Skinning the tanks
The side skins for the tanks are half etched for the majority of the side so that the beading around the windows and along the top of the tanks is prominent. However this does mean that they are quite thin and should be handled with care. There is a subtle bow on the tanks from top to bottom, the instructions suggest gently curving the overlays before fitting but it’s such a large radius it wasn’t easy. I tried the rolling pin on the leg trick but I didn’t get too far. It wasn’t that wide a sheet of metal and I didn’t want to introduce flats or too sharp a curve, so I decided to leave it flat and introduce the bend whilst soldering up. So I started with a couple of tack solders at the bottom of the tank.
The photo around the cab shows the radius required, from top to bottom. The bit above the cab windows also needs a bend inserting, this is quite a bit sharper and was formed using fingers to bend the sheet around a silver steel bar.
Around the cab area there are several steps and cutouts on the etchings, to the rear of the cab door way the cutout is a location rebate for the side of the bunker which is fitted later.
Once I was happy that the alignment was correct, that it fitted around the cab and all edges lined up I soldered the full length of the bottom of the tanks, taking care that the etch sat on top of the brass footings. Once that was done a strip of hardwood was used to hold the overlay in place whilst I soldered up along the top of the tank.
That done it was then a case of attacking the tanks with a large file. The brass castings were filed flush with the overlays, draw filed to remove the worst of the file marks and then finer and finer abrasive to polish smooth.
There is still a bit more cleaning up to do but the photos are excellent to highlight what I’ve missed. Anyway it’s finally starting to look like a loco.
Coal bunker skins
To finish off the tanks it involves sorting out the bunker area, this involves fitting and blending in another etched plate behind the cab. The half-etched rebates are designed to provide a positive location on the rear bunker plate and a recess just behind the cab.
The plate needed a gentle curve forming in it to match the cab, this was done with gentle finger pressure round a 2 1/2″ cardboard tube, nothing too sophisticated. Again I deviated from the instructions slightly as it suggested cutting a slight notch in the top cab corner of the plate to move it up a little, but I tack soldered it in place and it seemed about right to me as it was, so I tack soldered in the top casting as well. This is one case where it just didn’t quite fit, you might notice a small gap between the brass casting and the rear of the cab, unfortunately the casting is slightly too short, this is acknowledged in the instructions and it says that the gap should be at the cab end and not at the rear of the bunker.
Once I was happy that it looked right, it all got soldered up and I turned my attention to the bottom bunker casting. Again a little bit of fettling was required to get it to fit and once again it had a few gaps which needed filling. Up to this point I’m fairly sure a beginner would have sailed through the kit, but this bunker area needed a little bit of extra care.
The bottom bunker castings were slightly bowed which due to their shape is not unexpected, so I straightened these and took care that the bottom edge aligned with the front tanks. Nothing complicated but it just absorbed time .
Once that was in place and soldered up out came the scrapers, files, wet and dry etc. Here’s the other side which I prepared earlier! The top of the cab roof has taken a bit of abuse with the handling, it’s only a thin half etch so I’ll need to straighten that out in a bit. A bit more detailing to go but overall I’m pleased with the result, I didn’t expect the side of the bunker to blend in with the cab as well as it has done.
Still back to the modelling, following on from the last instalment, I continued on the rear bunker area. This time around the cab doors. Before you can fit the large cast balance pipe between the side tanks and the rear tank the cab steps need a bit more detailing. There is a cast plate to go under the cab floor and provides a backing plate to the cab doorway. Once this is soldered in place then it can be filed flat to fit the balance pipe, also in this shot are the round inspection plates on the bottom of the bunker tank, yet more castings.
The etched plate over the doorway can then be cut away and the balance pipe fitted, making sure they are fitted the right way round, the curved bit at the front. The step in bunker and the cab step has some etched diamond plate to be fitted. The one in the cab doorway was slightly wider than the step, a careful inspection of the photos showed that this edge is rolled over. So the plate was put in the hold and fold and the edge folded as required.
So this is the current state of play. The breather pipes have been fitted in the bunker space and some half round beading fitted around the top bunker edge. For the curved rear strip the beading was heated to a “cherry” red and left to cool, this left it soft enough to curve into the radius whilst leaving it flat as well.
Tank top details
The focus then switched back to the detailing on the top of the tanks. There are a couple of options for the tank filler, both sets of castings are included in the kit. There are also some straps, lifting eyes, blanking plates etc.
The blanking plates have a couple of options, either a couple of etched pieces with some half etched detailing or a very nice brass casting. The bolt detail was better on the casting but it seemed to be too thick, however the etched piece I though might be difficult to keep aligned when soldering them to the tanks. So again the big file was dragged out and the casting was thinned down.
So etched plates have been fitted to the front of the tank and filed flush and the front steps soldered on, and a little more detailing added to the tanks.