently carefully sawing through half the joints on each to remove the Araldite checking them on a meter after each cut to see if I'd found the one that was shorting. Bet I'll find it on the last cut on each wheel. This time I shall be very careful when applying the epoxy to fill in the gaps.
I also bit the bullet and decided to remove the etched boiler bands, they are far too prominent and would detract from an otherwise pretty engine. However, after starting to work on the boiler it became apparent that the brass was far too thin where there were no bands; risking penetrating the thin tubes so I decided to remove both the firebox and boiler cladding and replace them on the boiler frame with a new ones scratched up from much thicker (about twice the thickness in fact) nickel silver; scratch building of this order is something of a new venture for me, see later. I also have to devise a way to fit the dampers and nuts for the springs, as they are on the Armstrong since there is no provision for them in the kit and they are a prominent feature on these old engines. I am experimenting with both tube and square stock, suitably drilled and tapped 12BA and again, see later.
The castings for the chimney, dome and safety valve cover are very poor having taken hours to fettle, I am still not happy with the safety valve cover and may change for a Laurie Griffin version. It is possible that they were not the original supplied with the kit since I have a habit of plundering part built projects for parts on other builds, though I usually replace them fairly rapidly, time to sort though the spares box I think.
I bought the kit in good faith from Sanspariel and at the time Ian Young (owner of Sanspariel) was in dispute with Peter Kay so when I asked Mr Kay for assistance he refused, very mean spirited of him I thought then and do still. It has not been an easy build but it has been interesting (somewhat like the Chinese curse at times!) but all the parts fit exactly as they should. The kit is credited generally to Peter Kay but the real work of design was done, I recently discovered - (October 2010) by Peter Cross and a damn fine job he did too. Mr Kay was supposed apparently to produce instructions with illustrations and has signally failed so to do.
This kit has spent several years, part built, in a box and this is a good test of one's soldering techniques, how many bits fall off when it is disinterred and cleaned? Happily in this case only two.
I am reminded of Bill Parker's (WEP) exhortation in his wagon kit instructions, that it is really scratch building where someone has cut out the part for one. Certainly, due to the lack of diagrams it is the case here and it is often difficult to see which part goes where.
Unfortunately, the instructions consist of pages of exhortations to "solder part x to part c", which is all very well but there is not one single drawing or sketch provided, which were supposed apparently to have been provided by Mr. Kay. This means one is expected slavishly to follow Mr. Kay's method; it makes the job rather tedious, which is a great pity.
However, there is no denying that it is on the whole a very well designed and thought out kit. All the etched parts have their numbers etched on the fret nearby, which is I think an excellent method. The manufacturer suggests filing off the boiler bands while still in the flat. Why they were etched in first place baffles me, they are too thick and out of keeping with the general excellence of the etches but will have to remain as filing them off at this late stage is not an option (but see later).
The wrappers for the sandboxes were scrapped as too fiddly and the boxes scratched up from solid brass. I think the paint will hide the joints, purely my prejudice. Back to Top
Here is a detail shot of the inside of the boiler/firebox, which shews largely how it was put together using brass rod to line up the parts and hold them in place. A neat, practical and strong method. The whole unit then slots into the footplate with two pins into the back of the cab and four tabs into the footplate under the smoke box, which is then held in place with a couple of 8BA bolts.
Good design, as it can be taken apart, with care, for painting. The only thing missing is a suitable hole in the base of the smoke box through which to insert a 6BA bolt into the chimney base to hold it in place and a similar hole in the base of the boiler for the safety valve cover. Something I later decided to address when I replaced the fire box and boiler wrappers.
Here is a detail shot of the underside of the footplate, which shews how the double frames were done. It is an excellent piece of design that goes together well despite its unavoidable complexity. I have since removed a small section behind both buffer beams to allow more room for the sprung buffers, which I have changed for a set of Slater's because they have integral springs and turned, steel heads, whereas the kit supplies cast nickel to be externally sprung. My choice, nothing wrong with the parts supplied. It is between these frames that I need to fit suitable mountings for the spring hangers and dampers.
