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David Holman

David's Workbench

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Am starting a new & on-going thread, in the style of many of you to encompass future projects - rather than have a different one for each model. Don't know if the moderators want to merge the Railbus into this, but happy to let it stand alone, as still want to add a couple more pictures.

First up in the new thread is the ticklish subject of signals. Well, ticklish to me that is & this is putting it mildly. I confess to an innate issue in putting together anything that is 'handed' [flatpacks a nightmare], so with the signal in question having 3 arms on two dolls, with an arse-about-face additional problem of operational bits being upside down underneath the baseboard surface. Simple structure, but a nightmare to make work.

The pictures show firstly 'one I made earlier' - an LNER lattice post two doll starter, built using Wizard Models components about which I cannot speak too highly. The second picture shows the bits I am using to build this model, alongside a picture of the prototype. The final one is progress thus far.

The two whitemetal main posts have been connected with laminated 60x250 thous plastic strip, then pinned and expoxied together. A Wizard Models slotted post kit caters for the two arm main post, with all three arms coming from the Tyrconnel Models etch available from Alphagraphix. The arms need to be painted before being fixed in place. This only took a couple of hours, but then linking the operating rods [0.7mm wire] to the balance weights and then below the baseplate to the operating mechanism took the whole weekend, amid much cussing and swearing.

Signal operation is a peculiar science which I often think is akin to iceberg theory in that 90% of the model is below the surface. The Wizard models idea works on a wire in tube format that allows the whole signal to be removed from the baseboard for transport an maintenance. L shaped 'paddles' pivot to give the up & down movement to the balance weights. This part seems to be working ok, but will be some time before I can install it on the layout as the baseboard needs a hole cut and the operating links fitted to the underside.

 

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A few more stress filled hours have got the signal finished, though not yet mounted.

As the pictures show, have added the finials, decking and the lamps. The latter and interesting exercise as I wanted to replicate the working lenses. The Sligo tended to go for a red light for danger and a clear white light when the signal was pulled off. They also had the lamps remote from the signal arm in many cases, so have done that with the two slotted ones. There are some lenses on the Tyrconnel fret, so used these, pivoted with small pins on the main post. Soldered a small extension to the pivot arm, with another pin fitted into a hole drilled into this. This pin is soldered to the operating wire to the signal arm, enabling the lens to swing down from the lamp. Sadly the lamps do not work. My knowledge of electrics would fit on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare and the though of wiring up an already busy signal post fills me with horror!

Also included a photo of the below baseboard bits, though not sure if it is of much use. Just hope the things work when I fit them. No reason why not, but space is a bit tight to say the least.

 

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Railbus B certainly felt like a major project, not least because it was a scratchbuild, but there is something rather splendid about starting a model locomotive kit. As with Hazlewood, this is a Northstar Kit, which our own Weshty is now custodian.

Being 7mm scale, you get a nice big box, with brass etchings for the body, nickel silver for the chassis, plus lots of whitemetal and lost wax brass castings for all the details. The small package at bottom right of the main photo hides the prime delight - additional etchings for the tank and bunker sides. Those of you familiar with these Beyer Peacock locos will know they are covered in rivets and these 9 etches contain over 1000 of them [yes really] which all need pressing out. Thank goodness for the GW rivet press...

Have spent several sessions reminding myself of the kit and getting serious arm ache with the rivet press. However, now ready to get started, so should be able to report on the chassis by the weekend.

 

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Don't know about anyone else, but the successful completion of a working chassis is always a cause for celebration for me. I've built over 50 locos [kits and scratch] in the last 20 years, so I ought to know what I'm doing by now, but it is always so nice to get a chassis to the point where wheels and coupling rods turn freely. After all, we want our trains to run well.

The Northstar [now Studio Scale Models] kit is fairly simple in that it is a basic six coupled unit, with no outside rods or valve gear to worry about. There are nice slots and tabs to help align things, so with my aluminium rods, it wasn't too hard to get everything nice and square, so the chassis will roll under its own weight. The interesting bit is the trailing bogie, which has a clever vertical and horizontal alignment capability using small and large springs and a sliding machined brass block. Works well.

Springs and brake gear are a bit fiddly, but again, careful design and clear instructions ensured things went together easily. The final bit of the chassis was to add some dummy inside motion. This is a crude copy of a very nice set of castings produced by Laurie Griffin. In my case cobbled together from plastic rod, strip and tube. Once painted, it fills the large gap between the frames - often an issue with Irish locos. When I do Large Tank Sir Henry, I've promise myself that I will have a go a working inside motion - the wider frames ought to make it a bit easier, but like outside motion, is one of challenges I think one has to have a go at eventually. You can hold me to that too.

Have included a picture of the GW models Rivet Press - super bit of kit, essential for this model, as you will see later.

 

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Murrayec is correct, Warbonnet. Currently the press retails for £85... Did I really pay that much?!?

