Getting Jiggy with Eccentric Sheaves

A post on a few forums by Nick Dunhill on his build of a Rhymney Railway R class on preparing the eccentric sheaves couldn’t have been timelier.

I am just at that point so the night before last I made up a similar jig from a couple of bits of wood that I had on the bench and having consulted the GA for the length of the sheave I marked up and drilled a hole for the pin (a 0.8mm drill bit). Finally, I filed and soldered up the first sheave. Last night I managed a couple more.

Gladiator J6 Eccentric Sheaves Sizing Jig
Inside Motion Eccentric Sheaves – for Gladiator J6
Inside Motion Eccentric Sheaves – for Gladiator J6

GCR Class 5A A lot less progress than I had hoped…

I am not sure where last weekend went as I had hoped to achieve a bit more on this build but sometimes that’s the way it goes.

First off I cut out the Diane Carney number plates with a no 6 blade in my piercing saw and filed them to final size. Not knowing for certain whether the actual plates had a rim around the beading or whether the beading was in fact the edge of the plate I left two of them with a rim and asked Brian which he preferred.

Then I soldered the boiler to the formers and fitted it to the body. The bottom edge of the boiler section that fits between the tanks has three tabs either side which fit into corresponding slots on a fold out on the inner tank sides. What a fiddle it was to get all six in the slots together. I hadn’t slept well on Saturday night and in the end, I had a snooze before my brain was clear enough to get them all in place.

GCR Class 5A Boiler
GCR Class 5A Boiler
GCR Class 5A Boiler


Gladiator J6 Home Brewed Inside Motion Parts

Although I haven’t posted an update since before Christmas, I have been doing a bit here and there. Mostly this has been making the additional bits and pieces needed for the inside motion. The motion for the J6 differs from other versions of Stephenson’s motion in that it has four valves rather than the more usual two. There are two between the cylinders and two above them. Although I have the full LG Stephenson’s motion set, in the end I doubt that I will be able to use much more than the connecting rods, eccentric rods and the slide bars and cross heads. The other bits will go in the spares box for a future build.

Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Inside Motion Parts

The arms that fit to the lower linkages still need to be shortened to 5.5mm between hole centres.

The expansion links in the motion kit are a couple of millimetres longer than the GA and have a lug on one side which I would have to cut off for this particular application.

Gladiator J6 Inside Motion Parts
Gladiator J6 Inside Motion Parts

As I am making all the other parts to match the dimensions on the GA, I opted to make a pair of expansion links to match. Working on the theory that I always have the LG castings as a fall back, if my home brewed ones don’t fit for any reason.

Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Inside Motion Parts
Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Inside Motion Parts

GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox

This morning I added the semicircle of spare etch attached with a couple of small bridging pieces made from scrap etch.

GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox Inner Frame
GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox Inner Frame

I had already rolled the boiler but hadn’t soldered the seam so that was done next and then I realised that the two slits which allow for the curve out of the smokebox base the fit the smokebox saddle hadn’t quite etched right through. A simple task to cut down it with the piercing saw once the seam was soldered. But equally had I noticed it before rolling the boiler I could have done it in the flat with a blade.

GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox Wrapper

There are some tabs on the ends of the inner frame at the firebox end but I can’t see any corresponding slots in the cab front, so I think I will have to cut those off to get it to sit in place correctly. But that will be a task for next year when I resume.

GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox
GCR Class 5A Boiler and Smokebox

A Little mystery with the GCR Class 5A

Progress has been slow this weekend, but a mystery has been unravelled.
You may recall that when I started the footplate, I couldn’t find two out of four part 60’s? Well today I found them…

I started yesterday’s session by rolling the boiler and it mentions using part 52 to ensure that it’s round.
This is the drawing of part 52

Part 52 drawing

I found it amongst the remaining bits of etch and tried it in the boiler all was well.
Then I started to assemble the inner support frame for the boiler using the diagram below and photos of my previous build.

In my previous build I hadn’t used part 52… so I started questioning why not.
Although I obviously hadn’t worked it out before due to lack of experience it quickly became apparent that there was something wrong with part 52.