The chassis had severely to be modified because it came with S7 spacers (which Mr. Kay refused to change, really a most unhelpful man with no idea of customer service) so I had to make new ones.
The AGH wheels turned up well and a coat of paint will hide the cut marks where I insulated them with trusty, old fashioned Araldite, cured in the oven. (This was before I discovered that the insulation had failed!) All wheels are sprung, which is why it sits so high at present. They can be dropped out from below by unscrewing the keeper plates under each horn guide.
On reflection though, I may alter that and compensate the drivers instead, we shall see. One of the reasons it is so long in the building (aside from lack of time) is due to the method recommended to produce the outside axle boxes. They are a fold up item that makes a hollow box with a tiny hole that then needs to be opened out to the axle size, very difficult as there is little to hold while reaming them out. I shall make some new ones in solid nickel silver instead with the new milling machine. Back to Top
The instructions mention a set of additional notes for assembling the inside motion, which were absent from my set but the manufacturer chose not to send them, despite providing the stamps as requested. So fitting some form dummy or working motion is going to take a little research.
So, to continue with this most interesting build I removed the firebox and boiler wrappers to reveal the rather clever framework it is built upon.
And work began on making replacement parts. This meant sacrificing such niceties as the boiler band tensioning bolts but I think there may be a casting available for this, I seem to remember Malcolm Mitchell did some for his kits, I shall investigate further.
To make the boiler and firebox more robust I decided to use some nickel silver sheet at 0.04mm rather than the 0.02mm that the original was once the etching process was completed and began by flattening the original parts on the sheet of nickel silver and carefully marking around them, checking with calipers that they were square.
The great thing about magnets and steel plates is their ability to anchor parts against a straight edge. The next job is to cut them out, the boiler is straight forward enough and tin snips did a good job but the firebox wrapper required the nibbler to cut out the majority of the curved parts. The remaining curves will be held firmly in a hold and fold and very carefully filed to their final shape. Once that is complete, measuring up for the handrail knob, dome and safety valve holes is next followed by a visit to the rolling bars. I shall make holes in the base of the smoke box drum to allow the chimney to be bolted in place and the same for the dome, the safety valve cover can already be bolted easily and a suitable 6BA nut was turned down to fit the base and soldered in place in the base of the castings. This should make painting for Warren somewhat simpler.
Here then is my first attempt at scratch building a firebox and boiler. I may have to resort to annealing for the firebox, 0.4mm nickel silver is quite resistant to being rolled but we are getting there. Once the boiler is soldered up I shall make a hole in the base large enough to get a 6BA bolt through to attach the dome.
The smoke box was designed to be bolted on, I have modified the base to get a 4BA bolt in to secure the chimney however, this will only be used to hold it in place while I solder it in place or wait for the Araldite to set.
I have also begun fitting the springs. The mounting holes need careful opening out but the springs will be able to be simply pushed into place with the long outer hangers held in the tube that will be soldered between the frames, the other end of which will carry the damper held in place by a 12BA bolt and two nuts. The tubes will have to turned up and threaded in the lathe.
Here the frame for boiler and smokebox are temporarily fitted, they look somewhat the worse for wear but the wrappers should still fit OK, we shall see at the next session. The new stock of slow setting Araldite arrived too so I can get on with the drivers and see about getting a running chassis.
The new boiler and firebox fitted, after some fettling, the dome, chimney and safety valve are not fixed yet and the handrail knob holes require some adjustment, which is a bit a pain. However, once completed the boiler/firebox and smoke box will be removable and the dome and safety valve cover will also come off easily to. I decided on fixing the chimney permanently so that it can be drilled right through for the possible fitting of DCC sound in the future. It was also not really feasible to use a 6BA screw since it would have required a quite large hole in the base of the smokebox to allow locating one.