Works with material up to 20thou thick. Has 3 anvils and two punches. Plus if you are suitably minded, there is a table gizmo with adjustment wheels [like on a lathe?] which, if you follow the instructions & understand the maths, enables evenly spaced rivets to be produced - even in a circle. I use mine intermittently, but is one of those tools that, once you've invested, you wonder how you got on without it. Bit like a static grass machine.

 

GW Models are very 'old school' - which is why the press is so beautifully made. So, no email, but he is based at 11 Croshaw Close, Lancing, West Sussex BN15 9 LE. Often attends shows in the south east [uckfield especially] & usually has an advert in Model Railway journal

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I got a 4mm rolling bar set from gw models. Total old school. And total class, really does the job. I will be treating myself to the riveting machine in the future, particularly as it enables almost automatic placement (RTFM vital of course). Thanks for the photos and help David, very much appreciated, as always.

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Cheers for the info guys. Did you pay much in postage Eoin? Would imagine it would be heavy enough?

 

Hi Warbonnet

 

I bought other items and metal at the same time- postage was £16.90

 

Great work David by the way, I love little devices with nuts, bolts, springs n things- real model engineering.

 

murrayec

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Hi Warbonnet

 

I bought other items and metal at the same time- postage was £16.90

 

Great work David by the way, I love little devices with nuts, bolts, springs n things- real model engineering.

 

murrayec

 

 

That's pretty reasonable in fairness. Cheers Eoin. Now all I need is somewhere to put all this and to work as well as some nice citizen to show me how to solder brass kits together properly and I'll be laughing! :)

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After the delights of a week in the sunshine [Tenerife, very nice - especially away from the resorts], got back to model making.

The kit is so well thought out that assembly is a breeze for all the main structural bits. Tabs and slots make positioning of each piece easy, particularly once all the rivets have been pressed out. The boiler requires a bit more effort as it needs rolling. On Hazlewood, I used some large diameter copper pipe that our plumber gave me. Absolutely the right size, but such a heat sink that it was impossible to solder anything to it. This time, borrowed a blow torch and annealed the boiler etch, which made rolling a tube much easier. A picture shows the 'tools' used - essentially some plastic water pipe and a bit of curtain pole, though anything of the suitable diameter will work. Used florists wire [soft iron], twisted round the boiler to hold in shape while the end pieces were soldered in place. After, a chunk needed taking out [with a slitting disc] for the motor gearbox at the firebox end.

Setting up the boiler on the footplate has been well thought out. One solders a nut in the centre of the firebox end and then this can be bolted in place via a hole in the cab. A self tapping screw is used to hold the smokebox front in place & once satisfied all is square, the smokebox front is tack soldered to the boiler. One addition I've made is to solder a nut to the inside of the smokebox, so the whole boiler-smokebox unit can be bolted in place, which will hopefully make painting a bit easier.

So suddenly the main structure of the loco is complete. However, time-wise, I suspect we are less than halfway still. This is because adding the details takes a lot of effort, while cleaning up, painting & weathering is also something not to be hurried. Getting there though.

 

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All the main parts are in place now & I am at that start of 'adding the details'. even within a class of just 5 locos, there are many differences & the decision to make this loco Fermanagh was largely based on the plain smokebox door. Hazlewood was built because there seemed to be more photos of it than the others - though still missed the new cab, which I hope to remedy shortly.

Anyway, the photo shows the two locos together. Adding up the details, I estimate there are still around 100 individual items to add [& no I'm not counting individual safety chain links]. What will probably take just as much time will be the cleaning up process. Maybe if I worked more slowly, there would be less solder to scrape off, but it is what I do and along with putting a lot of effort into getting a model ready for the paint shop, helps hide the building process in places.DSCN0889.jpg

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Mentioned last time that there were close to 100 items that still needing adding to Fermanagh, however, as most of them were only a couple of minutes each, it hasn't taken long to get them done. Had to remove the heavy strapping between the two tanks, as it gets in the way of removing the boiler unit. Hence will be glued back in place once the main painting has been done. However, buffer housings, handrails, piping etc have now been added and the backhead is ready for painting, though will not be able to fix this in place too permanently, as it covers one of the bolts that hold the boiler in place. Perhaps I could replace this bolt with a stud or brass rod, leaving just the bolt under the smokebox to hold the boiler unit in place. Any thoughts anyone?

Spent a whole morning and afternoon [probably about 5 hours in all], doing a clean up on Fermanagh's bodywork. This is always a tedious job and would be easier if my soldering was neater. Use a cone shaped, grinder in the mini-drill, which gets rid of the worst of it, then it is out with the dreaded glass fibre pencil to tidy up the rest. This time, actually remembered to wear surgical gloves, so for once I will not spend the next few days picking pieces of fibre out of my fingers. Few things can be more painful for their size...

Can't do a lot more now till after next weekend, as need some fine L shaped brass for the cab roof rainstrips, plus the all important motor gear box, both of which I'll hope to get from Allypally on Saturday. There's a certain S gauge Irish layout I want to see there too.

See what differences you can spot between the two models.

 

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