7mm:1ft - 0 Gauge Railway Modelling.

Manufactured  by Modern Outline Kits, 27 Hall Drive, LINCOLN, LN6 7SW.
Tel: 01522 531 861  E-mail: sales@modernoutline.co.uk  http://www.modernoutline.co.uk/
I rate this kit as: 5-4-3

This one is for me  Started 4/6/2015  completed September 2017.

finished and painted

A most un-Great Western looking engine, especially the livery but this is how the French Compound was put into service originally.  I think it makes for a very handsome engine that will look very different from the line-up of my other locomotives.


La France has returned from Warren's paint shop.  Here she is in my private siding sans coal, tools, lamps or crew, but I will take care of that in due course.


The treatment I was taking was affecting my sight and hand-eye coordination to some extent so that fine detail was difficult.  I therefore passed the almost completed body to Nigel Smith who completed some work on the body and the outside valve gear before it all went to Warren for painting; Nigel had already done the preparatory DCC work on the chassis.


Churchward was a very inquisitive engineer and interested in any improvement to locomotive practice and performance from wherever or whomever it came. Hence in 1903 he persuaded the Great Western Railway Board to buy a French compound to compare with his own simple engines.  After some modifications for it to run on GWR metals it began trials on the 11th October 1903.  He also built some of his engines as Atlantics to make the comparison fairer.  The engine is historically important but is also rather elegant and quite different from anything that ran on the GW during the period.  A good kit for this is important for people like me who are not particularly good at scratch building so it looks like being an interesting challenge, especially that 'watchmaker's work' (as described by Churchward) outside valve gear.


After my experiences with the MOK Armstrong I was very much looking forward to building this French engine as operated by the GWR.  I collected the kit at Telford in 2014 and ordered the wheels (the special rear carrying wheel was not then ready) from Slater's and the ABC motor/gearbox.  The only other extras I expect to use are a set of CPL couplings, Seven Mill plates, DCC sound chips & speaker, some 14BA bolts to fix the tender springs and a longer, replacement set to fit the tender brakes, a crew and set of tools.


So what comes in the pizza style box that, rightly, is totally unsuitable for holding the finished product?

What's in the box 1What's ian the box 2What's in the box 3?

Several sheets of very high quality nickel silver etched parts, seven bags of high quality lost wax castings in variously coloured brass and sundry parts, a generous supply of rod and wire and a colour printed instruction manual.  This latter needs to be thoroughly studied before opening any packets and there are a couple of places where I have diverged from them, either because it was not feasible to do it in the way described or, I wanted to alter the method to suit my own ideas.  There are also a few inevitable errors, in the instructions, kit and my build; some parts are wrongly numbered for instance or I have misread instructions, I will endeavour to indicate what they are as we go along.  Some credit must also go to Kevin Wilson for his helpful thread on the GOG Forum ‘My Workbench' 'Kevin’s workbench'.  Back to Top

Wheels cleaned up ready.I began with the wheels, cleaning off any rust with a glass fibre brush and Sellotape residue with IPA and rubbing the back of each wheel on 240 grit paper on a flat surface until the boss and back of the tyre were evenly bright, thus ensuring the set will be as accurate as possible within the limits of the technology.  The axles were carefully fettled to remove the manufacturing burs from the shoulders and a drop of oil dripped into each hole before putting the screw back. 


The Tender.

Complete and ready for painting.Here is the completed tender carrying a set of Laurie Griffin tools too, one can just see the upside down bucket and the handle of the shovel behind the nearside tool box.  This build is very similar to that for the Armstrong and so I decided to begin with it as a good way to get back into the thought processes of the designer and save the more interesting locomotive to build later.  It took some 74 hours to complete the tender.


The beading proved to be far less difficult than anticipated, once the first end was secured it was a relatively easy matter to stretch and manipulate the rest into position, tack solder it and then later flood the area with flux and 'join the dots' of solder with the probe set at a low heat, cleaning it all up with a fibre glass brush later.

Parts for the tender frames.

Tender chassis components.

Tender part 2. 

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Preparing parts in advance of assembly makes the building process run smoothly so fitting as many parts as possible in the flat before assembly makes sense; I like to have the fettled parts and components ready to hand so, a couple of afternoons were spent cleaning up castings and assembling sub components.  As for the Armstrong, I elected to fit the springs with 14BA bolts and so drilled out the spring shackles 0.8mm and tapped them accordingly, even though the tender will be painted black with no lining and few polished parts it will still probably be easier for the painter if they can be removed.  





Tender body and chassis topside.

Tender body and chassis underside

manufactured front buffers.The basics of the body and rolling chassis go together easily because the parts are very accurate and many of the parts hold together with tabs so fitting it all together is simple, just like the Armstrong; the only fiddly job being bending the steam pipe to the correct shape.  The condensate drainage control handles are cast with integral rods but these had not survived the casting too well (they must be on the limits of casting technology) so I simply cut off the rod remnants filed them flat, drilled the handles out and soldered in some 0.5mm wire instead.  The shovel plate also needs a little care to get right, read the instructions carefully.

