The tale of the two No. 85s

Narrow Gauge Procrastination

The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby Steve » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:08 pm

My favourite* steam engine is the Welshpool & Llanfair's No. 14, a Hunslet 2-6-2T built in 1953 for the Sierra Leone Railway where it carried the number 85. In fact it is still generally referred to as SLR 85 as it has not been named in preservation.

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Naturally, I would like to have a model of this loco. Both 4mm and 7mm scales have been provided with kits, by Parkside Dundas and Vulcan respectively, although the latter has not been available for some time.

When I picked up modelling again after a break of some years it was in OO9, and as my plan for a layout gravitated towards representing a 2'6" gauge railway it seemed obvious to get hold of the Parkside Dundas kit. What was less obvious was how to make it go. The kit is designed for a Minitrix chassis, all well and good but I felt I needed to do the engine justice and get the frames outside the wheels. The logical (if not practical) options were:

a) Modify Minitrix chassis with extended axles, cranks and outside frames
b) Scratchbuild a new chassis
c) Magical appearance of new ready-to-run outside framed six-coupled chassis

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Almost unbelievably, option C manifested itself in the form of the Roco HOe Hereesfeldbahn loco, which started out silly money but by the middle of last year was available for a reasonable price. So I got one, and the kit appeared to fit on it. The sticking point, which led to a spell in the bits box until very recently, was the whitemetal footplate which proved to be a chore to modify and a bit too fragile once great lumps had been hacked out of it. Perhaps even more unbelievably, since then Graham Farish has released a new, outside-framed class 08 which is a more compact mechanism with even greater potential for OO9 conversion, albeit with the drawback of needing cylinders and connecting rods adding for steam locos.

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When I picked the project up again I tried cutting a new footplate from styrene, which was much easier to make fit but I was still worried about it being too flexible under a large whitemetal body - as a colonial 2'6" prototype, No. 85 is big compared to the average OO9 loco.

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I am, however, fortunately in having a friend with a pantograph milling machine (although not as fortunate as having one of my own), so the idea formed to cut a new footplate from brass. After confirming the new footplate design was suitable, I set about making a 4x actual size styrene pattern.

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A pantograph machine works by transferring dimensions from a large scale pattern to the final material using a linkage of arms. By running the guide piece against the shapes of the pattern, it directs a high speed cutter to mill brass sheet into a much more solid replica of my footplate. For something that feels like it should be quite a nerve-wracking operation, using the pantograph is actually a breeze, with tactile feedback from the cutting head through the arms so that you can "feel" when a cut is through at the other end.

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(L-R) Whitemetal original; styrene mock-up, brass footplate, styrene pattern

The result, a footplate piece that is exactly four times smaller than the pattern and pretty much exactly the same size as the original styrene test piece. By reducing from a larger pattern, any errors are also reduced and the brass piece is a firm push fit on to the Roco chassis. So with the donor loco's boiler and smokebox also cut down to fit inside the kit's boiler and tanks, it's time to get on with the rest of it!

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Oh, and the second No. 85? Late last year I also managed to track down one of the 7mm scale Vulcan kits, perfect for my current modelling direction although the contents of the box is much more daunting.

* Remarkably, despite my fluctuating interests this has remained constant for several years now
Steve
 

Re: The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby Neil » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:11 pm

Steve wrote:My favourite* steam engine is the Welshpool & Llanfair's No. 14, a Hunslet 2-6-2T built in 1953 for the Sierra Leone Railway where it carried the number 85. In fact it is still generally referred to as SLR 85 as it has not been named in preservation. ....


'Tis gorgeous indeed. At last years gala it drew admiring comments from Butox and Wenbridge and rightfully so. Here's a few of my snaps taken on a rather wet day earlier this year. Pay careful note to the corners of the lining, I think in 4mm some simplification would be in order.

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Re: The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby James » Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:44 pm

It is a lovely loco - very elegant. This was from my last visit to Wales;

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This is an interesting thread; read it on your blog at lunchtime (the photos wouldn't display on here at work :( )

The Roco chassis seems to have a huge potential and, I guess, it's a great runner too! Incidentally Paul Windle has fitted a new Farish 08 outside cynlinders and the result is rather nice.
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Re: The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby Steve » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:38 pm

Yes, the lining is already giving me cold sweats. I am planning to do it in current livery though if I can get a match for the main blue/purple colour.

I'm hoping to get up to this year's gala as I understand No. 85 is going out of ticket soon, and the more detail photos I can get the better. On that note thanks to both of you, I don't have any of the cab rear at the moment so that's very useful.

The Roco chassis is a very good runner, but it is known to wear out perhaps unreasonably quickly under heavy load. However mine is still smooth and reliable so I'm hoping for the best. It also has a somewhat inconvenient gear box location behind the rear axle which limits its usefulness but fortunately in this case the rear pony truck is set far enough back. The 08 motor and gearbox is entirely within the coupled wheelbase and I will definitely be getting one for future use - Paul Windle's conversion is very good indeed.
Steve
 

Re: The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby Steve » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:17 pm

No. 85 has been repainted plain matt black for the gala next weekend, where it will be running with the restored Sierra Leone coaches in the livery it carried on arrival the W&L. Problem solved!

http://www.wllr.org.uk/news.htm#%27New% ... ay%20No.85
Steve
 

Re: The tale of the two No. 85s

Postby Steve » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:58 pm

Moving on a bit now...

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The body is glued together as I don't have the skill to solder it. Having said that I might try and bodge some low melt on the insides of the joints later to firm it up a bit.
Steve
 


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