Friday, 30 November 2018

Double Bogies

A significant milestone has been reached in the 143 project.

Both the bogies have got their valve gear fitted and run smoothly when the motor is connected up to the juice.

Neither have their pick ups fitted test so they haven’t done any running under their own power on track, and there are still those pesky little pony trucks to add.

The inner ones are especially awkward to re-rail if there’s an incident out on the line.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Control Panel

Lots of different bits of the Garratt kit are being built at the same time.

As well as the work on the two power bogies and the central boiler unit Himself has also been doing some of the smaller jobs such as the boiler backhead.

This will be glued into position inside the cab in due course, but it will be painted first because access inside the cab is tricky.

It's not a faithful miniature of the controls of an NGG16, being something more generic, but who's going to see it anyway?

It's still a nice piece of work, though, so I thought it deserved a picture here.

Monday, 26 November 2018


Himself has been working on adding detail to the boiler unit of 143.

Various pipes, manifolds and whatitsnames have been bent and soldered into position but - most importantly - not before the holes for the handrail knobs were drilled.

The chimney is just resting in position for the moment but has been turned down at the top to lose a lot of the flare on the original casting.

There are also various cylinders and rods and levers which live beneath the boiler which have been attached as well.

He's been paying very careful attention to research pictures because many of the things these pipes connect into are in different places compared to sister engine 138.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Kit Building

Occasionally I get asked if, as well as manufacturing resin wagon kits, I could supply them as ready-to-run models, which I don't mind doing - for a price, of course..

So that's what I've been up to this past week while Himself has been plugging away on the new Garratt build.

This time the client is looking for a pair each of my B and NG-Y ballast wagons.

I cast the parts last weekend, cleaned off the flash and now I'm in the process of gluing them together before adding the brass detailing parts which come with the kits.

If you fancy having a go at building one yourself for your fleet may I point you in the direction of the Narrow Planet shop who keep my range of kits in stock.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Outline Vision

143 is starting to take on that iconic Garratt shape now it's got to the stage that the three parts can be posed together.

While psyching Himself up to tackle the valve gear on the rear power unit (see what I did there?)  he's been working on forming an ashpan beneath the firebox which more resembles the one on the locomotive as it's currently running on the Welsh Highland.

At this stage the boiler unit and its frames are just resting on the ends of the power bogies and haven't been connected, nor does it have any pick-ups fitted so there hasn't been any test running yet.

Hopefully that won't be too far away once the Walschaerts is in place on the back end.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Front And Back

More detail has been added to the bunker and tank on 143.

Himself has attached the sand boxes on the front and what I presume is the battery box which sits beneath the lamp bracket which he has added in styrene.

A nice little detail is the thingies (I can't be more specific that that such is my lack of knowledge) which hide under the hoods on the front footplates.

Our own design of vacuum pipes have also been fitted now.

Work on fitting the valve gear to the rear unit continues...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

It Runs!

So here's what you've been waiting to see!

The first power bogie of 143 is finished and is being tested.

Doesn't it run beautifully?

I could watch that all day!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Gottle Of Gear

Lots of people find the idea of building a brass locomotive kit intimidating: I know I certainly do.

One of the things that would most certainly give me nightmares is Walschaerts valve gear, so I find this picture Himself sent me of one complete set ready to be installed on an NGG16 power unit quite astonishing.

I am not mechanically minded at all.

In fact I don't mind admitting that I struggle to following what all the bits pieces are doing when they're cranking around and jiggling back and forth.

All I know is that I'm in awe of both the people who design the etches and those, like Himself, who can put it together.

I can't imagine it will be very long before this is fitted on the power unit and ready to be tested.

Watch this space......

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Fixtures And Fittings

It can be a bit of a bore casting lots of repeat parts like tables and chairs, but it doesn't half make it quicker when you come to fit them.

In the space of half an hour the latest superbarn, 120, had its full interior in place.

The only bits left to make are the tip up single seat at one end and the half glazed partitions at the vestibules.

