Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

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Paul Willis
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Split of topics --> Alan Gibson E4 build

Postby Paul Willis » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:34 pm

Thanks Clive and David for your thoughts on the Gibson E4 kit.

As I'm two-thirds through my own build of one of these, I've moved your posts into a separate topic. You'll find it over there ---->

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:57 pm

steamraiser wrote:Have you tried putting a spot of cutting lubricant on you drill before commencing operations?


I did :-)

Well, not cutting lubricant. I don't have a lathe, not even a Fonly one.

So a bit of spit on the casting did the same thing. Or not. On the final and successful attempt to drill into the bottom of the casting, I used clock oil from my toolbox.

I don't know if changing the speed on my Proxxon pillar drill would have made a difference. It has three speeds I think, but I've just set in on one and leave it there. I'm not known for my engineering prowess or mechanical sympathy...

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Paul
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David Knight
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby David Knight » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:57 pm

Paul,

Brass can be a pain as drill bits tend to grab. The problems you are encountering along with similar problems encountered by others on the forum caused a memory (or something) in my mind to click that there was a better way of drilling brass and there is; https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums ... ?th=133050

HTH

David

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Mike Garwood
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Mike Garwood » Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:12 pm

That's interesting. But doing that on a 0.5mm drill? Not so sure. Worth a go though, thanks for posting that David, I had no idea there was a cure for the grabbing effect.

Mike

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:25 pm

A body in lockdown...

Well, not mine, although I have been getting exercise most days with the "PE with Joe" workouts at 9am each morning on YouTube. I'm feeling the benefits (and the aches).

There comes a point in the kit instructions when you stop working on the chassis and start "preparing the body". Now, this could be as little as doing the gentle trimming of a bit or two of plastic to ensure it fits perfectly. There are instructions to do this, showing how much and where to remove plastic to avoid spacers, braces, and the like.

Or you could decide to do what I'm doing, which is upgrade the RTR body, and in my case backdate it to circa 1934 condition. In case you're curious, the thread on topfeed/no topfeed is an irrelevance if you're modelling pre-1936, as that is when it is stated that the first topfeeds were fitted. I'm also going to be fitting the Mainly Trains (ex-Iain Rice) detailing kit.

So this is where we start. The body mounting screw holds the chimney in place, so removing that to remove the chassis also means the chimney is detached. The safety valve pulled very easily out - I don't think it was that well fitted in the first place.

IMG_6335.JPG


IMG_6336.JPG


The smokebox and boiler are separate mouldings, and *should* unclip. Mine put up a fair bit of resistance, and eventually I had to trim the clips off (it was glued back in place during the rebuild) to remove it.

IMG_6340.JPG


Then the serious surgery started...

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Paul
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David Knight
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby David Knight » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:51 pm

Mike Garwood wrote:That's interesting. But doing that on a 0.5mm drill? Not so sure. Worth a go though, thanks for posting that David, I had no idea there was a cure for the grabbing effect.

Mike

Prompted by your comments I had a quick search and it is possible to get drills for brass that are designed for the purpose. https://www.fine-tools.com/messingbohrer.html
They are a tad pricey though :o

Cheers,

David

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Mike Garwood
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Mike Garwood » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:21 pm

Prompted by your comments I had a quick search and it is possible to get drills for brass that are designed for the purpose. https://www.fine-tools.com/messingbohrer.html
They are a tad pricey though :o

Cheers,

David


You wouldn't want to break too many of those!! Ouch! :shock:

Mike

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:51 am

Major surgery, or preparing the body Part 1...

If you choose to upgrade and/or back-date your 14xx, the first thing to address are the major components that are not needed. This is because either they are replaced with improved castings in the Mainly Trains detailing kit, or they are not needed. That is the case for the topfeed on the boiler, which was only fitted from 1936.

The chimney pipe is removed as part of the separation of the body and chassis, leaving only the base on the smokebox in place. This was filed away using a couple of progressively smoother files.

The topfeed was removed in a similar way, although the bulk of it was first hacked off with a pair of Xuron rail cutters. Very satisfying!

And to change the face of the locomotive, the malnourished smokebox door was removed, , which was done with lots of steady work with a wide, but fine, Number 2 file. The thing that I paid most attention to was keeping it square, and not rounding off the front corners of the smokebox. To ensure that the finished face was entirely flat, I held the boiler vertically and rubbed it across a large file to reduce the thickness carefully and evenly. Towards the end of the exercise, there was a paper-thin film of plastic left across the front of the smokebox, which showed I was nearly there.

IMG_6347.JPG


With the topfeed removed, the accompanying pipes could carefully be removed with a file, leaving the boiler band (yes, I know, over scale in thickness...) in place. The handrail knobs had been removed, and the remains of the moulding marks/glue/paint sanded back as well.

