Shallcross Yard

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Highpeak
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Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:37 pm

I seem to remember the SGW article appearing in the newsletter as if it were yesterday so I was a bit surprised to find that it is in fact several years since this initiative started. Better late than never I suppose.

After my visit to Scaleforum last year I decided that the only way to see if I could work in P4 would be to give it a try, and the SGW format seemed to be a good guideline. I wanted to model something that vaguely resembled a location in the Peak District and in the end was inspired by Shallcross Yard in Whaley Bridge.There are some pictures of Shallcross at http://sutherland.davenportstation.org. ... t/wbr.html
I can't really say the layout is based on that location because by the time I had finished fitting it into the linear constraint quite a lot had been lost due to compression. In the end it's really just an inglenook yard, which operationally was about all that Shallcross was by the 60s once the gasworks had closed.
layout1.JPG

The goods shed was something I started a long time ago for a different project. It's there really just as a placeholder because the shed at Shallcross was a bit different.

The baseboard is just a standard US style L-girder affair made of dimensional lumber and plywood. It sits on two trestles that I copied from Ian Rice's book on small space layouts. Nothing innovative, but at least on my basement floor the structure is very stable and sturdy. It's heavy, but won't be traveling around much, although I do have a vague idea of trying to find an exhibition to take it to. There aren't many options though here in Connecticut.

I'm building the track using ply sleepers and C&L chairs (the plain track in the picture is for illustration only). In the turnouts I used some rivets and Bill Bedford's etched slide plates at strategic locations where I felt the plastic chairs alone lacked the strength to keep everything in gauge and aligned. Turnout operation will be by Bullfrog machines (a laser cut plywood contraption sold by Fast Tracks: http://www.handlaidtrack.com/bullfrogs) They are operated by rods in plastic tubes.
bullfrogs.JPG


I'm close to getting the track laid when I will finally learn if the test locomotive (a Sutton's Sulzer type 2 which represented a cheque book shortcut to having an engine to test the track with) can make its way into the yard. I don't think diesels ever visited Shallcross, but a Stanier 8F is rather a long way off in my future at this stage!
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

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steamraiser
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby steamraiser » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:54 pm

A good way to start in P4.
Keep the pictures coming as you make progress.

What will be your first loco?

Gordon A
Bristol

garethashenden
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby garethashenden » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:02 pm

Looks good Neville, looking forward to progress.

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:42 pm

As Martin Wynne pointed out elsewhere, one problem a P4 beginner faces is that of having to build both track and a locomotive, and then if it isn't working wondering whether it's the track or the loco. At Scaleforum it was suggested that the Sutton Loco Works diesel would be a good way to get past that stumbling block, and since I like that engine and it fits my period I bought it for myself for Christmas. So that will be the first locomotive.

In the wings is a Bachmann 3F tender engine that I built a Brassmasters Easi-chas for. It had a test run at Scaleforum and is about 75% of the way there. I also have been building a pair of Penbits bogies for a Bachmann class 25, they are at the point where I need to start molesting the engine to fit the bogies. I realize I probably could get by with just a wheel swap but the various snippets on here and in the Newsletter sold me on the Penbits kit because I enjoy fiddling around with that sort of stuff.

None of those engines are correct for Shallcross of course. What I ought to be planning is a Royal Scot, that would look very good in the yard. There are some very good "then and now" pictures of Whaley Bridge at http://theatreorgans.com/hammond/keng/k ... ncline.htm If you scroll down quite a long way there is a fairly well-known picture of a Scot emerging from underneath the road bridge. From what I have read it was all Edgeley had for the job one day.

I did return from England with a piece of C&L flexi track that I had originally intended to use, but with so little track to build I opted for the plywood and plastic approach. Plain track is pretty straightforward if time consuming, but it was good to see something that looks good come together with a bit of gentle effort. almost therapeutic.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

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BryanJohnson
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby BryanJohnson » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:28 pm

There are some more photographs covering the railways around Whaley Bridge in this collection: http://www.whaleybridge.net/localhistor ... index.html. Other collections on the site have views including railways.

Bryan
(Living about 3 miles from the site of Shallcross yard)

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:57 am

Bryan, thanks for the link. I had actually come across that web site during my searches, it had some useful pictures and background information. There's often a broader view of subjects on local history sites than on sites that focus more closely on railways.

The Sutherland collection is also a good resource for the Peak District, especially the L&NW line to Buxton. Wallace Sutherland visited places that a lot of photographers overlooked and he also seems to have been on good terms with a lot of the railway workers. The two-volume set on the Stockport to Buxton line published by Foxline comes to life with his notes.