The really bad news is that having recut half the spokes in one of the driving wheels, carefully cleaned them up and blasted the spaces with IPA, run paper strips through and then Araldited the spaces, then recut the remaining spokes and it STILL is not insulating! Most frustrating, makes me wonder if Araldite is not a conductor!
Meanwhile, I shall move on to making the fittings to secure the dampers in place and trying to fix the wheel insulation problem.
In fact the next thing I did was properly to clean up the parts and add more detail to the body. After all these years (possibly 10!) it is beginning to look something like a model of a real engine.
The springs are only temporarily fitted awaiting the dampers and their housings; a job for the lathe when I am in the mood.
A good deal of the cleaning up was done with fibre glass brushes and then a steel brush in the Proxxon; finally the dome, safety valve and chimney were fitted in the Proxxon and cleaned up with wet and dry before a good dose of metal cleaner. Because the safety valve is bolted to the firebox, the base for the inside gubbins had to be shortened a good deal, it will be held in place with a small ball of blue tack.
The driving wheel sets have finally been put together and the insulation works perfectly; I used Loctite 603 to secure them after making sure the mating surfaces were clinically clean. Set the wheels to gauge and let the Loctite wick its way into the joint. This view is from upside down, the drivers are held in place by screwed retaining plates while the front wheel set is held in place with a wire staple that fits into the frame.
There is little room to fit working motion which would have had to have built in situ so I decided simply to add some dummy representation. Here the slide bars are, after much fiddling, fitted. The connecting rods come from the etch for the inside motion but there are no slippers so I shall scratch something up using what parts are available and solder them in place. It is very likely that the bosses for the cranks will go to. There is very little room to see much under the boiler and I will be happy this with non working gear.
The connecting rods and slippers being scratched up, somewhat crude and far from prototypical but once permanently fitted between the frames should look the part from normal viewing distances.
Another job to do is cut some slots in the boiler sides to allow the from driver to rotate properly but that will be dealt with later.
Here is the dummy motion completed, it is not a wonderful example but, once the engine is completed, what can be seen should look reasonably convincing. It is all soldered solid including the connecting rods, which have been shortened so as not to interfere with the movement of the engine and allow easy withdrawal of the wheels set.
As you can see there are tapped holes behind the front driving wheel to support an underhung spring. I suspect there must have been an etch for this but if so it has been lost in the fray over time so I elected to add some springs from Laurie Griffin. The casting do not have any form of fitting so I thought about it all for a while and came up with this answer.
The spring was thinned down to a little less that half its original thickness and then cleaned up. Now it only remained to make some sort of bracket that can be soldered to the spring, which in turn can be bolted to the ready made stanchions provided in the frames.
Here is the resulting bracket along with the spring and scrap etch ready to make the second one, which hopefully will not take so long. Being bolted in place means that the wheels set can be dropped out when required.
TO BE CONTINUED
The tender is a great model with some very neat ideas, for instance, the etched jigs to get the coal rails even and level. The whole tender is designed to bear down on the engine's drag box to add weight. I shall do this but have also sprung the front two axles rather than let them just bounce along for the ride.
I used Slater's wheels for the tender chassis (here, in need of a good clean too) and the black stuff shewing above the wheels is liquid lead to add more weight when it is bearing down on the back of the engine. It to rides too high at present due to the springs and no weight from the tender body. Back to Top
I have removed the liquid lead as I do not want similar problems in the future to those I had with the 45xx.
Since the whole thing was in pieces it seemed a good idea to take some pictures of the components. Here are some shots shewing how this chassis was sprung. Four small pieces of tube were soldered above each of the horn guide openings with a cap soldered on the top end. They are there to hold springs and a flat plate was also soldered to the top hat bearings for them to rest on and to stop the bearing rotating in the horns.
The keeper plate provided as part of the kit then holds both axles in place against the springs, so there is no increase in friction to the rotation of the axles. The paint on the back of the wheels on one side is silver to short them out for the American style pick-up.
Here the chassis is the right way up and the tube spring holders can clearly be seen. The gap where the liquid lead was will be filled with lead sheet cut to size.
To be completed soon!