Sunday, 2 December 2007
A Good Start?
Recently I have been working on a loco which will ultimately be in the Botanic Gardens fleet. It's an example of the North Eastern Railway's Class E, which later became J71 under the LNER, and was very similar to the Class E1, or J72 from grouping onwards. The similarity has not gone un-noticed, MRJ 12 featured an article by John Wright on converting the Mainline J72. More recently Mainly Trains have added to their own range, a chassis kit for the J72 and a chassis and conversion kit for a J71The latter is what I have been using. I'll apologise for the quality of the photographs - it's been very dark in East Yorkshire today! Hopefully they'll still give you a good idea of what's going on with the loco! This would, I think, make an excellent start for someone who was thinking about P4.
The chassis itself is good, and makes provision for compensation. Included are 00 frame spacers and 'EM/P4' spacers, which I'm sure will be fine for EM, but are not really wide enough for P4. It would leave over a mil' between the wheels and frames and wouldn't look right. So I replaced these with something a little wider. My chassis is a 'bog standard' as P4 can be! Simple three point compensation with drive on a fixed rear axle. The motor is a Mashima 1224 flat can and it has a 53:1 Branchlines Multi-box. I have used Gibson wheels and crankpins. I know some people report problems with Gibson wheels, but I have never had any problems with them; I'm sure the GW Models quartering press I have helps in this respect. It puts the wheels on square and ready quartered and is something I couldn't do without now!
I have yet to fit the brake gear, or the pickups, but progress has been quite swift, mostly working in fits and starts. This really isn't the best way to work with projects like this. The short bursts can, I've found, lead to mistakes being made but many will know that work and other commitments mean that modelling can't always be the priority we would like it to be! It perhaps shows that the kit is well thought out that it has gone together so easily. It would make a relatively easy start for someone in P4 too.
This photo of the chassis was taken a few days ago, as the presence of the sun may suggest! On thing is does is show the rather satisfying relationship between the wheels and frame. The small gap between them does look rather nice in this view. Hopefully the simplicity of the chassis can be seen here. It's well within the capabilities of many modellers. Towards the rear of the chassis you may notice the gap between the spacer and frames; this is due to incorporating of of the original spacers. The kit makes use of the original body-chassis securing arrangement, and I saw no reason to not use this either! So the kit spacer was solder to one of my own spacers to allow this. It shows some thought has gone into the design of the kit.
The body is where work on the E and the E1 differ. The kit for the former includes new front splashers to allow for the wheels being 6" larger in diameter. Also included is a fold up cab interior.Sadly I was unable to use this; it is, understandably, designed around the kit's frame spacings and since mine has wider spacing I can't use it. I made a replacement from black plastikard. No backhead is included in the kit, so I'll be using one from Alan Gibson's range (GE rather than NER, hopefully no one will be able to tell the difference!). I added a replacement chimney from an old K's J72 kit; the moudled chimney had a small crack in it. I only discovered this when I went to drill out the chimney! Oops! Thankfully it didn't take too much to sort my 'misfortune' out! Still to be added are other cab bits and pieces, handrails, lamp irons, brake gear, pick ups, whistle and clack valves. I have already modified the buffer beams to the plate variety, using the kit's etched overlays as a basis. The moulding allows for the beams which were of sandwich construction with oak planks between two plates. I'm very happy with the way the model has come on, hopefully it won't be too long before this one is finished!