Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

What individual members are up to.
Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

CR Class 488 - Chassis Started

Postby Lindsay G » Sun May 10, 2020 12:49 pm

Well I did not lie, we really have moved on to creating the chassis.

Having sized and designed everything within the Silhouette Cutter software, I then used the cutter to create a template of the chassis frames on address label sheet. I think the time on the software outweighs the time to mark up the metal directly, and if you screw up you can start again very quickly. Tiny holes were included for placement of the wheel centres, brake pivots and some other areas which actually proved great for locating the centre punch in due course. I decided to initially create 1/8th inch holes for the wheels to make using the High Level CSB jig easier and then to open out the hornblock slots thereafter.

Chassis template.jpg

New piercing blades had arrived and were pressed into action immediately to create the 2 frames which were cut and filed individually until nearly the final shape before being soldered together to ensure all holes lined up and that the frames were finished identically.

Then it was on to the coupling rods as nothing could progress without them. These coupling rods are a complete pain in the ass because of their complex shape. Nothing is commercially available so they had to be scratch built. Again templates were used to create overlays at the knuckles and the rods themselves. After a couple of goes, I found it easier to create the overlays with holes drilled before shaping then to solder these to coupling rod material with holes drilled to the precise wheelbase, then cutting/fettling the rods thereafter. They are by no means perfect and magnification makes them a whole lot worse. I will go back and improve one of them and might replace the other where I’ve been overzealous with the files :

Coupling Rods.jpg

To retain my sanity, I’ve put off making the connecting rods for another day! They exist only in template format as seen in the above image.

With the rods made, the Avonside Chassis2 Jig was set up for adding the hornblocks to the frames. The Avonside Jig is great, I like it a lot, but when it comes to frames for diminutive engines such as this (and the frames for a Class 171 made previously were the same) the gap beween tufnol blocks on the jig is too wide for frames with little depth so one has to go through a few hoops to get everything lying flat before soldering. However, we got there and CSB fulcrums were then added, with one side finished in this image :

Chassis frames.jpg
Yes, that CSB wire isn’t lying straight, the fulcrum to the right is incorrectly positioned despite use of the jig – perhaps I poked the marker through the wrong location row – whatever the other frame was correct and the error corrected to align with it.

The frames were then assembled on the Avonside Jig into something resembling a chassis.

Chassis build.jpg

I always seem to have to revisit spacers that have been fitted so on this occasion took lots of time considering where they would be placed to avoid more work late on, and to make each functional in some other capacity. From the left, in the above image, the spacers are there for stability at the rear in both directions and for locating the Westinghouse reservoir (if I fit it – it will conflict with a rear AJ); a rubbing plate for the bogie; a location point for the bogie pivot and rigidity in 2 directions; plate for securing chassis to body beneath the smokebox and front/rear edges of the cylinders plates. 2 temporary spacers were fitted between the driving wheels (to be replaced by pick up PCB possibly) and at the front of the chassis (to be replaced by the front cylinder frame in due course). Time will tell if I’ve managed to locate them correctly for the long term.

With that assembled, the chassis could be fitted to the footplate assembly. I should have said earlier that horizontal slots were cut into the rear of the chassis frames which will locate into a crosspiece soldered to the inside of the rear buffer beam meaning only one screw is required at the front to secure chassis to body. An 8ba bolt was soldered to the topside of the footplate for that.

Next up its addition of the driving wheels and gearbox/motor, butchering of the boiler, and build of the bogie.


Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Getting Mobile

Postby Lindsay G » Wed May 13, 2020 2:59 pm

With the chassis assembled, it’s time to add the drive unit, butcher the boiler, and get some wheels on.

Gearbox and Motor
Gearbox and motor were assembled, attached to the rear axle, and then to the chassis. I’m using a Mashima 1024 but if more weight is needed it might be reduced to a 1020. This is being attached to a High Level Roadrunner Compact + with final drive via a Drivestretcher D1 to locate everything as far as possible to the rear of the boiler/firebox area. I didn’t have the D1 to hand so phoned Chris G at High Level – turns out my Compact + is old stock but he has a D1 to match – great service as usual, and everything arrived quickly . The Drivestretcher is installed upside down (requiring a small area to be cut away) to minimise chances of it being seen below the frames. Also, because the etch will be uppermost it can be painted black in case anything is seen between boiler and splashers – better that than gears and shiny bits being visible.

At this stage the final relationship between Compact + and Drivestretcher hasn’t been assessed nor soldered/epoxied into place.

Butchering the Boiler
The chassis was fitted to the footplate assembly and the boiler assessed for butchery. The area for removal was marked out and the Dremel and cutting disc pressed into action. After a few minutes we have one altered boiler :

Butchered Bolier.jpg

The boiler was trial fitted a few times before cutting/grinding was complete. I will however assess things further once the gearbox is fixed in its final position for freedom of movement when the CSB’s are in operation. So far, all has gone well and the cut away area isn’t noticeable at all. With that done, the front of the firebox was formed from brass sheet, soldered into place, and then the centre section cut away to allow for the motor/gearbox.

