A Z20 at Morpeth Station (Finally)!

I’ve been working on a Morpeth based theme for something like 16 years. The Z20 class tank locomotive was ubiquitous on this short branch line, in fact I know of only one photo that shows a different class of locomotive on the line and that was a C30, another tank locomotive of the NSWR that at a casual glance is a very similar looking locomotive. The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve been working on a series of layouts in a range of formats based on a branch line that essentially only had one class of locomotive that ran on it and for all those years I haven’t had a model of that class of loco. I do now. To put this into some sort of perspective, in that 16 years I’ve built two separate versions of the station building and platform you can see in this photo. This is number 2.

This the fist photo I've taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

This the fist photo I’ve taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

Now everyone brings to their modelling a different set of beliefs and principles when it comes to what they will and won’t run on their layouts: some people are happy to run just about anything that has wheels others won’t run a locomotive on a line that depicts a particular spot that never ran there on the prototype. Now I’m fairly flexible with what I’ll run on my layouts, as long as they’re the correct scale and are generally speaking of a NSWR origin (and not too ridiculously large) locomotives that never ran on the Morpeth line get a run and even those that weren’t even running till after the line was torn up might make an occasional appearance. However I do have one bug bear about prototype running that has caused me pause a few times over the years before I built 2002. Locomotives run on Morpeth that never ran to the real location however I’ve always felt less than comfortable with this without at least one example of the class that was synonymous with the line, namely the Z20 class. I consider this informed consent: I’m ok with the non-prototype locomotives running on the layout as long as I know they didn’t run there and that I also know what did and I have one example of that class running on the layout. Having 2002 is the fulfillment of a 16 year journey and having a photo of the loco in front of a station building made by myself with a station name board with the word Morpeth on it has resonance for me. This photo is my hobby.

This module has sat untouched for most of the past week as I’ve been busy with work and life but I managed to do some track laying tonight.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I've installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I’ve installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

The hole in the scenery left by the relocation of the Morpeth engine shed sits on the front of the module in front of the station. I spent some time tonight wiring up the new length of track (just over 400mm long or 17″) and cleaning the track on the module and testing the loco. This is the first time in over three years that I’ve run a train on this section of the layout and the only work needed is to fill the holes in the scenery and lay down some new ground cover. After I’ve done this I’ll install a bit of fencing and some pipes and this siding will become a minimalist fuel siding. Once that work is done this module will be placed back in the trailer and out will come module 3 to take its place in my workroom. Module 3 is the scenic heart of the layout and it needs at least three new buildings, a lot more trees and shrubs added, a creek/river bed completed and a concrete culvert that leads onto a curved pier that runs onto a module that I haven’t actually built yet.

I’ve set in my mind that I’m going to offer to take this layout to an exhibition in Sydney or Brisbane in 2017 but it’s got to be finished before that happens. I’m pretty sure I can get the basic infrastructure done in time but the models take me a long while to build and the goods shed, while largely complete, needs a bit of work to get it where I want it. The new scenic module will be formed by the base freed up by recycling my train turntable module that I believe I can reproduce in a much slimmer form so it can sit in a small slot in the trailer which will allow me to build the pier as a fully completed unit with ship in situ. I plan to have the pier wired up and locomotives will run on it but at exhibitions I’ll utilize a shuttle module that will allow my Manning Wardle to shuffle back and forth on its own with a wagon or two in tow. I’ve also been thinking about how I can make the ship model rock up and down gently as it sits next to the pier and how I can light the module as it sticks out from the main layout at right angles, thus making a lighting rig that doesn’t intrude too much into the scene a real challenge. Lots to do…

This photo shows and early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much futher along than this stage but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout.