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There is no provision for buffers between the tender and locomotive so I modified it by fitting brass tubes in the opened out holes in the drag beam base and turned up a pair of buffers based upon the drawing I have and soldered a couple of springs from Slater's plunger pick-ups on the ends.  However, when it came to final fitting, the parts were too short, I had not allowed for the thickness of the remaining parts so I turned up a new set and this time turned a small spigot on the ends to hold the springs more securely; the picture unfortunately only shews the original attempt



Tender brake mountings.Tender brakes 2Tender scoop gear 1.Fitting the brake and scoop operating gear is relatively simple but requires a little dexterity to hold it all in place while soldering.  I measured up where the brake and scoop standards were on the footplate and drilled through the underside of the tender footplate so that all the operating gear lined up properly; I could I suppose have drilled through from the top of the footplate but I felt it would be was safer to drill from below.  Only the sanding pipes remain to be fitted and this part of the build will be complete.

Tender side sheets and body.

The side sheets require some care to get the flare correct so that it fits into the shaped coal plates and cast corner pieces however, it proved not to be as difficult as I had expected; the flares were pressed in by hand over some 6mm brass rod without prior annealing.  I had annealed the sheets for the Armstrong and they had proven very difficult to bend to a consistent shape.  The holes for the handrail knobs in the corner posts must be drilled out before fitting them to the body.  Grinding away the tabs on the corner posts after the side sheets are fitted must be done very carefully as it would be very easy to damage the side sheeting.

Tender front sheet brackets. 

There are etched holes in the front tender plates behind where the brake and scoop standards fit but nothing indicated in the instructions to fit into them.  A call to David at MOK cleared up the mystery and the undocumented parts No: 28 need to be modified as shewn here to fit behind the standards, a little fiddly but nothing onerous.

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The instructions suggest fitting the brake gear with 14BA bolts from the inside but this in my view is not possible; four of them have internal parts in the way so I repeated what I did for the Armstrong and soldered small pieces of 2mm thick brass over the holes on the inside, drilled and tapped them 14BA and replaced the 3mm bolts provided for with longer bolts.  Removing the brakes for painting and maintenance is now simply a matter of unscrewing six bolts and the brake gear can be dropped away when the tender is disconnected from the engine.

Tender rolling chassis cleaned up.

As you can also see, the water scoop is now fitted with its attendant rodding, the rod slots into the control gear on the underside of the body, as do the brake rods but the latter can be bolted in place, as can be seen in the two pictures below illustrating the fitting of the control gear under the floor and the view from the front below where, I have circled one in red; the bolts have yet to be screwed home but do not need to be removed to take the rods out.  The sand pipes have been fitted since these pictures were taken and only the coupling hook remains to be soldered in place.  I never use sprung couplings, the sight of rakes of carriages or wagons bouncing back and forth on their coupling springs is risible; prototypical springs would be far too stiff to be of any use so I dispense with them.

Tender rear view.Tenver front viewCleaned up tender, side view.Tender top view.

Very near completion now so time for a thorough cleaning in Viakal and a couple of sessions in the ultra sonic cleaning bath; this process shews where there are still areas of solder to clean up with a fibre glass brush and or scrapers.   Back to Top


There is a hole behind the nearest tool box but nothing to put in it.  David at MOK says it is surplus to requirement and to fill it in.  I shall have temporarily to remove the tool box to do this and fill in the holes for the communication cord stanchions too as I will not be fitting them.


The Locomotive

Parts for the frames ready for assembly.

Modifying the ashpan.I began, as the instructions suggest, with the frames, here are the various parts all ready for assembly.  There are modifications to the ashpan assembly to accommodate a new drag beam.  The modifications put a slot in the rear of the ashpan for a sliding unit to move in, however, the slot is too high and therefore needed opening out to fit the part in properly, as shewn here.  Also, the part referred to second from the right, circled, in the illustration above is part No: 52 and not 44 as stated in the instructions.  Aside from those two minor glitches, it is all plain sailing and, of course, the other parts fit perfectly.  

Frames mocked up prior to final assembly.

Before committing to solder I dry ran the assembly of the frames and here it is held together with only a few twisted tabs.  I made one silly error here, on parts No's: 55, which I had separated as being easier for me to solder them together accurately; they fit in the centre between the driving wheels, I cut off the tabs that ensure it only goes in one way after soldering the parts together so had to take care in fitting it the correct way up.

Frames assembled view 1.Frames assembled 2.Frames assembled view 3.

