7mm:1ft - 0 Gauge Railway Modelling.

Finney 7, Richard Lambert, The Malt House, Mortimer Hill, CLEOBURY MORTIMER, DY14 8QQ.
Tel: 01299 271918.  E-mail:  contact@finney7.co.uk  Web:  http://www.finney7.co.uk/index.htm
I rate this kit as: 0-0-0

Why a Broad gauge Rover?

Because it attracted me as an interesting build and even though it will have a motor, gearbox and working inside valve gear, it will sit in a glass case along with a Broad Gauge Postal Van as I have nowhere to run such beasts.  So the real answer I suppose is because it was there and will no doubt prove to be an interesting challenge; the last Finney kit I built was certainly a challenge, see the 32xx Class build.


The Great Western's iconic Rover class was designed to replace the Iron Dukes, Russell has little to say in detail but provides some good pictures, more information is available in the RCTS volumes on the broad gauge engines (Locomotives of the GWR, parts 2 and 12).  However, it is clear that the designers of this kit have done their homework and considerable research.  The kit covers just six of the possible twenty four engines originally built due to the significant differences between batches and there being a works drawing available for that batch.  I decided to build Emperor as it was in the 1880s with the smaller 2700 Gallon tender.


So what is in the box? (The box of course is useless as a storage medium for the finished engine, it should have a proper wooden box for travelling, unfortunately the makers of the lovely wooden boxes I used to use no longer produce them so I shall have to investigate elsewhere.)


The first thing one sees is an A4 booklet that consists almost entirely of A3 folded pages like this:

Instructionn manual


All the diagrams are to 7mm to the foot so checking part for fit is very easy.  There are many pictures of the build and a CD that  accompanies it with a wealth of pictures of the build and the prototype.  The manual is excellently printed, though the page numbering goes amiss at times, it shews much of what is required but careful study is necessary to work out precisely what goes where.  All the etches and castings are clearly identified.  My only quibble is the binding of the manual, the type with a spring loaded spine, it is not up to the holding the weight of paper.  Perhaps a four ring binder would have been better however, since most of the time I will be working with individual sheets it is not a problem.


The etches are of superb quality, many of them quite thick, ranging from 0.4mm to 0.7mm in brass and nickle silver.  Here are a couple of examples:  Back to Top



They are crisp, clean and clearly appear to be made from CAD masters, some care needs to be taken when cutting parts out, the tabs are usually full thickness and in confined spaces.  I used a Stanley knife on a cutting mat.


To this I will need to add a set Slater's wheels, an ABC motor/gearbox, a set of Severn Mill plates, a set of PFS plunger pickups, crew, coal and a set of Laurie Griffin fire irons and lamps. All up that is about a grand's worth plus the cost of a the painter.  Not cheap but worth it in my view for the pleasure of building something that has been well designed but will never-the-less challenge me for some months to come.


The manual starts with the locomotive but I opted to begin with the Tender.  I find it a good way to get inside the designer's thinking process before starting on the much more complex locomotive.



One thing I discovered early on was a missing page containing one of the etch maps, a call to Richard Lambert and the missing pdf page arrived in my E-mail in box.  I have an A3 printer so could easily reproduce the page in the same format as the manual.  Good service and I am sure a new page would have been forthcoming in the post had I not had the requisite printer.


The chassis is compensated, take time over studying the drawings and it goes together with relative ease, not everything is described or explained but using the drawing and the excellently numbered parts works well.  Like the last Finney kit I built, once completed the wheels will be trapped forever so I am considering how to get round that and make them removable.  The chassis is a fold up affair 1.4mm thickness (doubled over to make bearing hornguides), with no brass bearings for the axles, which run in ready etched slots; personally I dislike this way of doing things but the thickness of nickle silver should give it sufficient running life for most examples that get built.


One needs to read the whole manual fully a couple of times before starting and then ensure that future processes can be undertaken easily.  For instance, later when constructing the sandwich frames, it is important that all the holes for the addition things like springs are opened out before final assembly of the frames.   Back to Top


Chassis 1

Here is the basic chassis bent up, checked for square and soldered in the joints and bend lines awaiting the compensation beams being fitted.  The pictures of this in the manual appear to be of brass but this is substantial nickle silver.  There are a lot of rivets in this model, over 500 alone in the tender top and mostly very closely spaced!  However, the dimples for them are tiny, the perfect size for my Leakey rivet press so one simply needs a good light, a steady hand and patience to achieve nice straight lines of rivets. 

Chassis two

The compensation works by soldering the beams to two pieces of tube of equal length and these run on a thick brass wire beam that is held in place with the bases of the outriggers so little chance of soldering anything up solid.  A neat piece of design and all the parts fit perfectly, provided one cleans up all the cusps to give nice square edges.  I have taken the trouble to do that for all exposed edges as well so that their true thickness is apparent.