This photo shows an early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much further along than what can be seen in this photo but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout. I”ll move back to working on it when I’ve filled the hole in the scenery on module #2. Looking at this photo I’ve remembered that brick building you can see behind the loco is a Downtown Deco structure that suffered a fatal accident when I was moving house the last time. A desk lamp fell on it from the top of my work bench so I’ll need to find a replacement for it when I come back and start to work on the module in a few weeks. Make that four buildings I have to construct…

Riveting Experience

It’s been a while since my last posting but I was on leave from work for a few weeks at the time and life gets in the way. One friend was prompted to write an email to me yesterday asking if I was ok. At least someone noticed I’d disappeared πŸ™‚

I won’t claim any huge progress on the 20 but a significant phase has taken place over the last few weeks in that I received in the mail my new riveting toy from the UK and I’ve riveted up a panel for one of the side tanks. That’s the only modelling I’ve been able to do over the last few weeks however today I took some time to trim the overlay to size and solder it to one of the tanks.

 

This is a photo of my new riveting machine which arived in the mail from the UK a few weeks ago. It's lovely piece of kit but poisonously expensive due to th mailing costs. My reommendation? Buy one when your currency is flying high as was the Aussie dollar a year or so ago, not when it's down as it is at the moment. I spent something 60% of the purchase price on mailing costs.

This is a photo of my new riveting machine which arrived in the mail from the UK a few weeks ago. It’s a lovely piece of kit but poisonously expensive due to th mailing costs. My recommendation? Buy one when your currency is flying high as was the Aussie dollar a year or so ago, not when it’s down as it is at the moment. I spent something 60% of the purchase price on mailing costs.

The riveter is from GW Models in the UK. They don’t have a web address nor email and don’t accept credit cards. Luckily I have a friendly pom who let me use his bank account to transfer the money otherwise I’d have been up for the cost of the international bank cheque too. In spite of all these issues this machine is an order of magnitude on from what I’d been using up till now and in my opinion it, or something like it, is mandatory for the budding scratch builder. You wouldn’t buy one unless you were planning on getting some use out of it and I have plans, so many plans… πŸ™‚ The major advantage of it is the relatively accurate X and Y table with dials calibrated in metric measurements. The photo shows the 7mm version which if memory serves is about 170 pounds. Postage was about 80 pounds and it weighs approximately 4.5kg. Ouch! But I’m in love and love is blind πŸ™‚

So the result?

I will need a little more practice and I did one experimental test piece that ended up in my ice cream container of off cuts and dud NS but I'm very pleased with the result.

I will need a little more practice and I did one experimental test piece that ended up in my ice cream container of off cuts and dud NS but I’m very pleased with the result.

I cut the second test piece to size this morning and soldered it to the tank blank and this is how it came out. The rivets are on .010 NS sheet and set out to a pattern that is from the Greg Edwards sheet. They are crisp and clear and best of all, straight. It gets a little boring sitting there rolling the wheels and pressing the handle but generally speaking the only thing you have to think about is whether you need to turn the little wheels one turn or two. Being able to rivet lines at 90 degrees to another line without having to remove the workpiece from the machine makes this machine worth most of the cost.

In Its Natural Environment

I thought I’d post another photo of the 20, this tome on my layout Morpeth. I can’t emphasize how significant it is to me personally to finally have a Z20 class taking shape whixh will eventually run on my layout. This is theΒ locomotive that ran on the Morpeth line. It was ubiquitous on the line and shared duties with only one other class of loco in the period I model that I’m aware of. I’ve been modelling Morpeth for 14 years and this is the first time a Z20, or anything even remotely resembling one, has sat on one of my layouts. And there have been three that used Morpeth as a theme.

Very pleasing! πŸ™‚

I started work on the rear water tank/coal bunker after I made the post this morning. This strated out as a test in bending some nickle silver but once I'd started I couldn't see any real reason not to continue. The first test piece ended in the ever growing pile of off cuts and scrapped pieces in my ice cream bucket but the final box was able to incorporate a section from one of the larger offcuts so it's not all in one direction.

I started work on the rear water tank/coal bunker after I made the post this morning. This started out as a test in bending some nickel silver but once I’d started I couldn’t see any real reason not to continue. The first test piece ended in the ever-growing pile of off cuts and scrapped pieces in my ice cream bucket but the final box was able to incorporate a section from one of the larger off-cuts that was already in there, so the traffic is not all one way. The plain box will eventually get a wrapper with rivet detail applied.