Brake cylinders 1.The frames now assembled with the overlays and all soldered up, all that is required is to finish cleaning up and remove all the tabs before starting on the fitting of some of the cast parts.   Back to Top

Brake cylinders view 2.The brake cylinders cleaned up and drilled out for assembly with the operating arms fitted.  For the brakes to be removable, important I think, the instructions suggest tapping the lower arms on the cross beam 14BA.  However, if they are drilled to clear 14BA and the cleats that fit over them were tapped 14BA, it would make fitting the bolts easier since the bolts can be left in place in one side of each cleat and simply screwed across when fitting, just like the tender brakes.  


Here the brake cylinders are fitted but still free to move until the brake rodding is fitted. 

Assembled frames, more work done thereon.

Assembled frames, detail.More parts continue to be added to the frames, I forgot to bend out the small outriggers behind the front steps before fitting the overlays and so had to break them off one on each side and solder them in but the step unit helps ensure they are square.


Fitting the cylinders behind the front steps was interesting as there is not much room to maneuver.  The hole at one end for the spigot of the separate valve was off centre; the easy way to get around that was to remove the spigot and solder direct to the cylinder, relatively easy when held in place by magnets on the steel plate.  The step supports from the frame to the back of the steps needed the shoulders deepening so that the steps were held correctly at 90º again, there is not much room to maneuver but it all fits.  So far, a most enjoyable build and going a little faster than I anticipated though I suspect the valve gear will slow me down a good deal when I get to it.   Back to Top


The Bogie

Parts ready to assemble the bogie.When assembling the centre bolster, it is important that all the parts are securely seated before bending tabs and soldering, the slightest misalignment and the side frames will not be at 90º, the parts do all fit but it may be necessary to open some slots and or sharpen some tabs.  Here is the basic frame assembled with the stretchers and overlays ready for assembly.  There is a front and back to this bogie and the stretchers need to go at the right end because it is a real pain removing them: guess how I know! 

Parts for assembly of bogie view 2




Here are all the remaining parts cleaned up using a steel brush in the Proxxon and drilled out ready for assembly.  The brackets need the holes opening out to 1.1mm, the axle boxes also need a hole 1.5mm drilling through the top to accommodate Bogie, detail of spring assembly.the centre spring pivot.


I fitted the brackets for the springs first ensuring they were square then offered up the axle box with some solder cream and used the spring fitted in the brackets to centre the box.  Make sure that the spring pivots are short; they are a real pig to grind down once assembled in the axle box, where they can foul the axles.Bogie comple viewed from top. 


Bogie complete viewed from underneath.Here is the bogie complete viewed  from the top and the underside, the side control springs were not nearly as difficult to fit as it looked they might be, I found the secret was to have the slide in place and fit the springs with a pair of tweezers and a small screwdriver to push them home.  The central pivot sits well under the main chassis and the springing works very well.   Back to Top


The Inner Chassis & motor mount

Innder chassis parts ready for assembly.Here are many of the parts for the inner chassis and the components that go to make up the motor mount; there is a choice of motor holders to suite either Cannon or Mashima.  Care is needed to ensure the inner chassis is square and it pays to polish the sides when complete, it is a tight fit into the frames. 

Inner chassis part assembled view 1 


The inner chassis assembled with a number of optional parts not shewn above.  It is possible to fit some of them upside down so pay close attention to the instructions and illustrations.  The wheel bearings will also need to be reduced in depth for the wheels to fit. 

Inner chassis part assembled view 2.They were later reduced to 1.3mm extension to the sub frame, which gives perhaps a half a millimetre side play.

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When fitting the cranked axle it was also necessary to reduce the thickness of the inner flange too.


A view from underneath. Inner chassis part assembled in the main frames 2.







Inner chassis fitted to main frames.Two views of the inner chassis fitted between the frames after polishing both the outside of the inner chassis and the insides of the frames. 









Motor mounting parts ready for assembly.Motor mounting fitted.The motor mount assembled with the compensation beams ready to be fitted between the frames.  The beams were polished as was the frame area where they fit to ensure easy movement.   Back to Top




Next the axle bearings were fitted and the keeper plates to hold them in place followed by the axles being slid into place and the wheels fitted.

Wheels and bearing mounted to frames.

The two magnets sitting on the front are to hold down the bogie spring.

Parts for the springs ready for assembly. 





Here is the story of the spring units:

Dry running the springs assembly.

The first picture shews the parts cleaned up using a steel brush in the Proxxon, appropriately drilled and, where necessary, tapped 14BA.  Four of the spring hangers need  to be so treated as well as the centre hole in the compensating rocker beams.  The second picture shews the parts mocked up ready for assembly; the beam to the left is the wrong way round, and the third shows the testing of the rocking beams in their respective positions.  The spring hangers are deliberately arranged to be a tight fit but, once properly assembled they will be soldered and the hangers pins shortened.