Driving Wheels
I carefully went through all the usual steps in the hope of fitting wobble free wheels without any binds : all hornblocks paired with the guides when the chassis was assembled (Everyone has their way of ensuring this, I file a groove(s) to the front of them to identify which goes where – 1 groove for front wheels, 2 grooves for rear/middle, etc.); holes for the crankpin screws were drilled via the pillar attachment on the Unimat with all wheels being added to a jig to ensure uniform spacing; ends of the axles were chamfered; and the GW quartering jig used (with plasticard insert to stop the raised central boss coming into play). All seemed to go fine – except when the rods are added there is a very slight bind. Damn!! I’ll examine more closely later (and not being unduly worried as the bushes are just short of an interference fit within the rods. Says he with fingers crossed).

The wheels were then added to the chassis, CSB wire slotted through, hey, we’re getting somewhere. The chassis was then offered up to the footplate assembly...... Aaaagh, the wheels are a very snug fit within the splashers. We will return to this in the next update.

The Bogie
The bogie is based somewhat on a Bill Bedford one that appeared on the CLAG website a few years ago, and is a design I’ve used before although the prototype format is a bit different on this loco. Basically, it’s an inner frame that sits on a rubbing plate with no rolling movement but there is sideways movement as well as pivotal. The wheelsets sit in bushes set in outer frames attached to the inner frame via steel wire through three pivot points. Lateral movement of the outer frames is controlled by slots cut in the inner. Nothing rocket science.

I’ve used handrail knobs as the fulcrum points previously but for this bogie I really wanted to minimise the space between the outer and inner frames. Fold out tabs on an etch frame would be ideal but this frame is from scratch. After some thought, well a great deal of thought, I used screw coupling parts (picture tiny dumbbells with holes in the centre of the balls) from an Ambis etch but even then these were filed down and the bogie holes countersunk to minimise the space to little more than the width of the wire. These can just be made out in this image :

Bogie sides & fulcrums.jpg

These parts are a poor comparison to the assembly shown by Steve Duckworth earlier- Oh for an etch! The “spring” is made from brass not N/S as it was curved with pliers rather than filed to shape, and then a couple of overlays attempt to replicate the prototype. The “round thing” at the bottom (something to do with the suspension I suppose) seemed to be ribbed – luckily, 3 x 10ba washers soldered together created the correct dimensions and the ribbed effect at the same time – then sawn in half and soldered to each side.

Bogie parts.jpg

I personally find it a bitch assembling these sprung bogies. I used the Avonside Jig for assembly to ensure inner and outer frames were aligned individually and collectively but even then it seemed to take me an eternity to get it all soldered up. As everything is so tight and close together, the only way to get the steel wire through all fulcrum holes without kinking it was to drill through a pair of wheel bearings and insert it via that then fit that set of wheels afterwards – not ideal but things won’t be taken apart and put together that often. On assembly it ran freely, exceedingly freely – I’m well impressed. But....there’s always a but.... ride height between the frames was far too low – another error by me - so the existing fulcrums were filed flat and new holes drilled just below the existing – trial and error big style - but bingo, it now appears to be sitting at the correct height. What’smore it still runs extremely freely, you’d hardly believe it was an inner bearing assembly.


You may notice I’m using pinpoint axles provided - just to ease fitting of wheels to axles until final assembly.

The bogie sits on a rubbing plate soldered to the lower edge of the chassis frame and is attached to the chassis via a bar with a pivot attached to another spacer allowing sideways movement which will be controlled by pick-ups in due course. Everything appears to be sitting level :

Running chassis.jpg

Mating Chassis with Body
With driving wheels and bogie attached, it was time to mate everything together again to see how things were going, and here’s the latest :

Trial Chassis Fit.jpg

Everything is again just balanced in position. Things look at a rakish angle as the lower edges of the smokebox and firebox need to be filed down with the chassis in place, and as a result the cab area is even more askew.

However, there is a very good reason why I haven’t bothered filing these areas down just yet. In the next update it is time to reveal the three problem areas mentioned in my update of 3rd May that are going to set things back for a good few evenings. Plenty of effort to be expended just to get back to where we are presently ....but on a more accurate footing.


Philip Hall
Posts: 1555
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Philip Hall » Wed May 13, 2020 6:43 pm

It’s quite inspiring seeing how much you have progressed each day with this engine. I am struggling to keep up even when I am just converting an engine from 00 to P4, even though it’s my part time job...

Keep up the good work. Will look forward to seeing it is for real someday...


Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Lindsay G » Thu May 14, 2020 11:04 am

Hello Mr Hall,

If only I could make progress at the rate you feel I am. The start was made soon after registration and I've been playing catch up since with the updates. Truth is I'm doing little more than modelling long evenings until midnight and then write up some updates. Sitting in a windowless workshop during the day would feel like further isolation to me and the good lady. The bogie took me in excess of 3 evenings, so if I was modelling professionally the customer might not question the cost per hour but would look twice at the number of hours expended.