Chassis 3 undersite


Here you can see the underside.  The wheels are kept in place by wire stays that slide into slots etched into the fold-over bearings, you can see one set of hornguides has a wire in it.  I think that these will be exactly inline with the tensioning rods between the axle boxes in the sandwich frames, in which case I shall simply use a length of blackened wire across all three axles so I can remove them, at least for Warren to be able to paint the chassis properly.  The wires should be virtually invisible once completed.  All I need to do now is find a way to make the vacuum pipe that runs just off centre removable and the wheels sets can be extracted.  Spacing washers are provided for the wheels; I used them on the outer axles to restrict their lateral movement but left the centre axles with plenty of lateral movement, probably too much on reflection.   Back to Top


brake shoesBrake shoe 2Here the brake shoes are being made up by making a jig on my steel plate (the manual suggests in a piece of wood but for the RSU that would not work).  They are accurate etches and make up into substantial brake shoes.  One needs to be careful to orient all parts properly as all four parts are completely different and have to go together with right faces shewing for left and right.  Not difficult, it just needs some care, here is one just needing a little cleaning up.


brake tubesThe brake gear can be made to be removable easily by drilling out the holes for 0.8mm spigots in the frame to 1.2mm and soldering short lengths of tube to take the 0.8mm upper bearing spigots that will need to be fitted to each shoe.

Brake rigging startHere I have made a start on the rigging, which is quite complex, I found it a little confusing since it is not clear to me where one uses 0.8mm and 0.6mm.  Some of the etched holes in the brake rods do not match those in the shoes.  I decided to use 0.8mm at top and bottom.  I left off here to continue with the chassis and frames so that I have some way to ensure I got all the many parts to fit together without fouling anything.


In the meantime I continued with the frames starting with the inner set, which have many fold up parts, it is necessary to make sure that they are all at 90º because later, their orientation will determine the accurate mounting of other parts, such as the lost wax cast tops for the spring dampers.  Other parts for the dampers are pewter castings that fit between the frames.  Excellent quality castings whose dimples fit easily in the provided holes to anchor them place.  Here the overlay for the buffer plank has been fitted along with the centre lamp bracket, which is useful for helping orient the part, such is the accuracy of the etchings.   Back to Top


More chassis parts

It is beginning to look like a tender chassis now, the dampers have been fitted; the brass parts need care as they have to be oriented correctly but the pewter parts are simply super glued in for now to stop them falling out before the outer frame is soldered up.  If the bonds break then due to heat it will not matter as they will be trapped between the frames.  You can also see where I have used a single rod to affix the wheels in place.  The gedge hook is from the set of CPL couplings supplied in the kit, soldered in solid as is my usual method.

chassis 4

The brass outriggers between the wheels were too long to allow the unit to sit inside the frames and had to be filed down by about a half a millimetre or so on each side.


I had been considering for a while how to mount the vacuum pipe so that the wheels could be removed, it turned out to be simple in the end.  I threaded the end of the 1.6mm rod 'pipe' 10BA sufficiently long to accommodate two nuts.Vacuum pipe  The first was screwed on and the 'pipe' then offered up to the chassis to set Vacuum pipe 2.it horizontal.  The nut was then soldered in place, the 'pipe' shortened and then fitted in its mounting brackets.  The second nut holds it secure and vertical and the whole gubbins is invisible once the tender is assembled.

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The cross shaft.Cross shaft 2Here the cross shaft has been fabricated ready for fitting but first I wanted to make some more changes.  The brake rods fit over small studs where the long thin rod is now but simply as a clip on.  I wanted to make this more secure and so tapped the holes in the ends of the brake rods 14BA and holes in the brackets were reamed out for 14BA clearance so that the rods can be secured thus with a screw, which can be left in the outer leg; this is similar to how I did them for the Armstrong.  I have yet to source some proper length screws for the job.


In the meantime progress continues on the frames. Frames 1





Here they are completed including fitting the buffers.  They are designed to be fitted with integral springs  using a soldered stopper.  I do not like leaving buffer heads on for the painter to have to get around so experimented with threading one of the buffer shanks 12BA.  This proved very difficult as it is hard to hold the work and the shank is slightly over size for 12BA.  However, it makes no difference because there is not enough length on them to clear the double buffer beam plates, add a new keeper plate to cover the large hole in the rear and still leave room to thread a nut.  So regretfully I had to go with the designer on this one as I know of no-one who makes this particular buffer as a self contained unit with removable heads and springs.


Frames 2The tensioning rods between the axle boxes are fitted into a clever little bracket that, when the rivet heads are punched out and it is folded up, fit into the dimples for the rivets one has punched out at the bottom of the hornguides.  The tensioning rod is then soldered in place so that its ends are out of site.  Elegant, simple and strong so that the rods are not constantly coming adrift.  The steps are located in similar fashion but require some care and clamps while soldering.

Frames 3Here is a mock up of the frames fitted to the chassis and the footplate rested on top.  Everything aligns perfectly and the holes for the screws to go through the fixing nuts on the footplate are also spot on.   Back to Top


The next job is cleaning up the spring castings and drilling out the tops to take the supports 0.7mm rods.  A job that took most of an afternoon.

Springs oneDrilling out for the wire droppers is a job needing some care.  I used the Proxxon drill stand with the parts held in a vice at the lowest speed possible with some spit for lubrication and short drilling movements, clearing the flutes often.  The rods were fitted with super glue.  All they need now is  final straightening and cutting to length to fit the body.  The castings were cleaned up with files, wet and dry and a steel brush in the Proxxon.  It is important to ensure the tops have the rather prominent moulding marks removed as they will be very visible on the finished work.