Testing the spring mount rockers.However, the parts did not fit as expected as can be seen from the fourth picture where the spring hangers at the rear are being forced in to fit into the rocking beam and bending in the process.  I have still to get to the bottom of this; David at MOK does not understand it and neither do I since the cast parts match the drawings in the instructions perfectly.  In the end I Springs, tight fit.opened out the holes in the springs to give a little more leeway, not perfect but necessary.  Whether I have made a mistake or not is at present unknown, at least the finished spring units look better than this picture.


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The Brakes

Brakes, a start is made.

Here are the parts for the brakes partially assembled.  The brake rods cannot yet be cut to length because one of the brake hanger housings on each side is on the motion bracket, for which the replacement has not yet arrived so I am unable at present to proceed further; though on reflection I could have used some rod across the frames instead as I did when finally assembling them.  David at MOK has since let me know that some parts were not numbered correctly.  "I have noticed that I have missed numbering the brake shoe for the rear trailing wheel.  It should be the one on the slightly thicker feeder, nearest to the brake hanger cluster.  The driver ones are as marked 024. The diameters are slightly different to match the wheels".  This came too late for me so I shall have carefully to measure the diameters of the shoes.  The brake hanger bracket can be fitted into the shoe without solder.  If the centre hole in the shoe is opened out with a reamer until the side with the boss just takes 0.8mm wire, the wire will be a force fit in the other side of the shoe while the hanger will still able to swivel.  The brake rodding fits into slots in the back of each cleat, very neat.  The rear cleats have been tapped 14BA and so can support a 14BA bolt permanently, making fixing to the brake cylinder cross beam relatively easy.  The sanding guns, top left, will need to have some form of fixing invented to hold them at the correct angle; there is nothing I can find in the instructions about them.  The instructions list them as parts 1/13-14 but they are actually parts 4/13-14.


The Inside motion

Inside motion parts 1.I started work on the inside motion by cleaning up the parts for the pistons and slide bars, drilling holes for the piston rods and retaining pins for the slide bars and tapping the drop links.  The holes for the pins to hold the slide bars in place were a little large and it would have been better to have used a heavier gauge of wire for the retaining pins.  They then all benefited from a good burnishing with a steel brush in the Proxxon hand held drill.   The piston rods are not yet fixed  in place; that is done when the slide bars are fixed to ensure a good sliding fit.Inside motion part assembled.   Back to Top


The crank shaft with the inner con rods and rotating rods fitted.  They do not require a great deal of fettling to get them to rotate easily but it takes a good deal of time because one has to keep assembling and disassembling the parts to check progress, I kept the 14BA bolts long until the process was complete, it is easier to manipulate them.  Worth taking the trouble over though or the gear would not perform at its best; free running here, as well as the outside motion, is essential if the engine is to perform well.

Inside motion parts view 2.The next stage of assembling the inside motion; the parts have been disassembled from the crank axle and the conrod slipper assembled on one side with the parts shewn for the other.  The piston rod is soldered in later as noted above.  The end of the conrod needs to be opened a lot to take the bush, I used a broach rather than trying to drill them.  Each of the rotating parts comes with a centre pop mark to match up the parts but it is a good idea to add a second pop mark to one set and centre pop the ends of the crank axle with one and two pop marks so that the rods can always be assembled to the correct side; this will allow for differences in the fettling process.



Inside motion wchassis with slide bars fitted.The slide bars were fitted and then the piston rod was soldered in place while the slipper was in the slide bars, as shewn in the picture to the left while that above shews the inside motion assembled for one side and the parts for the other ready for assembly.  Where I used 0.8mm wire for pinning the parts together I first used chemical blacking on the parts I did not want solder to spread to and all the joints are free to move.






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Here are all the parts for one set of inside motion beside an assembled set.

Inside motion part assembled for testing.

Drilling for the crank pins.Crank pins fitted.The crank pin hole in the wheel was opened out some 2mm deep with a 2.5mm end mill in the milling machine at the lowest revs the machine is capable of, a couple of turns per second.  The hole at the back was countersunk, which must be deep enough to take the whole bolt head or it will foul the frames when the wheels are fitted, and then opened out with a broach and a 10BA bolt screwed in to cut its own thread in the hole.  Once fully home it was cut off very close to the wheel face, the end dressed and then retracted far enough to fit the crank pin before being screwed up tight.   

Inside motion, making up the expansion links 1. 

Meanwhile work continued on the inside motion.  Here are the parts of the expansion link and housing ready to be assembled.  The expansion link itself is in two parts with a slot to take the end of the inner radius rod: which has moulded in pins to fit the slot.  It is important Assembling the expansion linsk 2.that all these parts are cleaned up carefully and the mating surfaces trued up before soldering parts together.  Once the expansion link is completed, it can be dry run in the bracket to ensure that it is free to move easily before soldering the units together.  The base of each expansion link is tapped 14BA so that the rotating rod from the crank shaft, where the relevant hole is drilled to clear 14BA,  can be removed relatively easily.  There is little room for maneuver when assembling the gear.

