Connoisseur LNER Perishables Van backdated to an NER version

Once the doors were finished the rest of it went together pretty much as Jim intended. With the addition of LG vacuum, steam heat and couplings.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – final Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – final Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Final Details

I added a floor from the mount board that the kit comes attached to and I made the roof removable so that the back of the louvres could be blanked off should it be required.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint

GCR Class 5A Turned out nice again…

Amongst the castings in the kit were what I originally thought were a couple of Ross Pop safety valves but it turns out that they were in fact the lids for the sand boxes either way they were not great.

What a great opportunity to make something meaningful with the new lathe, thinks I.

So, I turned up a pair of sandbox lids

GCR Class 5A Turned sand box fillers

Finally, one with the obligatory 5p piece for scale

I have to confess that these were my second attempt. The first pair were okay but I hadn’t quite worked out how to make the two identical so there were some slight discrepancies in size – probably not really noticeable at this small size but I knew I could do better so I did.

After making the first two sandbox fillers I turned (if you will pardon the pun) my attentions to the oilers. While buying other castings I had bought some oilers for the side of the smoke box and a set for the footplate. Having examined the ones on the footplate more closely in the photos I realised that the castings would be correct so I turned up a pair of those too. They were very similar to make, aside from I drilled these 0.8mm to take a piece of nickel rod to mount them.

I could have left a turned stem on the oilers but I need to be able to bend it so I reasoned that rod would be better for bending as I thought a turned stem would be likely to break off.

And again, with the 5p piece

The collets and chuck were invaluable and this type of thing really satisfies my urge to make things…

NER Perishables van more body detailing

Next up came the complex but visually attractive NER door locking mechanism.
Made from scrap etch and brass rod. Although I didn’t take any photos the mechanism does work.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built door fittings
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built door fittings

Then I made up the basic body and detailed the ends. I was a bit clumsy and managed to melt one of the end post castings so I nicked one out of one of my kits and I will either get a spare from Jim when life returns to normal or make one from brass bar when I get to building it.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details

GCR Class 5A just needs castings to complete

While awaiting more building materials I had some time in the workshop over the last couple of days and this has allowed the Class 5A to move much nearer to completion. All the etch parts are now on the body with just the balance weights to fit to complete all the etched parts.
From there I moved onto the castings, at the beginning Brian and I discussed the castings and since they were pretty poor (certainly when compared to the castings that came with my kit a few years earlier) and we replaced as much as we could but retained the Chimney, dome and Smokebox door. The dome and the smokebox door did clean up and don’t look too bad now but the Chimney when I examined it closely had some holes in the flare at the base. I filled them with lowmelt and reshaped the flare. This means that I will have to use epoxy to stick it on as I don’t want to risk any heat undoing the work on the flare.

GCR Class 5A Safety Valves
GCR Class 5A Boiler castings

The castings after clean up

GCR Class 5A Cab details

Cab interior details

GCR Class 5A Cab details
GCR Class 5A Handrails fitted
GCR Class 5A Last of the etch details.
GCR Class 5A Last of the etch details.

The Safety valves are from Laurie Griffin and they too had a prominent mould line across the top which required a bit of works to remove but still infinitely better than the reject whitemetal offering. I understand that this kit is now with Iain Young of Sans Pariel/CSP and that he intends to remaster all the castings. The kit will benefit greatly from that, I think.

Holding things for drilling/milling

While re-watching David LO Smith’s workshop video that he did for last years virtual show I was reminded that quite often the job itself doesn’t present the biggest problem for machine tools it’s holding the item securely in the right orientation that proves most challenging.
Needing to drill out some cast brass brake hangers and shoes I was struggling on how to hold them because the castings were ever so slightly miscast meaning that each part had to be slightly tilted to get the hole to go through cleanly without coming out of the side of the casting.
I thought I would share with you the method that I came up with.

I gripped the pliers in the small machine vice and bought the drill bit down in front of the part to check alignment, adjusting until the hole would pass through the casting correctly before aligning the drill bit over the point to be drilled. 
I have had these pliers for years and I removed the spring for a job and never put it back this means that the jaws stay where you put them so ideal for using both hands to do the set up. 
They have quite straight but quite narrow jaws (3mm for most of their length tapering to 2.6mm at the ends) and I wish I could buy another pair as using them for soldering many times has started to corrode the ends of the jaws.
Then to start drilling grip the handles of the pliers to keep the part in place and operate the drill with the other hand. I had to keep minutely adjusting the angle as I drilled each end of each casting but all six were drilled both ends without mishap.