I just came across this site http://www.subn.org/whaleybridgephotos/index.html that has a few very useful pictures that I hadn't seen before which will help with the landscaping and a good view of the goods shed.

Neville Wardle
Branford, CT U.S.A.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

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Ian Everett
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Ian Everett » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:40 pm

Welcome aboard, Neville.

The LNWR around Buxton was a fascination subject. I just love that water tower straddling the track - full of character.

One of the features of my latest Bradford North Western is a three-road sorting yard and I am spending lots of time shunting wagons according to a random traffic generation system so, even if your yard is tiny it will still have a lot to offer. Couple that with the sort of atmosphere Sutherland caught and you really have the makings of a successful little layout, full of character.

I'm just wondering how you'll get it to Scaleforum?

I look forward to following progress.

Ian

dave_long
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby dave_long » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:49 pm

Reference the bullfrogs, is your layout kept indoors? If its likely to be kept in a garage then can I suggest a coating of slightly diluted pva to strengthen and protect them, obviously away from the moving parts. I had a few kept in a garage and after a winter or two they had gone a little soggy and the resistance weakened and ultimately failed. So just treat it like you would cut ends of mdf.

Regards
Dave

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:55 pm

@Ian: I was thinking of some sort of random traffic generator as a way of setting shunting puzzles, along the lines you suggest. Over the years my interests have shifted somewhat from the operations to the construction side of things, but once the track is down I am sure I will find time for plenty of testing! I did discover on my internet searching that the yard was on occasion used for storing stock for weekend excursion trains. I don't think the layout is big enough for that though.
They did though store covered vans for Bowaters, a paper company in New Mills. The yard at New Mills wasn't that big so Shallcross was used for storage when Bowaters was busy, and also as a secondary loading area when New Mills couldn't handle the volume. That could be represented in a traffic scheme in some way I suppose.
There were a lot of interesting aspects of the L&NW line to Buxton in the period before it was reduced to a commuter line with DMUs and fortunately Wallace Sutherland's collection documents many of them. One of my favourite pictures in the Foxline books shows the Longsight to Buxton freight conveying ECS back to Buxton, two carriages tucked in the train in front of the guards van. Apparently this was a fairly frequent procedure to balance out rolling stock. There was also quite a lot of variety in motive power over the period where steam was still in use.
I think the layout is a bit bulky to bring to Scaleforum. I have carted some odd stuff across the pond in my luggage, including a gearbox for a Triumph Spitfire, but these days the authorities are a bit stricter. It should fit quite easily in the back of my pickup truck though if it reaches the stage where it could be displayed. I did give some thought to building some sort of box to ship it in so that it can be secured in the bed of the truck, the ride quality of a lightly loaded truck is a bit on the lively side.

@Dave: that's an excellent point (sorry!) about the Bullfrogs. The room the layout will be kept in is pretty dry and not subject to big variations in either termperature or humidity and I haven't noticed anything happening with the Bullfrogs on the American layout. I can see how they might have issues in other environments and it might still be a good idea to apply some sort of protection to them. They appear to be fairly reliable, but if I do end up taking the layout to any kind of exhibition I don't want my bullfrogs croaking.

Neville
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:13 am

Progress on the yard has been slower than expected. I had quite a lot of work still to do on the two turnouts before they could be laid and then lost a weekend due to going to the Amherst Railway Show and having to repair the exhaust on my partner's old Honda CRV. But I finally managed to lay one turnout and the goods shed road, fit the Bullfrog turnout operating unit, remove and refit the Bullfrog after correcting a problem with the microswitch and wire it all up.
The honour of the first run went to the 3F, mostly because I couldn't be bothered to unpack the diesel. It ran up and down the couple of feet of track without falling off which I suppose is a triumph of sorts.

It did however reveal a bit of a limp at just the speed a plank engine needs to run at and so went back to the bench to be torn down for investigation. The issue is mostly to do with the Bachmann part of the engine, there seemed to be a spot where the gears became stiff even with the wheels removed. I stripped it down, examined both gears and then reassembled it with only one gear, whereupon it ran quite smoothly. Fitting the other gear led to the problem reappearing. There seemed to be a fair bit of lateral slop so I tried fitting a washer to remove most of it which seemed to improve matters somewhat. The reassembled chassis ran quite a bit better. It might be worth either chipping it or getting a better controller than my ancient Model Rectifier unit that I bought way back in 1980. Among other things, you can't actually stop the engine unless you turn the power off.