Body assembly 1

The major parts of the body ready for assembly.   The flare is relatively easy to do and does not need annealing (which always make the metal too soft), just follow the excellent instructions in the manual.  The corners where made around some 3mm rod held in the vice and there are markers to ensure one can centre it before starting the bend.  It is important the these bends are correct because the sides and end have to seat in etched lines on the footplate.  However, the standard of drawing and etching is of a very high order and the parts really do fit, it just needs care, take time and check each stage before moving on.  Talking of time, the build so far has taken some 29 hours.   Back to Top

Body assembly 2

Here is where the magnets are invaluable in holding the footplate flat while fitting the side and end wrapper.  I tack soldered it in the corners first and then checked for square before starting to solder the whole unit up, it needs careful fitting into the etched grooves in the footplate, which in turn means one has to ensure that the bends are all correct long before contemplating soldering it up.  Once I have completed that the next job will be the flared corners while I can get to the inside face with a file.  It is not my favourite way to make flared corners but with a light hand and care it should produce the desired result.  We shall see.

body 3

The corner flares require one to set 'fingers' of etch and fill them with solder; I always find this a trial so, after trying it and then removing all the solder (tedious) this time I cast around for other ways of filling them.  I used rapid Araldite left until it is just beginning to go off, so that is was not very runny and then carefully applied it with a cocktail stick.  I left if to cure for 24 hours and then used a very sharp scalpel blade and fine files to remove the excess.  Once I was happy with the curve I used a permanent marker to show up any areas on the edge that I may have missed.  Araldite cures almost colourless and, at these thicknesses, is transparent.  The vacuum pipe fits perfectly in its allotted hole.   Back to Top

tender top and parts

Making a start on the tender top, castings have been cleaned up with a steel brush in the Proxxon, the castings for the tool boxes will take some time and care as there is a good deal of flash on the ends in places that will make it difficult to remove without damaging the thin top of the lid.  In fact they proved impossible so a quick call to Finney 7's headquarters resulted in a fresh pair arriving in due course.


The coal plate is simply laminated from two parts and the edges cleaned up.  The angle plates that stop the tool boxes coming adrift have to be precisely lined up so I used an engineer's square to ensure they were both lined up with one another while the tank top was clamped to the steel plate with magnets.

body 4All the parts at the front are now fitted save for the tool boxes.  The hand wheels on the tank tops fit into holes that have to be drilled into the cast base (part BR37).  Holding them to drill 0.55mm is very difficult so I fitted them to the top before fitting the top to the body.  They locate very accurately in etched holes and once soldered in and the pins were files down I clamped the tender top to the steel plate with magnets and used the Proxxon carefully to drill out the holes for the hand wheel shafts.  Part TU7 needs to be fitted before the top goes on I did not and had fun fitting it! It is a tiny bracket on the tank front by the handbrake to which is fitted another control handle later.

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The handrails should be fitted before the top so they can be soldered in from the back.  I soldered one knob to the end of some .08mm nickel silver rod and cleaned up the end of the rod, slid on the second knob the used that as a means of holding them in line while soldering the other knob into the side.  The handbrake standard is fitted by firstly soldering some 0.7mm rod into the hole on the support bracket.  This is then fitted into the hole on the floor and the bracket then fits over two rivet heads on the top to locate it, clever.  Then the brake standard can be soldered into the floor and to the bracket.  The bracket on the other side is dealt with similarly.  

Cpoal plate 1 

The coal plate on top of the tender is one part that really needs to be fitted before the tender top is fitted into the body.  It would have been a whole lot easier, the kit provides a very handy template to ensure one gets the correct angle.  I soldered some scrap at 90º to the template and then soldered the lot to the tender top to facilitate fixing the coal plate.  However, I then came up against a problem.  The top of the tender was not flat!  Not easily discernable to the mark one eye ball, it was very apparent when trying to solder the coal plate in place. 




Coal plate 2Cpal plate 3The only way in the end was to remove the top from the tender and fix the problem. 



The top was not only not flat but also fractionally too large easily to fit the hole, which was causing it to bow upward even further.  However, once out of the body and all the mating surfaces cleaned up it was an easy matter firstly to flatten the top and then fettle the edges until one had achieved a good, drop-in fit.  The coal plate was then fitted on to the top by applying solder cream to the base, running flux across the front and apply heat so that the solder wicked through.  A simple matter then to clean up.  Cleaning in the V was achieved with a new brass brush in the Proxxon to clean the excess solder.

Almost complete.

Almost complete, springs and axles box covers go on after painting.  I still have the brakes to finish off and fit the jack.  This comes as a nice pewter casting but with tiny etched parts that have to be soldered up and then fitted to the footplate.  One area where a brass casting would have been far less hassle.   Back to Top



Like the tender, one begins with the chassis, which is going to be a long job because this is also where the inside motion will reside.  It pays to keep looking ahead to make sure there are no jobs that might better be done earlier while things are in the flat.  Pick-ups and bearings are an obvious candidate.

Locmotive chassis.