I got some of my scratch building books out this afternoon to look up how the experts bend metal with curves in the corner. Geoff Holt described a simple method of clamping a length of solid brass or steel rod into a vice and bending the sheet material around this. I gave it a test and it worked fine. I then did some calculations and ran a test piece. This turned out to the exactly the same width as the footplate in spite of my best estimates: I even drew a plan! πŸ™‚ When I deducted some mm and re-bent a new piece it came out fine. Nothing wrong with the technique, it was more my experience in estimating how much material I would need that needed sharpening up. I drilled some holes and bolted this box onto the footplate with some 12BA bolts and nuts. The nuts are soldered inside the box on a small flap I bent into the rear wall. I’ll run shelf of angle around the inside top edge about 1.5mm below the top edge which the top plate will sit on. As this is the largest internal space by volume in a 20 I’ll probably try to fit the speaker inside this box with the decoder in the boiler.

PS: if you want to hear more about my adventures in scratch building the 20 class why not come to the Aus7 Modellers Group Forum next Saturday the 31st. I’ll have the loco there with me. Follow the link for details

All The Wheels On!

Today I found the time to finish making the pony truck and get it installed into the chassis.

This shot without the wheels installed gives a slightly clearer view of the pony truck. The front is covered by a plate with a curved cut out and the rear has a another plate with a tail. This is used to connect the truck to the loco via a pivot hole and bolt.

This shot without the wheels installed gives a slightly clearer view of the pony truck. The front is covered by a plate with a curved cut out and the rear has a another plate with a tail. This is used to connect the truck to the loco via a pivot hole and bolt.

After I finished making the truck I moved onto installing a small piece of angle with a hole drilled in it from which the truck pivots by use of a bolt. I may install some sort of springing to keep the truck on the track and smooth out its ride but I may just install some lead as a weight and leave it at that. I’ll think about this on the trip to Sydney and back over the coming weekend. Getting the piece of angle installed at the correct height and properly centred turned out to be a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated. There’s probably some smick way of doing these sorts of jobs but I’ve yet to find a better method than trial and error. I soldered the little piece on and pulled it off again about 4 times before I was happy with its position.

This shot is to demonstarte the way the pony truck is retained and pivoted on the left hand end. It's a fairly simple piece of bent nickle silver with a bolt through it but it does work.

This shot is to demonstrate the way the pony truck is retained and pivoted on the left hand end. It’s a fairly simple piece of bent nickel silver with a bolt through it but it does work.

I’d left the tail on the pony truck over long to allow it to be trimmed to length once I was able to place it under the chassis on a length of track. The height of the pivot point was fairly critical because the leaf spring castings project above the top of the wheel and if the truck isn’t sitting level with the rail head this sticks out like a sore thumb. Once I was happy with the position of the truck I trimmed the tail to length, rounded the end of it and bolted it into position.

Getting all the wheels installed is a bit of a milestone really because it marks the end of the “engineering” stage of the project. I still have to install the power pickups but essentially the chassis is complete from an operational perspective: everything else I do from here on is essentially putting on the non-operational details. I have a lot to do but it won’t be long before I cut metal for the footplate and that really will mark a stage in the project, moving from the chassis to the loco body. Very exciting πŸ™‚

Pony Truck

This coming weekend I plan to attend the Liverpool exhibition in Sydney where I’ll be working on the Aus7 Modellers Group stand on Saturday and the first half of Sunday. In a similar arrangement to last year I’ll have some tools and a project that I will try to work on and speak to passers-by about. There tends to be a lot more talking than modelling at these events but that’s what you go for. Of course I’ll be taking the 20 to be the subject of this all day “clinic”.

I’d like to have all the wheels on the 20 before I leave to drive the 900km to Sydney and today, with the successful delivery of the puppies behind us, I managed to put some work into the last stage of wheeling the locomotive, the leading pony truck.

