Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Mark Tatlow » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:53 am

Le Corbusier wrote:wouldn't cellulose disolve the plastic in this instant?


If you dropped the model in a vat of cellulose thinners for a period, it may well do damage but for delivery via an airbrush the solvent will disappear in a fraction. Indeed, one of the issues of cellulose paint (and the main cause of the orange peel effect) is that the thinners have evaporated before the paint arrives on the surface of the model.
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:19 am

I am reluctant to hijack a thread on another topic, but in response to two of the recent comments, I well remember the slip working on the Long Suffren layout. It was at the Bristol Show when we took the NLG’s Bodmin layout to the same show in 1982 – it was during the Falklands War. Much to our surprise, we won the Bristol Buffer for best layout, despite the obvious entertainment value of Long Suffren. They did win the Chairman’s Rocket, though. On the bare platform there were some tinned peas. When asked what the tin represented, they answered that this was “the platform can o’ peas” (which they hadn’t had time to finish before the show).

The operation of the slip coach on Long Suffren was impressive, albeit that it was performed at about 150 mph. Everyone had a good laugh, though, on one occasion when after the slip coach had been successfully detached and was beginning to slow down as it approached the platform, the main train suddenly stopped dead (due, presumably, to someone having forgotten to throw a section switch), whereupon the Slip coach crashed into the back of the train, still doing a good 80 mph. No damage was done to the models, but it did make a loud bang as it hit.

As to the gravity assisted run-round operation at Cowes, Dennis Nix successfully reproduced this on his model of Cowes, again about 40 years ago. I always thought he was an LNWR modeller, but I am pretty sure that he was the builder of this Isle of Wight layout.

(Incidentally, I am finding this account of the 48XX conversion extremely helpful. A really worthwhile account of an interesting project.)
Last edited by martin goodall on Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Paul Willis
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:35 pm

petermeyer wrote:Seems like you've lost a tank vent in the process


Hi Peter,

Yes, you're correct - well spotted! It wasn't too firmly glued to the tank top, so it snapped off. Fortunately, not in the sink and down the plug-hole. I keep the plug in for things like this...

I didn't want to risk "just" gluing it again, particularly as it was snapped off at the spigot.

So I used a pin-vice to hold a .7mm drill and drilled a hole down the centre of it, and a corresponding one on the top of the tank.

A short length of 0.7mm straight brass wire, and a bit of superglue, and all was good again. Not even any photos on this occasion - I was a bit annoyed, so I forgot to document it ;-)

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:42 pm

zebedeesknees wrote:
Flymo748 wrote:
I was alluding to the in-depth knowledge and experience that you have of all matters railway modelling. And the occasional leftfield idea, like using memory wire for operating 4mm brakes!


Thanks Paul, I had forgotten that was on the CLAG site:- http://www.clag.org.uk/memory-brake.html and it perhaps needs some explanation for anyone wondering!


I remember you bringing it along to a CLAG meeting at Prem's house, and us spending the evening playing with it up and down the sidings at the front of Green Street :-)

That might have been during my first time working in London, before I went back Oop Norf to the land of parkin and Tetleys. I stuck that for about six months before engineering a way back down south - something I believed I'd never want to do.

zebedeesknees wrote:
Hope that you're keeping safe, and looking forward to seeing more of your innovations at some point.

Cheers
Paul


Thanks again, we are shielding until somewhen in August or perhaps later, so time to write up more crazy ideas. But back to the thread - may I draw your attention to the 14xx item on the site:- http://www.clag.org.uk/hl-14xx.htm ? Not to mention the ideal pickup solution at the bottom of this page:- http://www.clag.org.uk/battery-radio.html


As I've said a couple of times before, I'm building this chassis "out of the box", so thanks, but no thanks ;-)

The body modifications are a completely different subject, but I'm sticking with the kit as Chris designed. Plenty of time to play around with experiments on stuff that needs it, like Alan Gibson kits that are long in the tooth (c.f. my E4 thread, where I'm adopting a Nelsonian eye to the kit's liberties with cosmetic dimensions.

