Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

timlewis
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Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:48 pm

I'm going to be building this PMK/Connoiseur Models Lowmac. Ten were built by the NER between 1913 and 1922, to Diagram A2. Under the LNER, they were known as Mac-L. All of them lasted into British Railways days.
20200328_151041_50pc.jpg


These castings are provided:
20200330_172210_50pc.jpg


Nice to see a couple of spares are provided - don't often see that. The buffers will eventually be sprung, and the axlebox/springs might benefit from a bit of work. I don't know what the castings at the top of this picture are! - no mention is made of them in the (somewhat brief) instructions. My best guess so far is that those at top left are for mounting tension lock couplings (people do some strange things) although I can't see how they would fit even if I wanted to do this. I wondered whether those at top right might be supports for end jacks (the vertical 'legs' are at track spacing), but I don't believe these wagons had them. Perhaps they're just extraneous?

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:52 pm

The curved parts slot into the three-legged parts to make cast tension-lock couplings, without the hooks. All the PMK range had them, but the etched hooks were never included.

They mke good weights for vans :thumb
James Dickie

My workbench

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:58 pm

The kit is designed to be built rigid, i.e. no springing/compensation etc. I like to spring most things and this being quite long wheelbase (18' 6") it would benefit from it I think. There are probably several ways to do it, but what I'm trying is to elongate the bearing holes (easiest done whilst still attached to the fret):
20200330_133315_50pc.jpg

Because of the shape of the ends of Lowmacs, there's restricted room for the springing gubbins, so I intend to use some modified Bill Bedford spring carriers (some of his etches include a few spares):
20200330_133325_50pc.jpg

There's an unmodified one for comparison. Not sure yet how I'll arrange the spring supports, but something very basic I think. May need to use a different gauge wire, but I'll see later on.

I've pushed out all the rivets (all 434 of them!) and tidied up and folded the main components:
20200330_171852_50pc.jpg

So far so good!

Daddyman
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby Daddyman » Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:59 am

It's looking good, Tim, and an interesting vehicle. How do the axleboxes compare to the prototype? I've always had to bin most of the castings in Connoisseur kits. These ones look plausible, but I'm not familiar with the prototype. You say on your announcement thread that you'd seen photos of this type of wagon on the B K and St B - could you point me to such photos?
Thanks, David (Addyman).

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:35 pm

Daddyman wrote:It's looking good, Tim, and an interesting vehicle. How do the axleboxes compare to the prototype? I've always had to bin most of the castings in Connoisseur kits. These ones look plausible, but I'm not familiar with the prototype. You say on your announcement thread that you'd seen photos of this type of wagon on the B K and St B - could you point me to such photos?
Thanks, David (Addyman).


Thanks David. I'm not too good on axleboxes but the ones provided look like a reasonable representation of those on a photo during NER days (in Tatlow). There are two other photos in the mid-30s and late-40s which have a heavier duty axlebox, but whether they all got these or not I don't know. I might have a look to see if anyone makes something similar, but failing that I'll live with the Connoisseur ones I think (but refined a bit). The buffers look reasonable too.

Yes, I did say that I'd seen photos of Lowmacs on the Tweed Valley, though not necessarily this type. I could have sworn that I had a couple of photos, but I've only been able to find one at the moment. I'm not sure what the copyright position is (and I can't currently remember where I got it from), so I'm just attaching a small crop from it, taken at Coldstream in, I guess, around 1962. This could well be a Mac-L: the sides are the right shape, but it's not a very clear view and I don't know enough about other types of Lowmac to say definitively.
coldstream018_DH01_crop.jpg


Cheers for now.

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:38 pm

Wizard of the Moor wrote:The curved parts slot into the three-legged parts to make cast tension-lock couplings, without the hooks. All the PMK range had them, but the etched hooks were never included.