This is the core of the two wheel pony truck. It has received a little bit of attention with a grinding wheel in a Dremel since this photo was taken to remove the feed sprue at the top of one of the leaf spring castings.

This is the core of the two-wheel pony truck. It has received a little bit of attention with a grinding wheel in a Dremel since this photo was taken to remove the feed sprue at the top of one of the leaf spring castings.

Before I could make this part I needed some brass tube in two different diameters and I picked this up a few days ago in Brisbane on a trip to a hobby shop and an outlet for extruded foam. Today I cut the side frames for the truck out of a couple of pieces of NS .7mm sheet and assembled the tube and some brass rectangular tube to use as the spacer.

This shot shows the truck with wheels installed.

This shot shows the truck with wheels installed.

After the parts were prepared I assembled them with some solder and a small amount of swearing. The axle-box and leaf spring castings were the last two of the six I’d ordered from Laurie Griffin in the UK and are exactly the same as those on the trailing bogie. The next step in the construction sequence will be to install two NS parts both sides of the spacer, one for the front which is a simple plate with a curved cut out and the rear one which has an extension on it that allows it to be bolted to the chassis.

This drawing by Keiran Ryan gives the general idea of what's coming up next.

This drawing by Keiran Ryan gives the general idea of what’s coming up next.

I’ll use some more .7mm NS sheet, cut to an appropriate width and shaped with a piercing saw to get the outline I need to replicate the frames you can see in the drawing. These will be soldered into position, provided with a bit of rivet detail and attached to the locomotive chassis with a small bolt. Easy peasy πŸ™‚

Jewellery

After I coughed a few times and put on a long face I was granted a day pass to work on my Z20 today. The labrador has another 3 weeks before she’s due so the whelping box can wait a couple more days. What I wanted to achieve by the end of my modelling time today was to have the three parts I was working on (the two sand or oil boxes and the brake cylinder) made and bolted to the side of the chassis. I’ve managed that and the photo that accompanies this post illustrates this stage.

The distinction between the two brass shapes bolted onto the side of the chassis is very clear in this photo. The one on the left was primarily made on my mill, the one of the right on the lathe.

The distinction between the two brass shapes bolted onto the side of the chassis is very clear in this photo. The one on the left was primarily made on my mill, the one of the right on the lathe.

I cut the boxes in half (I’ve sort of come around to the idea that these boxes are actually for a lubricant, the feed line exiting the bottom looks too small for sand in my opinion) and got them bolted on last night so today it was time to take the big step and make the brake cylinder on my lathe. I’ve owned my little Sherline lathe for a couple of years now but I haven’t actually used it. Personal circumstances and a new job put paid to my plans regarding how I was going to use this machine, but nothing seems to prompt the use of machines like these so much as a project: you don’t just make “parts” in a vacuum, you only start to make use of the machine when you have a project. Scratch building a locomotive or a piece of rolling stock is a perfect excuse to use a mill or lathe.

The lathe has been sitting on a lower shelf on the work table I have in the garage so I lifted it and placed it on the table top, after I’d cleared it of 18 months of accumulated junk of course! πŸ™‚ These lathes are small but perfectly formed and they are a quality product. Even to my untutored senses I can tell they are a superior product to the cheap mill I own. As is usual with me, I spent about 2 hours fiddling about with a component on the lathe and drawing a plan until I finally decided it might be a worthwhile exercise to actually trying turning some metal. I cut a 25mm long chunk of brass from a length of round bar I’d purchased a couple of weeks ago and got turning. I faced off one end (I love that kinda talk πŸ™‚ ) and shaved the section down until I got it to the shape you can see in the photo. I then milled off a very small flat spot on the rear side and drilled and tapped a 12BA hole which accepts a 1/4″ long brass bolt passed through a hole I drilled in the chassis. I also fixed a mistake I’d made in soldering the spacer you can see in the photo in the rear, so all in all this was a very productive day.