The issue with the engine seems to point up a bit of a snag with the Easi-chas concept. There's nothing wrong with the Brassmasters product, it is very easy to put together, fits the chassis perfectly and gives good results provided that the engine you are converting runs OK to begin with. If you have a problem with the original mechanism it really needs to be sorted out before proceeding with the conversion, as I found out. It ran well on the test track at Scaleforum but not at plank speed where it will spend its life. A big advantage in troubleshooting is the ability to drop all the wheelsets out.

I came up with a way of avoiding a lot of back breaking work on wiring and bullfrog installation. The layout is small enough and has a solid L-girder at the back so it was fairly easy to clamp it vertically to my Workmate to work on the underneath. I then flipped it back over for the test run.
Shallcross3.jpg

The goods shed should be on a separate siding but I eliminated it because adding another turnout ended up making both roads too short.
The buffer stop is a Lanarkshire Models L&NW type. I had a bit of a nerve-wracking time soldering it since all I have is a 40 watt iron which is a bit much for white metal, but in the end it went together well. The brighter coloured cork underneath it is a small piece of thin cork sheet that I stuck to the roadbed and sanded to a gentle slope since photographs show that the track ran up to the stop block.
I'm hoping to get the other turnout and some more of the plain track down this weekend.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:48 pm

Highpeak wrote:provided that the engine you are converting runs OK to begin with.


A useful tip, which someone told me a while back, but I cannot remember who that was, is to run the loco in OO form first and iron out any problems with the motor and drive system before you start any conversion work.

Terry Bendall

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:45 pm

Terry, I think that is extremely good advice, if I do any more Easi-chas conversions the engine will be thoroughly tested prior to even buying the kit! I have a couple of other Bachmann engines that are possible candidates and I put them through their paces on my HO layout, since I don't have an other 16.5mm gauge track. They seemed fine.

The weather was not so great over the last few days so I managed to make a bit of progress on the track. There's not that much but it is now all in place. I did have to fettle one of the turnouts because there were a couple of tight spots that the 3F's tender immediately found. It's a handy track tester, four wheeled vehicles were sailing through the turnout with no problem but the tender derailed. The adjustments were not very difficult and now everything seems to stay on the track. I do have to do some cosmetic repairs where plastic chairs had to be removed. The second turnout I made seemed to work much better, hopefully the result of experience.
IMG_0752.jpg
The track, what there is of it


The next step is to wire it all up, so Shallcross was hit by a major seismic event:
IMG_0753.JPG


This saves a lot of backache and banging of heads on benchwork, upside-down soldering and so on. I won't say it makes wiring fun, but it does remove one of the challenges to it.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:24 am

At home the layouts that I have helped to build at supported on heave duty adjustable steel shelf brackets. Nothing I have made so far is wider than 24inches or longer than 60 inches so they can be turned on edge and the wiring done that way. makes things a lot easier but may not work with larger boards.

Terry Bendall

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:44 pm

> Terry: The scenic board for Shallcross comes in right at your maximum. It's not exactly lightweight but at the moment is wieldy enough to tip it up on edge single-handed.

I received Iain Rice's latest work on layout design a couple of days ago (first rate service from Titfield and the combined efforts of the postal services) and saw lots of ideas that perhaps I could have incorporated. The book was a great read and planted some seeds for future projects, I wish it had come out before I started my wood-butchery!

But the idea behind Shallcross is mostly to do with learning whether or not I can build track, engines and wagons to P4 standards, so I wasn't looking to try to improve my carpentry skills. I did toy with the idea of curving the front edge but decided against it because I wanted the trestles to be fairly wide for stability.

The other consideration is the Shallcross probably won't leave home because there really aren't any shows that I know of where it could go. The only show of any significance in New England that I know of is the extravaganza up near Springfield MA. They do have a number of layouts there but they tend to be big club layouts or large (and, in my opinion, incoherent) modular setups designed to see how long a US freight train can be assembled and run around. I don't know what they would make of a shunting plank.

Anyway, with the layout on edge I finished the wiring, including installing the second switch machine. I laid it back horizontally, connected my old MRC controller and placed the long-suffering 3F on the track. It promptly took the wrong route at the second crossing, oh dear. Now, here's where a "feature" of the MRC antique became an advantage. With the power on but the controller in the off position there is enough of a current leak for the 3F to creep extremely slowly, and this allowed me to see exactly what was happening at the crossing. A bit of fettling, and a smile (actually a big grin) took the place of my frown.

I'm not sure if you could propel ten coaches at high speed through those turnouts. It probably would not be advisable anyway because they'd all quickly run out of track and end up on the floor. But at least I've reached a bit of a landmark in that the 3F will negotiate every inch of the yard.

