When you’re digging a hole…


Often said, when you’re digging a hole, know when to stop! I’d been pushing on with my Southern Electric project, and it wasn’t lighting my fire as it should. It’s at this point it’s a good idea to take stock, and I did, literally. I was in discussion with a few good friends around the Southern project and I used a set of scratch built Great Central platform buildings to mock up the island platform structures with the EMU’s in place. This just emphasised that the whole thing wasn’t working. So that’s where we are today, filling in the holes. What I’m using is really neat stuff, Vallejo Plastic Putty, an acrylic resin filler. It has the consistency of toothpaste and can fill tiny gaps to quite big ones like wing root joints on model aircraft. That’s what the white blotches is on the sleepers, where the third rail ceramic pots left drilled holes I can backfill them easily and quickly with this stuff. After a few hours I’ll sand the excess flat and repaint the track, the putty takes all kinds of paint with no ill effect.


The Southern electric stuff is back in its boxes. They’ll be back in the future that scratch is still itching! Over the past few years like many of us I took the opportunity to stock up when RTR prices were low, “we neva  ad it so good”, buying cheap second hand Diesel transition DMU’s (only a few) for a future project. Well that time has arrived.


Using the GC buildings (scratch built), that I had in stock for the layout mock up looked instantly right on the island platform. No great surprise there, it’s almost a standard GC design. Add a few DMU’s and I’m back commuting to Bicester from Marylebone in the late 80’s,  so visually I was sold on how the layout would look, the plausibility gap had been crossed! Next is does whatever is ‘in stock’ suit? Largely, yes it can, the concept being an East Midlands location in North Nottinghamshire with a crossover between Midland and Eastern Region. Nothing new here, Frank Dyers Borchester many years ago was placed in the same geography, and this idea is firmly in that territory, but the emphasis being that the GC made bigger inroads than they did historically.


This then, is Wellow, just to the east of Tuxford on the LDECR line, taken over and upgraded in typical GC style. At Wellow there was a small junction joining the north and south colliery routes from local pits. The Viaduct across the Trent at Fledborough is still open and the collieries delivering to High Marnham on the banks of the Trent.


Cut into the low hillside at the southern edge of the Vale of York lies Wellow, truncated and lines closing around it, the era will be 1969 through to 1977, allowing the change from green to blue, including pre and post TOPS, and head codes to 0000, and marker light white dots. The post Beeching blight will be making its presence felt, the line finally succumbing to reality in the early 80’s.

That’s the ‘theory’ anyway…

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Railex, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region | 4 Comments

Southern Nouveau

With Shelfie out on loan, the space it occupied has been filled with another project. This one has been on the back burner for a while, and is very firmly influenced by Ian Futers.

Ian’s layouts have consistently provided inspiration, particularly his Northumbrian layouts, and perhaps the one that really caught my attention the 4mm P4 layout ‘Lochside’. It was one that stood out, it was a finescale layout, using converted and detailed ready to run diesels it looked good and had a plausible back story to it.

From then his Scottish urban layouts have always caught my imagination, and using his ‘three point’ terminus concept I’ve added a fourth point to add a little more operational interest, and brought this south of the river.

A week or so ago I was at the Ally Pally show helping, or rather hindering Alan Whitehouse and Mick Simpson running Alan’s 2FS Halam Town. This is Alan’s take on Cyril Freezers classic ‘Minories’ design, based in urban Yorkshire in the 1970’s. The layout captures the essence of the era and with the use of appropriate stock, make the most of Freezers design. Catch the layout at railex in May.

On the journey into town I retraced my old commuting days on the Great Northern, snatching a few shots of embankments, bridges and tunnels for reference to get a feel for the civil engineering I’m likely to have to get my head round with this layout.