I’d give myself 6/10 for this little part. I did plan it out but I lack the skills to get it perfect and managed to cut the ring at the base of the cylinder a bit undersized. By the time I’d discovered the mistake I’d already removed the scrap I’d used to hold it at one end so it was much too dangerous to make any changes. It means I don’t really have enough of a “ledge ” to add the bolt head detail that can be seen in the prototype photo I posted last time. This bugs me but not enough to make me go back and make a new one πŸ™‚ I’ve already checked the swing of the bogie and it clears this hanging piece of jewellery, so everything is sweet.

The next steps will be the application of brake shoes, angle braces, some detail around these shapes and quite a bit of pipe work. After this is all done I’ll probably paint the chassis with a basic black coat and then apply pickups and put the wheels and motor back on. And of course I still have to make the leading pony truck.

Playing In The Sandbox

I had plans today to get a range of jobs done however a dose of the flu really put paid to those so I decided to spend a couple of hours modelling. To be precise I spent the day cutting and shaping some “boxes” out of brass bar. The chassis of the Z20 has a number of boxes and gadgets hanging from it and the photos and plans I have show two slightly odd-shaped boxes between the rear driving wheel and the trailing bogie that I made last week. There are one of these boxes on each side of the locomotive and as such I needed two. Perhaps I should rephrase the assertion in the title that these are sand boxes: I think they’re sand boxes but I could be wrong. Luckily not knowing what they do on the real locomotive does not stop you making them πŸ™‚

This photo shows the general shape of the sandbox I'm trying to reproduce. It's the big box in the middle of the photo with the curve on the underside.

This photo shows the general shape of the sandbox I’m trying to reproduce. It’s the big box in the middle of the photo with the curve on the underside.

For something like 25 years of adult modelling I’ve been happily working in styrene and wood and occasionally metals like brass and aluminium. It would have been simplicity itself to get a blank of the approximate dimensions made up from white styrene and file and scrape this by hand into the approximate shape I needed. I challenge anyone to tell the difference between such a shape made from styrene rather than a metal like brass from a casual glance once it is painted and in place on the locomotive. I met a modeller at a recent Aus7 Modellers Forum who was making a styrene model of a Z20 in 7mm. He was making it rivet perfect and to exact scale, both inside and out, and it was looking like an extremely impressive model. I will admit to being slightly dismayed when he informed me that he had no intention of making it able to run. What immediately ran through my mind was “why would you bother going to all that trouble and not have it run?” However, each to their own. I suppose the question I’ve been posing myself is: if I know I can make such objects as the sandboxes I began work on today from styrene, why have I gone to the trouble and expense of buying a mill, lathe and a metal guillotine to allow me to make this same object out of (in this case) brass? Solid brass to be exact.

Perhaps first and foremost in this thinking is the simple Everest response: why climb it? Because it’s there! I choose to do this, in this way, because I can and have the resources to do so. It’s because I know nothing about metal forming and tools that I’ve taken on this challenge, not because it’s comfortable and familiar. Secondly, I have a sneaking suspicion that I have an underlying snobbish attitude toward brass over plastic. Namely, that a model made from brass and metal is somehow “better” than one made from plastic. Brass; real, genuine, old school and “authentic” (whatever the heck this means). Plastic; modern, cheap, second-rate and causes problems for cute penguins (insert your own favourite aquatic animal here) as it builds up in the oceans. Very unfair I know but I’m convinced that this is an attitude secretly shared by a heck of a lot of modellers. So I’m guilty in company. Finally, I think I’m just ready to do this. I’ve been working on models for many years in a range of media and the work with metal has always been fairly limited in nature. The things I’ve made from metal have always been rather like jewellery; small details that hang from a model and act as a detail point. They haven’t been components that make up the “meat” of the model.

This photo shows the sandboxes before they are properly finished. I have a bit more cleanup and filing to do and they need to be separated into two halves before they can be attached to the locomotive.

This photo shows the sandboxes before they are properly finished. I have a bit more cleanup and filing to do and they need to be separated into two halves before they can be attached to the locomotive. I placed the 5c piece in the photo to provide some sort of scale to the brass shape.