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Inside motion assembly to frams 2.Here the inside motion is assembled on one side of the motion cage.  It is essential that all parts are free to move before trying to assemble them to the cage.  I fitted the two valve units first having ensured that the slide ran easily.  I unsoldered the previously fitted valve cover, opened out the mounting hole a little and then fitted the piston and slide with the cover slid on to the piston, as advised in the instructions; the valve cover was re-soldered once I was happy with the movement of the slide Inside motion assembly in frame 1.and the slightly loose fit of the valve cover enables one to ease any tightness in the piston by re-melting the solder.  The valve gear is then inserted;  this is not easy, there is very little room and some experimentation is required to identify how the motion needs to be folded to fit in through the holes in the spacers.  It was important too, to ensure that the main piston rod was not more than 25mm long, (but no Inside motionn assembly to frames 3.shorter or it will not stay in the guide) or the gear simply will not go in.  Once the piston and slipper was in place, the expansion link and bracket on one side was soldered in place then it is simply a matter of screwing in the bolts for the valve slide and motion link, not forgetting to fit the inside expansion rod into the slot in the expansion link; the second one was fitted before the relevant motion was put in place. Then I fitted the link from the weigh shaft but did not solder the link to the shaft, this comes later.  Next job is to fit the Inside motion assembly to frames 4.other side and test it all out on the cranked axle.  Once satisfied with the running of the gear the weigh shaft and arms can be soldered in place. 


For the cranked axle I chose the tightest fitting axle from the three available and cleaned it and the inside of the cranks several times with IPA.  I fitted the axle and then centred it carefully so that an equal length of axle was visible either side of the cranks, then marked round the axle at each end.  After the final clean I used Loctite 603, fairly liberally, and slid the axle into place, taking care to use the marked lines to ensure it was central.  By the time I had finished cleaning off the excess 603, it was set solid but I left it overnight before continuing.  Next morning I set the axle up in the lathe and removed the portion between the cranks with a piercing saw and cleaned up the cuts with a file and emery cloth.  To ensure that all  parts are always assembled to the correct side I centre punched the motion cage each side to match the rods and cranks.

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Once assembled it was plain that the inside motion bracket was fouling part of the motion.  An added section seems to have been etched with slightly different dimensions; it was not easy filing away the excess with all the motion in place (I had no intention of taking it all down again if at all possible!).  A small, but important point, two of the expansion link parts have a very small hole in one side just above where the 14BA bolt is that fixes it to the rotating rod; they are both on the same side as it happens, which makes a difference if these parts were not drilled prior to assembly.  It is important that this is drilled right through both parts.  It would be far easier to do this before the parts are assembled to the motion cage, you can guess how I know this.  I drilled them 0.5mm and then filed some 0.6mm nickel rod to a taper pin to fit so that they are a force fit that can be undone should it be necessary to take the motion down.  These pins hold the end of the inner radius rod (part 1/036) in the slots in the expansion link (parts 1/010-011).  This prevents the end of the inner radius rod constantly falling out during construction and testing.


Finally, the motion could be tested out and it ran easily as you can see in this short video I made of the inside valve gear cage in the vice turning the wheels by hand, http://youtu.be/XE9G89wyXJA.


The wrong rod was used.I see that one inner radius rod is bent slightly in the video; it has since been fixed but took some detective work to work out why it was bent in the first place.  There are several castings not used on the sprues for this gear and I had used the wrong one for this rod.  As you can see it is longer than the one that should have been used.  The motion on that side had to be taken down and the rods exchanged.  This was not too difficult as I only solder to one side of pinned joints so the relevant pins were filed down flush with the rod on the solder side and the pin gently knocked out with a pointed drift and a toffee hammer.  Problem solved and the motion then ran like clockwork.


The next job will be to fit the conrods and run the inside motion in properly before I start on the outside motion ready for when the new outside motion bracket arrives. 

For the connecting rods, the instructions suggest using the small hole in the jig that is tack soldered to the rod to mark the end of the rod for drilling; I used the small hole as the guide for drilling in the milling machine.  After a little cleaning up and then opening out the holes for a running clearance I fitted the rods.

Tet running the inside motion.Once that was done I set up the rolling road and connected up the motor to my ZTC controller in DC mode.  It ran very well but waddled a bit from side to side.  This is often the case on the rolling road but I suspected that the hornguides may be loose laterally so I took down the rear drivers and checked that out.  In the meantime, here is another little video clip of it running in http://youtu.be/hwYD8Ai4mZw.  The hornguides were not loose but I was surprised at the amount of slop in the bearings; some of the hunting was due to a very slight tightness in the inside conrods, easily fixed but the bearings are the real culprit, David sent me a new set of bearings and it cured the slop immediately. 