Stay safe,
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:48 pm

Mark Tatlow wrote:
Flymo748 wrote:
Lifting it out, under my fingers, the paint literally fell off:

IMG_6483.JPG

Paul


As was noted in my Highland Miscellany thread or here on my blog (https://highlandmiscellany.com/2020/05/ ... wednesday/), I have had some similar experiences.

My conclusion is that the modern acrylics that now go into car paints just aren't good enough to survive a warm ultrasonic bath. Which obviously is a concern for the long term survival of the paint on the model too! I think i have detected a greater prevalence of chipping. It may be that this affects the primers worst; although given the primer's sole purpose is to get the later coats to stick on, that would be a bit poor!

I don't know if people agree with this but I will be going to the car paint factors today to buy a couple more colours and a good primer - all in cellulose.


Mark, this was actually Humbrol enamel, not a proper primer. I reckoned that it would take well enough over a clean plastic body.

As I mentioned, it was for spotting surface defects (careful, I know what you'll say...) and was just some ordinary paint that I had out to paint a plastic wagon kit with. On which it has stayed firmly in place with normal handling, so I reckon it must have been the combination of the chemical and the bath.

JOOI, are you getting the cellulose in tins or rattle cans? I have plenty in stock at the moment in various colours for modelling, but the last time I went into my local paint factors for a tin (metallic purple, for the TVR, as it happens) they would only sell me it in an aerosol.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:32 pm

martin goodall wrote:
(Incidentally, I am finding this account of the 48XX conversion extremely helpful. A really worthwhile account of an interesting project.)


Thank you Martin - the aim at the outset was to set down the points that may be useful to someone building something similar, if not the exact chassis/body. Although I know that there are a lot of them out there...

So there are areas that I've completely skipped over as there's no point in writing "I followed the instructions". Much of the initial setting up the frames was like that, because it all went together so well.

The next stage is back to improvements/modifications...

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Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:10 pm

So, on to another bit of correcting the errors in the Airfix RTR body...

In his article in MRJ, Iain Rice calls out the shape and location of the cab roof rainstrips as being incorrect. He describes them as having too pronounced a "vee".

Well, I wonder if the original Airfix toolmakers used the Roche drawing of the 48xx. For the shape of the rainstrips matches those on the unmodified model well:

IMG_6475.JPG


Whereas the prototype ones are at a far more shallow an angle.

48xx prototype  (7).jpg


Rather than risk carving them off with a scalpel, and gouging the roof in a way that made it awkward/time-consuming to repair to a flawless finish, I decided to invest a bit of time in sanding them off gradually with a 4000 grade foam pad. I bought a set of this in different grades from 1500 to 12000 at Warley a couple of years ago, and they have been invaluable in fine finishing.

I sanded the strip back so the only trace remaining of it was the "shadow" where the unpainted raw plastic showed against the black roof:

IMG_6462.JPG


IMG_6463.JPG


Iain also removed the ventilator in the cab roof, saying it lacked relief. Comparing it with prototype photos, I am less convinced, and decided to leave it as it is rather than mess around and potentially have a clumsy replacement. It does mean that I can't use Iain's trick of having the ventilator half open to display the cab interior, but I'll live with that.

Incidentally, that Roche drawing may also explain the complete abomination which is the original RTR handrail around the smokebox. I'll come to that later...

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:37 am

After that bit of tweaking of the Airfix body, I'll share with you through pictures a couple of things to consider when making sure that body and the High Level chassis work together properly...

Of course, when building the chassis using the P4 spacers (I'm not going to say "to P4 standards" in case there are any who subsequently read this who are using EM wheels ;-) )then the frames will be wider apart than on the original. We also, thanks to the kit, have extra details to contend with.

Chris includes in the instructions mention that you may need to file a little bit of the frame bracing to fit between the valances. He then goes on to say say you should fit it "having made any necessary adjustments". There are two areas where I found I had to make adjustments.

