Tag Archives: Shunter

11001 Bulleid Shunter (Judith Edge)

Five Shunter Challenge Pt13: Chassis Jiggery Pokery

It’s any wonder that any of the kit manufacturers stay in business with the speed at which their customers make their models (if I am a representative customer). I have heard it suggested that 75% of the kits purchased never get built anyway. I’m trying hard to get past this myself, by building a whole bunch of locomotives at the same time, but even this has taken much longer than I would have preferred.

The Five Shunter Challenge was my way of forcing myself to crack on with making models and to try and make myself worry less about everything being perfect, or there being an ‘ideal’ time to do this. Life often makes it clear that there is rarely an ideal time for anything and you just need to crack on!

The challenge had a good flow through 2014-2015 but it came to a grinding hold in July 2015 and I am only now starting to reacquaint myself with where I left the challenge back in 2015. I wrote a blog about my previous attempt at remembering.

The original plan was to build all of the locomotive chassis’ first, which has now almost been achieved (except for one loco).

The final chassis enters construction!

The Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE has been lagging behind all of the other models in the challenge, and today I decided to change that and start work on the chassis.

After some test fitting and a bit of filing, I plucked up the courage to set up the side frame on my chassis jig and soldered down the one set of axle brushes in a fixed axle. The balance beams were also soldered up on the chassis rig, but I put some paper between the beams and the side frame (to prevent the beams soldering to the side frames). I then soldered the spacers onto one side of the frame and then soldered the opposite part of the frame on top of it all. This was all achieved easily by lining up the jig using the locos coupling rods. I had to widen the holes in the rods a little to do it, but I only used x2 parts of a layered etch, so I don’t think there will be any issues with the final coupling rods.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits) on the chassis jig with coupling rods fitted to the jig axles.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

Spacers soldered onto one side of the chassis frame for English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

The pivot hole is missing from the balance beams (as described in the instructions), but it is easy to mark up and drill out once you have everything in the right place.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

Drilling out the hole to pivot the compensation balance beams for English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

The chassis came together really easily, but I can tell that I have slightly twisted one of the balance beams, as the axles can be a little tense within the chassis.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

The completed chassis for the English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits)

The underneath of the chassis for the English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DE (Judith Edge Kits) including compensation balance beams

Fixing previous (and forgotten) chassis mistakes

My poor model of the Bulleid Paxman 11001 Shunter hasn’t really had any work progressed on it since January 2015 (see the previous blog), where I built the balance beam system. Upon returning to the Five Shunter Challenge, I was somewhat perplexed as to why the balance beams had been removed.

11001 Bulleid Shunter (Judith Edge)

The compensation balance beams and chassis for 11001 Bulleid Shunter (Judith Edge)

I think I removed them because there wasn’t enough clearance to include the width of the axle brushes AND the gearbox brushes, or they just came free in a test fitting (the real is lost to time and a bad memory).

Although I was happy with fitting the balance beams using track pins, I did find this left them quite vulnerable to being de-soldered while testing fitting parts and I would really like to find a way of ensuring the balance beams stay flush to the insides of the frames. I have seen someone use springs threaded around the axles to achieve this, so I might try this later today.

For now, I have replaced the track pins with a single brass rod which feels much more structurally sound. The brass rod doesn’t stop the balance beams flapping around inside the chassis, but it greatly reduced the chance of them breaking free (as they are fixed at either side of the chassis).

11001 Bulleid Shunter (Judith Edge)

The compensation balance beams and lower gearbox for the 11001 Bulleid Shunter (Judith Edge)

How does everyone else keep their balance beams flush to the side frames?

The next step for this loco is to build up the gearbox.

P.S. I see Mr Edge of Judith Edge Kits has responded with some suggestions as to how to fix the balance beams flush, so I will try out some of his suggestions some other time

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 bodywork and paintshop

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

The Sentinel chassis and gearbox 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 gearbox 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 (it might have been to do with rust).

