The NSWR D(50) Class

When I started in O-scale something like 20 years ago there was very little commercially available to the NSWR outline modeller. About 2002 I learned that Century Models was about to release a kit for one of the standard goods locos on the NSWR, a D(50). I saved my pennies and managed to get enough money together to purchase one of these kits and it’s sat tucked away in a cupboard for something like 16 years. Over the intervening years I’ve managed to acquire a plethora of parts and add ons for this kit some of which are to improve perceived floors in the original parts. As these mostly etches and castings have come into my hands I’ve taken a quick glance at them and then packed them away with the kit. I’ve been threatening for years to build the kit but it’s never happened, although I did get close when I saw the progress the sadly departed Ron Sebbins was making on his 50 about 10 years ago.

Finally, late last year, I got the kit out of the cupboard and removed all the components from the box: both the ones that came with the kit and the replacements I’d accumulated over the years. I sorted these into the parts I would be using and those that I didn’t need and I feel there’s something like 50% of the original kit that now sits in the box which are unlikely to be utilized. The reasons for this is the quality of the replacements are far superior to some of those supplied in the kit. I commenced work on the tender a couple of months ago.

Constructing a tender for a steam locomotive is normally pretty straightforward: it’s a box on wheels right? Well this is true of the 50 but I’ve found that there are some challenges with this kit. The bogies in this photo are only temporarily assembled with some screws holding the side frames in position.

The first really big challenge I confronted was that the urethane floor casting for the tender wasn’t flat. It may have been when it was supplied but it wasn’t when I hauled it out of the box a couple of months ago. At first I considered tossing it back in the box and making a new one from brass and styrene but Peter Krause, who for a time owned Century Models and has built a few of these kits in his time, told me that he’d had a good deal of success clamping the floors to these tenders to a flat piece of timber and leaving this assembly out in the sun for a few hours.

This photo shows my attempt at Peter Krause’s method of flattening the tender floor for my 50. I used a piece of 6mm ply as a base and two short lengths of 6mm square strip timber as a clamping aid, all kept in place with some small clamps. I left this out in the sunshine for about 6 or 7 hours on the top of my yellow topped recycling bin. We’ve been having a fair bit of rain recently so I had to wait a fair while for a sunny day.

Peter’s method for flattening the floor worked extremely well and it seems to have stayed that way for the past 3 or 4 weeks. In that time I got busy with a couple of non-train related projects so I haven’t made much more progress till I got the time to get back into it in the past couple of days by assembling the bogies.

I’ve been tinkering with the parts of these bogies over the past few weeks; I prepared and cleaned the wheels and bogie parts, drilled and tapped some holes for the assembly and milled off a small sliver of brass from the mating face on the bogie bolsters to reduce the slop in the wheels by drawing the side frames a little closer together. Today I assembled the bogies and soldered them together permanently. I tend to avoid soldering bolsters to the frames if I can avoid doing so because soldering them up solid makes maintenance later much harder. However, the screws I was using to keep the frames in place simply weren’t holding the side frames solidly enough for my liking.

I have to add the brake shoes and some other details to the bogies before they can be attached to the floor but that should happen in short order.

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