Five Shunter Challenge Pt12: Gearbox construction and chassis tuning

The BR Class 02 Shunter has shifted into the lead by a mighty mile this week, after I sat down for a few hours and tackled the High Level Kits Slimliner+ gearbox.

Gearbox Construction

The gearbox is a nice simple kit to put together, but I was a bit nervous of firing up the soldering for the first time in years. All the folds in the etch were made using my x2 hold and fold tools; these are worth their weight in gold (in fact, one of them IS gold).

The holes in the etch were all reamed out slightly and I soldered the shafts in place, trying not to overheat the plastic gear sets while I did it.

I kind of wish I would have only soldered one side of the shaft in place while I settled the gear sets in for meshing, but that is something to consider for next time. The main gear box has four fixing holes to screw most of the smaller Mashima motors onto, but you only really need to use the opposite fixings and two tiny screws. I would have preferred mine to be fixed in the up/down positions, but it was very difficult to fit the tiny screw into the motor from behind the gears at the lower position.

I accidentally soldered the lower part of the gear box to the upper part while soldering the lower gear shaft in place (Whoops); I would have preferred it to be free moving, but never-mind. As I still have two more (at least) of these gearboxes to build, then I can at least consider some of these problems for the next ones.

Chassis tuning

Once the motor and wires were all set up, I oiled the gears a little and did some test running. It worked first time, but seemed to be disappointingly jerky and the running speed was quite uneven. I do set my standards quite high, so I decided to run it in for a bit and see if the running changed.

I could see there was a lot of movement on the motor and gear box, which I resolved by soldering an etch beam across the main frame to reduce downward movement on the gear box and then I soldered a piece of wire to the back of the gearbox to restrict upward movement. Sadly this passed a lot of the uneven movement to the wheels. I was a little disappointed as I had compensated this chassis to reduce such issues.

I then removed the coupling rods and checked how much side movement there was, and noticed a considerable amount of side play in the front, non-driven axle. I experimented with adding and removing some tiny brass washers to the front axle and the running vastly improved and I finally had a lovely smooth running chassis (one of my best chassis builds). I am ever so happy about this, as I never thought I could get an 0-4-0 to run so well.

Now all that remains for this little loco is to start glueing down the main body parts (after a little sanding) and it will soon be sent off to paint shop.

Here are some notes on progress for each of the locos:
x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis complete and ready for final body work and paintshop

Sentinel post war 100HP 0-4-0VBTRT Models

The Sentinel chassis and gear box is complete, other than fitting a white metal ash pan beneath the chassis, which I didn’t do as it doesn’t quite fit, and I wanted to fit the body first. I am itching to fold up the frames, but I am going to try and hold back for now. Annoyingly, a few very fine bits of etched details have been bent out of shape while I played with the etched frames (that will teach you not to fiddle with things, Tom), but I have unbent the damaged bits for the moment.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

The Ruston 88DS has a completed chassis and gear box and is also ready for the frame build. Both this kit and the sentinel have the same super small gearbox.

For some reason I seem to have removed the inner plastic wheels from the tyres, and I can’t remember why.

11001Judith Edge

The Bulleid super shunter chassis is built and the rear compensation is fixed on, but I seem to have had some troubles with the middle balance beams, which are no longer attached to the frames. I may have opted for removing them when I took the axles out of the chassis. This loco also has a High Level Kits slimline chassis to be fitted, and I have started building the motor harness, but never got around to fitting the gears; I assume this was the last thing I did on the challenge many moons ago.

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

The Hawthorn Leslie lags behind, and is still just two side frames. I did consider putting the frames together, but it seems a bit daunting after being away from the hobby for so long.

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