So far, 24/7/15, I have spent over 80 hours working on the engine.   Back to Top


The Outside Motion

Outside motion parts part assembled.This is particularly complex and requires a good deal of work just to get the parts ready for assembly by fettling and polishing.


Here are all the parts for a set of outside motion cleaned, polished and with the holes opened out and tapped where necessary ready for the next stage of assembly.

Outside motion being test assembled.Here is one side assembled with all the joints made in the  rodding and all parts polished ready to test them out during assembly.  The slide bars and slipper are best fitted after this stage by disassembling the motion and soldering the slide bars to the cylinders and the motion bracket away from the frames.  Outside motion, assembling the slide bars.Using the slipper in place helps to align the slide bars and it is easy to alter bends if necessary to ensure that the slide bars make a good parallel for the slipper to run in.  It is also easier this way to polish the slide bars so that the slipper runs smoothly.  Here is one side set up and ready to be assembled to the frames, the slipper will drop free under its own weight the full length of the slide bars.  However, it still proved necessary to unsolder the ends from the motion bracket and make adjustments when fitting the unit to the frames.  Many of these parts are quite soft when first encountered and take some time to work harden but never seem to get really hard so care is necessary to not bend parts out of alignment, particularly the motion bracket, connecting and coupling rods. 

Outside motiion assembled to the slide bars/cylinder.Here is the motion, cylinder and bracket all assembled ready to fit to the frames.  The instructions suggest fitting the motion bracket to the frames with 10BA bolts but I considered there was not enough 'meat' on the top of the bracket to take a 10BA tapped hole and so substituted a 12BA set of bolts to hold it in place instead.

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Cast part 6/012 is a spacer to go between the conrod and connecting rod, one polishes up in the lathe and, if necessary (not in this case) open out the hole to 3/32nds but was far too thick to do the job and had to be reduced in thickness by about half; it is important to keep the working faces parallel. 

Return crank modificaitns.The return crank should take the head of a 3mm 10BA bolt comfortably unfortunately, for me they did not fit as the head was about 0.35mm diameter too large.  Opening out the counter bore in the crank is not an option without complex machining so I dug out two long 10BA bolts, set one up in a collet and then reduced the head diameter in the lathe until it just fitted the crank.  One advantage of this is that I could then use the longer bolt to ensure that it was at 90º in all planes against a small engineer's square before soldering in place; then I cut the thread down to 3mm and cleaned up the cuts.  It occurred to me that it may be a good idea to set the crank pins in the rear drivers so that this part goes in at the correct angle, easier than re-melting the solder joint to move the arm in situ perhaps.  I decided also that the link to the rotating rod would benefit by being easily removable and not permanently pinned so that the return crank could be left permanently fitted to the crank pin.  A 14BA nut was soldered to the rear face and a clearance hole in the end of the rotating rod reamed out.  For final fitting it will need some nutlock while I can live with the slotted head of the steel 14BA bolt.  I have also substituted steel bolts as and where it was feasible.


Changing the cranked axle to test out the outside motion.To set up and test out the outside motion without taking down the inside motion I removed the ends of the rods, moved them forward to clear the space, took out the cranked axle and substituted a spare axle thus:



I am having a few problems with the outside vale gear (not my favourite part of locomotive building) so, until I have considered what to do to solve it I shall continue with the body, if only because it is needed to fit the reversing gear properly.


The Body

Cab glazing.Before beginning on the cab I traced out the cab glazing using the inner leaf of the cab front and cut out the glazing.  This was then further cut and filed to shape so that each piece fitted the oval porthole in the front of the cab.  They were then put safely away in a plastic bag for use later.

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Then work started on the cab components following the excellent instructions; all the parts fit exactly and the sides of the cab really do fold up into pencil corners as described.  All it takes is care and time.   

Here are the cab front and sides, the firebox base and tank sides.  It is a good idea to have the roof handy and rolled to shape to check its fit on the cab and have the cupboard unit ready to check that the sides have been bent to the correct shape.  Not difficult, it just requires care, time and attention to detail.



Cab conponents 1.

Cab during assembly.Here is the cab and the basics of the firebox built on the dummy footplate provided to give a firm basis on which to build what is initially a rather flimsy unit.  It is strong enough to be able to apply considerable pressure when filing off tabs.  Nothing difficult about this, one simply follows the instructions.

Cab components 3 









The cab after removal of the dummy footplate but with the mud hole doors fitted before the sides are soldered in place.  It is easier this way but I think that perhaps it may even be easier if the mudhole doors were fitted before the top was soldered in place.  It is important that the openings are properly linished after the doors are fitted and then the locking bars can be soldered in place.  To ensure that the doors were properly centered I held them in place with a piece of wire with a ninety degree angle bent in it and tack soldered the door in place from the front with the firebox anchored to the steel plate.  Then I added solder and flux to the rear and soldered the door using much higher heat so that it would not become unsoldered when  the locking bars were soldered in place.  Now is the time to test fit it to the footplate to ensure that the base of the smokebox is correctly aligned.

