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27 June 2017

Southern Region Air-Braked Mk1s

By Richard Benn

Although the Western Region has a reputation for doing things their own way, the Southern must run them a close second. When Mk1s were converted to air braking the usual arrangement was for both vacuum cylinders to be replaced by smaller air cylinders in a slightly different position but using the existing rodding.

However the Southern Region did their conversions completely differently drawing, no doubt, on their extensive experience with air-braked EMUs. They used a single air cylinder mounted on the centre-line of the underframe working pull rods that ran under the bogies even when Commonwealth bogies were fitted.

A few photographs of vehicles were located but establishing the exact nature of what went on in the murky world of the underframe was not easy. Both the Bluebell Railway and NRM Shildon have vehicles believed currently to have this brake arrangement but I was unable to obtain permission to crawl underneath and take pictures. In the end salvation came from members of Western Thunder and the Yahoo BR Coaching Stock group, in particular Mark Brinton who kindly provided schematic drawings and answered my incessant questions, and to fellow Wealden Group member Guy Hamilton-Fletcher who helped me make sense of it all.

With all this information I was able to draw up a single piece etch to represent the visible bits of the brake arrangement. The test etches used here proved to be usable, with just a few tweaks made for future batches to adjust the height and provide better mounting points.

The v hangers and vacuum cylinders were removed from the Farish coach and the etch glued in place along the centre-line. The air cylinder and reservoir were turned from plastic rod in a mini drill. The reservoir is mounted on the floor but the cylinder had holes drilled in the end and simply hangs in place on the etch (the lack of a solid mounting point not being obvious in the gloom).

This is set 18, a 3 coach set used on Oxted line services in 1968 made up of TSO, BSK and CK. I have modelled four coaches with the TSO being in both green and blue/grey for variety. The coaches will eventually form part of an 8 coach set used on the Uckfield service - it's where the Wealden Group meet so seemed appropriate.

Other work involved reducing the overscale roof ribs, restoring the periscopes on the BSK, removing top end steps, fitting in-line brake shoes, adding corridor connectors (cut out using the Graphtec cutter as per Nigel Ashton) adding warning flashes and a set number to the green TSO, adding the below-underframe end steps and vacuum hoses to the outer vehicles, renumbering, repainted roofs and a bit of weathering.

The test etch also included pieces to detail the standard Mk1 underframes and optionally convert them to the equalised variant and/or air-braking, but I haven't yet got around to trying those out....

3 December 2016

Back Together Again

By nigelashton

Thanks to Richard's nifty etch bits, my Britannia is back together in its improved form.

The wheel weights were added and the wheels painted (Tamiya Nato Black if you're intersted). Then all the gears and chassis bits were checked to function with the replacement coupling rods being sloppy enough to avoid hindering the gears.

The connecting rods have huge ends and we had the idea to cut these off and splice on  closer to scale big ends (bottom row in this picture). The original parts are on the left, replacements on the right. The return cranks are also much smaller shown in the top row.

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So after several bouts of dismantling, fettling and re-fitting the Brit has been re-wheeled, re-rodded, renumbered and renamed and looks much more becoming. After the completion of my Duke named Mercury, I decided to call the Britannia the same name. This was a Western Region machine and it didn't have the replacement smoke deflectors, so was a good choice all round. Cabside number transfers and new etched nameplates were from Fox.

So the front bogie is Richard's etch with Association wheels, the drivers are Association, while the rear truck and tender wheels are self-turned on the lathe. They are mostly hidden so the slightly thicker treads won't be noticed. I may well change the tender wheels when Association spoked wheels with the extended axles become available.

So here we have a picture of the completed model on Llangerisech, well over weight for the line, but this is where Rule One applies. Like the Blue Pullman, and the Western (currently being re-named and re-numbered as well to become Western Explorer), I had the OO versions as a kid. In fact, along with the 3MT tank and the HST, I have now pretty much got everything from my childhood replicated in much finer 2mm form now.

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So here we have the finished article. The signalman with the tablet pouch and hoop is the delightful item from Modelu. I can even claim that the 3D printed people are Cambrian!

 

27 November 2016

Brits In Pieces

By Richard Benn

The November meeting is our last of the year (as Christmas tends to get in the way).  As usual there was a lot of interesting discussion but a lot of activity as well.

Nigel and I are working on converting a pair of Dapol Britannia 4-6-2s. That's Nigel's on the left, with standard Association bearings soldered into the Dapol bearings amd reusing the Dapol gears. Mine on the right will utilise the new Association bearings and gears from the shop. Taking the Brits apart was not easy and required glued joints to be broken.

