Time for the latest update. I have now completed the construction of the tender, pretty much as per the instructions but with a departure or two to suit what I want, rather than because there's anything wrong with them!
As usual, I have a few photos to illustrate things, so lets start with this one.
Let's start with the front ladder assemblies. These come with a natty jig attached and you also have the choice of a scale version in 5 thou. Despite belonging to the club hammer and chisel brigade, I mis-guidedly opted for the scale version. It wasn't easy using the afore-mentioned tools but I got there in the end and then had a very long lie down! If I ever do another, I won't go down the scale route but I'm pleased that I did and, as In said, I got there in the end. I made certain modifications related to the fitting of a DCC decoder in the tender. I used this method in my J39 but I don't think I covered it, so I'll do so here. I felt that a plug connection between engine and tender would be the most efficient way of connecting the docoder in the tender to the pick-ups on the engine. I have a small stock of 4 pin miniature plugs which came, I think, from RS components, or somewhere similar. Anyway, only two pins are needed and its a simple matter to cut the plugs accordingly. It may well be that you can get two pin plugs but I had none and its a very minor modification. On the J39, I found that one of the pins came loose inside the plug as a result of this cutting up. A little epoxy resin soon restores normality however. I didn't get this problem this time though but its something to be wary of. A rectangular hole needs to be fretted out to a suitable size, somewhere on the tender chassis floor. I chose a spot near the front and to the left of where the universal joint to the motor will be. The picture above shows the plug after fitting and gluing in place, once again with epoxy.
Once I had fitted the plug, it became obvious that the etch representing the coal space behind the shovelling plate was in the way and so it had to come out. I thought about making a modification to it but it made my brain hurt so, given that you can't really see it, I removed it completely, as you can see above.
Having done that, you also need to cut away part of the tender body floor to get clearance for the plug. The photo above says it better than me.
The next photo shows a very minor alteration I made to the two front uprights on the fire iron "tunnel". As supplied, these have a top section which is designed to be folded over and soldered to the coal space side just like the two at the rear. The prototype didn't have this and Dave notes this in the instructions and asks you to lop the un-necessary bits off. I felt that these were going to be quite vunerable and so I folded then back on themselves and soldered then up. This obviously makes them thicker but it doesn't show from most angles and it beefs them up considerably. You can also see two upright prongs in front of the fire iron tunnel, which are meant to align the fire irons and/or keep them from falling off by allowing the handles to be placed over them. These are simply made up from a u-shaped piece of wire, soldered from below.
Finally, here's one of the whole thing, minus wheels, put together as a trial fit, just in case! All was well.
Everything then had a thorough clean up, firstly using a cream cleaner, then a general purpose one, followed by a session in the ultra-sonic cleaner. So its clean! I have also primed it as I didn't want it to tarnish whilst I build the loco itself. I used Precision Etch Primer, something I haven't used before. I used the same mix that Ian Rathbone recommends in his painting and lining DVD. He advocates diverting from the instructions, which state that you should use three parts of the supplied thinners to one part of paint. He uses two parts of the supplied thinners, one part cellulose thinners and one part paint. This seemed to spray very nicely and whilst I haven't tried airbrushing the paint according to the instructions, I'm more than happy to go with the recomendation of someone far more experienced in these matters than I am.
The second best priest