I had a quite word with Nicola and she agreed to keep things on hold up here so that I can get the thing finished. Look forward to a chat over dinner after Scaleforum (2021?).


Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

One Step Forward, Three Set Backs

Postby Lindsay G » Sun May 17, 2020 3:57 pm

Uncovering Problems
Things seemed to have been going along fine, and having it on all 8 wheels rolling along, albeit by a large left thumb, seemed a good step forward. However, the lack of any reliable width dimensions as reference points now really comes home to roost, with three significant discrepancies being uncovered within a few days of each other. Three set backs as they will all require remedial work.

As mentioned in the last update, when I offered up the chassis and wheels to the footplate, the splashers are too inboard leaving little room for comfort with P4 wheelsets, not a complete surprise as I had been warned by Jim Summers not long before that this might be the case. Having looked at GA’s for other engines and measuring the width of splashers on other models they were definitely too narrow. So they had to be removed and fitted further out. They were removed easily enough as complete units – but by moving them outwards the top surfaces aren’t wide enough – study of images show the inner edges of the splashers are parallel with the smokebox and firebox. However, there isn’t much space between the boiler and the top of the sandbox area – did the splashers widen towards the bottom? I tried fitting new outer top surfaces doing just that to one side (remember the image in this post?) but it didn’t look right at all and one photograph giving a good enough angle doesn’t suggest that either.

I tried placing a spring casting between the splashers and boiler. OK, the castings I’ve bought are mighty thick and need thinned down, but there’s absolutely no way they’ll fit even with extreme thinning down. Something was wrong somewhere. And then it twigged (well, it twigged at least a day later)- the etches of the smokebox front and the cab front have the boiler diameter well out of proportion to the vertical areas at the foot of the smokebox and firebox. Examining the photographs again, there is little difference between the curve of the boiler and the vertical bottom area of the firebox. At the smokebox end the boiler stops curving inwards at the bottom of the lower hinge, much higher than the etched part. Either the boiler diameter was too great, or the vertical areas at the bottom of firebox and smokebox too narrow. Examination of the photographs tended to suggest the boiler was wrong, confirmed by attempting to scale from one of them :

Right and Wrong.jpg
Offending smokebox front included.
Right and Wrong.jpg (23.18 KiB) Viewed 3022 times

Scaling from a photograph is never going to bring assured accuracy, but by scaling everything from the centre line of the smokebox the result produced an outline that seemed to fit well from all angles. There is in fact a measurement against the boiler girth in the Neilson Weight Diagram which is smaller than the resultant estimate but I feel that this can only be the boiler without cladding as too much daylight would be seen otherwise.

Rectifying the Problem Areas
I’ll cover the 3rd discrepancy later in this update. For the meantime, on to rectifying the first 2 problems.

Ignoring the problem with the boiler wasn’t really an option. The springs would have had to be omitted or thinned down excessively. Also, there wasn’t a sufficiently flat vertical area at the firebox to fit the Westinghouse pump correctly. On a personal level, no matter the amount of remedial work involved, I couldn’t have lived with continuing with the inbuilt errors.

The boiler unit was unsoldered more or less throughout leaving only the handrail knobs in the hope that they’d still be more or less correct (time will tell). A new smokebox front was made plus a corresponding piece to fit within the rear end of the firebox to form the correct profile. Since the boiler had already had a hole cut for the motor this made reshaping/soldering a bit more difficult, but solved by creating a couple of discs temporarily tack soldered within the boiler area to create the correct diameter. The remaining full circumference of boiler was reduced by filing and then everything reshaped to the correct profile and soldered up. Nothing like as neat underneath but fine from viewing angles. Here’s the new model on the left and original on the right :

Old & New.jpg

Unfortunately, this correction also reduces the space available for lead weighting. Thankfully, the seating of the chimney, dome, and safety valve won’t need attention and the handrail knobs looked OK. The smokebox door would have to be turned down, but it was now parted from the remainder of brass bar, or a new one turned. The only other problem was the cab front which now had a gap around the middle and lower part of the boiler. I had intended soldering the boiler into the cab space, but now decided to file it down to finish flush with the cab front. At least the incorrect shape was mirrored on both the cab and smokebox fronts so the offending smokebox item was soldered within the cab cut out solving the problem of the gap.

Cab front.jpg

I decided it would be easier to make new smokebox/sandbox parts with the top surface and side as one unit folded to 90 degrees. The outer sides were then shaped and added and the complete units soldered into place. This was actually completed a lot quicker than the original and they were marginally neater. A silver lining! New lids for the sandboxes will have to be made and the top drilled for the sanding levers.

When a spring casting, thinned down to a more realistic width, was tried in place it fitted neatly. They’ll have to be cut and shunted to the correct length and thought given as to how best fit them, but that’s something for a future date.

After correction.jpg
Blu tack on the springs lets me down, but you get the idea.
After correction.jpg (82.08 KiB) Viewed 3022 times

Footplate/Bunker Width
I thought I’d poured over the eleven images so often that nothing would have been missed but in view of the 2 previous discrepancies, I poured over them further with the model to hand for comparison. This is when I noticed that the bunker was the same width as the footplate but on the etched parts there was nearly two millimetre difference between the two. But which was wrong?