11001Judith Edge

The balance beams are re-attached using brass rod across the chassis frame, but I may still include a different system of keeping them flush to the side frames. 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.

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

The Hawthorn Leslie chassis is complete and balance beams are fitted. Similar to 11001, it needs a method of keeping the balance beams flush to the frames. There is also the outside frame to consider too (and the gearbox).

Grasslands Out!!!

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Fowler 0-6-0DM (Backwoods Miniatures) Chassis Test

For a very long time now I have been mulling over the build of this tiny little narrow gauge diesel shunter. I think I asked for it on my birthday in my teens and it likely sat in storage for about 10 years before I ever plucked up the courage to attempt to build it. Even that was probably 10 years ago, but anyway… here we are!

My first attempt at building the body required the punching of rivets into the partly formed rivet moulds in the nickel silver etched sheet, which stopped me from working on this model for most of those 10-something years. I eventually plucked up the courage to have a go and I used a small steel rivet punch (that looks like a large needle) and a small hammer. Unfortunately, I thoroughly wrecked the bonnet of the model, created badly matched rivets and made the model look like it had been in some kind of accident with a heard of cows.

I kindly asked the proprietor of Backwoods Miniatures if I could trouble him for a fresh set of etches, which I required for around about £30. I then bought myself a proper miniature rivet punch to avoid such things ever happening again.

I also put together the chassis and gearbox and I think it was one of the first ones that I ever built. Returning to the model after a 12-month break (maybe longer), I decided to have a good look at how well the model is running before I take the plunge and start fitting outside frame coupling rods.

My tests have shown that the pick-up arrangement seems to work fine. I remember modifying it slightly so that it didn’t put too much adverse friction on the free running wheels. The model sits on the rear axle in the smaller of the two bonnets and does seem to struggle to gain traction often with the driving axle spinning with no discernable movement.

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Weighting it down correctly seems to be the potential key to success, but I am mindful that all of the wheels will be very reliant on the coupling rods forcing them into motion from the lone driving axle. Luckily for me, it may be possible to make the coupling rods a bit more robust by soldering two sets together (as I have two sheets of parts). This also means I have a couple of chances to get it right without wrecking the coupling rods.

I have practiced with putting two weights on top of each bonnet to see what the ideal balance of weight is to achieve smooth running across all axles, but it does seem to escape me somewhat. I wondered whether the body was rocking on the axles, but I have checked and it seems fine (although, the gearbox rocks a little when in motion). So far the best arrangement involves dropping the weight into the cab (as I am starting to suspect that the patchy stop-start running is something to do with the middle axle.

I have tested all the pick-ups and it seems to work very well with its live-chassis arrangement, but it does need a fair amount of power (between 50 and 80 on my Gaugemaster controller) to get it moving.

Although it would be nice to see it running better, I think it can only be improved by taking the risk and fitting the outside frame coupling rods and seeing how the model copes with having all the wheels connected to the motion. When will I do this? Who knows, it still seems a bit scary. 😉

Grasslands Out!

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.

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.

BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 4

On Sunday I completed my Drewery Class 04 tram. I sanded down some of the filler applied previously and fitted some loop couplings to the buffer beams. I also made up some three-link couplings and fitted a protection plate to the front and rear cowcatchers.

The original Bachmann whistle was filed down And fitted onto the front of the cab. Later versions of these trams had double horns fitted.

I fitted hand rails to the cab using split pins, which was quite a fiddly job. The original placement of the hand rails on the brass cab sides did not appear to be correct, so I adjusted them by filling in the previous holes and drilling new ones.

The final task was to create a mounting for the chassis. To do this I used some long bolts and drilled pilot holes into the plastic supports that are glued into the body.

Finally I sent the 04 on a test run of Brewery Pit. The body is a little low, as it bottoms out in a a few places, so I’ll adjust the height and then send the loco off to the paint shop.

The final part of ‘Modelling at Speed’ will be uploaded when the paint job is completed.

Please follow the link below for video of the Class 04 conversion so far: