Category Archives: x5 Shunter Kit Challenge

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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Five Shunter Challenge Pt11: Where did I get to? (aka forgetting progress)

A few years ago I decided to attempt building a number of my locomotive kits in tandem, as a means to improving my abilities at each stage of the build; normally I spend years labouring over one locomotive and then completely forget any of the lessons learned along the way.

And so started my ‘five shunter challenge’ where I plan to build five shunter kits and do a bit of explaining along the way. Unfortunately, a few life crises destroyed my momentum and both this challenge (and the blog in general) have not moved very far in recent years.

Today I decided to revisit my kit boxes and look through the blog posts, so I could try and work out exactly where I got to.

My original plan was to get each of the chassis completed (including gearboxes etc.) and then move onto building all of the bodies. Although, I really fancy building something that isn’t a chassis right now, I still think this method probably makes the most sense.

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

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

The BR02 chassis is complete and the body is also very close to completion (it is a small number of well moulded white metal blocks). I do need to do a bit of work sanding the nose down smooth as there are still a few flash lines. The original motor and gearbox were replaced by a High Level Kits Slimliner gearbox, but I am yet to start assembly of the gearbox. I may have to make some adjustments to the chassis block to allow it to fit, and I’m hoping that the amount of research I did a few years ago hold up and that the motor will fit inside the bonnet. If I build the gear box up, then this loco leaps in front of the kits and will be almost complete and probably move to paint shop.

One of the buffers broke off, which is a bit annoying, but I can glue or solder it back on again. The chain links that came with the kit also look dire, so I will replace those.

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.

Also….

I’ve bought myself another sentinel shunter, which is based on the same chassis block as the sentinel in the x5 Shunter Challenge (also from RT Models).

This sentinel was in the news not too long ago, as it is the former Fry’s Chocolate factory shunter, which was missing for many years and found in a shed! I’ve always liked this little thing, so I’m looking forward to building this one up soon.

I also have a little OO9 Fowler shunter from Backwoods Models, which I have been making for years and has progressed very well. I am bit apprehensive about the next stage of the build, as I assume I need to tackle the rather complex outside frame coupling arrangement. I have quite a few little narrow gauge locos to build, including a few more little diesel shunters (maybe I should start a ‘x5 OO9 loco challenge too’.

There is also my Class 13 shunter to finish off too.

So many models, so little time.

Grasslands out.

Five Shunter Challenge Pt10: Final chassis detail

The three smallest chassis’ have all now been completed. This has included installing pick-ups and motor wires. full details are provided below.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

I abandoned the DJH pick-up system and used a variation of the pick-ups I installed on the Sentinel (see, I told you building multiple kits is a good idea).

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

The sentinel has some lovely fine details and brake gear, which I have managed to put together. The instructions advise two different methods to creating pick-ups, but I have gone with a variation of both. I have used fine copper wire on the top of the axles (which also adds a bit of springing to the compensation).

2014-11-13 22.32.32LR

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

The Ruston has many little details to add to the chassis, and the text-heavy instructions can sometimes make it a bit difficult to work out where things go.

The biggest challenge was understanding how to fit the false gearchain cover, which I have tried to position around the precious-little space remaining inside the chassis. As discussed in a prior entry, the gear boxes do take up a lot of space. The gearchain cover does look very similar to the fitted gear box, so it could be just left off, but I decided to cut away some sections of the gearchain cover to allow it to fit around the gear box.

Despite my niggles, the finished chassis looks very, very nice.

2014-11-16 17.01.02-1LR

 

2014-11-16 16.59.30LR

11001Judith Edge

I haven’t done much work on this since I ordered the gearboxes, but I know that the next stage is to reduce the width of the axle bearings to allow the gear box to be fitted.

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

This one is seriously lagging behind, and is still only a couple of side frames. I will make sure it is up and running before body work commences on the others.

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.

Five Shunter Challenge Pt9: Keeping track

You might be wondering how I manage to remember where I am on all these different kits I am building and why I have (as yet) not lost any parts.

The main reason is that I keep each kit in a transparent plastic box. I have a current subscription to a set of die-cast cars and I use the plastic display cases to store each loco.

I also tick off each section or put a line through each section of the instructions that I have completed for each loco.