Then I'll be handing it over to Himself where it will join the queue of carriages waiting for brass roofs.

Monday, 12 November 2018

On The Rails

There's been a significant development on the bunker on the rear power unit of 143.

Himself has fitted the rails around the top edge which keep the coal in when it's piled high.

On a Double Fairlie things like these are known as 'greedy boards', is there an equivalent for a Garratt?

143 is the only one of the WHR fleet to have rails on the bunker and they're quite a distinctive feature.

I think it's important to make these wee adaptations, wherever reasonable, to make a more accurate model.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Getting Cranky

The good news is that the 14BA tap has arrived in the post.

The bad news - for Himself - is that it means he's run out of excuses for not tackling the motion on the power units of 143, our latest Backwoods NGG16 build.

They've now been fitted onto the axles on the front unit and the coupling rods secured in place.

If you're wondering why the leading axle has a plastic collar on it and the others don't, allow me to explain.

The second generation NGG16 kits came with plastic bushes to help attach the cranks onto the axles, so they could be glued in place rather that soldered.

Himself decided that this was rather a good idea for the front axle because that also carries the plastic gears, which are vulnerable to damage from the heat when you solder the crank on.

He tells me that it is 'much easier' to protect the plastic wheel centres on the other two axles, which is why he has opted to solder them.

Readers may make up their on minds on exactly what degree of understatement has been used in the words ' much easier'....

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Filling In The Boxes

I've had another productive session on 120.

All the various bits which I include on the underframes of the superbarns have been added.

The big box on the right hand side is the diesel-fuel heater and the smaller box opposite it is the fuel tank.

Himself will add the vacuum brake pipe which runs all along the side of the underframe when I hand it over to him to fit the brass roof.

The next thing I'll be doing is turning it over and gluing in all the seat and table sets which I've already cast in resin.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Rear Of The Year

I'm probably showing my age by referencing that annual contest so beloved of the tabloid newspapers.

Does it still exist? (Somehow I doubt it.)

Anyway, that's a roundabout way of introducing a post on the progress with 143.

Himself has begun on the bodywork on the rear power unit.

This is a picture of the inner former all folded up and in position.

There have been some modifications made.

The tank has been shortened at the front by 2.5mm and the mounting modified to represent the current tanks on this engine.

Second picture shows it with the overlays fitted with to represent the welded tank and the rear cut outs have been lengthened a little big at as well.

This shows the current state of progress on the whole locomotive.

The rails around the top of the coal bunker still need to be fabricated and fitted.

The good news is that the 14BA tap has finally arrived so Himself will be moving onto the motion soon.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Tricky Bit

I bit the bullet and got on with my least favourite part of a carriage build yesterday - adding the truss rods.

I've never been as comfortable working with brass as I am with styrene and having to bend angles doesn't help matters.

I find I have to mark the shape out on paper first as a template to measure it against, and even then it takes many attempts to get it right with the angle either too much or too little until eventually I get it right.

This time is was relatively painless and now I can get on with adding all the boxes and things which also hang underneath the carriage.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Skirting The Issue

Spending a hour at the workbench feels like a bit of an achievement after rather too long away.

I've fitted the skirt around the bottom of the chassis of 120.

Of course it's not really a skirt in real life, it's the big, solid underframe that the body sits on, but that's all part of the illusion of making a model.

This is a lot easier if you get exactly the right size of styrene strip to begin with, which is what I've done in this case.

On previous carriages in the series I've run out of this stuff and had to cut long pieces from a big sheet.

Not only do you have to ensure that they are completely straight and the same width all along, but I've also found that when you make the cut it leaves a slight angle on the edges so that when you glue it in place it sometimes develops a lean inwards or outwards.

Using the proper stuff generally avoids this issue and saves a lot of hassle, although with the price of a packet of strips now hitting £6 it's getting quite pricey.

I found a very old, empty packet at the bottom of my stash last night - probably dating back around 25 years - and it still had a price label on it showing less than £1.50.

A 300% percent increase!

I wonder how this compares to overall cost of living over that period?