Scratch built Steps for a DJH/Piercy J27

A little quickie on the workbench today.

A fellow modeller asked if I would make him some steps to replace some that were missing in a DJH/Piercy J27 kit that he had bought.

My guillotine and some offcuts of brass sheet made fairly short work of making them. In fact the longest time came from working out how big the parts needed to be. Although I had been provided with a section from a drawing it had been photographed rather than scanned so it wasn’t square on enough to be certain that measurements could be scaled exactly from it. What it did allow was confirmation that taking sizes from the steps in an NER J21 kit was as near as I was going to get.

J27 Scratch built steps

GCR Class 5A onto the final detailing

A couple of sessions this weekend, have seen most of the brass castings and the backhead finished and secured in place.

Prior to doing that I had to make a cab floor or rather the front section of the cab floor because my replacement backhead fell through the section that’s not provided in the kit when I tried it in place.

GCR Class 5A cab floor

I added a couple of 2mm wide strips to the edges of the cab splashers and then soldered the additional cab floor to that which brought it to the same height as the rest of the cab floor.

After making the floor it gave me another option to secure the backhead so I made the back head and the cab gauges removable to ease the job of painting.

GCR Class 5A backhead removalble for painting
GCR Class 5A backhead removalble for painting

I folded a small piece of 10thou nickel into a U shape with a short leg to the front and drilled a hole for a 10ba nut. The idea of the U shape is to add a bit more strength to what is relatively thin sheet.

GCR Class 5A Gauges removable for painting
GCR Class 5A Gauges removable for painting
GCR Class 5A Cab view

I added a short length of tube in the corner of the cab front and splasher and the tail of the pipe from the gauge locates into it with the back of the dial fitting over the peg where the vacuum ejector pipe enters the cab. Not strictly prototypical I am sure but it means that after painting a small dab of glue will secure it in place.

A few general shots of the smokebox details which is where most of it seems to be on this loco.

GCR Class 5A Smokebox details

The clack valve is one of Jim McGeown’s from his most useful sprue of Clack and elbow castings as is the vacuum ejector elbow on the other side.

The lubricators on the smokebox are Laurie griffin and the small pipe and fitting is scratch built from tube, rod and scrap etch.

GCR Class 5A Smokebox details
GCR Class 5A Whistle and Vacuum ejector

The rather nice turned whistle came with the kit and is without doubt the best fitting supplied.

Still to fit are vacuum pipes and the whitemetal fittings – buffers, dome and chimney, then balance weights and some lead in the side tanks before track testing.

The end is most definitely in sight.

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.