I asked on the CRA Forum whether anyone knew of the widths of footplates on period locos but didn’t get any answer. I’m pretty well convinced that the footplate is the problem as in another photograph the buffer beam protrudes further beyond the footplate/valance than on the model (in the image below the rear beam wasn’t fully in shot), and the rear slidebar anchor points are flush with the valance whereas my estimates are that they’ll be behind the valance once fitted :

Footplate Width.jpg

However, I’m not going to make any changes until the outside cylinders are fitted (some time off yet). I expect to have to remove the valances then reduce the width of the footplate (carefully at the ends with the buffer beams still in place) then re-instate the valances.

So we’re back to where we might have been a good few days ago, but a lot happier that the frustrating remedial work was (mostly) behind me. However, to find a positive out of all this : one saving grace was that I’d adopted a modular approach which saved a great deal of soul destroying dismantling.

I’m going to move onwards with some detail therapy to raise my spirits!


Posts: 435
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby essdee » Sun May 17, 2020 4:49 pm

Superbly deduced problem and recovered situation, Lindsay - good on yer!

I have a suspicion the the kit's buffer beams may be too wide as well as the footplate. I happen to have been examining various S&D 19th century designs, and been amazed at how narrow the earlier locos were - but then they had smaller boilers, and no real need to build 'over-width', as happened progressively as boiler diameters increased. Are there perspective views that enable the buffer beam width to be estimated, relative to the buffer centres? My impression from the broadside of 1167 is that the buffers themselves do not sit very far back from the ends of the buffer beams?

If it's any help, I recently checked over a stalled project (since 2011!), the John Fowler 0-6-0 of ca 1875. The model loco footplate came out at 29.5mm (7ft 4.5inches), the tender ( a rebuild for my own 1920s date) at 30.5mm (7ft 7.5inches). Apart from the 3 inch discrepancy - confirmed in several photographs - both these are relatively narrow. I wonder if the designer of the etches had to make some assumptions regarding width, and thus over-estimated, from familiarity with more modern designs? Just a thought.....

Good luck with the next stage, after suitable detailing therapy - look forward to seeing that develop.



Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Winander » Sun May 17, 2020 5:02 pm


Good to hear that you have surmounted your problems to your satisfaction - in the absence of a response from the CRA and lack of photographs, it doesn't seem as if anyone will prove you wrong, particularly when everything fits where it didn't before!

Looking along the edge of the footplate in your latest photo, it seems 'something' is different around the base of the rear handrail or at the top of the steps. Is it possible that the footplate is narrower at the back? The side of the bunker does appear to be very close, if not flush with the edge of the footplate. Perhaps other photographs will clarify.*

*Just seen your enlargement on the CRA forum and it seems to be a bend - the crew must be heavy...

I'm enjoying this build and thanks for sharing 'warts and all'.

best wishes
Richard Hodgson

Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Lindsay G » Mon May 18, 2020 12:27 am

Hi Steve and Richard. Interesting observations from both of you.

Richard : You seem to notice minutiae as well! Yup, the footplate is indeed depressed downwards at that entrance. Yet none of the crew that appear in any images seem fed well enough to explain that away. The footplate at the other side in another image shows some wear/damage as well but not to the same extent. Would a model replicating this look accurate or portray evidence of careless handling or modelling mishap?

Steve : I too have pondered over the width of the buffer beams. If I'd extended the earlier image somewhat it might have helped your assessment, I've done so below.

Footplate width again.jpg

This is the best image for providing info on width, most images are side on and those not so are of poorer quality other than this one. The CR lining at the front of the beam outwith the buffer is marginally wider than the lining on the side of the buffer. Comparing that to the model, it actually looks OK. But, I have wondered whether taking the footplate back near enough 1mm each side might make the beams seem overly long compared to what is seen in other images. So, it's all a bit of a conundrum.

It's something to be considered a wee bit further ahead, so I'm not going to worry unduly about it presently. I'm keeping the positive mood going - the corrections made so far make the model look so much more akin to the images, so I reckon we'll get the next one right as well. How's that for an assertion that will come back to bite me in the bum!!!

I don't think the designer, John Boyle, had anything better to go on, probably fewer images than I've got now. John recently passed away and did tremendous work in providing kits for the Caley and NBR (and others). I'd hate this etch to be deemed representative of his handiwork, and I presently feel tackling this as part of the lockdown challenge should be seen a tribute to him from me (not that I realised that this was going to turn out to be the case when I registered this for the challenge).


Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Winander » Mon May 18, 2020 11:06 am

Lindsay G wrote:The footplate at the other side in another image shows some wear/damage as well but not to the same extent. Would a model replicating this look accurate or portray evidence of careless handling or modelling mishap?

