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

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.


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.

Wagon and Carriage Works Mobile Hand Crane

Having looked at it for a couple of days I felt that the second runner wagon looked a little bare so I knocked up another toolbox and I added some hardware to them all. It’s starting to come together now. A friend has just sent me some spare ‘Crane Runner’ transfers so I now have enough to do both runners (assuming that I can get them to fit of course.

I am still undecided as to whether to line the counterbalance weight on the crane because the gears on the crane itself will prevent me being able to add any lining around the frame if indeed they were actually lined.

A few tools and lumps of timber and some weathering will bring it all together.

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.

Wagon and Carriage Works Mobile Hand Crane and Runner Wagons

In my quest to clear the workbench of it’s long time inhabitants I took stock of what was needed to finish the crane and runner/match wagons. It turned out that to do the bare bones of the build they only actually needed buffers and couplings. Then I recalled why the build had stalled. The buffers and couplings that came with the kit were a bit of a ‘hotch potch’ of different makes/types. I bought it second hand so I am not sure which of them might have been included originally.

There were a couple of different type of white metal buffer stocks and a nice set of Slaters cast brass RCH pattern buffers but there were only three buffer heads. There were buffer heads/springs and retaining nuts. The trouble was that the springs were a bit bigger than the normal springs that Slaters and other supply.

I had a look in my spares box and managed to find three complete sets of Buffer stocks, one set NER, One set GNR and one set LNER. Which I thought would be typical of a railway company using whatever wagon was available to use as runner wagons for the crane.

Again, there was a mixture of couplings so I sorted out three assorted sets and added them.

It was at this point that I asked for assistance on the LNER forum as to what colour mobile hand cranes would have been painted by the LNER. I didn’t get a definitive answer but the suggestion was that they might have been lined black the same as the steam cranes were.

Armed with this, I masked them up and painted them black. At this point I thought that the runner wagons were a bit plain so I made up some toolboxes from coffee stirrers and added them to what was to become the leading runner wagon.

Engineers Train
Engineers Train

I couldn’t resist posing them with a shabby NBR van and one of the NER brakes to simulate a breakdown train.

Enginneers Train

Still some way to go before I and happy with them.

D&S NER Bogie Road Van with a lick of paint

The Road van was painted at the same time as the brake vans but I held off posting photos because they formed part of the GOG virtual show’s lockdown models display. The show was held today so I am not taking anything away from it by adding them to my threads.I enlisted Chris’s help to paint the curved arrows on the plate above the brake hand wheel

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

Finally I was asked by a friend to take photos of both bogie vans together.

L&Y and NER Bogie Vans
L&Y and NER Bogie Vans

For those not familiar with it the LMS van is the Dragon Models Lancashire and Yorkshire 30 ton Bogie van now with TaffVale Models.

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.

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.