The board for this layout is seen below, a 6ft x 18 rectangular asteroid. The chassis is high quality ply, and a track bed of 9mm MDF topped with Woodland Scenics HO foam underlay. The ground is built up with Balsa wood so I don’t have significant ballast shoulders to contend with. The track is a mix of three types, new Peco OO bullhead, C&L OO bullhead track and Peco Code75 streamline points. Despite such a variety of track it works really well, and to further annoy the foaming purists I’ve glued it down with superglue!

Being Southern Region I’ve added third rail, using the Peco components and suggestions and assistance from Oly And Chris otcm, and Mike Cubberley. Any errors however or implausibility is all my own work!

Despite the layout being at such an advanced stage, the chassis and track bed are not yet permanently joined. The layout is designed for DC so there are a good number of section switches to give variety of train positions in the platforms. Keeping chassis and track bed apart made wiring the loom much easier. The design also allows DCC operation, with the limited locomotives and units I’ll be using, I’m seriously considering ‘Touchcab’ as an operating system. I’ve used it with both Simon Thompsons Aberbeeg (S7), and Pete Kirmonds ‘ Laramie ‘, and it’s a user friendly operating system. The other reason for the bare structure is I’m still working the topography of the layout in my head, current idea is based in a cutting, but putting it on an embankment would be more unusual, and a real challenge containing it scenically. Presentation is eye level or thereabouts with view blocking and tightly controlled viewing angles. Once the topography is determined, then the layouts superstructure and lighting rig will be easy to formulate, and then there’s the fiddle yard to build too! I can’t design the fiddle yard until I’ve decided cutting or embankment.

Common sense tells me cutting, heart tells me embankment! Ho hum…

Posted in 2017, apple, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, Chris Nevard, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, Inspiration, iphone, laramie, Layout, life, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Railex, Rapido Trains, research, Scottish Region, shelfie, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region, wild swan | 13 Comments

Biggest Little Railway, Toy Trains on Telly?

My mate Mr Parker  (philsworkbench) gets the low down on a telly project to be filmed this summer, sounds bonkers, and fascinating in the same sentence!

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blog, brassmasters, British Rail, dapol, Exhibition, film, flying scotsman, Friends, Great Western, hobbies, Hornby, humour, Inspiration, Interweb, Kalmbach, life, LMS, LNER, magazine, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, research, Scotland, Scottish Region, skill, skillset, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, television, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, travel, Uncategorized, Western Region | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

14xx Frustration..

There’s a bit of an Irish answer kicking round with this one, in that if you want to finish up with a good chassis, I wouldn’t be starting from here. When buying a model for use, my primary concern is that it runs well, cosmetic and detail variations I can attend to relatively easily, but the core function is the model has to move, and move smoothly throughout it’s realistic speed ranges.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410

Having test run the Hattons/DJM 58xx above, I wasn’t over enthused with it. In original spec the coupling rods were way to large and moved around the crankpin, with an elliptical motion that was clearly visible.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410
Original Rods vs Alan Gibson 4M75 fitted replacement

One thing I felt worth tackling was the coupling rods, and bought a set of Alan Gibson rods (4M75) to try out. Part of the running trials indicated that running on downhill grades the mechanism had a tendency to bind or lock. This occurs when there is either a load pushing or pulling the locomotive. I took a small bit of video of mine in action on a Woodland Scenics 3% gradient.  DJMhattonsincline.14xx All main testing has been done with a Gaugemaster ‘W’ controller in DC. The binding and cogging still occurs in DCC mode having briefly tried it.

