Sunday, 20 July 2008

Waste Not Want Not Part 2

It can be strange revisiting things you did or made in the past but it can often show you why and how things are as they are currently. I've found this when revisiting a model I started some years ago. For my seventeenth birthday, I think, I received a Nu-Cast kit for an LNER J21; I remember asking for it because I'd been very pleased with my efforts on rebuilding a part built J27 -

I'd used Alan Gibson frames and wheels and mixed and matched castings and parts a wide variety of sources and I really felt I'd achieved something. Looking back, I think this was a huge milestone for me and even now, if you don't look too closely, it still looks OK.

So, the J21 was started in the same vein; Gibson frames, wheels, etc, etc...

I replaced the tender's very heavily cast coal rails with my own versions - which in hindsight were far too thin! But at that stage I was rather pleased! However, I think this was when I realising about the 'finer' details and was trying to do something about them. Building a pair of RSH tanks from High Level Kits had given me an insight to what I really wanted from models.

The chassis was rigid - I didn't feel confident enough to attempt a three axle compensated chassis at that stage. Though it had to be set up in the same way using blanking plates in place of hornblocks using axle jigs and the coupling rods to ensure the axle centres were correct. As can be seen, the motor and gears are a nice simple set up. Although I like the multi-stage gearboxes, especially High Level's 108:1 gearboxes for shunting and industrial locomotives, I've found this set-up with a Mashima 1220 or 1224 motor and high quality gears from Branchlines are still an excellent combination for 'main line' locos. My previous entry will show this still applies to some current models of mine.

Having found the interior details supplied by High Level very satisfying to apply I really made an effort with the cab details of the J21. Again I was very pleased with this at the time; it could be better but it was an immense improvement over the large hole in the backhead for a large old fashioned motor to protrude right into the cab.

The reason for titling this post as I have (with reference to what I have said previously) is that I don't really want to leave the model in this unfinished state forever. I'm not sure why progress was halted, maybe because during J21s weren't that common in the Hull area by the 1950's so perhaps it just slipped down the priority list? However this happened, it has been in this condition for a number of years. What I want to see is if it would be possible to convert it to P4 for use on Botanic Gardens - it would mean a new chassis obviously and I'd be tempted to give it a new tender so it would have decent coal rails if nothing else! The thing is, as it was a gift originally I don't want to attempt all of this to find it wasn't possible and then I'm left with a hulk which is of no use to anyone!

So, we'll see what happens - if I can re-use the loco it'll be very satisfying and would be great if I can re-use it especially as it was a gift. But it may be a while before we see if it works or not!

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