Next steps: I supposed I should rig up the DCC controller and get the Sulzer type 2 out and see what it thinks of the yard. Some wagons with couplings would also be an idea, I plan to use Dinghams at the outer end of groups of wagons. I need to read Mr. Rice's words carefully to see how he suggests controls be integrated into a fascia. All there is really is a couple of manual turnout controls and eventually some push buttons for the Dingham uncouplers, but they may as well look neat.

The other project that needs to come back to a front burner is the Penbits bogies for my old Bachmann class 25. I have made good progress so far and want to finish it as proof of concept that I can get the job done before moving on to bigger things such as a class 40, which most definitely never went into Shallcross Yard.

But for now I am going to enjoy the feeling that comes with getting from where I was last fall (enthusiasm following a visit to Scaleforum but not much else) to having a small layout making progress.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:25 am

A surprise email from Derek Mather asking about the state of Shallcross Yard made me look at this thread and realize with some surprise that I have not updated it for over three years. Looking at other SGW entries I am not the only one but that is really just a bit of rationalization on my part and I ought to do better.

There has in fact been a lot of progress, but not really on Shallcross. The 3F reached the stage where it ran quite nicely in and out of the sidings but its tender was a different story and derailed more or less everywhere. My newly acquired Mint gauge revealed my track to be very much the work of a rank beginner and a lot of time and work went into adjusting most of it so that running could reach the acceptable stage. The tender chassis was taken to pieces and the gravity gauge I also bought at a visit to Scalefour North revealed the wheels to be not exactly to gauge. Closer inspection showed that one wheelset had a serious case of the wobbles and had to be replaced. Eventually the tender chassis could be pushed through the two turnouts without mishap.

The layout had already proved worthwhile because I feel I at least had a better idea of the need to put more care into my work and that time spent doing it right is less than time spent on rework.

The sight of the easichas engine actually running up and down quite smoothly whetted my appetite for more adventures and so the next time I managed to get to Scalefour North (2018 I think) I came home with a High Level chassis for a 3F tank and a London Road kit for a Chopper, neither of which probably went anywhere near Shallcross but both of which seemed to be reasonable next steps in engine building. I also bought an Avonside chassis jig.

I thought the 3F chassis was a better start point than the Chopper and it went together very nicely, aided by the jig which really made the work easier than it otherwise might have been. Sadly though I was caught out by the tendency for the thing to move slightly when tightening the set screws and the result was a beautifully square chassis that unfortunately had a slight mismatch between the coupling rods and the axle spacing. Sadder but wiser I took it all to pieces and had another go, this time getting a chassis that runs under finger power quite smoothly. I'm not sure what to do next with it because I don't have a Bachmann engine for it to go under and in reality the thing would have never brought a train over the hills from Buxton.

Having made a reasonable job of this chassis, albeit at the second attempt, instead of getting on with the layout I decided to start playing with my Chopper. In the words of Eric Morecambe, they can't touch you for it. I applied the lessons learned and managed to get a square and smooth-running chassis first time, though setting up the compensation beam was a bit of a struggle. I followed in the footsteps of Robin Whittle who described his build in Rail Model Digest. The chassis did reveal another shortcoming in one of the two turnouts in that the front wheel kept climbing on the point rail. Everything else ran through well enough but the Mint gauge showed a few problem areas that required a bit more tuning, and finally the chassis could be rolled through the turnout successfully.

So the workbench project may not so far have yielded a layout in the full sense of the word but it has been an invaluable exercise in developing skills. Some of the track has been ballasted once I was fairly sure it wouldn't need any more adjusting, and the signature building (well, more or less the only building) is coming along slowly, partly because of the time taken to work out how best to build it (card, well braced with bass stripwood, then covered with Ambis corrugated iron) and partly because playing with track and engines is providing more entertainment.

While I was spending so much time fettling the track and wishing I'd done a better job in the first place, Tony Wilkins produced his brilliant thread on building turnouts. I decided to have another go, using his methods as a guide, and built a B6 that looks and, if the Mint gauge is to be believed, should work a lot better than my first two efforts. I was then faced with a bit of a decision to make: should I pull up the left-hand B6 and replace it with the new one, or should I abandon Shallcross and start on a more ambitious layout. Some doodling with trackplans showed that in my current home there isn't room to do anything significantly more ambitious, but the Shallcross layout could be lengthened by another four feet and the trackplan made to represent the real yard a bit more faithfully, with the goods shed on a separate track and a second siding with the crossover incorporated.