Connoisseur NER Perishables Van more progress on the doors

From there it was just a case of keep adding the details to the doors

Connoisseur Perishables Van – More hinge details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors

The ‘barrel’ of the hinges was made by filing a slot in a piece of 2mm x1mm bar using an oval file to give the slope where it meets the strap and then rounding off the other end. The RSU came into its own when soldering them on. I think it’s the first time that I have ever managed to solder on some fine detail without at least one part pinging off and requiring a search to find it or to make a replacement.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors

NER Perishables Van backdated from a Connoisseur kit for an LNER Version

Despite building it at the same time I completely forgot to post this, following on from the Road van my second victim is a conversion of a Connoisseur LNER Perishables van from one of these – photo courtesy of Jim McGeown’s website

To a North Eastern Railway version with cupboard type doors instead of the sliding door on the LNER version.  The cupboard doors and their locking mechanism will need to be scratch built. LNER Wagons Volume Two by Peter Tatlow has photos and a drawing which will prove very helpful during this conversion.

We start off by cutting out the parts etched in the door openings

Once they are removed and put to one side for later in the build, the openings need to be trimmed back to the door pillars. I did this with the trusty piercing saw with a no 6 blade.

Once I had my door opening dimensions, I cut a couple of replacement doors and scored the planking on them using an Olfa Cutter (skrawker).

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Replacement Cupboard doors
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Replacement cupboard doors

These were soldered in with some strips of scrap etch soldered all the way around to prevent them being dislodged through handling of the finished van.

Once this was done, I started on the hinges. This job was made some much easier by riveting the edge of a piece of 10 thou brass sheet at the appropriate spacing (taken from the drawing) using my GP models rivet press and then cutting the strip from the sheet using my guillotine. I ended up filing a few down to width before I got my eye in despite scribing a cut line…

Connoisseur Perishables Van – More hinge details

GCR Class 5A Pickups fitted Running slowly getting there.

I haven’t had much workbench time in the last couple of weeks or so but when I have I have been slowly working on the chassis of the Class 5A fitting the pickups and getting it to run. The latter being a bit of a trial.

In order to make it so that the motor and pick ups can be removed without having to unsolder anything I made a frame spacer from a spare out of another kit and screwed a piece of Vero board to it

GCR Class 5A Vero Board screwed in place
GCR Class 5A Pickups fitted
GCR Class 5A chassis

This is where the fun began,  despite it running lovely when the motor was connected directly as soon as I added pickups in to the equation the rods started jamming at every turn which in turn forces the compensation beams up and down to one extreme or the other. This caused more than a few mutterings. One thing that I noticed was that in retaining the Dereck Mundy Crankpins at the rear albeit in a modifified form on the centre axle the thick boss was still causing issues by pushing the coupling rods in to an open-ended wedge shape. I had dismantled one side with the plan to carefully extract the crank pins and turn the bossed down on my Unimat SL. Life intervened and I bought a Unimat 3 early last week, so having collected it from Driffield on Tuesday, I did them on that instead.

GCR Class 5A Crankpin boss turned down

It now runs much better on the rolling road but I am sure that once I get some weight in it and on a test track it will be fine. The rollers on my rolling road are set a lit far apart and sometimes that introduces a bit of a waddle which doesn’t help when trying to resolve running problems. – Prompted by typing this, I found and added some small washers which have taken out some of the side play on the rollers and running has improved already.

Gladiator J6

One of the few remaining details to add to the body are the injectors which sit under the footplate tucked away behind the cab steps. From all the photos that I have of J6’s seeing what they actually look like is a real problem. Then I remembered that I had taken a few photos of the Injectors on the side of the preserved J52 while it lived at Shildon.

While I have a couple of good side views they don’t show the pipes and how they fit.