I finished off the surface of all the areas of removed parts with a succession of progressively finer sanding pads, the type that are flexible, so they are easier to use on curved surface.

IMG_6351.JPG


And a quick test fit back on the chassis to make sure everything still looked square:

IMG_6354.JPG


IMG_6356.JPG


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Paul
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Philip Hall
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Philip Hall » Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:46 am

Paul,

When I did one of these many years ago I thought that the replacement smokebox door didn't look quite right; the 'ring' between the door and the edge of the smokebox looked a touch too great. After a lot of looking at pictures I noticed that the front edge of the smokebox was indeed rounded a little, so I did this, the 'ring' was reduced and it looked better. I still have the model in a showcase (it had been converted to P4 with Ultrascale wheels) and one day might resurrect it. If it helps I can take a picture.

Philip

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:42 pm

Philip Hall wrote:Paul,

When I did one of these many years ago I thought that the replacement smokebox door didn't look quite right; the 'ring' between the door and the edge of the smokebox looked a touch too great. After a lot of looking at pictures I noticed that the front edge of the smokebox was indeed rounded a little, so I did this, the 'ring' was reduced and it looked better. I still have the model in a showcase (it had been converted to P4 with Ultrascale wheels) and one day might resurrect it. If it helps I can take a picture.

Philip


Hi Philip,

Looking *very* closely at the photo of the prototype, and in particular the way that the light reflects off the front of the smokebox at around the 5 o'clock position, then I feel that you're right:

48xx prototype  (17).jpg


I feel that there is a curved flange, which protrudes forward of the smokebox wrapper, shown by the line of rivets.

As you say, that would visually reduce the apparent size of the border between the door and the outer edge.

Whether I make any changes, given that not only is the smokebox door but the handrail across it has now been fixed firmly in place is a pre-judged question. If one was being built from scratch, and you had the boiler/smokebox in a lathe, it would be easier to take some material off to make that rounded corner. But as I'm not building from scratch, and I don't have a lathe, this would be a bit tricky.

I do also think that the Mainly Trains door is slightly the wrong profile. The majority of prototype photos give the impression that the door is more dished than the cast one. On the other hand, there are some prototype shots, taken from some angles, which show the slightly flatter look of the MT casting. Difficult one to call. But either way, it's better than the malnourished Airfix effort it replaced!

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Paul
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Philip Hall » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:46 pm

Paul,

I don’t think I got the wrapper exactly right on my one either. I think I might have spotted this after most of the assembly had been done, and I just had a bit of a go with a file to create the contour. A lathe might have produced a better job But I didn’t have one then and actually, I’m not sure I’d have used it.

The door handles on mine are decidedly chunky, being the brass castings from the MT kit, and if I ever revisit it I should probably have another look there.

One thing is for sure, your one will run far better than mine does at the moment!

Philip

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:01 am

Philip Hall wrote:The door handles on mine are decidedly chunky, being the brass castings from the MT kit, and if I ever revisit it I should probably have another look there.

Hi Philip,

That's interesting - the handles that came with my detailing kit are turnings, and have quite a finesse to them. They seem close in size to the prototype, and without a lathe to turn my own, I can't think of better.

The handles were over-length, as supplied. That was actually one of the more nerve-wracking parts of the build so far - deliberating exactly what length to snip them back to. I judged it by eye, based on photos and using the door hinges as a reference, rather than rely on measuring from a drawing. Another case where I chose an approach to give the right impression, rather than use the scientific approach, to make something.

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Paul
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Mike Garwood
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Mike Garwood » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:03 am

I had this problem on the County 4-6-0. The smoke box door is recessed into a rim. I used a plastic cutter to produce the rim and then shaped the bevel with wet and dry. Didn't take long, but worth the effort. The real pain was having to take the rim width off the smokebox so that everything was the right length...or near enough.

Mike

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Enigma » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:27 pm

I wasn't to happy with the MT smokebox door either, it just didn't look right in some way - but as I didn't have another alternative to hand I still used it. One I did many years ago used an Airfix Prairie (plastic kit) door which I recollect looked a lot better than the one fitted. On the one done recently I held back on removing the top feed and piping as it appeared to be an awful lot of work and could have ended up as a 'disaster darling'. You've made a nice job of it and has left me wishing I'd grasped the bull by the horns (or anywhere else on its anatomy for that matter) and gone for it.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Tim V » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:25 pm

Wells that's annoying. I thought I'd sold a set of Ultrascale 14xx wheels on the bring & buy years ago, just found them! Grrr, and a HL kit is only £42, double Grrr.