So today I got to do some “real” metalwork. I started with a length of 10mmX10mm brass bar stock from which I cut a piece about 30mm long (just over 1″). The sand boxes needed to be about 9.75mm wide so I decided that this was close enough and left them at 10mm. However they needed to be about 7.8mm thick so I got the mill set up with a 12mm end mill and gradually shaved off just under 3mm from one side of the bar stock. I measured, marked and shaped the ends to get them to approximate the shape of the real boxes and then drilled and inserted a short length of brass rod centred in both ends to represent the filler caps. These were soldered in place using a butane torch and acid flux. I had to spend a little time filing off the excess solder and I still have a fair way to go with this job.

The next step will be to cut the bar in half, mill the two separated boxes to the correct length and bolt them to the side of the chassis. The better half has informed me that I have a whelping box to make for our pregnant Labrador over the next couple of days, so it looks like the flu excuse has run out of currency πŸ™‚ The next steps will have to wait a few days.

Wow!

When I was working on preparing the wheel-sets for the rear bogie on my Z20 scratch built locomotive I found that the screws that retain the Slaters wheels had rusted up. I’d purchased these wheel-sets quite a few years ago and the steel components obviously didn’t like the humidity in the places they’d been stored. Anyway, in trying to get the screws out of the axle ends I managed to twist the head from the top of one of them, thus ruining not just the screw but also the axle. It was only after I’d done this that a method was suggested to me for getting these screws out of the axles if they get into this condition. You live and learn.

The result of this minor bit of metal work mangling on my part was that I had to order some more axles and screws plus the tiny allen key that you use to tighten the nuts. I searched high and low in local hardware stores and couldn’t find one small enough for this job so I got it from Slaters along with the hardware. I was dying to test the chassis on a piece of track but not being able to retain the wheels ment that I had to wait. The package with the new screws and allen key arrived today so I finally got the chance to run the chassis.

This photo shows the chassis sitting on the track after I ran it back and forth a couple of times with the motor leads hooked up to a tansformer.

This photo shows the chassis sitting on the track after I ran it back and forth a couple of times with the motor leads hooked up to a transformer.

I got the wheels attached and screwed the bogie into position and sat the chassis on a length of track on my layout Morpeth. As I was only able to run this with the motor leads hooked up to a couple of alligator clips the test wasn’t over a very long length of track, but this rig up served well enough. I don’t impress myself very often with my own modelling: I’m far too aware how much tinkering, cursing and flip-flopping goes into my projects for that. However if I had to use just one word to describe how the chassis ran it would have to be “wow”! Silent, smooth and deliciously free running is the best descriptive words I can come up with. So free running that I almost ran the bloody thing off the end of the layout! πŸ™‚ If ever I had any doubts that the ball race horn blocks and the coreless Maxon motor were worth the cost and effort those doubts have been put to bed by this one test. This is far and away the very best loco mechanism I’ve ever built, bar none, and the result has been worth every cent of the cost and the waiting around for the components to arrive.

Very happy πŸ™‚

Tanks

In many ways my NSWR Z20 project is a test bed for something I’ve been building toward for a number of years, building an O-scale steam locomotive. I’m not a complete beginner when it comes to scratch-building: I built a diesel many years ago using an Atlas O locomotive chassis as the base of that project. I’ve also built quite a few kits of steam locomotives over the years and the skills developed in doing so are a great basis for building a locomotive from scratch.

Recently I’ve done a few modelling tasks that were a bit of a test run for this project, the chassis rebuild of Pioneer being one of these. I wrote about this project on this blog earlier in the year. This small chassis building project acted as a great primer for building the much bigger chassis of the Z20 I’m working on now. I could have built the Z20’s chassis without tackling Pioneer’s much-needed upgrade first, but it did allow me to try out a few ideas and build up my level of courage to tackle the bigger locomotive. I also tackled a few simple milling projects earlier this year that allowed me to develop skills with this machine. I discovered that while you can buy the machine, read some books and watch any number of YouTube videos, nothing beats actually doing a few jobs to test your ambitions. A bloke by the name of Luiz Ally from South America is absolutely phenomenal and well worth a look.