Then by pure chance I was looking through some photos that I took in the dark hall at York and found that I had indeed taken photos of each end

By cross referencing these with the end that’s visible on some better lit J6 photos I was able to confirm to my satisfaction that these are the same type of injector fitted to the J6 Now all I need to do is work out how to scale them to size – Despite taking quite a few shots at both locations none of them are side on allowing scaling from a known dimension.

The case of the missing Globe Lubricators

Modelling time has been in a bit short supply so far this week but I have managed a few bits and pieces. The key one being, on the back of a delivery of a second set of globe lubricator castings for the J6, I got them fitted. I had to order some more because I have misplaced the first lot but I am sure that they will turn up in due course…

Gladiator J6 Globe Lubricators

Still a bit of cleaning up to do under there.

Globe Lubricators on the Gladiator J6

GCR Class 5A Ashpan corrections

Over on RMweb Mike Edge (of Judith Edge Kits) kindly pointed out that I had the ashpan sides correct but fitted the wrong way around – slope to the rear instead of the front.

I am very grateful for this because it’s an easy fix (already done) and was a detail that I was struggling to find. The GA I have only show’s an outline for the ashpan and all the photos I have the detail is lost in the gloom.
I had forgotten to take photos of them before fitting so taking them off to swap them around gave me the opportunity to do so.

I measured the space where they were to fit and cut a strip of a sheet of 10thou nickel 30.5mm wide. From this strip I cut two pieces each 17mm long. This left a piece approx. 30mm long and I measured 5mm up from each opposite end and then cut the piece diagonally across.

I wasn’t sure that I have described that clearly so I knocked up a sketch in paint.

Once I had all the parts cut out, I placed each bottom edge in my hold and fold approx. 1.5 mm in and gave it as slight bend and then solder them together in handed pairs to give each ashpan side as below.

GCR Class 5A Ashpan sides

GCR Class 5A Ashpan and Gearbox fitting

Today I rechecked the motor and gearbox on the centre axle with all the other axles in place. Sadly, it was as I feared, the tight fit of the motor in the boiler area pushed the compensation beam down and left the chassis rocking on the centre axle. So back to plan A fitting it on the rear axle and cutting into/the brake cross beam.

Before doing anything drastic I took time out to knock up some ashpan sides and they have cured the gearbox visibility issue.

GCR Class 5A Ashpan
GCR Class 5A Ashpan
GCR Class 5A Mudguards

That still left the gear touching the brake cross beam so I bit the bullet and cut a section out of it.

GCR Class 5A Cut through brake crossbeam
GCR Class 5A Ashpan
GCR Class 5A Ashpan

Gladiator J6 Crank Axle

In between adding bits to the GCR Tank, After drilling and pinning the cranks which was thankfully uneventful. I cut out the axle in between the crank webs and refitted the connecting rods. I had to file a little of the sides of one one the connecting rods but very quickly all was rotating smoothly. So much so that I made a short video. Sadly my camera didn’t focus too well on my hands but you get the idea.

GCR Class 5A Body Works

This is a bit of an addendum to the last post with photos showing where I am at.

GCR Class 5A Body Works
GCR Class 5A Body works


GCR Class 5A Body works

A weak area of the kit which to be fair is admitted to in the instructions is the cab roof. It’s half etched and as a result besides being very thin it also has a tendency to curl in the wrong direction for the curve of the cab. I wanted the roof to be removable so I did exactly the same on this one as I did on mine.

GCR Class 5A Cab Roof
GCR Class 5A Body works

After fitting the curved ribs that are supplied, I cut a smaller piece of 10 thou nickel to fit inside between the ribs to add strength and I also added a couple of rain strips from 1mmx1mm brass angle which conveniently hides the holes left by etched slots.

There are not many more bits of etch to add before I get to adding the castings and final details.

Wagon and Carriage Works Mobile Hand Crane

Having looked at it for a couple of days I felt that the second runner wagon looked a little bare so I knocked up another toolbox and I added some hardware to them all. It’s starting to come together now. A friend has just sent me some spare ‘Crane Runner’ transfers so I now have enough to do both runners (assuming that I can get them to fit of course.

I am still undecided as to whether to line the counterbalance weight on the crane because the gears on the crane itself will prevent me being able to add any lining around the frame if indeed they were actually lined.