The frames have had all the relevant holes opened up and or tapped and the main and only bearing fitted along with the retaining springs that are bolted in place.  The large holes are for the plunger pick-ups and there is not a lot of room for the front pick-up.  I am experimenting with PSF to see if they will do but the spaces seem very tight to fit the bases and they proved to be to large to fit most of the spaces I needed them to be in so I used Slater's instead.  The wheels have been disinterred from their packaging, carefully de-rusted and their backs rubbed down on some 240 grit paper  to ensure a perfectly flat face.


The carrying wheels fit these frames in the same way as for the tender, one of the few retrograde steps in an otherwise very good design in my opinion.  The slots need attention with a smooth cut file to open them out just sufficiently to take the axles smoothly without binding.  The front compensation unit is easily fabricated before the frame spacer is fitted.  The compensation beam for the driver is partially complete in that the pivots are fitted ready for the pair are fitted to the frames during assembly.


A good deal of time was spent simply filing cusps off to obtain nice square edges and all the bends have been strengthened with a fillet of solder inside the bends.  So far it has taken some 14 hours to get this far on the engine.   Back to Top

On wheels 1

Once all that work preparing is over the frames are easily erected and, as here, temporarily mounted on its wheels to test out the compensation.  Each wheel would climb over a small screwdriver blade leaving the remainder on the plate so I am happy with that.

ON wheels 2On wheels 3 








A view from the top shewing the compensation beams and also the large gap between the frame and the back of the wheels, some 3.5mm.  The other view is the underside, one can clearly see the bolted springs that hold the driving wheel journals in place, the driving wheels needed little in the way of packing washers to reduce the side play to a minimum.

Bearing spacersThe kit provides some washers to reduce side play in the carrying wheels but the gaps are too large for them to be of much use.  I sliced some pieces of suitable tube, cleaned them up and fitted them with a washer against the plastic wheel centres to prevent grooving.  This entailed taking a wheel off each of the carrying axles, one needs to be very careful reinserting the axle back in the wheel to keep it all square.

Motor fitt 





Finally, I fitted the motor/gearbox to test out the ride height and compensation again.  The magnets on the front are to hold it down.  The next job on the frames will be fitting the Slater's plunger pick-ups.



Motion parts 1Most of the parts to erect the inside motion supporting structure.


Slide bars 1Beginning the assembly of the inside motion requires the sub-structure be assembled first. It needs to be accurately put together making sure that the cusps have all been filed away to give clean and square edges.  On the right the slide bar assembly is being worked on Slipperusing a 1.6mm drill in a hole in the steel plate to hold the parts vertical while soldering them up with the RSU.

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On the left the slipper is being soldered together from three etched parts.  One needs to study these parts carefully to ensure the bends are all the correct way round and absolutely at 90º.  Again, a 1.6mm drill is used to hold the parts vertically square and the engineer's square to ensure the horizontals are also square.  The slide bars had been polished before being assembled and the slippers, once similarly polished, were a good sliding fit between the bars.  Only now can the rest of the sub-structure's construction be contemplated.


Slide bars 3The problems with this unit is trying to solder six ends simultaneously square and securely.  It simply cannot be done in one action.  There are four slide bars and a central spar that supports the weight shaft eventually, which gives six different solder points to the support bracket under the boiler.  I set up the unit as shewn on the steel plate and screwed it into the frames.  Now it was possible to solder the central support for the weigh shaft to the main unit on the right and still be able to ensure it went in square.  The tab is a poor fit in the rather large hole.

Slide bars 2 





With the weight shaft support soldered secure and square I then set up the unit between two engineer's squares on the steel plate as shewn here so that the rest of the joints could be made secure and square.  There is very little mating face on these parts and the additional plates that are provided do help provide a more robust joint.  

Slidee bars 4 

Slide bars 4 











Here are a couple of pictures shewing the completed unit bolted into the chassis, including the addition of the weight shaft and associated supports for the valve rods.  You will see that one of the oil pots on top of the slide bars is missing, it went 'ping' into oblivion when I tried to pick it up with tweezers.  The castings are exquisite but tiny, the rest were dealt with using surgical forceps.  I reckon if one drilled them through at 0.5mm they could actually serve as working oil pots with a tiny amount of flax or hemp perhaps.  This is one area where a spare fret of pots (they come in threes) could be added to the kit as I cannot believe that the majority of modellers, like me, will not lose at least one.  You can see also the piston rods and slippers in place.


A spare fret of three oil pots arrived from Richard rapidly along with a new set of etches for the valve gear.  While trying to correct the incorrect fixing of the piston in the slipper (it went into the slipper too deeply so was not long enough to do its job properly or let me fix the pivot for slipper to revolve on) I destroyed the slipper.  Fortunately I was able to buy a replacement fret.   Back to Top


The next job was the connecting rods.  The rods in the pictures in the manual clearly have not been filed up to remove the cusps and polished to look like steel.  Normally one would do this before fitting any rod like component to any other part but in this case it was not possible.  The bearing is made by mating two etched halves of a rod Rods 1together in opposition, they each slot over the axle from opposite sides so effectively the bearing is the thickness of half the connecting rod.  I wonder how long it will take forRods 2 these bearings to wear out?  Before going any further it was necessary to clean up and polish the cranks and clean out the holes for the axle by using  some rolled up wet and dry, starting with 600 and progressing 1200 to gradually open out the hole to just accept the axle, some care is needed in opening out the bearing surfaces in the big end so as to get a consistent finish that runs free with no slop.  That done I set up one set of rods as shewn here to check it all fitted and worked.