Also found a brand new, unused set of Studiolith pannier wheels, and spotted the HL kit. I don't need another pannier ...
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The last word on 48xx smokebox doors ;-)

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:24 pm

I wasn't to happy with the MT smokebox door either, it just didn't look right in some way - but as I didn't have another alternative to hand I still used it. One I did many years ago used an Airfix Prairie (plastic kit) door which I recollect looked a lot better than the one fitted.


I understand that it's a common issue with both the RTR Airfix 14xx and the Prairie from the same stable that the smokebox door is malnourished. I also have two of the Prairies I bought secondhand - one already in P4, one GMR one in OO and still in the box. This is the smokebox door as it comes:

Airfix 61xx smokebox door..JPG


Back with the 14xx, I thought that I'd take a further look and post some findings here. Hopefully that will help anyone else who is following in my twisted and confused tracks :-)

Firstly the size. I measured the GA drawing in GWRJ, and compared it to the Mainly Trains casting, as best I could. Which was a bit of a job even with the tips of the jaws of a micrometer, as it's now stuck in place, along with the handrail, handles, etc. So this is what I measured:

- prototype: 3'11" diameter

- model: 3'10.5" diameter.

So that's as near as damn it, to be honest, and something I can live with.

Secondly, the door straps. I've had a nagging doubt about these since fitting it. I should have looked more closely beforehand, because once identified, the difference is obvious. With the hope that Paul Karau won't mind me borrowing it, this is a crop of a photo on page 419 of Great Western Journal no. 23:

GWR Journal No23 p419.jpg


What struck me is that rather than being a simple strap, the (roughly) half nearest the hinge is wider and shallower than the half in the centre. This is another case of modle what you see, not what you are given...

Now if the smokebox door hadn't been on the model, and the handrail was in place and the handles, and... It would have been really easy with a couple of strokes of a file to thin down part of it, and narrow down the other. And then fit it. But I had to make like difficult, because as I said, once seen, it can't be unseen.

So what I did was use a couple of scalpels, a pointed one and a chisel one, and scrape the hinges to remove sufficient whitemetal:

IMG_6944.JPG


The photo shows that the lower hinge still had a couple of the scrapings adhering to the lower hinge. Those have now been flicked off. So it was only a small change to do, yet I feel it will make a big difference to the face of the locomotive.

Enigma wrote:On the one done recently I held back on removing the top feed and piping as it appeared to be an awful lot of work and could have ended up as a 'disaster darling'. You've made a nice job of it and has left me wishing I'd grasped the bull by the horns (or anywhere else on its anatomy for that matter) and gone for it.


There are probably other areas that would get the bull's attention more directly...

Thank you. It was just a case of giving it a go, aiming not to be heavy handed, and by doing it a little at a time all went well. I'm not saying that this wasn't the sort of surgery that didn't make me nervous, but even if it had all gone wrong, it's only another twelve quid or so for an entire replacement locomotive on your favourite auction site.

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Paul
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:27 pm

Tim V wrote:Wells that's annoying. I thought I'd sold a set of Ultrascale 14xx wheels on the bring & buy years ago, just found them! Grrr, and a HL kit is only £42, double Grrr.


And a very nice kit it is too.

Many are the temptations placed in front of you... And you now have a blow by blow guide on how it goes together ;-)

Don't forget to post your build diary here when you start it!

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Enigma » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:57 pm

How are you going to fit the pickups Paul? I fitted a pair over the rear drivers and trailing wheels soldered as one length each side to a strip of copper clad sleeper glued onto the top of the chassis, and a pair from below at the front. The design of the chassis doesn't make it easy as Chris has designed it for plungers which I'm not to keen on. If I can remember how the body is attached to mine (I've completely forgotten how I did it and I can't see how it does!!) then I can post a photo or two if it helps.

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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Paul Willis » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:25 pm

Enigma wrote:How are you going to fit the pickups Paul? I fitted a pair over the rear drivers and trailing wheels soldered as one length each side to a strip of copper clad sleeper glued onto the top of the chassis, and a pair from below at the front. The design of the chassis doesn't make it easy as Chris has designed it for plungers which I'm not to keen on. If I can remember how the body is attached to mine (I've completely forgotten how I did it and I can't see how it does!!) then I can post a photo or two if it helps.


:-)

Pickups? Body fixing?

I haven't worked either of those out yet!

I do have some ideas. For body fixing, I'm using the original plastic tab inside the rear buffer beam to hold that end in place. The original front body fixing was by means of a long spacer up to the chimney, and that will not be possible. So i'll have a look at what can be done for the front mount by placing a nut somewhere (other than on this end of the keyboard) and fixing to that.

For the pickups, there is a chap on the EMGS Facebook group who has built and designed a very clever "platform" out of plasticard that acts both as a cab floor (for mounting the Mainly Trains cab details) and for locating pickups.