Front wheel splashers

The moulded plastic splashers are wider than in the prototype, as the OO chassis and wheels are closer together. It's inevitable, to ensure the splashers cover the treads and flanges of the OO wheels. When you come to fit the P4 width chassis, it won't fit properly because the tops of the rear of the front splashers that are part of the frames sit inside the OO splashers. Like this:

IMG_6601.JPG


What is needed is to remove sufficient of the plastic splasher to allow the splasher rear to sit behind it and butt up against it. I found that the easiest way was to place the chassis in the correct position in the body, making sure that it was absolutely centred. I then used a scalpel bearing gently on the outside face of the splasher to scribe a line in the plastic to show the amount of material that needed removing. I then did this using a scalpel, finishing off with a fine file.

In the picture below, you will see that the far splasher has the line scribed in the plastic. As you would expect, it's around a millimetre of material that needs to come off each side. The nearer splasher has already had the plastic removed.

IMG_6603.JPG


It is a case of trial and error, and finishing the job off carefully as you don't want to end up with an uneven rear edge to the splasher top, or a gap between it and the rear face of the splasher. Not a job to be rushed.

Having done that, I tried the chassis in place, and found that it still didn't fit neatly. Indeed, it rocked back and forth from the ends. A quick glance found the culprit.

Again, due to the compromises of moulding of the plastic body, the valances are thicker than they should be. They were coming into conflict with the tops of the rear sandboxes:

IMG_6604.JPG


I believe that the sandboxes are in the correct place, as they fit neatly into the space for them in the chassis, and indeed have a moulded "pip" to locate them in place for soldering. So I needed to just use a sharp scalpel to carve away a little bit of the plastic on the inside of the valances to ensure that there was clearance for the sandbox tops:

IMG_6605.JPG


After that, I was able to locate the rear of the etched chassis onto the plastic tab at the base of the bunker in the body (after the tiniest amount of fettling to gain clearance) and fit the two together.

IMG_6653.JPG


I was pleased to see that on bringing them together, the body fitted flatly and squarely on the frames, and all looked good and square.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:24 pm

The next step was another one replacing detail which had earlier been removed. In this case, it was the four lifting rings on the tops of the side tanks. On the original Airfix body, these were moulded representations, with not too much detail.

The replacement rings were made from straight nickel silver wire - and yes, I forget what size, but I suspect it was .45 mm size. This was wound around the shank of a drill to make a coil of enough loops to do the job, plus a could spare for the Great Carpet God. Well, you can never take too many precautions.

Before removing the drill from the centre of the coil, I used a piercing saw to cut a slit all along it, which separates the individual rings. These were then squashed flat using a pair of pliers to ready them for fitting. The saw-cut made a handy gap in the ring to be able to fit it over the mount on the tank. This is how they look when fitted:

IMG_6685.JPG


The shininess around each ring comes from the superglue used to fix them down.

I was a little concerned that I had made them too large and heavy looking, but these couple of photos of the prototype show that they are quite substantial. Understandable really, if they are used for lifting the tanks away from the locomotive for a service:

48xx prototype  (16).jpg


48xx prototype  (35).jpg


So probably a little larger than scale, but not the malnourished examples originally moulded. I feel pleased with them.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:20 am

As always with my modelling, projects come and go... In the four months or so since I last posted about the 48xx, I've finished half a dozen wagons, done a bit of fiddling around with etches, and generally messed about with researching bits and pieces on the internet. However, I now feel that it's time to pick this back up again, and start moving on. Pre-Lockdown2, someone mentioned in the pub that they were following this with interest with a view to doing the same, so here we go...

The point at which I stopped the story was when I'd started to put the detailing back on the body, after all of the inappropriate (for my preferred prototype) or inaccurate detail had been removed. The next stage in the process was to reinstate the grab-rails, and this is how I went about it.

After removing the original moulded handrail with a scalpel and a fine sanding block, I was left with traces on the plastic of where the grab-rails should be. The first step was to use my digital micrometer to measure across the centres of the marks:

Handrail 1.JPG


Handrail 2.JPG


You may have spotted that it wasn't even switched on. I just used the locking nut to transfer the correct dimension to my Bill Bedford bending jig, to find the appropriate holes.

Handrail 3.JPG


From there, it is easy to bend up the correct shape grab-rail, and of course to make them consistent for both sides of the locomotive.

