Footplate

I’ve had a bit of time this week to get the brake gear applied to the chassis of the (Z)20. This required me to make a couple of cranks for each side of the loco and to hook these up to some brake shoe castings that are from a ModelOKits 19 class kit. This kit will be supplying a few parts for my 20 class project but not as many as one might imagine, considering that on the prototype quite a few of the (Z)20’s started life as 19’s. I began by getting the parts for the brake assemblies made over the last few days and yesterday I was able to solder all of this gear into position. This morning I cut out the parts for the suspension rocker bar that sits between two of the axles and then soldered these into position.

This afternoon I sat down and made a survey of the jobs left to do to the chassis. I have quite a bit left to do, not the least of these being the manufacture of the four sets of steps. These have to be attached to the chassis sides and I’ve planned out how I’m going to make them. I also have some pipe work to apply, some angle braces need to be made and attached on each side, a bit of rivet detail and the pickups to run power from the wheels to the DCC decoder I’ll be fitting also need to be installed. I also need to cut, bend and fit the four rail irons. So with all of these jobs left to do on the chassis, I did none of them and instead started to cut and fit the footplate! 🙂

These parts of the footplate are still individual pieces at this stage. If fact I haven't even cut the parts for the front end yet. That's the section sitting on the ground in front of the chassis.

These parts of the footplate are still individual pieces at this stage. If fact I haven’t even cut the parts for the front end yet. The three parts of the front section of the footplate will be cut from the blank which is sitting in front of the chassis.

This afternoon I was toying around with starting work on the steps but I must admit that the temptation to cut the footplate out and make a start fitting it was overwhelming. I was at a stage where I needed to start to see what the footplate needed to clear things to fit properly, but in reality this was just an excuse: I was a bit sick of working on the chassis and wanted to do something different and the chassis is the real start of the bodywork.

When I had thought about reaching this stage in the project I had envisaged simply cutting out a single piece of mental, chopping it to length and Bob’s Your Uncle! Well things didn’t work out quite so simple in the cold light of…this afternoon. My inspection of the photos I have on hand this morning threw up something I hadn’t noticed before. On the locos that had been converted from (Z)19’s there is a distinct joggle in the footplate where the old 19 class steel had been bolted to the new front end. I present exhibit A:

This photo shows the edge of the footplate looking from the front, down along the right hand water tank. You can see the difference in the width of the footplate sections quite clearly in the bottom right quarter of the photo. How did I miss that? :-)

This photo shows the edge of the footplate looking from the front, down along the right hand water tank the bottom of which is the line of rivets. You can see the difference in the width of the footplate sections quite clearly in the bottom right hand quarter of the photo. How did I miss that? 🙂 You can see where the two plates are bolted together behind the round air reservoir.

Now it doesn’t surprise me that I missed this detail: I’m no expert on the bodywork of the 20 class. However it does need to be included in the model and any idea of making the footplate from one single section of nickel silver was fast becoming a pipe dream. The slight rise on the rear of the loco under the coal bunker (which I’ve written about in previous posts) had meant that this section of the footplate needed to be a separate section, now the bolted on front end of the prototype loco was making that end look like it would need to be a separate section too. As it turned out I’ve decided that the simplest way to make the front end of the footplate is exactly how the prototype did it: I will cut three separate, long sections from the blank you can see in the first photo that will be attached to the main footplate with bridge pieces and the front edge will be secured by soldering them up to the front buffer beam. There’s no need for the buffer beam to be attached to the chassis, the footplate needs the stiffness that making this one piece will provide.

I marked and positioned the NS sheet in my metal sheer and took this photo just before I made the cut. The blank was actually too long to fit into the machine so I had to chop 2cm off one end.

I marked and positioned the NS sheet in my metal sheer and took this photo just before I made the cut. The blank was actually too long to fit into the machine so I had to chop 2cm off one end.

I got out a fresh sheet of .5mm NS and marked this for the correct width of the footplate. I made the chop with my metal guillotine and the piece came out perfectly. I’m getting better at this with some practice! 🙂 I then cut two lengths for the rear and middle sections from this long blank and sat them on the chassis. I worked out that I should have added a bit of extra to the small rear section of the footplate (the part under the coal bunker) as the original method I’d worked out to connect this section to the middle, large section wasn’t going to work out too well. So I recut this section with 2.5mm added and then bent a small step into the plate. You can see this in the first photo of the model above. I then did some calculations and cut out some segments of the plate to allow a bit of daylight through and to ensure that the wheels weren’t fouled. I’m not pretending that this will reproduce what was on the real loco but after my experience of building the inside motion into the 19 I’m convinced that no one will see that there are rather large “slab” cross sections that weren’t there on the real thing. Once the tanks are in place you’ll be hard pressed to see anything down below. I’ll probably have to make some adjustments to the middle section of the footplate to clear things like he tops of the wheels and other protrusions but this will be small adjustments rather than major surgery.

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