The footplate, first interation.

The footplate, after the valances, temporary strengthening plates, buffer beams and chassis fixing points, have been have been soldered in place.  It is important that the footplate is held flat and that any excess solder is removed from both sides of the valance.   Back to Top

The splashers 1The splashers are simple to fit, they just need to be properly rolled to shape, fitted to the tabs on the footplate and, when happy they are correctly seated, soldered in from the inside followed by the splasher sides and the paddle box front.  The parts are accurate and fit with little, if any, fettling but the tabs may need to be sharpened and narrowed a little to ensure an easy, but firm, fit.  The use of temporary jigs and etched joining supports for the splasher tops make the job relatively easy.  Again, all  that is required is care, patience and attention to detail.  Once completed, the edges are filed off and linished so that the joint virtually disappears ready for the overlay and the top of the paddle box to be fitted.

Footplate 2.

Footplate 3Test fitting the cab and firebox unit to the footplate, it fitted between the splashers first time.  The beading on the splashers takes a little care to get right but it is nice to see one's ideas for making the job easier with appropriate holes in the footplate to anchor the wire for soldering.Boiler asembly.




The boiler can prove quite difficult, well it did for me.  It comes with three spacers that have tabs to fit in slots in the boiler shell but I found them very difficult to deal with and finished up cutting the tabs down to minimal lengths, in one case, none at all, in order to get the boiler soldered up without buckling the spacers.  Once the boiler is soldered up with the seam  nice and straight, the unit is strong.

Firebox complete.Here is the cab and firebox assembly finally fitted in place and soldered down.  All that remains here is to solder the sides of the firebox to the splashers and footplate.  The cupboards in front of the cab need to have their tops edges filed and linished level with the former that holds them to shape before the tops can be fitted.  This was not clear to me from the instructions and I spent time wondering why the cab would not seat properly.  However, once I had discussed it with David the parts fit well and the cab sits down on the footplate properly.

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Now that the boiler is soldered in place, it is beginning to look like an engine, important that the parts are all parallel and straight.  Now work can begin on fitting the many castings that go to make up the character of this unusual engine.

The footplate progresses.

boiler detail1  


There is an overlay (B67A), which needs to be soldered very exactly over the boiler so that the holes for the steam pipe spigots can be inserted later.  I found it relatively easy to use wooden cocktail sticks inserted in the holes along with the twisted copper wire to hold it all in place while soldering the part in place.  The cover plates on the saddle are in place as is the brass cover behind the hand rail.


However, the steam pipes turned out to be too short to seat on the tops of the sand boxes as illustrated in the instructions.  Whether this is due to errors on my part or shrinkage of the parts I know not but some filler will have to be used to finish them off properly.  One of the sand boxes, right side viewing from the cab to the chimney, also required a lengthy stint of fettling to ensure that the top was parallel with the box at the rear.


ody view 3.

The great thing about photographs is that they 'see' things that the normal eye does not, the front sandbox is not vertical so will have to come off and be fettled before refitting, like that on the right.  The chimney and dome were fitted using a pencilled line along the top of the boiler but I also used a cocktail stick suitably cut down to centre the dome using the hole in the boiler and the hole at the top of the dome.  The bases of the dome and chimney were rubbed down on some 800 wet & dry wrapped around the boiler to ensure a good close fit before soldering; once done I tried hard to pull them off, not wanting a repeat of a problem the painter had with the Armstrong when the dome base came adrift.  This is too large to fit in my ultrasonic cleaning bath so I tried a domestic cleaner called Actifizz; it worked very well and, once thoroughly rinsed with hot water removed all the accumulated clag caused by working on it.   Back to Top

The backhead.The cab fittingsThe cab backhead completed, which was a few interesting afternoons work.  The pipe at the top left needs careful fitting because it projects through a hole in the roof so this area was the first to be worked on to get that right, the rest is just cleaning up parts and drilling holes for pipes.A mock up of the cab.


The cab fittings are made up from a number of parts, some of them very small but make neat units that fit into the cupboards in the cab.  The reverser handle really does turn as it comes, cast for 10BA so I tapped the hole it goes into.  The unit is a very tight fit into its cupboard and required a little metal removing from the top of the reverser but this is invisible once in the cupboard.