Rods 3Then I chemically blackened the bearing surfaces on the rod and crank, bent up the small end up to fit the slipper and soldered the joint lines.  Now all that remained was to clamp the parts together, run some flux across the length of the joint and apply solder and heat.

Rods 5 






Rods 6Then it is a simple matter of setting the rod up in a vice and carefully filing down the cusps and polishing until the joint disappears.  It is possible to do to this all the way round the crank. 


The tiny spaces demarcating oil pots and bolt heads on both big and small ends were cleaned out with a coping saw followed up by various fine files and grades of wet and dry folded to square up the slots, a tedious business but worth the effort.


The result is a reasonable representation of a steel connecting rod that rotates perfectly on the crank.  This is the first time I have built inside gear using etches.  I rather prefer cast components that can be bolted and pinned together so that they can be taken down if necessary.

valve gear 1valve gear 2Time now to move onto the valve gear.


Again the parts were cleaned up and polished and then the bearing surfaces were chemically blackened before being clamped up for soldering the locating pins.  However, I also thinned the brass bearings until they were just thicker than the rod to reduce what would have been considerable side play.

Motion 2 Back to Top 

The inside motion parts being tested again for fit.

Motion 3 







And here are the completed valve rods and associated motion.  The valve rods are fixed so only move horizontally.  Ensure that the parts for each unit mirror one another and are correctly oriented, it is easy to assemble them the wrong way round. 


Indies motion 4Here is a trial fitting of half the inside motion assemblies on the axle.  Having satisfied myself that the parts fit and can be spaced accurately along the axle, I marked up the axle to give me fixing places and then went to the fridge to get my little bottle of Loctite 603.  It was a good thing I looked at the bottom of the bottle as it's best before date was May 2013!  This is one occasion where the failure of a loctited joint would be disastrous.  The whole motion is so designed that one basically gets a single chance to get it right however, there is a very accurate drawing provided to enable one to space the parts correctly and the depth gauge on my callipers would ensure accuracy when it came time to use the Loctite to secure the parts.  While work on this was suspended awaiting the new bottle Loctite 603 I continued work on cleaning up the cusps on the inside frames and checking that all the rivets and bolt heads had been impressed, they hadn't.


inside motion 5A fresh bottle of Loctite 603 duly arrived and so the first two elements have been fitted but, this resulted in a potential disaster.  The eccentrics went in easily enough without any problem but it was when the crank was Loctited in and I had sawn out the redundant piece of the axle that I discovered the whole crank had seized up!


Clearly I had not oiled the areas I did not want the Loctite to wick into well enough.  The stuff takes 24 hours fully to cure so I pondered for a while and decided that my choices were limited to attempting to free up the joint or destroy it in the process.  Fortunately I have a spare set of rods on the extra fret I bought to replace the damaged slipper should I need to make a replacement, and no doubt a spare set of cranks would be available from Richard.


Loctite is designed to make a virtually unbreakable joint when the mating surfaces are spotlessly clean and the only way effectively to break it to heat it 225ºC.  The areas around the big end were not cleaned so there was a good chance that the bond would not be a strong one.  I set the rod up in the vice very securely leaving just sufficient room for the crank to move a little on its axis and then, using a pair of pliers, gently began rocking the crank on its axis taking care to keep it in line with the crank until it gave.  Then little by little, with the help of a liberal dosing of cellulose thinners, I eventually freed it up and it now works fine.  All that was left to do was clean up the teeth marks left on the crank by the pliers with a fine file and wet & dry.    Back to Top


motion 6Here is the axle firmly anchored in the vice to saw out the part for the second crank.  I did this with a coping saw and number zero blade using plenty of oil to keep the swarf under control but taped a plastic bag over the motor as a further safeguard.  A good blast of IPA cleaner from an aerosol can cleaned out the swarf and then I was able to clean up the cuts with fine files and wet & dry.  A final blast with the IPA and the job was done. 


Inside motion 7 




Here is the axle with all the motion fitted and the cut outs in the axle for the crank completed.  The next job was testing to see that the motion would fit properly in the slide bars.

Inside motion 8 





This is where I discovered I had made the piston rods too short so they had to be removed and longer lengths of rod fitted, an annoying delay however, I fitted some that were very long indeed to make assembly of the valve gear and slippers easier.  They can be cut shorter later and I will probably leave them longer than the instructions suggest (20.6mm) as there is a little room for that and it will make refitting the gear into the slide bars simpler for future removals; though hopefully it will not be necessary to take down the motion again.