I’ve been working on the ‘big’ plan again and one ruse to extend running time between locations I’m considering is an external track behind the scenery. To maximise this and minimise the visual appearance I’m hoping to drop the track level and hide the extra mileage at the back of scenic sections. To do this, models have to be able to climb and descend gradients reliably, hence getting the Woodland Scenics ramps to try them out. Well as you can see in the filum the chassis binds when any load is applied when descending. As the J94 does the same, ( DJMJ94 chassisprob ), I’ve tried six of them, there must be an issue within the gear train assembly or design, or both. This effect happens with a load ‘pushing’ downhill, as well as in front of the engine, ‘pulling’ it downhill.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410
Square axle stub

 

Intriguingly the chassis doesn’t bind when decoupled from the body and is freewheeling with either original rods on or off. DJMhattonsrodless14 The first job was to contact Colin at Alan Gibson alangibson to get a set of 4M75 coupling rods suitable for a 14xx, and solder them together. They arrived promptly and I assembled both pairs and reamed out the crankpin holes to fit. Well, sort of. I did one and took too big a bite clearing the second hole and bent the rod. The second job was to contact Colin at Alan Gibson alangibson to get a set of 4M75 coupling rods suitable for a 14xx, and solder them together. They arrived promptly and I assembled both pairs and reamed out the crankpin holes to fit. Lesson learnt! The chassis as delivered has a significant amount of play in the coupling rods, this leads to one axle moving independently of the other if the crankpin holes are not aligned to give a perfect ‘drive’. This is noticeable and sometimes when stationary means the rods aren’t parallel which looks, and is, wrong. With the chassis free running my hope was that fitting the Gibson rods would remove the slack in the rods and drive train. It did, but resulted in the gear train binding. There are clearly points where the gear train will interfere with each other without significant lateral movement on the crank pin. This is poor quality engineering if the gear train jams when fitted with correct, properly fitted coupling rods. The quartering is fixed on these, there is a ‘Romford’ type stub axle fitting which means that unless you are deliberately trying to force the wheels into an incorrect position, they will quarter correctly and accurately. The gear train is clearly part of the drive problem so the logical move is to remove part of the gear train and let the rods drive the unpowered axle in a conventional style. This was the next step which meant quite a bit of disassembly, this model isn’t designed to be maintained in a cost effective manner.

Wot I dun to fit the Gibson rods.
Undo the vac pipes which clip into the buffer beam at each end.
Break the glue fixing of the injector pipes at bottom of cab steps.
Twist and remove front sanding pipes.
Undo three screws, one either end of chassis behind drawbar and one in centre underneath the cab.
You can now pull the body away from the chassis, caution, it is still connected by the motor wires. (Hint) Easier to unsolder them now. Leave the body upside down so you don’t break the rear sandbox pipes.

Remove coupling rods, fixed with hexagonal head screws.
Lever off the baseplate using small screwdriver, its held on by six clips, two either end of the chassis, and two behind the centre drivers.
Remove wheel from leading axle. Using a flat cross section ‘tool’ gently lever the front wheel off from the axle. This gives you access to the screw at the front of the chassis which is otherwise inaccessible due to the wheel….
Undo the three side screws and gently lever the chassis apart. There will just be enough room to remove the second from front free running gear wheel. (If there isn’t remove or loosen the centre drive axle wheel). Removing this gear will leave the front axle independent of the drive train. Caution, check all the remaining gear train has re-seated in their axle drive holes as you push the chassis back to reassemble it. Make sure you quarter the front drive wheel to the centre axle on reassembly.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Fit coupling rods and check chassis is free running with no binding If there is, just open the crankpin holes with a reamer to get a little extra clearance. Once the chassis is running sweetly, fit the rod retaining nuts. Note there is still a large amount on clearance on the crankpin due to their length, I may try and get some washers turned to minimise this, I’ve not yet checked viability of shortening the existing pins.
Re-solder chassis to motor wires and fit chassis to body including three screws to hold motor and body so gears/worm will engage.

Caution ( ask me how I know…), its easy to get a motor wire entangled with the worm leading you to think a wire is adrift or motor has failed, gearbox jammed, all of which you can’t see. If the chassis runs refit the vac pipes and sanding pipes.