Here they all are fitted in the cab, the backhead and lever frame are not fixed and will be glued in after painting.  Now that I know it all fits the roof and fall plate mountings can be fitted.Frame brackets

On page 20 of the instructions for the chassis, the two parts that make up a bracket between the frames and the buffer beam are recommended to be soldered to the frames.  In order to do this it is necessary to file away the rear of the buffer body to level it with the buffer beam.  This destroys the seating for the spring but the plate with the angle brackets cast in place has a hole for the shank of the buffer and acts as a stop for the spring.  Problem one is that the two plates with brackets are the same handing so it is necessary to drill a suitable hole in one of them.  You can see in the picture where I have done so.  The second problem is if one does as suggested, it is then necessary to remove the buffers every time the body and frames are disassembled.  I elected instead to solder the brackets to the footplate and buffer beam, there is sufficient clearance for the frames to slide into the space but it pays to polish the faces before fitting.  Time for a clean-up on the body I think.  In the meantime I have been working on completing the body, more pictures and notes to follow.


backhead 3Here is the cab finally completed with the handle and wheel on the handrail ends, which extend into the cab; and all other parts in place, the only things missing are the windows and vertical handrails; quite the most complex cab I have put together.

drain pipes and tender hook 

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The sliding unit designed to take the tender coupling needed some modification I thought so I soldered a 6BA nut over the relevant hole and the bolt can stay there permanently, just being retracted enough to fit the coupling, which is held at the same level as the tender side.  The rear body fixing bolt goes through the hole to the right and the whole unit can be moved to give a suitable distance between engine and tender and then locked with the fixing bolt.


WARNING!  15/3/2018

This turned out to be a dumb move, when it came back from Warren's paint shop I could not fix the drawbar to join to the tender.  It looks as though the draw bar should pivot on the screw that fixes the body to the frames so quite what the sliding part is for I have yet to figure out.  A message has gone winging its way to David for guidance.  Meanwhile I have carefully removed the soldered nut with a dentist's burr in the Proxxon.

Drag beam 1Drag beam 2 

















On the left you can see where I have hacked out the nut that was soldered in originally and the modified coupling.  I had thought initially that I could get away with using an 8BA screw and turned down an 8BA nut to fit in the hole and soldered it up.  However the hole for the screw is on the large side, which made for a sloppy fit and a risk of the head coming through so I drilled and tapped the thing 6BA.  The original intention was for this nut to be a bush David tells me, I must have lost it.  On the right you can see how these two parts fit.  It is not actually possible to fit the frames to the body like this, the coupling has to be fitted first to the tender.  As you can see there are two screws, an 8BA on the left, which bolts the frames to the body and also serves to hold the sliding plate that the tender coupling is fixed to with the 6BA bolt on the right.  Coupling up the tender to the engine is a little fiddly but with the body fixing screw not fully tightened one can maneuver things to get the 6BA screw into the coupling.  Once that is done it is an easy matter to set the distance between tender and engine and tighten up the body fixing screw.    Back to Top


 The copper pipes are drain pipes, part of a whole range of pipes associated with the injectors.

Injectors 1Injectors 2.Injectors 3. 





The various pipes for the injectors take a little working out to get the layout right.  The strap that runs across from the bottom steps caused some consternation.  The lower steps are part of it too and one of them snapped off as I was cleaning up the cusps and, as you can see, there is not much meat there to solder it together again.  I got round it by strengthening the joint with nickel silver wire soldered in and filed down.  I did this to both sides so that is looks as though it should be that way.  The drawing in the instructions suggests that the frames have an extension that comes down to meet this part but that is not the case so care will always be needed when handling this part of the chassis.  Bending all the copper rod simply takes time and careful measurement but is a satisfying job.  It is mixture of 1.2m and 0.9mm copper wire, some of which can be fitted before soldering the bracket and injector in place but most needs to be fitted after that.  There is not a great deal of room to play with and I have still to fit the stays that hold the steps in line with the frames.


The body near complertion.

The body is coming along nicely though there is some filling to be done; the real bugbear at present is the front handrail, after six attempts I gave it up to have another try later.  The handrails round the cab front need special care to get right and all the parts will need to be soldered in place including the wire in the stanchions to ensure it all says level.


Time to continue working on the brakes and the first thing to do is test fitting the partially assembled parts to the chassis so that the brake rods can be cut exactly to length.

Start brake assembly.

Here the parts are set out with paper spacers under the shoes having now ascertained which pair goes on the rear wheels.  The pistons are pushed as far down into the cylinders as they will go when measuring so that there is maximum potential for adjustment once the whole lot is assembled.  Lifting the pistons will push the blocks off the wheels.  Once happy with the measurements the rods can be cut to length and soldered up thus.   Back to Top

Brake rigging ready to fit on the chassis.

Having first corrected the error of fitting two cleats the wrong way round on the centre spreader, the long ones all fit on the inner mounts and the small on the outer.


Finished and painted 2

Front view painted.Rear view painted. 
























Cab view painted. 

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Here are the obligatory pictures of the other side, front and rear and it is clear that there is no number painted on the buffer plank but otherwise I think she looks very sleek handsome and foreign despite the GWR markings.  The inside cab shot also shews how different the controls were in a French compound compared with a simple two cylinder locomotive.


It has been a most enjoyable and challenging build but I would say that anyone, with a modicum of skill could build it, it just takes time and attention to detail.








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