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…

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

GCR Class 5A Motor gearbox issues

I managed to get the sand pipes fitted and then moved on to fitting the motor to the chassis and testing within the body.

On this there is good news in that I should be able to squeeze in the brake cylinder albeit that to avoid the plunger pickup I will have to fit it to the rear of the frame spacer instead of the front but at least it will be there.

Then there is bad news. Brian has provided a really nice ABC motor/gearbox unit. Sadly, the kit is designed for a can motor with simple gears mounted to a frame spacer. The motor gear box will fit into the boiler area no problem but where it does cause an issue is that it interferes with the rear brake cross beam which I think I am going to have to cut.

GCR Class 5A Motor Gearbox issues

GCR Class 5A Brakes fitted

With mojo fully restored in between going for my Covid jab I cracked on and got the brakes assembled and soldered in place. I left the crankshaft from the brake cylinder loose for the moment just in case I do find a way to fit the brake cylinder.

I made up a couple of adjusters from some telescopic tube, filing the larger pieces into hexagons to represent nuts at each end.

GCR Class 5A – Brakes

Next up is fit the sand pipes then to work out how best the motor will fit with the body on. The latter should tell me whether I will be able to fit the brake cylinder after all.

GCR Class 5A Brake Gear

Modelling time has been a little sparse just lately, we were fortunate to be gifted a fair quantity of topsoil from a neighbour’s garden which is to be used to level off or reduce the slope on our front lawn and initially I was wheelbarrowing it in.

I would never have moved it all manually in a timely manner, so the gent doing the groundworks offered to use his digger and dumper to bring it round to our house. Now it all needs to moved away from the dwarf wall so that the wall can be built up higher and then finally levelled off.

Top Soil

I have managed to do bits in between and I have got the plunger pickups ready for installation and also prepared all the brake parts ready for fitting. I felt that the brake spreaders were a bit on the flimsy side so I used some of the scrap etch to double the thickness before fitting the clevis’s.

GCR Class 5A – Brake Gear

Although I never thought to take a photo of them, the layers that make up the brake shoes and hangers come tagged together in small outer frames which can be placed over each other and gripped as one, to allow the parts to be soldered together before cutting out the individual brake hangers complete with shoe as in the photo above.

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


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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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

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