Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm getting close...and so is Christmas


I tried for one last blast to get the J running but work and Christmas (we're about to fly back to Australia) have intervened. As it turned out, the Mashima motor is cactus too... *rolls eyes*

Anyway, I'm getting closer (note that the boiler is only sitting on the frames - hence they appear a little wonky.)

Merry Christmas!


Friday, September 14, 2012

More progress


I've been getting into the machining 'thing' and learning how to use the mini-lathe. After completing the trial tyre, I've moved into 'production’. I have machined the axles and wheel centres. The next step is to produce a batch of tyres.

Here are some axles - I've got another four of these suckers for the second kit.

The wheel centre, trial tyre, and axle 'combo'.

Here is the trial wheel (left) versus the original wheel (right).


Monday, August 6, 2012

J Class Tyre

Hi All,

An unhealthy combination of work, together with a far more healthy dose of family and holidays has put a ‘go slow’ on the J class.

I’ve been developing my machining skills over the last couple of weeks, which has resulted in the first trial J Class tyre profile. I was not able to machine the bore, as I need to purchase a drill bit.
As can be seen, I removed as much material (stainless steel) I could, leaving around 10 thou on the tread and flange. I then used the Proto87 form tool, I finished the tyre surface by slightly feeding in the tool and rotating the chuck by hand.

The Proto87 form tool takes up a considerable amount of room on either side of the tyre. I removed enough material to accommodate. However, this will be time consuming and wasteful when it comes to machining all wheels. Consequently, I am considering machining several tyres to the basic shape, followed by boring the centre, then parting off each unit. I can then mount each tyre on a mandrel and finish off with the Proto87 tool.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Proto 87 Broad Gauge Spoked Wheels


A joint effort between South Australian Railways modeller, Nigel Gardener, and Victorian Railways modeller, Damian Chrystie, has resulted in prototypically correct 10 spoke Proto87 broad gauge wheel sets.

The wheel centres were supplied by Steam Era Models (SEM), while the tires were produced by Hargo Engineering, of Melbourne (manufactures of SEM's RP25-110 and RP25-88 tires).

Fitted to a SEM bar frame boggie, it can be seen that they certainly look the part. And, according to Nigel, run like a dream.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sherline Lathe and Wheels


I had the Sherline initiation ceremony this evening. While I’m a novice, I can certainly say that it is a fantastic machine to use.

I worked on some 1/8 inch solid brass bar, which will be used for the axlse. The axels need to be 1/8 inch to fit into the High Level Kits standard size bearings.

However, a shoulder will be machined on the axle stubs for the wheel centre to be pushed on to (ie 2.5mm in diameter to represent the prototypical 8.5 inch seat on the face of the wheel).

For its part, the Sherline worked a treat. I actually managed to quickly and accurately create the 2.5mm seat, and push on a wheel centre. The shoulder was slightly larger than 1.6mm and the seat was equally under size Nonetheless, I was amazed at how quickly this was achieved.

I purchased some ¾ inch stainless steel solid bar this evening, which will be machined into tires. I’ll turn my attention to these after I receive the P87 for tool from Australia and the axles are fabricated.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Possie Hits the Hood


Some of the local Vancouver  ‘Proto87 Possie’ boys came around to my place recently help me with my layout. Thanks Jim and Andrew!

Andrew put together the baseboards, which are a work of art. (I was almost too scare to do anything to them.) The design is based on the Barry Norman-inspired method of construction. They are strong but low weight.

As can be seen, we managed to get some cork bed (draw liner with an adhesive backing) down to correct VR width. I’ve cleaned up the ‘spare’ room, which has been commandeered as the layout ‘den’! The next step is to lay ties and some sleeper plates from Proto87 Stores.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

18.37mm Wheels Meet Broad Gauge Frame


The modified Proto87 wheel sets arrived today. Cheers, Pete.

They fit well but need a little work to ensure that the horn blocks move a little more freely.

Next will be the counter weights, installing the motion gear, and having it move smoothly under its own power.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vallejo Primer


My wheel wright has dispatched the P87 broad gauge wheels frm Australia. Unfortunately, the wheel have not yet arrive - I'm expecting them sometime this week.

Consequently, I've carried on with the construction of the second broad gauge frame and front pony truck.

I have also given the two tenders a coat of Vallejo acrylic grey primer, which has left a nice finish.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are


My apologies for the lack of updates in the last few weeks. I've got my back to the wall with work and it isn’t about to let up too soon.