The photo above shows both sides of part 52 as etched. Although it’s one piece when you check against the drawing snip above it should in fact be three parts, 52 and 2 x part 60 (the missing parts). It looks like when he drew the artwork Garth Patrick got these bits on the wrong layers and the bit’s that should have been etched though have been half etched on one side and the outer ring which should have been full thickness has been half etched on the back making the part completely useless. I contemplated cutting the ring out with the piercing saw but I obviously managed without it on my build so could on this. As it happens in my spare etch box I found a semi circle the correct diameter which I will attach with a couple of bits of scrap to support the firebox end of the boiler tube.

Photos to follow once I have done it.

A Little Bit Of Motion on the Gladiator J6

I have been distracted for the last few days by teaching myself to draw in QCAD with a view to getting a few things etched. Before that I had made some progress on the rest of the inside valve gear.

Early in the week Tony Geary kindly pointed me at a photo of the inside valve gear on a 7 ½” gauge N2. Armed with this as a starting point I searched online and found a Facebook page chronicling the guy’s build. In his photo section I found loads of photos which have gone a long way to clarify in my mind what I was struggling to interpret from the GA.

I have a few photos of the full sized N2 valve gear which again are great for showing how things fit together above the slide bars but not below which is the area that I was struggling with. The build photos have clarified things now I just need to make up all the parts. Unfortunately, most of mine will need to be made from scratch as my spares box is nowhere near as comprehensive as Tony’s.

Gladiator J6 Inside Valvegear
Gladiator J6 Inside Valvegear
Gladiator J6 Inside Valvegear

The sections are just resting in place for the photos I have a lot more to attach to both the motion plate and cylinder front before finally joining them.

GCR Class 5A More Bodyworks

I am pleased to say that the replacement side has been a complete success and even in bare metal, if you didn’t know I doubt that you could tell that it wasn’t original.

Each side has a couple of ovals representing works plates so I used some off cuts to file up a couple of replacements and soldered them in place before fitting the side. I took measurements of the side that I had taken off to get the correct placement.

GCR Class 5A body works
GCR Class 5A body works

Before finally soldering the new side on I fitted the front and rear of the cab and the cupboard on the cab and their overlays.

Once they were all in place, I added the beading around the cab opening. Although I am sure that I used them last time I failed miserably to get the beading to slot onto the tabs in the cab openings. In the end, I filed them off and did it as I would have if there had been no tabs. Using the opening as a former I pre-bent the beading to shape and them with the aid of self-locking tweezers soldered them in place. I will have to revisit one of them as while taking photos this morning I noted a couple of small gaps that need filling.

GCR Class 5A body works
GCR Class 5A body works
GCR Class 5A body works

GCR Class 5A Replacement Side Panel

Today’s model making session saw the replacement side created. I still need to solder it in place but I am going to fit a few other bits first. It would have been much extra work to add all the tabs so it will need a little more care to fit some parts in place without the help of the tabs but most kits don’t have tabs on these particular parts so it should present too much of a problem.

GCR Class 5A Replacement side panel

The basic rectangle was cut out with my guillotine and the shapes/cab opening cut by hand with a piercing saw (fitted with a no 6 blade – very fine). I cut close to but not quite on my scribed line, then filed to final shape with various files and small drum sander in my mini drill.

Gladiator J6 – New Frame Spacers

After reading Tony’s struggle to fit all the inside motion in his J6 and observations made on a couple of forums by Ian Middleditch and Jim Snowdon. I decided to take the plunge and cut some new frame spacers to give me more room to play with. With the new spacers I have given myself a couple more millimetres. The downside is that I need to make a new motion bracket but I am sure it will be worth it.

Gladiator J6 new frame spacers
Gladiator J6 New frame spacers

GCR Class 5A One step forward and two back

This weekend was a one step forward and two back, weekend. I added the sides and fitted the coal bars to the rear cab side sheet and also dry fitted the cab front and inner cab rear.

GCR Class 5A Body Work
GCR Class 5A Body Work
GCR Class 5A Body Work
GCR Class 5A Body Work

Where it took a step backwards was on one side, I wasn’t sure that the middle of the tank side had soldered properly to the inner former so I ran the soldering iron over it. Unfortunately, due to the very thin material of the overlay (0.1mm) it left an indentation where I had run the iron.

GCR Class 5A Body Work
GCR Class 5A Body Work

After consulting with Brian, I removed the side and attempted to remove the indentation but as I suspected it wasn’t possible so I will use the side as a template to make a replacement side from nickel sheet.

Gladiator J6 More work on the chassis

Not a great deal to show for this week’s efforts on the J6.