They mke good weights for vans :thumb


Thanks for that. A cast tension lock never occurred to me - what a bizarre idea! I've only made one other PMK kit - an LMS Stanier brake van. Went together very nicely, though I don't remember these castings (I did make it a long time ago!)

Daddyman
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby Daddyman » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:24 am

Thanks, Tim. I had seen that picture now you mention it. I'm no expert on Lowmacs either so couldn't comment on the type. Hope the build is enjoyable...

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Noel
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby Noel » Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:58 am

timlewis wrote:Coldstream in, I guess, around 1962. This could well be a Mac-L: the sides are the right shape, but it's not a very clear view and I don't know enough about other types of Lowmac to say definitively.


The overhead electric line warning on the tender says 1960s, certainly.

There is too little detail available in the photo to make much comment about the Lowmac, except that it is one of the 12/14/15 ton designs, not one of the heavier ones. However, BR built quite a few of those in its earlier days, including batches of the ex-GER design [the Airfix kit] and an ex-GWR design, so these are perhaps rather more likely by 1962+. Lowmacs in general were not uncommon [though why there were so many designs is an unanswerable question now], but were in general use well into the 1960s, although not, apparently, into the air braked era. Their primary traffic from the 1930s onwards was agricultural machinery or motor vehicles [post-WW2 especially] too large to fit on a Hymac or flat wagon [lorries, basically] without fouling the loading gauge, so they could turn up anywhere.
Regards
Noel

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:02 pm

Making good progress...
The main components went together fairly quickly (for me). It helped that everything fitted exactly as it was supposed to, which could have been tricky given the odd shapes and angles of these vehicles - good bit of etched design I reckon.
20200331_171227_50pc.jpg

I then added the side brackets:
20200401_175141_50pc.jpg

I then spent some time experimenting with the springs and methods of support. During this process I changed the spring wire from that provided in Bill's W-iron packs (11thou?) to 9 thou, which was more satisfactory. Attached drawbar plates and hooks and gave it a few laps of the layout - ran nicely with no derailments (!), so happy with it so far.
20200402_174801_50pc.jpg

20200402_174816_50pc.jpg

The three lead weights will be glued underneath later, bringing total weight to around 52g (plus axleboxes and buffers to be added later). The unsightly bits of white plasticard that you can see are the temporary spring supports - it was easier to mess around with bits of plastic than bits of metal. Now that I've got the levels sorted, these will get replaced with something less obtrusive, though not sure what yet. There are no brake hangers/shoes provided in the kit, and those at the ends of the wagon are quite noticeable, so I'll have a rummage through the bits box to see what I can find - I'm hoping that the brake hangars might also act as spring supports somehow, but yet to be figured out!

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:13 pm

Haven't done much in the last couple of weeks, as the weather's been so nice. Before that though I did some work on some of the more fiddly bits. Drilled the buffers ready for springing, and made up 18 lashing rings:
20200403_174939_50pc.jpg

Fabricated an approximation to the brake shoes/hangers. It seems that these wagons had one brake shoe acting on the outer edge of each wheel in a kind of "half-clasp" arrangement, and the rods connecting the brakes (i.e. from one side of the wagon to the other) do not act at the centre of the shoe, but near the bottom. Much of it is hidden behind the sides of the wagon, but parts can be seen from some angles. Nothing is provided in the kit, but I've cobbled together a passable likeness by using one shoe from each of these Masokits etches:
20200418_150335_50pc.jpg

soldered together then filed about a bit to give this (sorry, lousy photo, and I've no idea why it's upside down):
20200418_150620_50pc_crop.jpg
20200418_150620_50pc_crop.jpg (116.76 KiB) Viewed 2391 times

I've also made a start on improving the axlebox/spring castings (also upside down):
20200418_185006_50pc_crop.jpg

Think I may use a slightly wider diameter plastic rod in the end.
Finally, I've bent up the 8 handrails required (no photo).
Once I've got all these bits on, it should look a lot more complete.