He's kindly sent me the dimensioned diagram that he drew up (he's an engineer, so plans these things properly rather than my approach of have a go and suck it and see) and when I reach that stage of the build, I'm going to ask him if I can share it here.

And yes please - a couple of photos of how you did things would be a great help anyway.

I must crack on with the next stage of the body modifications write-up. I'm catching up with real world progress, but I keep being tempted to do little bits on the model... Oh, and I'm currently renovating four of my old freight stock models, so they are currently spread across the workbench!

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Paul
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Noel » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:25 pm

Flymo748 wrote:I understand that it's a common issue with both the RTR Airfix 14xx and the Prairie from the same stable that the smokebox door is malnourished.


There are also problems with the Prairie relating to the cylinders, sandboxes, buffer beam handrails, steam pipes, and generally poor detailing, plus, for BR versions, the lack of bunker steps and the tall safety valve cover, as most BR-era engines had the short one.
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Noel

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Tim V
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Tim V » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:57 am

Shockingly poor really, I don't know what they were thinking in 1977 (when it was released), oh wait a minute, what was also being released at the same time?
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby steve howe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:44 pm

Noel wrote:There are also problems with the Prairie relating to the cylinders, sandboxes, buffer beam handrails, steam pipes, and generally poor detailing, plus, for BR versions, the lack of bunker steps and the tall safety valve cover, as most BR-era engines had the short one.


I think that's rather harsh. When the Airfix 14xx, the Prairie and the Autocoach (which is also a mishmash of two Diagrams) came out, they represented a huge leap forward in the standard of RTR and were eagerly swooped upon and many were 'improved' with additional detail. The Airfix14xx is pretty well spot on dimensionally apart from its unfortunate facial features and boiler fittings, its still a good basis for a super-detail hack, as is the Prairie.

We stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before, and we should be thankful its led to what we have now.

Steve

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Noel
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Re: Airfix 48xx with High Level Kits chassis

Postby Noel » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:47 pm

steve howe wrote:I think that's rather harsh. When the Airfix 14xx, the Prairie and the Autocoach (which is also a mishmash of two Diagrams) came out, they represented a huge leap forward in the standard of RTR and were eagerly swooped upon and many were 'improved' with additional detail. The Airfix14xx is pretty well spot on dimensionally apart from its unfortunate facial features and boiler fittings, its still a good basis for a super-detail hack, as is the Prairie.

We stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before, and we should be thankful its led to what we have now.


Not harsh, just accurate. I agree about the 14XX and A30/A28 autocoach; both are capable of being upgraded to potentially very acceptable models. The Prairie may have been an advance on what had been available previously, but it requires a lot more work to achieve the same acceptability in my view. The point of my post, though, was specifically to advise a normally non-GWR modeller, who might not be aware of all the issues, that there were a lot more things to look at than the smokebox door. My view is that these things should be mentioned, so that the modeller can make as informed a decision as possible about what he does.
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Noel

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

Postby Paul Willis » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:36 am

So, back to the preparation of the body, and I'm still going through the removal of moulded detail.

Next off were the four moulded lifting rings from the top of the side tanks. I used a miniature chisel for these - a new tool that I bought recently as an experiment. It worked well, but I think I chose the wrong tip shape for this job. It wasn't quite as easy as it could have been.

On the other hand, it did the trick as it would have been difficult getting a scalpel blade in there.

IMG_6360.JPG


The cab roof also removes, which is enormously handy as it will make detailing the interior much easier. I was initially torn about the window guard rails. They aren't quite as fine as the prototype:

48xx prototype  (25).jpg


But they are an awful lot finer and straighter than I could manage to replace without a helping jig or etch. So I left them in place. What I did notice was that there was still a fair bit of moulding flash between the bars. This was removed by scraping/cutting with a fine scalpel blade, and has improved the delicacy of the bars significantly.

IMG_6364.JPG


At this point, I was keeping a list of all the details I had removed, just in case I forgot to consider something when the rebuilding work started.

IMG_6379.JPG


Nearly there on the body preparation!

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

Postby steve howe » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:25 pm

Flymo748 wrote:So, back to the preparation of the body, and I'm still going through the removal of moulded detail.

Next off were the four moulded lifting rings from the top of the side tanks. I used a miniature chisel for these - a new tool that I bought recently as an experiment. It worked well, but I think I chose the wrong tip shape for this job. It wasn't quite as easy as it could have been.

On the other hand, it did the trick as it would have been difficult getting a scalpel blade in there.
l


Iain Rice mentions a leatherworker's tool for this job, as they are razor sharp, I've yet to find one but will have a look online.

Steve


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