Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some final thoughts

When I bought this kit it was the most expensive modelling purchase I'd made. I saw it as an investment that would help me learn new skills and show a loco-newbie what's needed to "make the wheels go round" in a practical way. I've learnt a huge amount, often by making mistakes, and appreciate the help people online have offered.

I appreciate the pleasure of buying a "ready-to-run" loco and watching it move along the track. But it's hard to convey how much more satisfying it is to see something I've built myself doing the same. And even though I'm conscious of all the inaccuracies I've introduced along the way, you really can't see most of them without a close look.

Having said that the lack of brakes was gnawing at me. Fortunately fitting them wasn't too tricky and they help conceal the bright metal flanges.

I hope to start another loco soon, this time with the people at Peco having done the hard work on the body, so I can concentrate on making fewer mistakes with the chassis.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Final details


I had to re-drill the holes in the sides which were barely visible by now. Only problem I had was with one of the long 5-prong rails which I had to straighten out after failing to force it in. Once in place I secured them with some matte medium dropped into the holes with a fine paintbrush. Coming to the cab it's now clear that I've put the loco numbering too near the cab (in fact the numbers are too large), and the cab rail covers the nearest number. Rather than go back and reapply the numbering (I doubt I could do it as neatly again) I put the rail in at an angle.

For the front step rails I used 0.3mm brass, bent to a right-angle, painted and varnished, then cut to length and secured with superglue droplets.

marker lights

These and the rear bar are fixed with matte medium.

It was starting to look good now, there had to be another problem. And when I decided to unscrew the chassis to fit the brakes I found it was harder than I expected. Seems the motor is a very tight fit. So that can wait till I'm feeling up to it.

I will be lightly weathering it eventually, but not till the pleasure of the new has worn off.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fixing the connecting rods

I shortened the overlong pins with wire clippers, then with a sheet of slitted card over the rod I fixed the nuts with tiny blobs of superglue gel. I thought that I might have to remove the rods sometime in the future, and superglue could be dissolved without damaging anything else here.

The nuts are much thicker than the prototype, and it was only after I'd fitted them all that I realised how clumsy they look.

Perhaps I could find something more subtle sometime.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Fixing body to footplate

First to add some more weight.

There's room behind the nose, and scraping away some of the excess resin under the roof allowed me to add some 1mm thick lead offcuts there.

I've used all-purpose adhesive to fix the lead. It seems to hold well but could be removed if necessary. The paper glued to the front weight is to stop any short-circuiting if the weight falls away and onto the motor terminals. The small pieces of brass on each side are not for weight, they're to stop the short half-axles falling out (as happened during testing).

There's also plenty of room in the lower part of the cab. I want to be able to see what I'm doing when I fix the cab to the footplate, so I'll add some weight there later.

Next using epoxy I joined cab to bonnet on a flat surface. Then I fixed this to the footplate while it was secured to the chassis. I don't think I should have done it that way. I haven't liked the look of the cab ever since I bent it inside out by mistake. Even so, I think I could have got it more square looking if I'd fixed the cab to the footplate first (as suggested in the instructions).

And this step produced a notable improvement in performance. Without the bonnet, the motor would rotate a few degrees one way then the other as it changed direction, and this could cause it to stall moving into reverse. Now that the bonnet holds the motor tightly in place, good behaviour in both directions.

Fixing the windows

I found these pretty fiddly. They are cut from "Cobex" plastic sheet about 0.5mm wider than the window to fit into the recesses at the back, then secured with tiny dribbles of epoxy around the edges.

A few days later I started experimenting with matte medium, and I think that would have been a better way to go.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Adding the transfers

I'd been painting and lettering some wagon kits while this project gathered dust, so at least I now had some ideas about how to approach this stage.

I started with two coats of Vallejo acrylic matt varnish - thinned with a little water, applied with a flat brush and allowed to dry horizontally it leaves a reasonable finish for such a low-tech method.

I found that Fox transfer numbers F603 and 2450 provided everything I intended to use - diagonal stripes for the ends, vertical stripes for the grilles, double arrows, numbers and warning flashes.

For the cab end I cut the wasp-stripes to width and coated the end with Micro-set before sliding the stripes into place. You get several transfers on the sheet. This was fortunate as the first one slid irretrievably out of control. Once dry I cut out the windows and trimmed the ends with my sharpest scalpel. Huge relief as I seal with matt varnish.

The front end would be the real challenge though. I couldn't see me doing this in one go so I tackled it in sections, cutting each piece to size. Again, it didn't work first time but was worth the persevering.

Coming to the side grilles, I realised that I'd have to pierce through the transfer to show the holes. I didn't want to do that for the yellow sections that were already correct so I only used the black parts of the stripes and fixed them individually (painting the stripes was out of the question with my unsteady hand). I used a broach to make the holes, then fixed the grilles.

Reviving the mojo

I hope I'm not the only one who discusses things with themselves. These discussions usually end with me giving myself a reason not to do something, but I had a very productive one recently.

When I found out that a conversion chassis for the N gauge Peco Collett Goods was being developed, I thought what a great new project that would be. But then I reminded myself that I ought to finish that old project before starting a new one. And to be fair, I had to admit that I had a point. Particularly as I'd charted my progress so publicly. So we agreed that I could build a new loco once my 08 looked more like a shunter and less like a pile of bits in a box.

And I'm glad to report that putting those bits together wasn't too hard after all, and for the sake of completeness I'm posting some brief notes on the final stages.