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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Baldwin 50HP Gas Mechanical

The Baldwin 50HP Gas Mechanical I was expecting turned up at Christmas. It's a Meridian Models kit that folds up from Brass and Nickel Silver with the usual wheels, axles and brass and whitemetal castings and the like. The picture below shows how the Chassis comes together. It's a bit odd in having 2 nickel silver frames, each folded up to make 3 sided U sections. The first is the outer frame which folds together to make the 2 side frames and the top of the chassis you can see in the picture below. At this point you solder in the brass axle bearings and insert the wheelset. After this you make another similar fold that creates 2 further side frames and the bottom with the sides fitting inside the ones you have already made. This is then slid up inside the existing chassis you've folded up. Not easy to explain but it means you need to fit it up with the sides fitting between the outer-sides with the bearings and the wheels themselves - very tight clearances but a very solid chassis afterwards.

Drive is through the rear axle, transferred to the other axle and the jackshaft through the cranks. Quartering is relatively straightforward if you follow the instructions doing them all in order but you could spend forever making small adjustments trying to make it smoother. The brass body fits over the top of the motor making it a bit snug. I though I was going to have to put the docoder in the cab, which would have been a pig to conceal. However, by cutting down the whitemetal gearbox casting at the front over the jackshaft and trimming back as much of the sheath of a Digitrax DZ125, I've managed to fit it in under the front 'bonnet' - which hadn't been fitted in this photo.

After all that, it actually ran! A real emotional moment as this is the first kit I've got from etches to that point. At the head of a train I think it looks great. It's almost a shame that on the actual layout it'll just be used to shunt from the quarry branch to the station but I'm sure I'll let it get a run every once in a while!

I did, however, learn a few lessons:
  1. Washing the kit to remove flux as you go along is really good but remember that it takes forever to dry. I thought I had a serious electrical short across the chassis but, after too long, I narrowed it down to the fact that the moisture was conducting across an insulated bush!
  2. Keep checking that the chassis is flat. When the bushes went in it was all square and flat. When it came to test running it wasn't. I don't know when one of the bushes moved but it was a pig having to take all teh cranks off to move the bearing.
  3. Adapt and overcome. At times I needed to apply a bit of ingenuity to get things to line up - not least when I started losing the tiny Mashima mounting screws into the carpet.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Snow Stopped Play

Well, I've now got my computer back up and running so time for some updates. I know that this cold weather has been causing a load of problems with the mail and roads and the like but I hadn't thought that it would cause issues with the railway. Well I was wrong. The wood glue on the new part of the layout has set a bit oddly - rather like plaster. Being a bloke I only read the instructions afterwards and it turns out it needs to be above 5 degrees to cure properly - and it really wasn't.

In fact the cold temperatures caused problems with my airbrushing plans too. Just after I got my new spray-booth set up it got so cold in the garage that I couldn't hold the airbrush for long and the cleaner froze in the pot! That said I did get some airbrushing done and I love the smooth finish. Moel Tryfan has been sprayed in a nice maroon colour and I've now started to line it. This is my first proper effort at lining with a bow pen but I think it's going ok so far. It's putting the black line down the middle of the yellow that will be the struggle. Here she is along with the tools for the task. A very fine paintbrush and some turps are the secret as you can tidy up rough edges after it goes wrong!

These two coaches have been sprayed in etch primer and then given a basecoat of grey. I stuck bits of cardboard to the bottom using little foam self-adhesive tabs designed for photo mounting and the like. It means that I can pick them up and move them around without fear of affecting the finish. They'll pick up a coat of Midland Red of some form in the not-too-distant future and then they'll gain handles, windows and transfers. Does anyone have experience of DIY transfers as I don't know of any commercially available NWNGR coach transfers?

One bit of stock that is a bit more progressed is one of the workmen's carriages. I'm leaving this in the flat grey that the NWNGR used for a while after the First War as an austerity measure. As I had the grey paint out this was done before the world froze over!

I'm hoping that the garage will become a more tempting place soon but the fresh snowfall today suggests that I might be a bit over-optimistic!

Happy New Year to one and all.