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.

Connoisseur V1/3 Brake Van with Side Cotes

The other V1/3 is at a similar state of play. I was going to say what I am struggling with now is a suitable number for this van but just before posting I had another look in Ian Sadler’s North Eastern Brake vans book and on the example shown in there, although the bodyside lettering isn’t visible, the number plate 57916 is so I shall use that as my example.

NER V1-3 Brake Vans
NER V1-3 Brake Vans
NER V1-3 Brake Vans
NER V1-3 Brake Vans

D&S NER Bogie Road Van

I have had a few of Dan’s kits over time and one thing that I find odd is that some come with roofs and some come without. Sadly, the road van came without (yet an NER horsebox that I bought at the same time had one). I can only guess that it depends on whether Dan has roof material to hand when he packs the kit.

A suitable piece of sheet was obtained and cut to size. It was just too long for either of my sets of rolling bars so I had to resort to rolling it by hand but I got there in the end.

When built these vans were fitted with sliding roof hatches over the left hand set of doors on each side. Later these were replaced with canvas or just boarded over so lots of permutations are possible depending on the period being modelled. This van was to have roof doors so I cut an offcut of thicker brass sheet to size (my guillotine needed a bit of muscle to cut through it). This time it did go through the rolling bars…

The photos that I have seen with roof hatches had a curved strip across them which is possibly a rainstrip? I represented this with a short length of 1mm square rod.

D&S NER Road Van Roof doors

The roof was still loose at this point.

The kit does provide the runners in the form of whitemetal castings so these were duly soldered on. And finally the roof was soldered on to the body.

D&S NER Road Van – Construction finished
D&S NER Road Van – Construction finished

I had got this far, then while studying photos noted that there was a turnbuckle in the middle truss rod. I made some up using tube and 14ba nuts and then cut the truss rod to allow them to be eased aside and slipped on.

D&S NER Road Van – Turnbuckles added

D&S NER Bogie Road Van

I forgot to add in the last post that the Couplings, vac and Westinghouse pipes are Laurie Griffin.

The kit comes with nice cast brake cylinders which have cast on mounting brackets. The odd thing is that they come with a separate domed end but you can’t fit them unless you make the mounting brackets longer. I elected to file them off and replace them with brass strip. This makes them sit a bit lower and I had to put a slight bend in the brake rods to get them to pass over the cylinder.

D&S NER Bogie Road Van – Underframe fittings
D&S NER Bogie Road Van – Complete apart from the roof

With it being quite a long van, I added some supports for the middle of the roof from scrap etch.

D&S NER Road Van Support Ribs

Connoiseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake Vans

Another two even longer term inhabitants of the work bench from four years ago are two Connoisseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake vans. on a bit of a roll with the V4 I looked at the other two and found that the only things missing from them was buffers.

The reason that I hadn’t finished them initially was because I had read On the late Raymond Walley’s blog that he had replaced the solid buffers supplied with some sprung ones from NMRS. I subsequently bought some from the late Graham Jones at a show.

Fortunately despite not touching them or the V4 van since 2017 I knew exactly where the replacement buffers were so dug them out and soldered on the buffer shanks and then when I went to fit the heads/springs etc. I found that there wasn’t any room for them or indeed access to get the nuts on and tightened.

It is possible to fit sprung buffers, but you need to plan for it and fit them much earlier in the build. In order for them to fit and be able to spring them you need to remove some of the base of the W Iron/spring casting prior to fitting it and adding the wheels brakes etc..

In the end I spent another half an hour removing them and fitting the solid buffers.

Here they are scrubbed up and awaiting paint.

Connoisseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake Van
Connoisseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake Van
Connoisseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake Van with Sidecotes
Connoisseur V1/3 Birdcage Brake Van with Sidecotes

Not wishing to waste a good scrubbing, we had a warm dry day here in North Yorkshire today so I popped out and squirted them and the V4 with etch primer.

D&S Models NER Bogie Road Van

Almost before adding much more under frame detail I couldn’t resist trying the bogies underneath it for an idea of how the finished van would look.

D&S NER Road Van

The outer truss rods are quite interesting on that they have two rod one on the outside and the second on the inside of the solebar. The instructions have you add these in two pieces I did them in one with a square U bending in the middle. This proved a bit tricky to get sitting right on the front face and I suspect that doing it in two pieces wouldn’t have proved equally tricky.

D&S NER Bogie Road Van – Complete apart from the roof
D&S NER Bogie Road Van – Complete apart from the roof

D&S Models NER Road Van

Moving rapidly on with the Road van body, the instructions suggest that you fit the ends first and once I filed of an offending etching cusp, the ends fit nicely.

My recently acquired RSU has come into its own on this build. Using it allows me to use the probe to hold pieces in place while tacking them. After tinning the edges of the ends, sides and the fold down on the floor pan, tacking it together with the RSU became a breeze. I ran the microflame gently down the joints to join up the dots and hey presto.

D&S NER Road Van Side tinned ready for attachment.
D&S NER Road Van – Edges tinned ready for the side to be attached.

It may just be me but it seemed so much easier than my previous efforts with van bodies. In fairness, the kit is well designed and that helps too.

Connoisseur Models NER V4 Brake Van

When I got my office and workshop completed last year I placed most of my shelf queens on the window sill in full view so that they are a constant reminder that they need finishing.

One of those is quite a blast from the past, those with long memories will remember my building this NER V4 brake van back in 2017. I got so far with it and for some reason as sometimes happens, it was popped on one side.

With the bit between my teeth, on Friday evening I picked it up and realised that all it needed to complete it was the fitting of the brake gear, guard irons and couplings. I am pleased to say that I knew exactly where the missing bits for it were and a couple of hours last night saw it complete.

Connoisseur NER V4 Brake Van
Connoisseur NER V4 Brake Van

It does need a good scrub before it gets painted but it’s now ready for a blast of primer when I do the road van.

D&S Models NER Bogie Road Van

Before going any further I took the time to detail the sides while they were flat. One of the features that I love about many North Eastern Railway vans is the doors and their variations of the locking mechanisms.

Much of this detail is provided in the etches and I only added the locking rods and some thin half etched strip to create the staples that the locking rods and lower locking bar fit into.

D&S NER Road Van – Door Details
D&S NER Road Van – Door details
D&S NER Road Van -Sides

Once the various grab handles and pins for the drop doors were added they were ready for fitting.

D&S Models NER Bogie Road Van

Like many I suffered a bit of a mojo loss recently so I decided to take a short break from loco building to tackle a couple of wagons in the hope that the enthusiasm was rekindled.

The first of these is a D&S Kit for a North Eastern Railway Bogie Road Van. Although I have had one of these kits for about 3 years, this one is for a gent who lives in Scotland who models the North Eastern Railway so I rang Dan Pinnock to enquire as to availability last year. Dan said he could do a kit but he would have to order the etches.

And so, onto the build.
I started with the basic floor pan and solebars. Like many kits the floor pan has fold down strips down the long edges. what is unusual is that these are not the solebars. The solebars have a full thickness rear section and a half etched overlay. The rear has a narrow fold along the bottom edge to represent the C section of a steel solebar. When put together the solebars fit into slots behind the fold down strips on the floor pan. To this floor pan is added a pair of queen posts

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

Next, I made up the bogies, these are simple in design. A pair of really nice brass castings fit onto the ends of a fold up central bolster. Each bolster has a fold up strip on the top which either allows for and aft rocking or side to side.

D&S NER Road Van Bogie

The brakes are simple affairs which fit nicely between the wheels on each side.

D&S NER Road Van Bogie

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.

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.