Five Shunter Challenge Pt3.3: Comprehending Compensation

This time we continue the discussion about my plans to build these five kits with compensation. As with all things in life, there are a number of different ways to fit a compensation system and the five shunters being built require quite different approaches. Today we will look at the compensation system for the three Judith Edge kits.

Judith Edge kits can be built rigid or they can take two different types of compensation. They include etch lines for horn blocks (see the DJH BR 02 in the next blog entry) and they include their own ‘balance beam’ compensation system.

How do I build the balance beams?
I must admit that it has been the balance beam compensation that deterred me from building my Judith Edge kits for so long, as I just couldn’t comprehend how to put the beams together. I didn’t find the instructions that helpful in this regard (I’m a ‘copy the picture’, kind of guy). I couldn’t understand where to solder the axle bearings or how to create a pivot for the beams.

While researching some other peoples Judith Edge builds on RMweb and looking again at the very helpful emails that Judith Edge sent me when I first purchased 11001 (that I still didn’t really understand), it suddenly happened… Eureka!!! Everything written in the instructions and emails made sense. What I was failing to understand was the axle bearings are actually soldered on the insides of the balance beams (See the picture below).

You can see the balance beams on the inside of the chassis with the axle bearing soldered onto them.

You can see the balance beams on the inside of the chassis with the axle bearing soldered onto them.

You then use some spare metal rod or a track pin to create a pivot for each of the beams (the Peco track pins are quite useful in this regard).

Peco track pin acting as a pivot

Peco track pin acting as a pivot

A good tip is to put some paper between the balance beam and the side frames while soldering the pivot pin in place (to stop them soldering together).


This realisation of how to complete the balance beams was a fantastic moment for me, as it now means I can build any of the Judith Edge kits.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

2014-10-09 22.09.22LR

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block constructed.

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

Chassis block constructed, compensation fitted.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block constructed, compensation fitted.

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block constructed. compensation fitted.

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.

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

  1. maxstafford60093

    Thanks. I’ve been pondering the same. I note that Pete Stanger at 52F uses a 14BA nut and bolt to secure his rocking drive units. It’s probably an alternative to the track pin. I feel an experiment coming on!

    1. Grasslands Post author

      Interesting, I’ll have to have a look at that. I wonder if he has to widen the holes for that?

      You obviously have to file away the black paint on the track pin, or it won’t solder properly.

  2. Pingback: Five Shunter Challenge Pt13: Chassis Jiggery Pokery | Grasslands Models

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