Have got this far it was time to fit the whole unit in the frames, wire up the motor to the controller and see what happened.  Well, it ran first time as this little piece of video shews:


I can now continue with the body and fitting the pickups to the chassis but before starting that (because I am still considering the best way to do the pick-ups) I started on the sandwich frames.   Back to Top

Frames 2

Frames 4Here is the basic etch for the inner set of sandwich frames with, as recommended, all the necessary small parts folded out and the fold lines soldered.  You will see that the bend lines above the axles box opening are very narrow and makes for a very difficult bending exercise.  I had to resort to a steel block (the handle of an engineer's square clamped in the vice) and a toffee hammer to get a good sharp bend, starting off gently with long nosed pliers and working my way along and back.  Eventually I achieved an acceptable fold that was not twisted but it took a good deal of fettling to get there and the fold line failed on the section at the rear of where the trailing wheel goes.  The etch is very flimsy at this stage.


Make sure that all the various holes have been opened out in readiness to take their various parts later, it is difficult to do once all this is assembled.

Frames 3

The inner frames bent up and ready for the outer frames to be fitted.  It is important that the axle box rods (part BR2, small lost wax castings) are fitted at this stage and very well soldered in place as the tops of them slide into projections on the inner frame and they are a pig to put back if they come adrift once the frames are assembled; you can guess how I know!

Frames 5I found it useful to insert some 0.6mm rod through the butterfly mounting for the driving wheel spring to help line up the outer sides  with the inners.  It may be necessary to file down some of the tabs to get the parts to fit correctly.  I did not solder the tabs that are on the curve for the driving wheel splasher because it is necessary to be able to ease the horns aside later to fit the plated spring that fits in this part below the axles box, that is why the 'winged' pieces are  fitted now.  These parts, like the horn ties, are located by the rivets one has previously punched out, which is a pretty accurate way of locating parts I have found.


Make sure the holes are opened out to take the locating pins on the plated spring for the driving axle.  It does go in but care will be needed once the frames are painted to insert the spring however, it needs no solder or glue to fix in place.  Guard iron 1Next job will be fitting the horn ties, tie rods and guard irons. 

The guard iron is a part that could perhaps have been better served as a lost wax casting.  You can see here a completed guard iron and one under construction.  One begins by soldering a stay for the foot step, (part S8, be aware that these parts are handed) to be soldered to the guard iron with a couple of pieces of 0.5mm wire.  The one on the right is jigged up ready for the step support to be soldered in place.  You can see also the tiny piece, (S8) for the step.   Back to Top

Guard iron 2  

Soldering on the step required holding the guard iron solid while carefully balancing the step in place using solder cream as a sort of 'glue' to hold it in place before holding it down with a scalpel blade so that heat could be applied to solder it in place.  It is very fiddly and took me three attempts to get them right, cleaning the parts up after each attempt.Guard iron 3 

Here is the temporary jig on the steel plate to fit the tensioning bar.  It is important to keep this joint flexible so that the other end can later be soldered into place on the first wheel hornguide.  I chemically blackened the hole in the guard iron and then soldered one side of the 1mm rod pivot using aluminium grips as a heat sink.  Then the pin was filed down to look like a bold head.

Guard iron 4 

Later another aluminium grip was used as a heat sink while the completed guard iron was soldered to the inside of the buffer beam before the end of the tensioning rod was shortened and soldered in place in the  horn guide.  The sharp eyed among will no doubt notice that I have soldered it to the wrong side of the frames!, soon corrected.


Here the frames are ready for the addition of the footplate having all the tensioning rods in place and the rear footsteps too.  However, it would be a good idea to delay fitting the tensioning rods and steps until the footplate has been soldered in place reducing the chance for potential damage to these parts.  The steps failed and broke off at the top of their curved support rods.  For lost wax castings they are remarkably frail compared to some, softer brass has been used I suspect.

frames 6frames 7

Beginning the process of soldering on the footplate using several magnets and the steel plate to hold the parts in place while soldering takes place.  I began with the portion over the driving wheel and worked outward each way, slowly.  Providing one bends both sides up simultaneously, it is not too difficult to get the bends right and the parts are screwed together to ensure that they are accurately aligned once bending is completed.  Until soldered in place though the footplate is very flimsy.    Back to Top


frames 8

Here the frames are temporarily mounted on the chassis with the footplate soldered in place.  It all fitted very well so the next stage is to fit the splashers and sand boxes.  Oh, and straightening that bent tensioning rod too!  However, I decided to construct the smokebox, boiler and firebox so that I could be sure they fitted the frames snugly before going any further with the frames.



Smoke box 1I started by folding up the nickle silver base and then soldering some 0.7mm scrap etch over the mounting holes, drilling them out and tapping 10BA.  The instructions suggest just tapping the base as it is but I would rather have a more robust area for the screws to bite on.  Next thing was to set up a jig on the steel plate as shewn and, making sure that the base is securely fitted into its intended slots on the back of the smoke box, tack solder, check and then seam up the joint. 


Smoke box 2I then cut a piece of channel (right hand picture) exactly the length required to hold the sloping front at the right distance from the back, set up another jig on the steel plate and soldered it securely to the back of the smoke box.  

Smoke box 3  

The front was then bent to shape and soldered on ensuring that the base fitted the slots on the front snugly while the top of the front and back were clamped together.  Once soldered up I cut two more pieces of channel to fit either side of the original spacer and soldered them in place to both the back and front, while the unit was bolted to the frames to ensure the unit was square and then removed the original spacer to free up the hole for the chimney.  Checking all the while with an engineer's square along the frames.  A bit convoluted perhaps but it did ensure that the front had the correct slope and the whole unit was solid ready for the skin to be soldered around the edges. Smoke box 4  Back to Top


I think trying to solder the wrapper correctly would have been rather difficult with the top of the front waving in the breeze though I do not doubt it is possible.  I simply like to make sure there are no areas where errors can creep in.  The kit provides two identical etches for the smoke box wrapper so one has the security of knowing any major disaster can be retrieved, happily I  did not need it.