A few tools and lumps of timber and some weathering will bring it all together.

GCR Class 5A Motor decisions

Things have been quietly progressing with the Class 5A and the number of etched parts is diminishing.

The other thing I have been considering is the motor position and I have been trialling fitting it to the middle axle which would remove the need to chop some out of the brake cross beam.

By nibbling some of the boiler/firebox former away it has allowed the motor to slip inside and run without any apparent issues. What I am not sure of yet, because I still have to test it, is whether it affects the movement of the compensation beams.

A different Motor position

There isn’t a great deal of room for movement in there so I need to test it before making a final decision.

Wagon and Carriage Works Mobile Hand Crane and Runner Wagons

In my quest to clear the workbench of it’s long time inhabitants I took stock of what was needed to finish the crane and runner/match wagons. It turned out that to do the bare bones of the build they only actually needed buffers and couplings. Then I recalled why the build had stalled. The buffers and couplings that came with the kit were a bit of a ‘hotch potch’ of different makes/types. I bought it second hand so I am not sure which of them might have been included originally.

There were a couple of different type of white metal buffer stocks and a nice set of Slaters cast brass RCH pattern buffers but there were only three buffer heads. There were buffer heads/springs and retaining nuts. The trouble was that the springs were a bit bigger than the normal springs that Slaters and other supply.

I had a look in my spares box and managed to find three complete sets of Buffer stocks, one set NER, One set GNR and one set LNER. Which I thought would be typical of a railway company using whatever wagon was available to use as runner wagons for the crane.

Again, there was a mixture of couplings so I sorted out three assorted sets and added them.

It was at this point that I asked for assistance on the LNER forum as to what colour mobile hand cranes would have been painted by the LNER. I didn’t get a definitive answer but the suggestion was that they might have been lined black the same as the steam cranes were.

Armed with this, I masked them up and painted them black. At this point I thought that the runner wagons were a bit plain so I made up some toolboxes from coffee stirrers and added them to what was to become the leading runner wagon.

Engineers Train
Engineers Train

I couldn’t resist posing them with a shabby NBR van and one of the NER brakes to simulate a breakdown train.

Enginneers Train

Still some way to go before I and happy with them.

D&S NER Bogie Road Van with a lick of paint

The Road van was painted at the same time as the brake vans but I held off posting photos because they formed part of the GOG virtual show’s lockdown models display. The show was held today so I am not taking anything away from it by adding them to my threads.I enlisted Chris’s help to paint the curved arrows on the plate above the brake hand wheel

D&S NER Bogie Road Van
D&S NER Bogie Road Van

Finally I was asked by a friend to take photos of both bogie vans together.

L&Y and NER Bogie Vans
L&Y and NER Bogie Vans

For those not familiar with it the LMS van is the Dragon Models Lancashire and Yorkshire 30 ton Bogie van now with TaffVale Models.

Gladiator J6, Soldering of the Crank Axle

Today has been a brilliant day on quite a few fronts but the main one being that I successfully soldered the crank axle up without any issues.

I followed advice given to me by fellow modeller Nick Dunhill, which was to use Bakers Fluid as the flux to solder to the steel axle, to replace the piece of steel rod provided to line up the cranks and eccentric with a length of similar diameter brass rod which being more flexible allows the cranks and eccentrics to be squashed tighter together and positioned better. And finally, to wrap wet tissue around the eccentric sheaves to stop the soldered end coming adrift with the heat.

It couldn’t have gone any smoother, I spent some time making sure they were all lined up correctly and orientated against one of the flat edges of the axle end. I grip the other end in a biggish pin vice applied the Bakers fluids from a bulb type dropper and some short lengths of 180 solder curled slightly around the axle either side of the cranks then gently applied heat with the microflame until the solder flashed. While it was cooling I couldn’t resist moving the eccentrics slightly to make sure that they hadn’t become solid.

All was well Phew!!!

J6 Crank Axle Soldered up
J6 Crank Axle Soldered up
J6 Crank Axle Soldered Up

Next job is clean them up and then before cutting out the section of axle I think that I am going to drill and pin the cranks. I know that Nick doesn’t bother as they aren’t under any real load but I think that I will be belt and braces for this my first go.