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We have come up with some etched parts for the bogie, coupling rods (fluted and plain with the ability to have both as several locos did), balance weights, plus a couple of pieces which will hopefully allow us to utilise the majority of the Britannia valve gear. You can see the first test etches below (excuse the poor photograph - the light in the room is not the best).

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I am going to check the fit of the coupling rods and Nigel is checking the rest. If it all works we hope to do the same for the Schools. That's mine on the right below with the Dapol Pannier on the left (both also in pieces). Nigel also has a Schools to convert. The Brit and the Schools are both diversions for us as neither fits with our main projects, but this is a hobby and it does us good to do something different once in a while.

The Schools came apart with much more grace. The bearings are the same diameter as those for the Pannier - they are longer but that is irrelevant to us - so I ordered an extra four for the Schools.

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Alan was lining a Maunsell coach built from a Chis Higgs etched kit.

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Guy was building track, or rather re-building track due to a series of unfortunate incidents.

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David was assembling DGs, here seen doing the most fiddly bit - fitting the tongue.

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Nigel also had his test track and I managed to snap a few locos as they whizzed round

24 July 2016

Show and Tell

By Richard Benn

There's been little posted by us recently but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. Here are a few of the things we have been working on.

22 November 2015

Improving Farish BR1 Bogies

By Richard Benn

No posts from me for a while as I have been re-wheeling various Farish wagons (spurred on by a recent stint helping Nigel exhibit Llangerisech). The quality of these wagons is such that often there is little work needed other than swapping the wheel sets (leaving more time for weathering) but that leaves me nothing that is particularly finescale to report!

Whilst the Bachman Farish MK1 coaches are generally of this high standard, the bogies have one problem which lets them down in my eyes - the brake shoes are in line with the bogie frames rather than the wheels. This is the standard BR1 bogie after fitting with 2FS wheels (click for a larger picture):

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The Association provide an etch of brake shoes that could be made to fit with a bit of effort, but as I have rather a lot of coaches I wanted a solution that needed minimal effort on my part, so I came up with the following etches:

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There are two different types, one for use with the NEM pockets on the coaches (for inter-rake connections) and one for the outer ends of rakes where DGs are fitted. The only difference is a gap for the NEM pocket and the loss of the brake cross rods at this end. These fold up quickly to give assemblies like this:

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The moulded brake shoes are easy to remove from the bogies with a couple of cuts with a scalpel. The assemblies are then glued inside the bogies locating them accurately using the raised boss where the bogie pin holds the bogie in place, like this:

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The finished result looks something like this (I would usually paint them before fitting but left them in the metal for illustrative purposes):

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I think the improvement is worthwhile but I'd be interested in the views of others. Assembly and fitting takes about 15mins per bogie. The cross rods are visible from some angles but once painted and weathered I doubt anyone will notice them. I'll know they are there!

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They are not perfect - the folds that position the cross rods are still out after two test etches, but this is hidden and it all lines up with a bit of tweaking so I am quitting while I am ahead. I had also hoped they would fit the Commonwealth bogie and they nearly do but need a bit of filing to make them fit perfectly. As the inner brake shoes are invisible on the Commonwealth bogie it may be worth creating a simpler design for this (if I have enough Commonwealth bogies to make it worthwhile).

The older bogies on the Farish Suburbans (with the moulded Rapido coupler) require some minor modifications before these etches will fit and even then there is no raised boss for location so it would have to be done by eye, presumably fitting the wheels before the glue sets in order to check for clearance. (These older bogies are not as good as the new type and I am going to consider replacing them.)

I am not going to sell these commercially (the time spent rectifying the minor faults and providing instructions etc. would make it uneconomic) but if anyone wants some at cost on an as-is basis let me know via the Wealden group contact email and I will order enough when I order mine.

29 September 2015

Meeting Update

By nigelashton

Last Saturday saw some of us in our usual venue in the council building in Uckfield for our monthly meeting. Although we were a little down on numbers, we still had five of us discussing projects and ideas while doing some model making. Gareth was doing more coach lining and apparently managed sufficient corners to match the previous two months' efforts. Calculations revealed that the coach rake should be finished some time in late 2017 at the current rate!