Hello Lindsay,

The only way I see that such damage would occur is regular loading of something heavy into the cab. No idea what. I don't think I would model it. Another 'fault' I regularly see in late 19th century tenders is less than perfectly flat tender sheets - wouldn't model that either, but might not correct it if it accidentally happened during the build :)

Would it be possible to guesstimate the amount the buffer beam extends from the dimension of the fixing plate of the buffer i.e. compare the buffer plate to the width of the lined panel? I would agree from this picture that the bunker is the same width as the footplate, and if it were me I would reduce the footplate accordingly and then establish the 'look' of the existing buffer beam. Alternatively, cut some plasticard to the new dimension and plonk the cab and boiler on it to get a sense of how it would look.

Some more minutiae - the end of the buffer beam looks to have been lined :)

What thickness of nickel silver did you use for the chassis frames?

I have every confidence you will prevail.

best wishes
Richard Hodgson

Posts: 435
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby essdee » Mon May 18, 2020 11:50 am

Thanks for that image Lindsay,

Yes, agree with Richard's suggestions for 'way forward' on this aspect. I would also suggest assessing how far those cylinders project beyond the footplate/angle iron - the upper part of the cylinder is well-lit by the sun (estimate sun's position from other reflections, eg. off buffer housing, stanchions - seems fairly high, as would be needed to get such a clear image at that date? ). That might give you a further 'limit' on the envelope for the footplate width.

Looking closely at the footplate/buffer beam top, I really think there is an unusually large discrepancy there, compared to what we 'feel' it's likely to be? Incidentally, sloppy work with my Vernier gave you 29.5mm width for my John Fowler footplate; that should read 28.7mm ie. 7ft 2inches. Even better?

Did John Boyle do the wee 0-4-4T - is that the 'Balerno Pug'? I did one of those and it was delightful; I agree with your sentiments re John, and am sad to learn that he is another one recently ascended to the celestial boardroom.

The footplate dint; that's a real Big Man for the driver.....



PS. Now I have had the John Fowler out of its box, I am disinclined to put it away thanks for that!

Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Lindsay G » Tue May 19, 2020 12:05 am

Hi again Steve/Richard,

In answer to some questions :

Richard - Chassis Frames are 18 thou N/S. They're seen at the front being quite deep and they extend beyond the cylinder front plate so I didn't want to make them overscale using 20-22 thou. (And yes, the buffer beam ends were lined as were the cylinder claddings - both pretty well affected by time in service - seems the loco in the image is due for sprucing up or withdrawal, probably the latter).

Steve - The Balerno Pug, Class 104, is a kit by Caley Coaches and still available. My first loco build as it happens, straight from the box, no measurements done back then. Result? Lovely looking engine, pleased with my first build not withstanding solder everywhere, but brass tube supplied for the boiler was well undersized. Realised later that there is far too much daylight betwixt boiler and footplate. Now that is major rework to rectify!! I have another 104 kit with a boiler rolled to the correct diameter, will be interesting to see how the 2 compare if I ever get round to it.

And Steve, I'm intrigued, what is the "unusually large discrepancy' ...'at the footplate/buffer beam top"?

Anyway, back to this build. I've now been supplied with some further indicative measurements via the CRA and will be pouring over them. Initial impression suggests no great rethink, but time will tell.


Posts: 435
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby essdee » Tue May 19, 2020 11:09 am

Hi Lindsay,

Good news that you have some raw data via CRA to resolve matters!

Sorry for the 'intrigue' - just me being rushed, per usual, and clumsy description. What I meant was, the discrepancy between the footplate width and the buffer beam width, revealed in your extended crop of the original photo, seemed particularly large to me, supporting the other evidence for a rather narrow footplate width for this engine.

And 'oops', my build had not been the Balerno Pug, after all. An embarrassed back-track reveals that it was this one, the 171 Class. Not sure whose kit, though.


Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Lindsay G » Tue May 19, 2020 6:23 pm


171 Nearly There.jpg

Steve, I was only thinking this morning that you might have been thinking of a Class 171. This was another John Boyle etch again body only, no chassis, no fittings. No problem deliberating over dimensions as I got a copy of the GA drawings from a fellow CRA member, and the etch was dimensional sound throughout if my memory serves me right, even coming with alternative cab sides for the shorter bunker and tool box, and longer bunker versions.

This was all but finished, even had a short run on United Mills but I lent all the fittings as masters to help turn the etch into a kit. Trouble is they've never been returned, some problem with the caster supposedly. One day, I'll raise the enthusiasm to tackle them all again, and get it finished off.

Actually stemming from the possibility of moving from etch to kit, I sounded out Dave Franks over the possibility of creating some coupling rods for CR engines. I would have been happy with a universal etch for this build but Dave went a lot further and there are now several on his website, all up to his normal high standards. I purchased sufficient for all these kits unmade in the cupboard and to upgrade the rods on others. Ironically, I'm currently building the only engine where I can't use them!


Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:27 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby allanferguson » Tue May 19, 2020 9:17 pm

I also did one of these --- not to the standard of either of you two. It was scratch built, and a week or two later, it seemed, John Boyle's kit appeared But it did appear on the front page of "Railway Modeller" as part of our "Bonnybridge" layout, so it was at least painted. It ran beautifully in a straight line with nothing behind it. But couple a coach behind and it simply sat with the wheels solemnly going round. It wouldn't go round corners either. It had a Portescap, which I later removed and sold for lots of money, and used the space for some essential ballast. It's been sitting for years waiting for a round tuit. I have one of John's kits now, tucked away for my retirement, complete with frames and wheels Incidentally, my chimney came from an Anchoridge kit for the 0-4-0ST. I wonder, Lindsay, whether yours is an NB chimney?
Lindsay, I have been watching with considerable anguish your travails with your 488, and I'm lost in admiration of your rapid recovery. Because I have one, and I thought it looked rather nice -- I particularly admired the flare round the coal space. But now I may have to substantially redo it..... Life may be too short!
Isn't it irritating when you expect to get something worthwhile done, and your wife expects you to get something worthwhile done -- and it's not the same thing.



Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:27 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby allanferguson » Tue May 19, 2020 9:47 pm

Oh, and I meant to say that my bunker is 30.8mm wide; the footplate under it is 31.8mm wide....
Allan F

Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Lindsay G » Tue May 19, 2020 11:03 pm

Hi Allan,

My 171 chimney was sized from the GA drawings and I had to turn it. I was pointed in the direction of London Road Models who sell NBR R class models, Drummond's last design with them and had (so I was told) the same chimney. So, I bought one but when it arrived it was quite different from the 171 lum. I compared them here on the CRA Forum.

Oh, and listen to Chippy, that dear wife of yours .........for your sake, it's probably well,....worthwhile.


Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:27 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby allanferguson » Wed May 20, 2020 9:10 am


My apologies --- I was getting confused between your engine and Steve's. It was late at night. When you see the two engines together the difference in the chimney tops is quite marked.

We not only have "the Rules" to be careful of, but also a daughter who is a headteacher; we're reduced to sneaking out when she isn't looking to get our Saturday paper.

Allan F

Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Detail Therapy – Cab & Bunker

Postby Lindsay G » Thu May 21, 2020 1:42 pm

I like adding detail, no 2 ways about it. So to improve my spirits after the set backs, I’m adding a few more embellishments starting with the cab and bunker module.

Let’s start inside the cab. As with many CR engines, they were fitted with a wooden raised floor whilst in service. This was made from spare brass scribed with a scrawker to simulate planking, sitting on more spare brass to raise it to the required level. 2 toolboxes (or whatever) were manufactured for both sides (in truth I’ve no idea what was inside the cab of class 488’s but you could have a dance in that cab without space fillers). A reversing lever casting was pinched from another kit and soldered in place (in line with what appears on the outside, so there was presumably something at the cab sides). The floor unit, when fitted, provided rigidity to the cab structure but wasn’t soldered permanently into place just yet.

The backplate I’ll make from plasticard so will leave that meantime and keep the soldering iron switched on.

Cab parts.jpg
Nice brackets – wrong shape! Obviously too old to model from memory! They’ll be replaced in time for the last image in this update.

Overall, the roof was a rather plain affair with an overhang all round. It was made from 2 curved pieces of brass sweated together to give some rigidity to the correct curve and fit (only partially successful!). The only major details were angle irons front and rear which were manufactured from 5 thou brass, the horizontal section cut with a sharp blade, soldered on first, and then the vertical sections cut with scissors to roughly the correct profile and filed down after being soldered in place – very fine when finished off, virtually knife edge (guess how I know?).

However, there was then the matter of the 2 distinctive and diminutive lamp fittings (can’t really call them lamp brackets or irons) on the front edge which were manufactured from 1mm square N/S filed to shape and fitted via a bracket beneath the roof. Finally, a small slab of lead was curved to the roof shape and epoxied to the roof being an interference fit to keep the roof in place and add the first of the weighting.

Cab roof.jpg
Doesn't look very pretty, what? However, it can't be seen when it's in place on the cab, and it holds the roof nicely in place.
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On the bunker the water filler obtained a hinge, and a lamp bracket was fitted to the rear of the bunker (then refitted when I remembered that the flat surface of these brackets face the length of the loco and not across it).

The drawing of the loco showed a pipe (vent pipe, I presume) just in front of the water filler but no photograph shows this pipe and fitted in such a position would have seen it covered with coal constantly. However, there was something resembling a vent in some photographs (see here), protected from coal by a protective box in some of them). So, my interpretation of that was added, but can easily be snipped off and replaced by a lump of coal should more info ever come to hand.

Finally, 1167 had some sort of wooden structure frame added to the left cab window (seen in the lead photo) so this had to be added. (Another image shows this window sheeted over - for chilly Scottish winter rotas?). Whether there was a matching wooden frame on the right window I have no idea, and the builder is presently still to flip a coin on that one.

Cab & Bunker.jpg

Only thing left on the cab is to fit the handrail fittings but I’ll leave that until nearer the stage of uniting cab and footplate. Besides I’m still pondering over how best to replicate the ornate shape of them and then look forward to making them (x6) - not!


Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Winander » Thu May 21, 2020 4:50 pm


Coming along nicely. Thanks for the information regarding the thickness of the frames, I gave up making some 22 thou thick as I thought it inadequate, but as you've inspired me, I'll have another go. Using address labels from the cameo is another useful tip, thanks. I tried using paper stuck with double-sided tape and didn't get along with it.

best wishes,
Richard Hodgson

Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Detail Therapy – Boiler

Postby Lindsay G » Sun May 24, 2020 5:57 pm

Continuing the detailing frenzy, attention turns to the boiler.

Chimney & Dome
The chimney and dome had been tapped 4ba for mounting on a mandrel on the lathe. I decided to drill out a cut down 4ba screw and tap it to 10ba to attach them to the boiler with that and a 10ba screw. Not sure if it was worth the effort but it’s done, so the main boiler fittings are now semi-permanently in place. Despite what I said previously, the chimney and dome do need some fettling on the curved base to sit better on the reduced diameter of boiler (in addition to further work on the outer rims that I previously mentioned but which has yet to be done).

Smokebox Front
Rather than turning a new smokebox door, I thought I’d try retrieving something from the existing. I drilled a hole through the centre which was already centre-drilled for the dart and mounted it on a mini-drill mandrel and used the Dremel to turn the diameter and profile down with a selection of files and grades of wet & dry stuck on various wood shapes. Seemed to work a treat. Hinges were then made up using 5 thou brass wound round .3mm N/S wire plus some fine tube.

The centre was plugged and then re-drilled for the smokebox dart. 1167 never seems to have received the Caley wheel and lever dart, so a 2 lever turning from Markits was used. This is a lovely item, and used straight from the pack....well, except the centre base was turned down to half the diameter, the handles were cut to about 75% of their length, and the lever centres slimmed down so they sat more flush to the door. All 3 parts were soldered together and then superglued into position on the door, set prototypically at c3.30(a.m. or p.m.) per one image.

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Holes had been pre-drilled for the lubricators in the smokebox front, their position based on the estimates when resizing the boiler – the holes on the original etch were quite obviously far too low. And now we come to the first of several masochistic items on the boiler. The lubricators on the smokebox front are not replicated commercially so lots of work under the magnifying lamp was required to cobble them together. They are made up of no less than 3 diameters of Albion Alloys tube, 0.3mm wire, 0.4mm wire, and a handle filed down from a T-join part of etch sprue.

Top centre of the smokebox front was a lamp bracket cum handrail fitting. This was made from 3 layers of brass sandwiched together. The first was drilled for the handrail and the other 2 layers soldered in place then drilled, the middle one creating the blade of the lamp fitting. These were filed to shape and a fourth layer soldered to the rear for the bracket. With that and everything else balanced in place, the smokebox front looks a bit more interesting :

Smokebox front.jpg
A handy image for highlighting that I need to work on the lubricators slightly, and shape the lamp bracket somewhat. The handrail could also do with a little bit of reshaping.

I’m not going to fix the lubricators in place until the boiler and footplate are united for fear of damage and am not going to solder the lamp bracket in place just yet either (I will have a question to put to the forum in due course). The door too will be left unattached to assist with filling the void behind with lead.

Firebox rear
An angle iron secured the cab to the firebox plating and was worth representing. But first the cab was tack soldered to the footplate to make life easier for making this and subsequent addition of pipework. The angle iron was made from 2 parts of 5 thou brass. The vertical area was a rectangle sheet soldered to the rear of the boiler and then partially cut/filed down to shape(the boiler length having been filed down to accommodate this). The horizontal part was a very thin brass strip cut by a sharp blade and then soldered against the vertical. After cleaning off excess solder the vertical section was then filed to the final shape.

Angle iron.jpg
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You’ll notice that holes have appeared on the boiler, these are to accommodate pipework but description of fitting may get a bit wordy, so we’ll cover that separately in the next update.


Lindsay G
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Detail Therapy – Pipework

Postby Lindsay G » Wed May 27, 2020 6:55 pm

A Set Back Of My Own Making
Getting stuck into the pipework at this stage was never part of the envisage plan. Envisage plan? More a matter of in for a penny, in for a pound. Besides, I’ve got used to life through the magnifying lamp recently, so let’s keep using it and tackle the pipework that is mostly at the rear of the boiler but some running to the front of it.

Taking photographs of models is a proven means of reviewing work and highlighting problems. It certainly did with this pipework. I thought things were looking OK through the magnifying lamp, but when I took a photo for an impending East of Scotland Group Meeting (Zoom naturally) my opinion quickly changed. This is part of what I, and those on Zoom in our Group, saw :

pipes first go.jpg
pipes first go.jpg (138.57 KiB) Viewed 1907 times

OK, allowances can be made for the fact that nothing is fixed in place so things may be askew and not united properly, but at least a couple of items need serious reconsideration. So, let’s rewind and get things going on a better footing, taking photos at each stage and checking before moving on to the next stage. As a result of this rework the text is an amalgam of work done for the original and reworked items.