I filled in the lightening holes in the front of the frames as the photo that I am working from doesn’t show any. I also cut away the bottom of the etched ashpan sides and fitted a representation of the bottom. This may need a bit of trimming to clear the gear wheel once finally fitted.

Gladiator J6 Ash Pan and Lightening Holes
Gladiator J6 Ash Pan

The rest of the time has been spent patiently filing the hornblocks, hornguides and the cranks to enable the cranks and eccentrics to fit between the centre hornguides and rotate freely.

Gladiator J6 Cranks and eccentrics
Gladiator J6 Cranks and eccentrics
Gladiator J6 Cranks and eccentrics

Due to the need to get the loco around 5’6” curves the frames are a bit narrower than they might have been if I had been building for myself.

So far, so good.

GCR Class 5A – Footplate and Basic Body

I didn’t have much in the way of modelling time this weekend but I managed to make some progress.

I had cut out the footplate and valances last weekend so they were quickly put together via the tabs. The buffer beams were easily laminated and then again attached via tabs. There are four fold ups that represent the ends of the timber backing to the buffer planks these sit in a recess made up from some strengthening plates (parts 89 and 90) Parts 89 are dotted about the etch so took a bit of tracking down. Parts 90 are shown to be quite close together on the plan of the etches but despite spending the best part of an hour looking I could only find two of the four so I cut some replacements from scrap etch and cut one of the tabs off a couple of the part 89’s

GCR Class 5A Buffer Beam strengtheners

With all the parts found or made it was a simple job to solder it all up to make solid footplate. Then comes the task of chopping all the bits out of the inner cab/tanks/bunker and attaching it to the footplate.
You need to read the instructions thoroughly at this point because if you twist all the tabs you cannot get the overlay to sit in the tab holes. You also need to fit the inner tanks before fitting the overlay because you need to file off all the twisted tabs to get the overlay flat – you will note that in my photo the overlay is still loose as I haven’t filed off the tabs yet.

GCR Class 5A Footplate and basic body
GCR Class 5A Footplate and basic body

Talking of tabs, there is much mention of tabs in the instructions at this point. The cab beading has slots for tabs You will note that to make life a bit easier when fitting them I removed the tabs from the door opening on the inner etch but left them on the overlay. This was a trick I learned from the last build.

GCR Class 5A Footplate and basic body

Gladiator J6 – Bodywork almost completed

Although it hasn’t been without its trials, I have made good progress this week and the bodywork is almost complete.
The left side handrail caused a few problems because the etched hole in the cab front, to which I had soldered the tube for the handrail proved to be slightly out of position. I am not sure whether it was a vagary of the hand drawn art work which I have then exacerbated as I have opened the hole with a broach or that my positioning of the boiler was slightly low.

To make it all line up I had to remove the stub of tube, fill the hole with brass rod and file flush then redrilling the hole slightly lower.
I also drilled the rims of the buffer stocks and inserted some scale hardware fittings the collar of the buffer stocks is quite small so it was a bit nerve wracking drilling with a 0.4mm drill bit, but it came out okay.

All the boiler fittings are soldered in place with the exception of the smokebox door which it just resting in place for the photos.
The front steps come with an interesting fold up support which makes them fairly rigid but before I had finished fitting the front one’s, I had managed to bend the rear ones so I soldered some 2x1mm bar behind them to give some strength.

The only things left to fit, are a pair of globe lubricators that sit on the front of the sandboxes either side of the smokebox. The reason that I haven’t fitted them yet is that I have lost them. I bought them at the same time as the backhead and some additional valve rods so I know that they are here somewhere but can I find them….

Of course, the moment I order some more to replace them they will pop out from where they are hiding so I am holding off for the minute.

Gladiator J6 Body almost complete
Gladiator J6 Body almost complete
Gladiator J6 Body almost complete
Gladiator J6 Body almost complete
Gladiator J6 Whistle
Gladiator J6 Body almost complete

GCR Class 5A – running chassis

I managed to sort the crank pins and get clearance. I removed the short 10 ba screw from the rear of the Mundy crank pins on the front axle and then cut the pin back to the boss.I then filed the boss back to approx half thickness and fitted a long 10ba screw through to become the crankpin. A tapped Slaters crank pin now acts as the retainer allowing clearance for the cross heads. I ended up doing a similar but not quite the same exercise on the middle axles in order to get it to run smoothly.
It’s running in on the rolling road as I type.

