Five Shunter Challenge Pt3.1: Comprehending Compensation

Last time I discussed setting up a loco chassis with a chassis jig, but these five kits will differ from any of my previous kit builds by being constructed with compensated chassis’. All of my previous loco kits have been built on a rigid chassis.

What is a rigid chassis?
Rigid chassis kits have very minimal up/down/left/right play on each axle in the chassis, but all of the wheels maintain contact with the track. It is essential that the chassis is set up as square as possible using this technique.

What is a compensated chassis?
If a chassis is compensated, then it essentially has a bit of sprung suspension on some of the axles, allowing the loco to cope with uneven track joints. A compensated chassis can also cope with some quirkiness in your building abilities, such as slightly wonky wheels and axles.

It is apparently beneficial to include compensation on one axle of an 0-4-0 locomotive kit to help ensure the loco runs well. As three of my loco kits are 0-4-0 I thought it was time to take the plunge.

I first read about compensation in Iain Rice’s book titled ‘Locomotive kit chassis construction in 4mm‘. Although I understood the principles, I really struggled to comprehend how to build a loco with compensation. As with all things in life, there are a number of different ways, and the five shunters being built require quite different approaches. I will discuss each locos compensation in more detail next time.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

No progress

Sentinel post war 100HP 0-4-0VBT – RT Models

The chassis is folded up and the axles are fitted. The instructions are nice and simple to follow.

2014-10-08 17.58.44-1LR

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Side frames cleaned up

11001Judith Edge

Spacers fitted

2014-10-09 20.10.27LR

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DEJudith Edge

No progress

P.S. If there are any aspects of x5 shunter challenge that you want me to cover (be it soldering, equipment… anything at all) please do leave a comment or contact me by email. I will reply. You can also follow me on twitter for instant updates.


3 thoughts on “Five Shunter Challenge Pt3.1: Comprehending Compensation

  1. sed30

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for the tips. How do you do your chassis spacers? Do you solder them to one side first or one to each side then marry them up?

    1. Grasslands Post author

      Hi Steve. Thanks for the support.

      I solder the spacers at the extremes of the chassis ends onto one side frame (usually the ones bent into an ‘L’ shape).

      I then solder the remaining side frame on top while everything is still fitted to the chassis jig.

      Any remaining spacers for the middle sections can normally be sprung into the remaining positions and then soldered in place.

      Let me know if you want to know anything else.


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