Dave was working on some wagon chassis, using his self-built RSU while David was working on some DG couplings. We admired David's completed Langley horse-drawn vehicles and although I didn't get a shot, these did appear on the Kent and Essex group blog recently. Seeing them in the metal revealed even more detail.

I was replacing the quoins on the station building for Llangerisech. The earlier ones were cut from self adhesive paper using the Robo cutter, but had a habit of peeling off and looked a little too mint. So I used the cutter again to cut strips of the same width, but then could fold the paper and cut the strips evenly to length with a scalpel. These strips can then be glued on in alternating patterns using decent glue so they won't peel. A little weathering will highlight the morter courses. The plan is also to do some elements of interior detail so that doors can be left open.

Conversation revolved around Scouts, future exhibitions, using acrylic paint on FUD 3D prints as enamel is tricky, and the changing face of commercial exhibitions. I also gave an update to Guy about the new cassette system on Llangerisech as he missed the previous meeting, so I have included a couple of shots of this too.

Oh and Guy was doing some unfathomable Warhammer thing that was given to him by his brother......

 

 

26 April 2015

Notes and Pictures - April 2015

By Richard Benn

Here's a few snaps of our latest meeting:

4 March 2015

Notes From Our February Meeting

By Richard Benn

Here's a few pictures of our latest meeting. Click on a picture to see it in more detail.

22 November 2014

Last of the Year

By nigelashton

Today we held the last Wealden area group meeting for 2014. As meetings are on the 4th Saturday of the month, the theoretical December meeting always clashes with Christmas. So the next meeting will split the difference and be held on the 10th January then we revert to the 4th weekend in February. With us so far?? Good - I'll continue.

We had a good turn out with Richard, Dave, Gareth, Bob, David and myself present with a few items being worked on.

Topics of conversation included the Arnold 5BEL (Richard and Gareth already gloating in posession),the state of the Brighton Line, through tickets and forthcoming exhibitions.

Projects being developed included my GWR Mogul, with the splashers being added. I had already turned some cups on the lathe and cutting the splashers out of the circular cups was done during the meeting. The pictures show the machined disc and the last splasher being cut from its partner. The boiler and firebox are cast resin while the cab and footplate are nickel silver all to fit over one of my Manor chassis kits with suitable afjustments. The tender is one of the Dapol items avaiable from the Asssociation shop.

Gareth was lining out one SECR carriage, with another finished one on show for inspiration. As ever, Gareth's modelling quality exceeds virtually anything else designed to run on 9mm gauge track. I'm itching to change the wheels to 2FS one day.....

David was working on some early GWR wagons in red oxide. The Western did exist prior to the 20th century and some of the earlier colour schemes were different to those most of us know. As all this pre-dates living memory and colour photographs David has the ideal answer to any rivet counters. He was using an interesting little vice  to steady the wagon body being worked on, as shown in another picture.

Meanwhile Richard was refining points on some of the wagons referred to in an earlier blog, among other things making new coupling loops.

So that was us done for 2014. Plenty of time to make modelling progress over the festive season and we'll all congregate back in Uckfield in mid January to share what we've been up to.

The pictures are pretty much in the order of the text above. Double click on any picture to see more detail.

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11 October 2014

It's Show Time!

By nigelashton

Evening  all.

Well  all the modelling activity culminating in the production of a second Collett Goods loco did produce a nice runner. First picture sees the running in session on the rollers. I think that was Thursday some time.

Today saw a bunch of us at Aldershot for an excellent show and an AGM thrown in for good measure. I took a couple of shots, during the set up phase when a lot of locos were in the shed area - it never got that crowded in normal running.

As this was the first time running the layout in its 1930's guise, I feared a degree of finger prodding, but things could have been worse. We found the Jones goods and the two Colletts pretty reliable. The 2p was a little variable, but fine once moving which is a little odd. Tre Pol and Pen had a couple of "moments" but benefitted from tweaks done during the course of the day. The Pannier pilot proved very able, but I spent a lot more time cleaning and re-cleaning the track throughout the day. I don't recall any real problems with the Manor, but David or Richard may tell you differently. We sidelined the 45xx fairly early, but I do have a plan to improve it soon.  A couple of coaches have had running issues, and as usual it is a question of identifying and rectifying these. Only through continuous monitoring will we improve things. Even the diesel stock went through this phase, so I am hopeful of seeing imporovements in reliability tomorrow and at future shows.

Anyway, it was good to see so many 2mm Association folk today and share ideas. We need to entertain the general public more tomorrow, so a long clean will be the starting point of the day.

 

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