Tag Archives: Leader

Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt 3)

Following my last post about Leader, I discovered that the paint was not fully drying and the finish had warped while in storage.

It is difficult to find a paint stripper formulated to strip resin kits, they are normally designed for metal or plastic models. I sent a quick query to Howes of Oxford about their Model Strip and was advised to test the paint stripper on the underside of the body. I did not see any adverse effects, so I covered leader in the paste.

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I left the model covered overnight and cleaned off the paste and paint with an old tooth brush.

I was very happy to see that most of the paint was removed. There was still some panel lines and crevices where paint remained so I decided to also try another paint stripper. My second attempt was with Phoenix Precision PS18 Superstrip and this stuff was quite amazing. I dipped my toothbrush in the liquid and on the first stroke of the brush, the remaining paint started coming off.

The picture below is the now fully stripped Leader body. There a couple of patches of paint that remain underneath. These are where glue was used to fix in the interior cabs. The next stage is a bit of degreasing before Leader’s return to the paint shop.

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Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt2)

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We now return to the development of my Golden Arrow resin and white metal kit of the pioneering Bulleid Leader (click here for part 1).

Leader’s bogies are gigantic, just massive. Leader looks like the monster truck of UK locomotives. These bogies are cast in white metal and have a very nice finish. They are also nice and weighty. While reading how to install the recommended DS10 motor I mis-interpreted the instructions and installed a separate DS10 motor into each bogie. In hindsight this wasn’t such a bad idea, as leader is now a real brute on the rails.

I followed the wheeling convention of some of Heljan’s diesels and put bearings around the front and rear axles on each bogie and left the middle wheel floating. This helps prevent the massive wheels from causing derailments.

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I installed two Lenz silver decoders (one on each bogie) and programmed each to the same ID. Trial runs showed strong running qualities, but I did need to shave away some of the higher sections of the bogies to allow Leader to get around the tight corners on Brewery Pit. Having duel motors and picking up current from both bogies means that when Leader de-rails it has a propensity to continue to drive on with the derailed bogie, so one needs to be careful.

Leader often ran with all it’s vents and doors open, so I cut through the resin cast and opened up all the doors and vents. I also made some vent flaps out of plasticard. I then added hand rails and door knobs. Please note that most people fit the the vertical cab rails on the front of Leader in the wrong position. Most models have them mounted on the very front of the cab, but the prototype has them fitted to the sides and they bend around to the front. In my opinion this makes a big difference to the look of the loco. These hand rails were made from guitar string.

I also added lamp irons and a whistle. The flush glazing was hand cut from thick transparent plastic.

I then painted Leader with the softest silver-grey shade I could find. I used a Halfords car spray and I was very pleased with the results. I felt like I had sprayed the paint on a bit thick in places, so I decided to fix the paint with a satin gloss coat – fatal mistake!

The paint never fully dried and always retained a slight tackiness. I keep my models in a metal box surrounded by foam and I was concerned that the foam might mark the paint so I wrapped Leader with a thin bit of plastic wrapping. I then discovered that the paint was still slowly moving and the paint had formed moulding lines with the patterning of the plastic wrapping. I quickly sprung into action and scrubbed away the tacky areas of paint. My model of one of my favourite engines was sullied.

So at this stage these pictures are all I have of Leader in it’s (almost) final stage. A real shame.

The story continues…

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Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt1)

I tried to think of a good Leader pun, but ‘falling behind’ works as an inverse analogy.

36001 - Leader

36001

The picture above shows one of my favourite locomotives: 36001, Bulleid’s Leader; the monstrous experimental steam engine that looked like a diesel. Leader was constructed in 1948 and ran for a brief 1½ year period (from 1949 to 1950). ‘Ran’, of course, might not be the best word for Leader’s trial runs, as she was prone to failure and was often towed back to Brighton Works.

Leader was fitted with various experimental design features including: a chain drive; a fully enclosed boiler; and a cab at either end. She was also fitted with an off-centre boiler (very strange). The fire box was located near the centre of the loco and must have been a terrible environment for a fireman.

I always found something fascinating about this loco and urged my parents to buy me a book on the subject. When I left home, this book was one of the first things that I ‘acquired’ from my parents house.

The Model

There is a resin kit available of Leader, made by Golden Arrow Productions, which I got for my Birthday in 2008. After purchasing a load of Bulleid Q1 wheels (expensive), I set to work planning out the look of the model. The Golden Arrow Productions mould is good, but I thought it a shame that it missed out some of the more prominent panel lines, so I stencilled the panel lines out onto the moulding and scored these onto the resin with a modelling knife.

I was also not to keen on the shape of the windows, which I felt didn’t quite capture the look of the prototype. Following the guidance of a topic on converting the Golden Arrow Leader on RMweb, I decided to widen the windows and slightly change their shape.

Golden Arrow Productions Resin Model

The resin model as it comes (with windows a bit too narrow for my liking)

Leader with widened windows; much better.

Leader with widened windows; much better.

The white metal chassis blocks are lovely mouldings for this model, and when built they really give you an idea of how big this engine really was (an idea of scale kindly provided by driver Bob in the pictures above and below). It might not be the best engine to build if you have a layout with low tunnel mouths, as it really is a beast. The real thing towered over most water tanks, making it difficult to top it up with water.

Driver Bob poses with Leader

Driver Bob poses with Leader

Liveries

Livery-wise there are a surprising number of options for an engine that ran for such a short period of time. Leader carried prime grey with a large British Railways ‘cycling lion’ emblem (only on one side) for a very short period. The British Railways emblem was quickly removed and the engine was lined out (along its panels), but remained in grey.

I have never cared much for either livery and I instead opted for the livery (well… not really a livery) present in the only colour picture that exists of Leader. At this stage it was being repainted and appears to be a very silvery grey. This was the first image of Leader that caught my eye, many years ago and this was what I wanted on my model.

More about the build next time….