I continued with the fire box and boiler.  These three units are screwed together to make a single unit before being further screwed to the frames.



Fire box 1The fire box folds up easily enough but make sure that the cusps are properly filed flat.  I set it up in another of my fleeting jigs using magnets.  Immensely useful by leaving me a full pair of hands to solder it up against an engineer's square to ensure accuracy.  There are six holes in this unit that the instructions say to tap 12BA but the holes were just a tad over etched to make a really secure hold for the screws; so I soldered pieces of 0.7mm scrap over them, drilled them out and tapped 12BA to give a good purchase for the screw threads.  These parts are going to be assembled and disassembled many times before the job is finished so I wanted to make sure nothing failed.


Fire box 2#The wrapper is 0.7mm thick but bends relatively easily over a suitable bar using finger pressure only to achieve a good fit.  Then it was just a case of holding it all in place with the magnets again, tack soldering and checking for square before seaming it all up.  It fitted perfectly first time, which speak volumes for the quality of the drawing and etching.  



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This is a little more difficult.  There is a part that is meant to be soldered in place inside the barrel with a pair of boiler band cleats poking through etched slots across the join.  I found it best done after the boiler was securely soldered up.  Unfortunately, I caught one of the cleats with the RSU probe while it was still powered and burned part of it off.  Hopefully it will not shew up much once the engine is completed being under the barrel.


Good rolling bars are essential for this as the material is 0.5mm thick but it does fit exactly on the formers at each end.  It and the firebox have etched witness marks for the boiler bands.  I would rather make the painter's job easy and have them made from painted tape and applied after painting.  I shall have to liaise with Warren to ensure that these marks will not be a problem for him.


I wanted to try out the three units mounted on the frames to ensure they fitted correctly before starting to fit the detail.  There is a gold plated casting that goes between the firebox and boiler, as you can see.  There should also be another between the smokebox and boiler but it is missing.  Apparently, the original castings were not plated satisfactorily and are being redone.  Until it arrives there is no way to be absolutely sure that the boiler may not need a faction taking of its ends to ensure a good fit. 

Boiler assembly

So, that's as far as I have got on the 1st March. 


Smoke box braceMost of the fittings have been soldered on to the smokebox now.  It is a lengthy process; all the castings were made from exquisite masters but suffer from some rather prominent joint lines that take a while to remove.  Particularly as most of them are tiny.  The Roscoe lubricators also need tiny etched circular handles soldering on, which was fun.   Back to Top


Smoke box brace 2There is a brace on either side of the smoke box that is bolted to the footplate in reality but this well designed piece has a cast bolt to locate the foot on the footplate.  The instructions say to solder this in after soldering the unit in place while the smoke box is bolted to the frames but I found it easier to solder it in first and use it, along with a fine broach in the spring hanger hole, to align it before soldering the pad to the side of the smokebox.  I used the drawings to bend the brace to its correct shape before trying it against the smokebox for fit.   In this case the etched lines are on the outside of the bends.

Smoebox 6 







Smoke box 5 























Here is the completed smokebox bolted to the frames, for such a small component it has a great number of parts, many of them very small.  The chimney is Araldited in place using the Roscoe lubricator to locate it on the top of the firebox.  The cylinder covers and door will be fixed after painting as these are plated items.



Cab floor 1Cabsie 2The cab is constructed while the floor and front are bolted to the frames so it is necessary to chemically blacken the areas near the joint as shewn in this shot on the left.  Once a secure couple of tacks have been made, the firebox and cab are unbolted, checked for accuracy and then seamed up.   Back to Top


The cabsides need some careful attention to get the beading correctly fitted and the stanchion that fits in the end of it.  Here is the jig I put together to achieve this.  The scrap etch is to level the side so that the beading is square.Cab side 1 

Cab side 2 













The firebox and partial cab are then bolted back on the frames and the side held in place by the stanchion and a couple of blobs of Blue Tack while it is tack soldered in place from the inside.  It is then just a matter of unbolting the unit again and checking for squareness and  completing the seam, do the same for the other side and clean up.

Cab under assembly 

The cab floor is tapped 12BA and there is no way I could beef up this part so care is needed in fitting or removing the four screws as they also serve to bolt the rear of the cab/firebox/boiler/smokebox unit in place in the frames.  In some of the pictures of the build supplied the floor clearly has nuts fitted in holes in the floor but there are no suitable holes on the etch and no mention of them in the instructions.


Now that the basics of the cab are assembled, I can begin to fit the various parts on the firebox that have parts projecting into the cab.  They will of course need to be separated at the join so that the cab can be disassembled from the firebox.  I suspect that some of them will prove 'interesting'. 

Whistles 1Fitting the whistles was made easier by holding them in place with some 0.5mm wire through the cab front in the whistle lever holes, eventually the whistle levers will be fitted from the cab side.