I'm off to the arctic circle for three weeks tomorrow. While I'd like to take a soldering iron and some bits and pieces, I'm told that I'll be too busy keeping a look out for bears, wolves, and warm places to be. Just so you get the picture, this was taken late last week:

See you in mid-May,


Saturday, April 7, 2012


Hello from Linlithgow!

I find myself in a lovely Scottish village this weekend, preparing for a good friend’s wedding today (in a castle, no less)!

Anyway, I’ve attached some photos that I had intended to post many days ago. A busy work schedule and a poor internet connection put paid to that! So here they (finally) are:

Tender Frames, fresh from paint shop with undercoat.

Pony truck frames.

Frames, with air tanks and rear headstock (note that the new frames were design to accept standard High Level Kits 1/8 inch bearings and associated hornblock).


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And so it goes.

A package landed on my door step yesterday. It contained the modified Steam Era Models frame etch. Tony Crennan of Model Etch has again provided some fantastic work.

The steam chest and motion gear bracket had a party this evening. It's starting to look like a steam locomotive now. (Please excuse the grotty items - they were yet to take a wash in the ultrasonic bath at the time of photographing.)


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Steam Era Models to the Rescue


I have some very good news to report.
David Foulkes of Steam Era Models (ie manufacturer of the J Class kit) has very kindly had the artwork associated with the frame etches modified to broad gauge (18.37mm) and made available to me. Key component that are directly affected by the conversion, including the side frames, frame spacers, pony truck, and head stocks have been modified.
Furthermore, an allowance has been made for the addition of CSB compensation, including holes for pivot points and clearance for the wire in the frame spacers. Finally, the coupling rods have been reworked into three separate sections (as per the prototype), to enable the CBS compensation to function correctly.
I and the owner of the second kit are very thankfully for this generous gesture from David at Steam Era Models. It was as unexpected as it is appreciated.
The artwork has been forward to Tony Crennan of Model Etch for review and an estimate.
While this will slightly delay the construction of the frames, it is a most welcome one! Besides, I have plenty of other aspects (ie everything above the foot plate) to push on with.
Thanks David,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finishing Things Off: QR321

Just a quick one. I've been completing a few projects that were 'almost finished'.

Yet another wonderful kit from Steam Era Models. Moderately weathered to suggest some minor 'love' over its long life, QR321 runs on NWSL 18.37mm gauge Proto87 wheel sets with Sergent couplers.

Below is the prototype, setting in Castlemaine railway yards on 13 November 1976 (courtesy of Rob O'Regan's web site).

Frame Spacers, Steam Chests, and Grit Paper

After noticing the glaring omission with the centre of the frame spacers, I remedied the situation today.

As can be seen below, the spacer that accompanies the kit has the centre removed, which can also be observed in a research photo that I took at Maldon of J 549 (I think). So out with the vernier callipers, black marker pen, drill bits, and files.

Moving the frames out to the correct scale spacing means that all attached infrastructure also needs to be modified. The first 'cab off the rank' are the two steam chests (I think that's what they're called). The piston centres in the two white metal castings are the 'correct' spacing of ~25.4mm when fitted to the unmodified kit .

However, this distance increase to 28.9mm when attached to the braod gauge frame. Therefore, 1.75mm has to be 'found’ on each side of the frames. This is achieved by removing material from the rear of the steam chest castings. In fact, according to photos of the original (and unsurprisingly), this will be closer to the prototype.


Before taking the knife to the steam chest castings, I used a black marker pen and scribed on the frames where they should 'end up' (thought I should make the most of the alignment white metal lugs that will be removed as part of the modification). I then marked scribed a line around the perimeter of the steam chest castings...and that's as far as I got...

I intend to use some coarse grit paper to remove the bulk of the white metal and finish up with fine paper. Unfortunately, my supplies of coarse grit paper have all gone...

It would seem that a trip to the hardware centre is required.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Fossil Fuel

The Victorian Railways had 60 J Class locomotives. Half of the fleet were coal fired, while the remainder were oil fired.

As well as modifying my own oil fired J Class steam kit, I am also undertaking ‘broad gauge surgery’ on a friend’s coal fired kit.  

I’ve just completed constructing the coal fired tender (see below). The obvious differences in the two fuel types can be seen by referring to my earlier post ('Progress', November 29 2011), outlining completion of the oil burning tender. The differences are clear; a tank for oil verses a bunker for coal.