So a bit more carpentry lies ahead at the end of which the layout won't really count as a SGW effort. But I think the whole concept of SGW has worked very well for me because it got me doing rather than thinking, and solving problems with the help of people at the society shows I was able to attend and with information posted on here.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:38 am

Highpeak wrote:But I think the whole concept of SGW has worked very well for me because it got me doing rather than thinking, and solving problems


Which in the end is a big part of of what our variation if railway modelling is about. Doing things, learning from any errors, learning how to correct those errors and in the end having success. :thumb

Given that there won't be a Scalefour North next year ( :( ). there is now lots of time to progress the layout before 2022! :D

Terry Bendall

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:21 am

Following passage of the "Shallcross Sidings (Extension)" bill progress suddenly became a bit derailed by derailments. Inspired by various accounts of locomotive building I decided to start work on the London Road Models L&NWR Chopper. I have no idea whether Choppers ever ventured to Shallcross, and they certainly didn't in the period the layout is supposed to be set in because they had all been long scrapped, but I thought it was a delightful engine when I read Robin Whittle's account of building one in Rail Model Digest many years ago and have had a kit maturing for quite a while.

The chassis went together very well since I am now wise to the jig's tendency to move slightly when tightening the screws and the result was a cahassis that seemed to be well aligned. However, it would not run through the first of the two turnouts although everything else was quite happy with it. I spent quite a long time tinkering until deciding that the problem lay in the approach track which was on a slight curve and which was tight to gauge. It was built with just the functional plastic chairs and when it was laid I was unaware of the possibilities of gauge narrowing with triangle gauges.

It seemed that the rear wheels were steering the front end and making it climb the switch rail. I did check the gauge in that area and it was correct. In fact the chassis passed through fine going backwards. I pondered whether there was too much or too little side play and fiddled around a bit with that, but in the end decided to see if fixing the track would remedy things.

Some of the sleepers were damaged when I tried to work the chairs loose so in the end I lifted the length and relaid it using rivets and cosmetic chairs. I agree it is time-consuming but for some reason I quite enjoy the process and on a small layout it's not that much time. The Chopper now sailed through the turnout under finger power and encouraged me to press on with the body, my first effort at a brass loco kit.

I don't think I would recommend this kit for a beginner for two reasons. There are a number of parts of the body that more or less have to be aligned and soldered with no aids to alignment of the parts and while I think I'm coping with it reasonably well it seems to me that the job could have been made easier. The other problem is that the instructions seem to assume much more familiarity with the locomotives than I think the typical beginner might have. I did come across some excellent photographs at https://railway-photography.smugmug.com ... /i-h3xPbCK which have answered a number of questions that arose.

I would not by any means say the kit is actually that difficult, just that a beginner like me is likely to struggle. I spent this evening folding up the second buffer beam, the first one having gone together fairly well. I don't think I made any major mistakes folding the etch but there ended up being quite a gap along the open edge. Attempts to close the gap meant the beam was well out of square so in the end i filled the gap with some fine brass rod and filed it square until this subterfuge wasn't too obvious. I wonder if this had been a problem for other builders because there are some white metal cast buffer beams in the bag of castings which I could have used, I just wanted to challenge myself to get the etched part together.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:32 am

Hello Neville,

the LRM Chopper kit was designed by Ian Rice and originally sold (I think) in his Riceworks range. I presume he wrote the instructions although John Redrup of LRM may have updated them. I'll pass your comments on to him.

Having designed a number of etched kits, I now consider writing the instructions the most difficult part. Getting the balance right isn't easy as you have to make some assumption's about the builders experience and knowledge of the prototype. The last might seem like a bit of an excuse but fortunately the internet now provides access to information, photos, drawings, etc. as you have found.

Despite the difficulties you are having, I believe the Chopper can be built into a nice model (I haven't built one yet!). I believe the photo on the LRM website is of loco built by a customer and then professionally painted by Ian Rathbone.

Jol

Highpeak
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Re: Shallcross Yard

Postby Highpeak » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:04 pm

I should have noted that I got the idea for using brass rod to fill the small gap from Mike Ainsworth's article on building a big tank engine in the newsletter where he used it to align the hornblocks he was using.

I don't wish to imply at all that the Chopper kit is not a good kit, my point is that there are some aspects of it that are a bit of a challenge to a newcomer, and especially one who has perhaps been a bit spoiled by Justin Newitt's wagon kits that are all tabs and slots and self-jigging doo-dads and so on. The chassis was extremely straightforward to assemble and so far everything appears to fit.

It's not put me off at all, if anything it's making me ponder a massive era-stretch for my proposed future (i.e., if I ever retire) layout based on the Ashbourne line. I've been trying to work out which carriage kits might be a reasonable choice for an early 1930s period behind an 0-6-2T.
Neville
If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions.


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