Injector Valve Pipes (if that’s what they are!)
At the centre of the fittings are rather overscale handrail knobs, of unknown origin, to which was added various lengths and diameters of brass tube, wire, and etch strip to end up with something resembling those on 1167. 16ba bolts were file down across the flats and depth and fit at top and bottom ends of the main pipe runs. Both the cab and boiler units had to be temporarily tack soldered onto the footplate to proceed.

The etched holes in the cab front seemed to be positioned too inboard and too high and were plugged by soldering in brass wire, as was the centre hole mentioned a few posts ago. Holes for all the pipework were judged by eye alone and if truth be told another 7 or 8 holes will be plugged on the boiler and cab front before I get everything into what appears to be the correct position:

Injector pipes.jpg

Westinghouse Pump & Pipework
The original Westinghouse pump was a whitemetal casting purchased from Wizard Models. I was always rather sceptical about using it – there was going to be more work done on it and detail added - but the above image had me rethink. A lost wax casting from Caley Coaches destined for another build has been brought into play. It’s probably the best representation of a Caley pump but still needs some work, primarily opening out the area between the two cylinders using a selection of dental burrs and attempting to remodel the lubricator top left to something more akin to the distinctive Caley pear-shaped item. Several holes were drilled to accept pipework and for 0.5mm wire securing it to the firebox – hard work with lost wax castings, no drills broken but some made little impression.

Two fixing brackets were made from fret waste, drilled 0.5mm centrally for the fixing wire and for 0.3mm wire to represent the bolts at both ends, and soldered to the firebox. Another hole was drilled in the footplate for an outgoing pipe.

With the pump in place, wire was shaped and added to represent the pipework. 0.4mm brass wire turns through 180 degrees and runs to the smokebox, where it fits in a short length of 0.6mm OD tube, some further 0.6mm tube and a blob of solder being added to the wire to represent the elbow joint. Another 0.4mm wire runs to a fitting on the firebox. This fitting was another crude handrail knob but it was obviously oversize when I saw it in place in the above image. So this was dismantled and the knob turned down somewhat. Previously it had been drilled to 90 degrees, hex section “bolts” (mentioned elsewhere) added and 0.3mm N/S wire in 0.5mm OD tube sleeve running to the cab front, most of which was retrieved and reused.

Westinghouse pipes.jpg

Final Pipe
The last pipe ran from the whistle fitting to the smokebox made from 0.3mm N/S wire. At the smokebox it fitted into 0.5mm OD tube with more of the same again for the elbow joint. There was then the fun of negotiating it under, around, and over other pipes before finally reaching the whistle fitting. And with that, the pipework is complete :

Pipework done2.jpg
I really must get round to rework on the chimney, dome, and safety valve, the chimney apparently levitating at present.

Needless to say, things didn’t go as smoothly as the words suggest with pipework having to be reshaped to fit neatly around other pipework and the odd fittings unsoldering when other parts were being soldered up (OK, I should have used higher melt solder at the earlier stages). Extra care will be taken when all of this pipework is finally soldered or glued in place.

Which neatly leads me on to the question I threatened in the previous update. All that pipework, pump, and fittings will get well in the way of painting and lining (the front of the cab was lined and 2 boiler bands run over the front and rear of the firebox, plus 2 other boiler bands - painted decal paper being envisaged for the bands). In addition the pipes to the smokebox just sit on top of the handrail knobs as they did on the prototype (as far as I can see). I’d prefer to fit everything after painting (hence the tubes fitted on the smokebox and elsewhere), but a few pipework sections have to be fitted in to 3 different facing planes which is nigh on impossible to achieve. So, for those with experience of painting and lining engines covered in similar obstacles, what would the advice be?

Well, that’s detailing done on 2 modules - next time round we’ll turn attention to the footplate and chassis, before getting stuck into the outside cylinders and rods.


Alan Woodard
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:15 pm

Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Alan Woodard » Wed May 27, 2020 7:20 pm

Hi Lindsay.
Excellent work Sir. I love doing the detail part and try to get as much in as I can. I'm not a rivet counter, but I do love the detail.


David Knight
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Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby David Knight » Wed May 27, 2020 11:24 pm

About the lost wax castings and drilling, has anyone tried annealing them first or is the alloy of brass used for casting just going to be hard no matter what?



PS, Brilliant stuff Lindsay, your work ethic is inspirational :thumb :thumb

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu May 28, 2020 9:10 am

David Knight wrote:... your work ethic is inspirational :thumb :thumb

Shouldn't that be 'play' ethic :D for myself the moment it becomes work is the moment the hours appear to stall :thumb ... never really had much work ethic but miraculously still manage to churn out what is often called work :shock:
Last edited by Le Corbusier on Thu May 28, 2020 12:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Tim Lee

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Andy W
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Re: Socially Distanced Challenge – CR Class 488 Build

Postby Andy W » Thu May 28, 2020 12:27 pm

Lindsay, a really interesting build of a wonderfully eccentric loco. For what it’s worth I’d try and keep the pipe work etc as separate units whenever possible. It’ll make painting easier. Just keep the parts safely!
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