Handrail 4.JPG


Again, for consistency, I hunted in my pack of plastic strip to find a piece of an appropriate thickness to make a depth spacer for the various pieces.

Handrail 5.JPG


Handrail 7.JPG


I have read many times that handrails can be melted into a plastic body. I don't. In simple terms, I don't trust myself not to slip with a hot soldering iron! So I use either thick or thin superglue to fix them in place. In this case, the Slo-Zap, which I really like as it builds up a good strong fillet of glue when it dries. I usually apply it with a cocktail stick:

Handrail 8.JPG


And the finished result. IMHO, much better than the originals:

Handrail 6.JPG


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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby steve howe » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:02 pm

Good to see progress on this again Paul, its amazing how much difference the little details like the lifting rings can make to a basically good RTR moulding.

Reminds me I need to crack on with my second one, (if I could only get rid of this wretched Cameo project - anyone want it? https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/137565-sandsifters/ ;)

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:30 pm

steve howe wrote:Good to see progress on this again Paul, its amazing how much difference the little details like the lifting rings can make to a basically good RTR moulding.


That's my goal with this - to really bring it on from "oh no, not just another renumbered 14xx" to be something a little bit special. Of course, I have two excellent stepping stones, in the High Level chassis, and Iain Rice's article to guide me on the body.

steve howe wrote:Reminds me I need to crack on with my second one, (if I could only get rid of this wretched Cameo project - anyone want it? https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/137565-sandsifters/ ;)

Steve


The 48xx has been a nice little project. Now that I've cleared the decks of some other stuff, I'll be speeding up progress.

And I'm really sorry to hear that you've fallen out of love with your cameo. I saw the initial ideas over on RMWeb, I thought it was a brilliant idea. Looking at it again, you really have gone 90% of the way. Hope that you can think on it for a couple of weeks and the way forward will become clear.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:20 pm

So, moving on from the grabrails dotted around the locomotive, this is how I dealt with the cab handrails.

You may remember that the original Airfix handrail knobs were rather oversized and crude. These are the original, compared to the prototype.

Handrail knobs  (1).JPG


48xx prototype  handrails.jpg


As part of the stripping of the body, I had removed these in anticipation of replacing them with finer Alan Gibson parts. The larger holes had been filled with Squadron putty, and pre-drilled.

One of the things that I dislike on models is that sense that the handrails are (unsurprisingly) lengths of wire passing through a knob, rather than set into it. So for these, I prepared the four lengths of wire to be longer than needed, and soldered the Gibson handrail knobs are one end. This meant that I could then trim off and file smooth the end of the wire.

Handrail knobs  (2).JPG


The lower knobs were then fixed in place, and when all was set solid, the excess length of wire could be cut off.

Handrail knobs  (3).JPG


Any gaps or imperfections are facing downwards and out of sight...

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby jim s-w » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:32 am

Have you used the same sized wire for the handrails Paul? The vertical ones are noticeably chunkier on the prototype.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Noel » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:12 pm

Looking at the photo with the new handrails fitted, I see that the pipe/conduit up the front offside of the cab is still there. The Airfix version is a significant, but for production reasons probably inevitable, fudge in shape and location. I'm not sure what it is for, but photographs show that it wasn't present on at least the first two batches as built, so since you are after 1934 condition...
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Tim V » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:03 pm

Somewhere I have a schedule of handrail sizes, can I find it now?
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:22 pm

jim s-w wrote:Have you used the same sized wire for the handrails Paul? The vertical ones are noticeably chunkier on the prototype.


Jim, I suspect that I probably have. Shortcuts, and all that ;-)

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:27 pm

Tim V wrote:Somewhere I have a schedule of handrail sizes, can I find it now?


On the laptop or carbon-based record?

I tend to scan a lot of stuff these days I I think that I will find it useful. A decent file name and a structured file storage system, and I can find things a lot quicker than trying to remember what bookshelf something was on, and what colour cover it had.

Also, you can crop and focus on the details that you want to emphasise. This is one of my photos for future reference titled "GER jacket hung on gate"...