I also have a little modelling note book where I write down what I am doing and any troubles I am facing with the kit.

I know that all of this might sound obvious, but if you are like me, you can spend most of summer away from your modelling desk and when you eventually return to it, you just can’t remember what an earth you were doing. Keeping everything in separate boxes has really helped me keep track of all these different projects.

2015-01-02 14.48.14LR

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted.

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

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gearbox fitted.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gearbox fitted

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles 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.

Five Shunter Challenge Pt8: A return to gearboxes

Now the rust calamity is over, I can return to the construction of the next gearbox.

The 88DS 0-4-0 gearbox is very similar to the one that I built for the Sentinel, but it appears to be a slightly revised design. Using the new flux and extra careful cleaning regime, I have not had any further issues.

I also decided on which gearboxes to purchase for the other three kits. Disappointingly, I have discovered that the small 0-4-0 gearboxes built so far will not fit the BR 02 (its wheel base is too long).

I have settled on High Level Kits Slimliner+ gearboxes for all three of the remaining kits with a 54:1 gear reduction. It is very important to note that the Slimliner+ was chosen because there is very little space inside the chassis for any wider gear boxes when working in OO Gauge. All those balance beams inside the Judith Edge kit frames leads to even less space. I never realised that those working in EM and P4 gauge have much more space to accommodate a range of gear boxes.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted.

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

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gearbox fitted.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gearbox fitted

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles 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.

Five Shunter Challenge Pt7: The perils of flux

The dark art of soldering mystifies some, but I have managed to work my way through the mysterious technique by trial and error (with some reading). I remain impressed that in years passed I managed to build some brass locos with normal electrical solder. I now know that it is far easier to use a low-heat type of solder.

One lesson I am still learning is the best type of flux to use. Flux is a medium that helps concentrate heat on the joints that you wish to solder. Historically I have used solder paste, but I have discovered that although very helpful, it is virtually impossible to remove all traces of the waxy substance, which can lead to corrosion and the failure of solder joints. My primary issue with the stuff has been its ability to totally destroy paint work over time. Usually long after you have finished the kit.

Due to these problems I switched to a liquid solder a while ago, which is much easier to clean off brass. But as discovered in my previous ‘challenge’ blog, another problem arises: Corrosion. I have used Carr’s ‘Green Flux’ for a while, but this stuff really shouldn’t be left on anything for longer than a few hours. Annoyingly this includes my chassis jig, which the green flux started to eat at soon after I purchased it.

A cleaning regime is essential to eliminate any flux residue. Despite my aggressive cleaning regimes (boiling water, scouring powder, ultra sonic cleaning), some flux residue still manages to persist. I conducted some further research to see if there was a less aggressive flux that I could use. I purchased some different types of flux and I am currently using the O Gauge societies ‘Safety Flux’, which has so far, not caused me any further problems.

I have also started cleaning up work pieces (using the cleaning regime above) after every building session. Even if I plan to continue building in the morning.

Another trick I have used to stop the steel wheels and axles rusting is to store them in a plastic bag with some lubrication oil.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. No Rust

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

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear Box Fitted. Rust Issues. Super cleaning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear box only partly completed.

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Rust Issues. Super cleaning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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.

Five Shunter Challenge Pt6: Oh no! It’s Rust!

Tragedy strikes! I returned to my kit builds today to find that three of the shunter chassis’ have acquired an unhealthy gathering of rust on the wheels and axles. Alan Gibson wheels are steel and they don’t seem to have taken kindly to the flux that I have been using to solder up the chassis. This has also affected the axles inside the gearbox I built last time.

After some swearing and general moodiness, I started to investigate how best to remove the rusty residue. I was surprised to find that soaking the model in Coca Cola was a possible remedy. This is apparently due to the acidic content of Coke (there are some quite amazing you tube videos that you can watch).

I set up a Coke bath and dropped the problem parts in and to my surprise, after 2 hours soaking in coke, most of the rust had vanished, and any remaining residue could be removed with a tooth brush.

2014-11-03 19.56.52LR

Now to find out how to stop this from happening in the future…

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. No Rust

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

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear Box Fitted. Rust has messed up the free running.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Gear box only partly completed.

11001Judith Edge

Chassis block folded. Compensation fitted. Axles Fitted. Rust has messed up the axles.

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.