Million dollar question, ‘Does it run any better without the cogging?’ In short, no. It does have a very slight improvement in the running and certainly in the appearance, but it doesn’t solve the bind or cogging descending a gradient under load. This means that if you have gradients unless you opt for a full replacement chassis this binding will continue. For me, this points to an incompatibility in the worm gear to tower gear drive components. What that means for the longevity of the chassis components and motors is anyone’s guess, but its not likely to be positive. The next model for release with this type of geartrain is Kernows 13xx family, and inspection of an EP at Stevenage this year showed a slotted crankpin hole in the coupling rods. I hope they don’t have the same problems if using the same style drivetrain.

It’s interesting that online comments and videos indicate no problem with the chassis on gradients under load, but apart from mine above, there are no comments or tests of this model (to date) under load, coming downhill. I find that odd, and to get a sweet running chassis in all modes of operation, I’m convinced this design isn’t where I’d be starting from…

woodlandscenicsSET/page/1

 

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, djm, Eastern Region, EM, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, H1410, Hattons, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, New Radnor, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Railex, research, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region | 13 Comments

Hattons DJM 14xx Review H1410

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

It’s early 2017 and on the desk in front of me is the Hattons/DJM 14xx model. It’s almost a year late from original estimated delivery. Not that that’s an issue, no one dies or died because of it, as far as we know. Late 2014 Hattons announced the project to cover 14xx/48xx/58xx version of the prototype, the one I have here is H1410 58xx 5819 in plain early British Rail black. The announcement included the following paragraph

‘Our new, highly detailed model will be designed and produced in partnership with DJ Models and will set new standards for a ready-to-run small locomotive with levels of detail only previously seen on high quality brass locomotives.’

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
 H1410

For my Forest of Dean (FoD) Project one or two could be useful, they weren’t seen as numerous or particularly regular locomotives in the areas and era I’m interested in, but there were two engines to catch my eye, so I’ve got one here to see if it will work for what I want to do with it. The locomotive immediately looks ‘good’. The packaging is effective, the engine cradled in a vacuum formed tray surrounded by dense foam in a strong cardboard outer box. Very similar to some of the Heljan packaging. The paint finish looked good no obvious blemishes the detail pack was included, with a well illustrated set of instructions, and illustrated parts diagram. Within the paperwork theres no prototype information, it would be nice to have even in a very basic format such as provided by Hornby and Bachmann. No components had fallen or were falling off, and a cursory test on ‘Shelfie’ and rollers proved the locomotive ran reasonably straight out of the box. So happy with the basic check, it was deeper into the mancave for a more detailed look.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Does it meet the original public customer brief outlined above? For a simple answer, yes and no. As with the DJM fanfare for the J94, reviewed here (j94 ), does it set new standards? No I don’t think it does, unfortunately there’s nothing across the model that I think of as a ‘new standard’, does it set a benchmark (rather than standard) for levels of detail? In one or two areas yes it does, a quick list, separate tank top lift rings, opening cab doors,  whistles and whistle guard,  smokebox door dart, smokebox steam lance fitting, pipework and conduits across the model, and bunker lamp irons, are the sort of small detail captured incredibly well on this model. Looking to the cab interior that too is very well detailed, both the backhead and the front of the rear cab bulkhead, opening cab doors and it’d be great to see similar features regularly across other manufacturers ranges. With daylight underneath the boiler a representation of the inside motion between the chassis frames is visible and far more effective than the filler plate provided for the DJM J94.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Rear cab windows and their associated protecting bars are well captured, allowing good transparency and light in to the cab. The boiler fittings chimney and dome are for me, ‘not quite there’. The chimney particularly where the base flare meets the vertical stack is too clearly defined, it should be much more subtle, conversely where the dome meets the boiler, the join is too subtle with the dome seamlessly transitioning into the boiler. There is a significant variation on the prototype on how visible this join is, on some engines it is visible but virtually seamless, on others it is very apparent, particularly above the boiler band strap which sits beneath it. Undoubtedly a factor of the panel beaters trade! The dome itself looks to be about 1mm too high perhaps accentuated by the lack of the seam line around the base. The boiler band strap is also missing on this model to represent this join between dome and boiler one of the tasks I’ll consider is adding the missing boiler band with a lining decal, and scribing the missing seam line, or perhaps using an Archers weld line decal to show the join line. The mould line for the boiler runs top center along its length and on this example almost invisible.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