I used a similar method to fit the injector valves in place once the copper pipe was fitted and bent up to fit just inside the cab front.  This is a delicate item since its only fixing point is on the top of the firebox so the copper wire needs to be very securely soldered into as deep a hole as one can make it.  The  castings are made from relatively soft brass and so not too difficult to drill out.  Here too will be control rods projecting from the cab, soldered to the cab front but not the injectors.  


Richard kindly sent me one of the duff rings for the smoke box end (new ones are being produced with better plating) so I could line things up properly when assembling the smokebox, boiler, firebox and cab.  The inner frames have the large splasher backs screwed in place.  I wondered what the two holes each side were for when I was tapping them, their only purpose seems to be to hold the splasher backs in place until the splashers tops have been soldered up, when the screws are removed.  However, it is important that the splasher backs are oriented correctly, at present mine are not!  It pays to study the pictures carefully.     Back to Top 


The splashers can be a little tricky, they are designed to fit in etched pockets on the footplate and so it is essential one starts with parts carefully fettled to fit and shaped to the correct curvature.  Here is a short, but rough, video of fitting both the splasher front and a top.  https://youtu.be/6xr0J4bngXo You will see that it was not all plain sailing but the parts do fit and with perseverance, one can set the splashers down properly in their recesses.  The area of footplate that is bowing upward in the video has been fixed.  Cameras and videos are a very good way to find errors.


Frame ext 1Frame ext 2 Not much is said about the frame extensions in the instructions but there is a good diagram of what is required at the bottom of page 17.  The parts are fitted together with five bolts to hold the support bracket, which is soldered to the footplate.  Frame ext 3Frame ext 4These bolts, like those for the smokebox stays, are natural PFIs; I have lost a number and am awaiting Frame ext 5replacements. 


On the top left are the parts ready for assembly with the bolt holes drilled out 0.8mm.  I then stuck the frame to the steel plate with a thin spread of white tack and carefully fitted the bracket and bolts in place with a little solder between the frame and bracket.  To handle the bolts I used a tiny knob of white tack on a cocktail stick to hold them.  Once the bolts were in place they were soldered in, the bracket bent to a right angle, more solder run into the joint and the unit cleaned up.  The unit can then be soldered to the footplate as here however, I have only tack soldered the bracket to the footplate at present, once I have the other unit in place and am satisfied they are accurately fitted, I will solder the base of each frame extension along its length, which will also help strengthen the joint for the large splasher back too. 

Sand boxes etc.

The stanchions (circled in red) are soldered to the footplate but have to be a sliding fit into recesses in the sides of the firebox so it is important not to fit them without the firebox being in place first to ensure they bed down properly in their allotted spaces, which are a tight fit, they will need careful polishing of the surface against the firebox to ensure an easy fit.  The sand boxes have also been fitted, they are handed, all edge soldered and their accuracy depends heavily on how accurate one has fitted the splashers.  The green circle indicates where a pot is soldered in, make sure it is secure because it if comes adrift once the engine is completed it may be difficult to get to.  Also, in the lower red circle are the spare lamp iron sockets.  These castings have fine pins to locate them in holes in the footplate that will need opening out to at least 0.5mm.  I cleaned out the inside of the squaresockets with a coping saw and size zero blade, it works well if one is gentle, the same procedure was used for the front lamp irons on the footplate.

Right hand frame extension.The right hand frame extension is more complicated comprising fifteen separate parts, mostly very tiny and requires some ingenuity in timing and parts holding to get them all soldered up.  The aluminium hair grips came in very useful both as a holding device and heat sink.


The first shot shews all the parts in the process of being fitted, the square section rod Frame extension 8is fitted such that it can still rotate on its axle, about the only way to ensure that it will eventually fit in its given slot on the back of the splasher. 

Frame extension 9 








Frame extension 10And, two more shots shewing the whole unit fitted to the footplate.  All these tiny parts take hours to fettle and fit and many are very easy to lose, I have lost a goodly number but replacements were soon provided. 



The vacuum pipe is a lost wax casting that took a good deal of cleaning up to remove mold marks, while I was at I also fitted a length of rod to represent the pipe, which was bent and soldered into a suitable hole drilled in the union before fitting the whole unit to the buffer beam.  I may rig up a removable piece to fix in after final assembly.  If one follows the Vacum pipe fittingrecommended way, the wheels, motion and motor will be trapped permanently.Vacuum pipe














 Rear buffer beam completed 

More detailing, the newly arrived replacement rear steps, which are fragile so care is needed in handling once they have been fitted.  The buffers are simple brass castings that needed some heavy mold lines removing.  The fall plate simply fits into slots in the footplate base.

Cab build error 
















I noticed that I had assembled the cab with the back round the wrong way!  After careful removal and cleaning up and it was once more assembled but correctly this time.  I followed the same procedure as the first time with the back bolted to the firebox.


cab rebuildNext I added the sand box on the left side of the cab sheet.  It is made up of four parts, two of which, the hinges, are on the minute side.  The whole thing took a while fettling it into shape to fit over the splasher and for this I bolted the boiler/firebox assembly to the frames.  There are spares for all the parts on the fret, fortunately none of them were PFIs this time.