GER jacket hung on gate.JPG


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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Andrew Ullyott » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:32 pm

Looking good Paul and had me digging out the photos I took when I did mine. Didn’t think it was 5 years ago mind you!
35C26118-B037-4731-AD27-108F4101C96F.jpeg
35BE8D71-3BF8-485D-8D43-6806C65909A5.jpeg

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:33 pm

Noel wrote:Looking at the photo with the new handrails fitted, I see that the pipe/conduit up the front offside of the cab is still there. The Airfix version is a significant, but for production reasons probably inevitable, fudge in shape and location. I'm not sure what it is for, but photographs show that it wasn't present on at least the first two batches as built, so since you are after 1934 condition...


Thanks Noel. I'll get the scalpel out on that later...

There is a clear photo of it not being present on this photo of 5801 at Dovey Junction (the very last photo on the page) http://www.gwr.org.uk/no4-coup-tanks.html

The more you look, the more you see, and I hadn't spotted that nuance.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:35 pm

Andrew Ullyott wrote:Looking good Paul and had me digging out the photos I took when I did mine. Didn’t think it was 5 years ago mind you!


Thanks Andrew - you might be interested in the next "instalment" looking at those photos. Hope that it doesn't upset you!

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby stevemcclary » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:03 am

Paul,

I believe the conduit which ran up the drivers side of the cab was for the auto-working, and controlled the circuits for the communication bell system between the driver and fireman when auto-working. As the 58xx were not auto-fitted, this conduit is not present. However, I do have two early thirties pictures of 48xx where this conduit runs up the bunker side of the cab door to enter the rear of the cab; in Locomotives of the Great Western Railway vol-6, picture F43 shows a top-feed fitted 1430 with the conduit similarly running up the bunker.

The ATC conduit ran a different route, along the valance as far as the front of the drivers side tank. At this point it ran along the bottom of the tank towards the boiler, where turned vertically 90 degrees to run between the tank and the boiler barrel, and finally along the tank top until it entered the cab, adjacent to the ATC equipment. This conduit appears on both 48xx and some 58xx. The 58's were not equipped with ATC when built, but some were retro-fitted (including 5801). In some cases this conduit appears from between the frames to run up between the boiler and the tank, rather than run along the valance. 5801 is an example of this arrangement..

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Steve

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Noel » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:41 pm

stevemcclary wrote:I believe the conduit which ran up the drivers side of the cab was for the auto-working, and controlled the circuits for the communication bell system between the driver and fireman when auto-working.


The bell communication system would have been essential from the start on any auto-fitted engine, so was always fitted, so far as I know, and is the reason why auto-fitted locos with ATC had two battery boxes. The position of the conduit might have been altered after building, but there is another possible reason, which I think is more likely [but don't know, which is why I was cautious earlier]. Driving trailers originally had no ATC, which left the driver effectively without ATC when in the trailer and dependent on the fireman. From 1939 the GWR started to fit all trailers with ATC bell, horn and control gear, so the driver would have control. The program wasn't completed until circa 1950, with many later-built trailers not fitted until soon after WW2.

The horn works off the brake pipe, so can be dealt with by a connection within the trailer, but the bell is worked by a battery, and for safety reasons has to repeat the indication on the loco, which requires an additional circuit between loco and trailer, which is why the new conduit [which in some cases was not fitted to locos until after the war either] was fitted, I think. It also appears on 54xx and 64xx in a similar position; I don't know where it was on the 4575 conversions, though.
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Noel

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Tim V » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:07 pm

Paul Willis wrote:
Tim V wrote:Somewhere I have a schedule of handrail sizes, can I find it now?


On the laptop or carbon-based record?
Paul

It was on a piece of paper stuck on the wall by my workbench. It has disappeared. After much searching through GWSG magazines, here it is (GWSG Newsletter Spring 2008).
Cab handrails.jpg
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby BryanJohnson » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:43 pm

Just to make it more complex, the position on the same engine could vary over time.
I have a photograph of 1457 taken in 1954 which has the conduit rising from the junction box on the valence to the rear of the cab footsteps and handrail. A later photo in 1956 after repainting so probably after an overhaul shows it has moved to the more normal position near the front of the cab.


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