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:50 pm

I've note posted anything for a while, but I've been making steady progress over the last few weeks, in between taking advantage of the amazing weather. Most of the fiddly bits are now done: brakes, brake cross-shaft, safety loops, axleboxes and springs, new spring hangers and brackets, rivetted plates on bodyside that weren't included on the etch, buffers, end handrails with lashing rings etc. I've removed the temporary plasticard spring restraints seen in earlier photos, as the brakegear now holds the springs in position laterally.

20200526_180235_50pc1.jpg

Not too much to do now - just the brake levers and guides then it can go to the paintshop, after which there are ten more lashing rings to go along the sides of the floor.

Quite pleased with it so far and looking forward to painting it.

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:18 pm

Ha, did I say just the brake levers and guides to do?? Turned out to be very fiddly. The brake lever guide provided in the kit was completely the wrong shape (well, not the guide itself but the way in which it is attached to the wagon body). Luckily it is shown on the drawing in Tatlow, and I was able to fabricate them from bits of metal strip (for the brackets) and some spare guides from a Bradwell etch. This simple sentence belies how fiddly it was, though that was partly due to my clumsiness. Also, the brake lever provided was too long and not quite the right shape, so they had to be modified too.

Here's a picture of the whole wagon:
DSC_4570crop.JPG


and here's a detail shot of the gubbins at one of the brake lever ends:
DSC_4571crop2.jpg


Quite pleased with how it looks in the end, but it was a fair amount of work!

So, off to the paintshop now. The other thing that I've been thinking about are the chains/shackles. From the drawings and photos, there doesn't seem to be anywhere obvious to store them (I'd like to run it without a load) on the wagon; indeed on the photos, they are barely visible at all. I thought perhaps they were kept attached to some of the lashing rings at the edge of the floor, or just kept loose on the wagon floor, though that seemed a bit unlikely. For some reason, it didn't occur to me until today to look at other types of Lowmac. So, elsewhere in Tatlow (Vol 4B) there are some pictures of LNER Lowmac NVs (and others) which seem to show some kind of "recess" on the ramps (two on each ramp), and these appear to have some kind of hinged cover, under which there is a loop to which chains can be attached. It is not clear whether this is a permanent arrangement, but I imagine not, so that the flaps can be lowered thereby presenting a "flush" ramp for vehicle loading etc. There is a nice picture (and indeed specific caption) showing the chains/shackles neatly laid out along the wagon. Looking again at the NER Lowmac plan drawing in Tatlow, there are two small rectangles marked on the ramps: I assume these are where the chains are attached, but they (the "rectangles") are only just visible on the photos, and you can't really tell properly what they look like, and there don't appear to be chains attached in that area.

I thought I might make a "recess" at each of these rectangle locations by filing a rectangular hole and backing it with plasticard or metal, then attach a chain ring into the recess. However, Sod's Law dictates that making these holes would be likely to damage either the wagon frames or spring/axlebox casting, or both. Having thought about this for a while, I've decided to ignore these "recesses" for now, but will probably resort to some subterfuge involving half a ring and a small plasticard "flap" that will be judiciously painted. That is, unless somebody knows a bit more about these things, or some more information comes to light?

All good fun!

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Paul Willis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby Paul Willis » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:10 pm

timlewis wrote:Quite pleased with how it looks in the end, but it was a fair amount of work!


So you should be. That looks very neat indeed, and very workmanlike in the sense of everything in the right place and the right proportions.

Looking forward to seeing more of the build.

Cheers
Paul
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

timlewis
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Re: Socially-Distanced Challenge: ex-NER Lowmac

Postby timlewis » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:34 pm

Flymo748 wrote:That looks very neat indeed, and very workmanlike in the sense of everything in the right place and the right proportions.


Thanks Paul. Yes, that was the "look" I was after: even though there's a decent drawing, it involved quite a bit of trial and error to get wire sizes and spring damper diameters etc. looking right. Of course, when it's painted it'll probably all disappear into the gloom! :(


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