This locomotive may be a scratch build in many ways it’s also a kit bash as it’s going to include quite a few parts from the Century Models 19 class kit which is still available from ModelOKits, So in this sense it’s still not a fully fledged scratch building project and still qualifies in my book as a stepping stone toward a fully scratch built locomotive. While a half-dozen or so modellers have told me over the years that the Century kit could act as the basis of a 20 class loco I must admit that I don’t know of anyone who has done this scratch/bash project. After getting this far with it I can understand why. There are some parts from the 19 class kit that can be used above the footplate in the construction of a 20 class locomotive, however unless you’re really up to scratch building a new chassis the conversion is not in the category of what I would describe as “easy”. Aside from the scratch built chassis I will need to build a cab, the main tanks and the coal bunker from scratch. The only parts I can use directly from the kit are the smokebox, boiler and firebox assembly and even here I might do my own thing because the boiler supplied with the kit is a smaller diameter than the real thing.

After my riveting experience with the bogie side frames I decided that I really needed to put some work into improving my riveting skills. As is usual with me I blamed my tools and decided to get a rivet press from the UK that I’ve had my eye on for a while. This new rivet press is from GW Models and it comes with an X-Y table, unlike my NWSL riveter I already own. I can’t provide you with a link for the GW Models web site because they don’t have one, and they don’t have an email address or credit card facilities either. However I’m assured by a friend in the UK that the tool is well worth the fuss of getting it and as such I’m waiting with bated breath to get it in my hands. This s likely to take a couple of months as it needs to be manufactured. Because this press will allow me to rivet lines square to each other using the X-Y table, and it also has a proper way to hold the work piece securely as the riveting is carried out (rather than holding the work piece with masking tape as I do now on my NWSL riveter) it should make approaching the riveting of the side tanks on this loco project a lot less stressful.

However, in spite of throwing more money at acquiring new tools, something I rarely need very much encouragement to do, I can’t wait till December to get on with building if I’m going to have any chance of getting a free lunch, so I looked at the next step I wanted to take in building the 20. The logical next item would be to build the pony truck at the front of the loco, however I need some brass tube of a particular diameter for this and it will be a week or two before I can get to Brisbane to buy what I need. In the interim my brass supplies from a couple of Melbourne model engineering companies arrived in the mail this week so I decided to make a start on some of the bits and pieces that hang off the side of the chassis. I spent most of today making the small air tanks that sit above the rear bogie I made last week.

The tanks seen in this shot look a bit like wings however this is prior to the installation of the footplate which will cover up the vast majority of my carefully applied rivets. Such is life :-)

The tanks seen in this shot look a bit like wings however this is prior to the installation of the footplate which will cover up the vast majority of my carefully applied rivets. Such is life πŸ™‚

The tanks I built today are really the first “scratch built” detail parts I’ve made for this project. The reason I’ve made them is that they aren’t available as separate items from a supplier and there’s nothing in the 19 class kit that would work as a stand in. What I’m most pleased about is the straightness of the rivets. Each tank is built up from five separate pieces of brass and covered in a thin sheet of brass shim (.003″) that has had the rivets applied prior to being soldered in place. I’ve made them a little narrower than the prototype (by about 1mm) quite deliberately, so they don’t stick out quite as far from the chassis as they should, because I’m more concerned about them sticking out too far than sitting a little bit further in than they should. I can live with them being a little too far in from the edge of the footplate but I couldn’t abide them sticking out like the proverbial. In my mind I toyed around with several different methods of retaining the tanks to the chassis but in the end I went with soldering them in place. A tricky operation, with the possibility of everything separating into a small pile of constituent parts, but it all worked out fine in the end. They both need a couple of little parts added (a top bracket and a spigot underneath) but these can be made and applied later.