Starting to look like a J6 at last

This week has seen the lubricators fitted along with the firebox/ashpan sides. Then I fitted all the main components together and fitted it to the chassis. I needed to file a bit of the undersides at both ends to get the chassis to mate with the body. This is because I have used the narrowest frame spacer due to the need to get the loco around 5’ curves.

Gladiator J6 Body details
Gladiator J6 Body details

But it all fits now; I have just rested the chimney and dome on for the photo.

Lokking like a J6 now

I have also fitted the splashers and cab floor and fitted a couple of short lengths of tube through the front of the cab for the hand rails. On the GA and on internal shots of the C1 cab the right side handrail has a handwheel attached to it so I have added that too.

Gladiator J6 Cab details

Once I had the cab floor fitted I could determine the fit of the backhead. The Laurie Griffin castings although quoted as being for a J6 among other locos was a little short so I added a strip to the bottom. I suppose that makes a change from hacking bit of the sides to make them fit in cabs.

Gladiator J6 Backhead

Gladiator J6 Scratch built Wakefield Mechanical Lubricators

The latest bit of modelling madness is a couple of Wakefield mechanical lubricators.

The kit provides a couple of nice but generic lubricator castings which have a lid and a hand wheel but no pipework. The lubricators fitted to 64206 are a little unusual to my eyes at least in that the pipes all come out of the bottom whereas I am more used to then coming out at the bottom of one or both sides. Now I could have followed Tony’s example and gone for some Ragstone castings but where would be the fun in that.
Cutting out and drilling all the parts (18 each not including the pipes) was relatively easy the fun part was soldering them all together without it all collapsing in a heap.

Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Wakefield mechanical Lubricators
Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Wakefield mechanical Lubricators
Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Wakefield mechanical Lubricators
Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Wakefield mechanical Lubricators

Not the easiest thing in the world to photograph but after taking the earlier shots I remembered the quite prominent wingnut on the top holding the lid shut.

Gladiator J6 Scratch Built Wakefield mechanical Lubricators

I made it from a 16 ba cheese head screw with the head squashed in a pair of pliers and then filed to shape.

GCR Class 5A Chassis assembled.

What a difference a day makes (or was it the night off and a bottle of cider?)
Yesterday afternoon I scoured the etches to gather up the 18 parts required to make the two crossheads. As always one of them was quite elusive and took a couple of searches before I found it.

After a little bit of testing to ensure I had them in the correct orientation they were soldered up. They are a very clever design and they were both done in just over an hour without any of the stress of fitting the splasher tops to the J6.

GP Models GCR CLass 5A Crossheads

Following on from this I added the piston rods using some brass tapered clock pins that I bought a while ago. I then assembled the crossheads onto the slide bars and attached them to the motion brackets.
This was followed by the cylinder wrappers and then after cutting short the crank pins I assembled the chassis with the coupling and connecting rods with a view to giving it a test run.

Sadly, this is as far as I got because the Derek Mundy crankpins are so big on the front axle that they won’t clear the crossheads. Although the screw in caps are a reasonable thickness, I don’t think there will be enough meat in them to create the clearance just by filing them down.

At the minute I am pondering what options I have that don’t involve taking the crankpin back out of the wheels. My concern with removing them is getting them back in square without wrecking the wheels.

GCR Class 5A assembled chassis
GCR Class 5A assembled chassis
GCR Class 5A assembled chassis

Gladiator J6 Footplate and cab interior details

Although I am working in the general direction of getting the footplate complete so that I can attach the cab/boiler etc. to it. I am not ding things in any particular order so when I glanced at the sketch in the instructions for the cab floor I thought I would have a go at that before fitting the splasher tops.

The sketch only shows the rear of the cab splashers/floor and at first, I took the etched lines at the rear for fold lines. Having folded it I couldn’t get the floor to fit so I ended up straightening it out and soldering it up. Surprise, surprise, it now was too long for the cab. I surmised that I would have to cut along the half etched lines to get it to it. However after a bit of head scratching I emailed David Hill (Gladiator) to ask how he had done it on his before doing something that while not irreversible would make a good bit more work. David replied very quickly and advised that the cab floor did indeed need cutting at the half etched line because the kit has options for both the 521 536 series locos with the 521 series having a much deeper cab. A point that I had completely missed!!

