Gladiator J6 another little job off the list

Although I dressed the backhead a couple of weeks or so ago, I hadn’t managed to get it to fit into the cab before now because the stub of the whistle protruding through the cab roof stopped it from sliding in. One of those little few minute jobs that seem to take forever to get around to…. I finally got to it and the backhead now fits in place as if it was made for it.

Gladiator J6 Backhead fitted in the cab
Gladiator J6 Backhead fitted in the cab
Gladiator J6 Backhead fitted in the cab

Gladiator J6, a bit of milling

After spending a week teaching myself 3D drawing, I was back at the workbench today. I had originally planned to just turn a couple of appropriately sized top hat bushes, file some flats on them where they come together and job done. My recently acquired mill offered more possibilities to make something that at least looks like the original even if it doesn’t attach in the same way. This will be soldered to the cylinder front in between the slide bars, instead of being suspended from a substantial bracket between the frames.

This is my first real item produced with the mill and I am happy with how it turned out.

Milled Expansion link support bracket
Milled Expansion link support bracket
Milled Expansion link support bracket
Milled Expansion link support bracket

This is where it will sit in between the slide bars on the cylinder front. I have added some fastenings to make it look as if it should be there, when it’s ultimately lost in the gloom between the frames.

This is where it will fit.

Gladiator J6 Inside Motion progress – valves almost fitted

Yesterday saw more progress on the motion for the J6, with the valves almost complete.
I still have the arms to make that connect the valve rockers with the expansion link etc. But I am pleased that I have got this far as I had hit a bit of a mental brick wall with concern that attempts at soldering on the valve rocker supports would result in them dissolving into individual parts again.

As happens often when procrastinating, I worried for nothing.

Gladiator J6 Overhead Valves
Gladiator J6 Overhead Valves

Gladiator J6 – Boiler Back plate dressing

While I am distracted with outside jobs during the good weather, I have been working on another of the key outstanding jobs that is simple to pick up and put down. The back head/plate, is as I mentioned earlier in the build, a GNR Boiler Back Plate set from LG Miniatures. It wasn’t quite deep enough so I added a strip of thick brass along the bottom. Also missing from the set as delivered, were the injectors. Laurie includes a layout drawing in the set and it showed the missing injectors. An enquiry to Laurie had an apology and a pair of injectors in the post.

I am not sure if they were from the GNR set or another more generic pair but a little bit of scratch building had them looking the part. I had to fabricate one of the levers for the right hand injector from a .9mm rod with one end squashed and drilled out for the pin and then tapered with a file in the mini drill (too small to old securely in the lathe).

In the end I only used one of the hand wheels from the set because they came with cast stems on them and I wanted to fit them to the stem already present on the castings so I used some cast hand wheels from the spares box which had holes in the centres. Had I not had them to hand I would have cut the stems of the castings and drilled them for the ones with the cast stems but it would have been a bit tedious.

J6 Backhead
J6 Backhead

The GA showed some kind of inline valve down the right hand side of the cab at the side of the back plate so I knocked one up from a couple of bits of tube and a cast handwheel from the set.

J6 backhead – scratchbuilt inline valve

My apologies for the greenish tinge it’s reflections from the green storage box that I propped it against for the photos.

Gladiator J6 further work on the inside motion

Modelling time this last week has seen me back on the J6. I have been making progress with the inside motion starting with soldering the front of the slide bars to the cylinder front and then removing the motion bracket and moving it backwards to match the drawing in order that it would then clear the front horn guides.

Motion bracket and cylinder front joined together with the slide bars

Getting them square to each other was a little challenging so I cut a couple of rectangles of 10thou sheet to set both the distance between the cylinder front and the rear of the motion bracket and keep them square at the same time. I used a couple of aluminium hair grips to hold them in place while I soldered the ends of the slide bars to the motion bracket.

I still need to plot out and drill holes for the support rods for the expansion links in the cylinder front.

I still need to plot out and drill the cylinder front for the support rods.

I have temporarily assembled most of the motion but I still need to add the parts to the motion bracket which support and operate the valves.

Motion parts temporarily assembled
Motion parts temporarily assembled

Having extended the clearance between the cylinder front and the motion bracket so that the cylinder front sits in front of the horn guides, I found that the slide bars still fouled the horn guides. T next task was to reduce the depth of the front horn block in the lathe so my four-jaw chuck got a turn. Because I only wanted to effectively face them off. I cheated a little and fitted a short length of 3/16” silver steel into the tailstock, slipped a bearing on and used that to quickly centre the four jaw.

Front Hornblocks reduced in depth on the lathe

The next task is to remove a section of the horn guides to clear the slide bars.

Hornguides now need reducing to suit.

As soon as funds allow, I plan to buy a mill to compliment the lathe and boy would a mill make this task easier. I can see now why Nick plans his inside motion fitting as he builds the frames. A lesson learned for the future! Onwards and upwards as they say.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Gladiator J6 Boiler and Smokebox Details

I am still beavering away at the J6. The boiler bands are on but despite having Tony’s build as a guide I added two 0.7mm infill pieces down the side of the smokebox as Tony had but initially made them too deep thankfully this was all done before attaching it to the smokebox so it was a simple matter to take it of and adjust it.

I made a new mounting plate for the snifting valve which it now fixed in place and I have made a start on fitting the very prominent set of bolt/rivet heads bellow it on the photo that I am working to. – They still need a bit more work with files to make them a bit shallower and more even.

Again, I followed Tony’s lead and started to drill out the chimney in my little lathe. Sadly I don’t have Tony’s touch because I had only got to a 4.5mm drill when I must have gone a little too deep and the spigot came away from the chimney. I attempted to make a collet from wood as suggested by Davis Smith (DLOS) but my chimney casting was ever so slightly misshapen and I couldn’t manage to get it to centre in my 3 jaw chuck (I don’t have a four jaw at present). 
I did the rest, the old-fashioned way and set to with a 2nd cut round file. In all honesty I think that it took less time to file it out than I had spent messing about trying to hold the casting to use a drill. I am just glad that I had drilled the base for the bolt heads before starting on drilling the inside or I may not have had the patience for it at that point.
Like the chimney casting the dome comes with a cast threaded spigot I suppose the original idea being that you would screw it to the boiler top. I opted to cut the spigot away and then using some emery paper wrapped around the boiler. I rubbed away at the dome until I got a good fit before cutting a couple of slots for the boiler band with a slitting disk in my Dremel.

Gladiator J6 Boiler Details

Not really much to show for all that work… as you will note it’s all just propped in place for the photo.