Monday, September 23, 2013

Take that, you cad! You bounder!


Further to my last post, I promised to write some more about the J Class.

The J Class and I have been eyeing each other off from opposite corners of the room for a while now. Just when I think I'm getting somewhere, it flicks me the bird and tells me to "...jam it where it fits, pal..." (Well, that's what it felt like to me, anyway.)

So after many long months of fruitless effort, I finally went back to the start. I spoke with some local modellers, read many posts on, and revised some of Iain Rice's books. To cut a long story short, I took my time, became meticulous, and methodical - no advancing to the next stage until I was absolutely sure that the previous one had worked. I'm embarrassed to say that it sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it...?

I'm happy to say that I have finally cracked it. What a relief. While I will not go into every detail, I will tell you about the application of Markits crank pins and nuts. In particular, I installed the nuts into the connecting rods (from behind) and filed back the protruding section (also from behind). Thus creating a brass sleeve (see below). Now all connecting rods are snug on the crank pins, and the wheels rotate freely when lightly pushed along the track, and when driven by the rear axle.

In hindsight, I should have been taking far more care from the very start; treating the chassis, wheels, and motion gear like a clockmaker would a fine time piece. Also, I have to say that I have learnt far more from what hasn't worked than what has. Not to mention the palpable sense of satisfaction.

We're moving next weekend from Vancouver, Canada down to Bellingham, USA. Within a few days, the modelling room will be up and running in the new basement. So the next photos of the J Class should have it looking a lot more like the finished product.

At long, long last.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moving Forward


Due to a young family, a busy job, and vacation, I've been very lax about posting in recent times. Nonetheless, things have been happening!

The local Proto87 'Possie' gang moves around to each other's places to help out with layouts and consumption of beer. Although I have to say that my layout, Sutton Grange, has been getting a lot of attention. Rene' Gourly and Andrew Hutchinson have been rolling up their sleeves and getting down to some track laying. Thanks guys! With the help of some rapid-printed switch components (compliments of Rene's drafting skills), we again did battle this week. And by the end of the session, things suddenly started to look like a layout.

Apart from the track laying, the J Class steam loco and I have finally come to an understanding, with the chassis running very nicely. It's been a hard slog to get to this point, but it's very gratifying to look back and see the base camp from where I started. Thomas Edison is now known as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb. However, he suffered a lot of setbacks on the way. Before finally identifying the light bulb that worked, he commented that “...I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” So to misquote Mr Edison, I’ve found a few ways not to make a reliable Proto87 steam loco chassis!

I'll put up another post about the J Class shortly.