Gladiator J6 Cab floor

You can see the half etch lines in the shot above. What isn’t apparent is that the half etched lines in the splasher tops are approx. 3mm different from those on the floor etch. I cut at the splasher lines first but needed to cut at the floor lines to get it to fit so anyone else building one of these as a 536 series you need to ignore the lines on the splasher tops and use those on the floor etch.
Once I had it a good fit in the cab, I added the splasher top sandbox filler plates and the fillers themselves. Curiously the splasher tops and the half etched sandbox top plates have a recess/hole for the top which I can only assume is for location purposes as the filler cap needs to be slightly proud of the splasher top. Like those on the front I cut a slice of tube and gently squashed it into an oval with pliers before soldering the top on.

Gladiator J6 Cab floor and Splashers

I made up the reverser and fitted it to the cab.

Gladiator J6 Cab floor and Splashers
Gladiator J6 Cab interior Details

After having a look at the reverser in the C1 I added a couple of bits of scrap etch to give a little more detail – not very clear in the shot below. Strictly speaking the lever should be on the outside of the ratchet plate not in between as shown in the instructions

I decided to leave it as is, as it will be lot in the gloom of the cab.

GNR Atlantic 251 detail shots

It was probably a sign that I should have left it alone at this point but for the life of me I could only find two of the four splasher tops. I decided to cut some replacements out of 10 thou sheet on my “Mini Formit” guillotine (which I have used extensively throughout this build). Parts duly cut, the first front sandbox/splasher went on easily then it took over two hours to fit the rest and, in the end, I cut it off the cradle to make it easier to solder from the back.

For whatever reason they sorely tested my patience. It was even more frustrating when trying to fit the ashpan sides as again one went on easily without issue to the second was a nightmare which resulted in the splasher top coming adrift several times before I had both in place to my satisfaction. On the back of that I had an evening off last night.

But here is the state of play.

Gladiator J6 Footplate Details
Gladiator J6 Footplate Details
Gladiator J6 Footplate Details

Still a bit of detailing to go on before I fix things together but I am getting there.

GCR Class 5A The Chassis continued.

Next up was looking on the etches for all the bits for the cylinders and it was at this point that I discovered a couple more frame spacers that aren’t mentioned in the instructions. Thankfully they are quite easy to spring into place having trimmed the tabs shorter. As I was doing the first one I recalled having to do the same exercise when I built mine (and that was despite having Mike Cole’s build notes which seem to have been lost In the house move). What was more puzzling was where each one was supposed to fit within the frames.
Thankfully all I had to do was look under mine to refresh my memory.
I have highlighted the two in question in the photo below.

GCR Class 5A Chassis – additional spacer behind cylinders.

The one at the rear is mentioned in the instructions and it needs the hole for the brake cylinder to be to the left as you look towards the front of the loco.

In the apologies section in the instructions Garth apologises for there being no brake cylinder included. Having knocked one up from tube/rod etc. it seems that the reason for omitting it is that it interferes with fitting one of the plunger pick ups (and oddly the spacer had the hole for locating the cylinder in a vertical spacer which necessitated fitting a locating spigot in the side of the cylinder. I would have thought it much simpler to have made the frame space deeper with a fold line that would allow the cylinder to be fixed from the top. I am sure there was a reason why it was designed like that but we will never know what it was.

GCR Class 5A Chassis Sand boxes and rear spacer

I consulted with Brian as to whether to add a wiper pickup instead of a plunger for this wheel and his view was that having gone to the effort of making the cylinder it would be a shame not to use it so a wiper it is.

Having sorted the frame spacers and the brake cylinder I moved onto the sandboxes and the cylinders themselves making reasonable progress. All in all a good weekend’s effort.

GCR Class 5A Chassis
GCR Class 5A Chassis – front spacer
GCR Class 5A Chassis Sandbaoxes and Brake Cylinder
GCR Class 5A Chassis – Sandboxes

Gladiator J6 – final details before fitting the castings and pipe runs on the boiler/smokebox and cab front

Still working on the detail from my photo of 64206 and I noted that there was a semicircle of rivets/bolt heads on the left side of the smokebox just above the handrail surrounding the bottom half of an oval patch.

The patch is made from some very thin brass shim that I bought from china via eBay several years ago. It’s just under 0.1mm thick

Gladiator J6 Smokebox details

Next up I fitted the internal window frames and the associated rivets/bolt heads on the cab front.

Gladiator J6 Cab details
Gladiator J6 Cab windows

Hopefully that should be it for the boiler/smokebox and external cab details until I start fitting the castings pipe runs etc.