The cab front plate has a couple of small mystery holes at the bottom near the whistle guard, none of the images I’ve got access to show these holes, on any of the three classes in the Hattons range, a simple dab of paint will fill those. The front cab windows are slightly too square at the corners and should have a more rounded corner. The front of the cab is double skinned the backhead and faceplate being separate to the cab front. This gives a thick appearance to the front of the cab and window section, and for me will mean that I do some work here to ‘thin’ the cab front plate.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1410

Whilst on the cab the locomotive number plates are etched and recessed into the cab side. This gives them an incorrect flush appearance, as I’m changing the locomotive identity anyway I’ll either remove them of just overlay them with appropriate plates. The Hattons cab plates are just covered by a Modelmasters plate so if you’re changing the identity of yours I don’t foresee any problems. It’s an element of the design I don’t like, the Great Western plates were noticeable, standing proud of the cab sides and this feature removes that. The model is fitted with sprung buffers, unfortunately the springs within them are far too stiff, for me, who actually makes use of the sprung buffers this is frustrating, and makes them ‘worthless’ as an operating feature.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

It has a fully geared chassis similar to previous DJM design releases where the gear train provides drive to the axles and the coupling rods are cosmetic. I’ve tried the locomotive with both DC and DCC. On the flat it runs tolerably well but not as good as other recent releases J50/USA/Peckett, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad runner, just not as good. For shunting the locomotive doesn’t exhibit the same finesse of control that the previously mentioned examples have, occaisionally exhibiting a ‘cogging’ movement. In reverse the locomotive exhibits a slight jolt as it strikes the frog on a Electrofrog Peco Code75 curved turnout, the back to backs appear good so I’m left wondering if this is a wheel profile thing, the J94 also did the same, and only with that particular curved turnout. No other RTR stock or finescale wheel set shows the same problem. The DCC control test was performed with an NCE Powercab and Gaugemaster DCC28 decoder. With the decoder fitted the running at low speed is good with no cogging evident, as it transitions from low to medium speed there is a rapid acceleration. As this doesn’t occur in DC my feeling is that it requires the CV’s adjusted to match the decoder, as I don’t use DCC as a rule this fine tuning adjustment is outside my scope of interest, for DC the running is good but not excellent.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1410

Fitting the decoder is relatively simple. The smokebox door is removed and the decoder board pulled forward. It takes a six pin decoder, but take care when pushing the decoder back into the boiler. There’s limited space and one of the wires came adrift on mine which took a bit of searching to resolve the problem as it was so difficult to see.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx Cab Internals

Sound can be fitted, there’s space and wires inside the bunker to fit a small speaker which is a nice touch. Having recently fitted a Loksound micro into a 64xx, I’m not convinced there’s enough room in the boiler space without a bit of work to fit with this model. Other decoders may of course fit without a problem, there no recommendation in the instruction for a particular type, which would perhaps have been useful.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Visually the chassis is a mix of good and not so good. Like the J94 there are cross head screws that are visible in the side of the chassis. Probably not a deal breaker for most but as my layouts are set at a track height of about 50 inches, this is noticeable on my type of layout. That also leads to the brakegear which is incomplete, the pull rods should run the length of the locomotive and finish underneath the cab, on this model they end behind the second set of driving wheels. This also highlights the lack of the ashpan which hangs between the rear drivers and rear pony truck so the profile of the chassis is too regular and this is quite a noticeable feature. Both of these omissions are quick and easy fixes, for the likes of the cottage industry detail trade perhaps some low hanging fruit for a detail and improvement etch.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

At start using DC (Gaugemaster ‘W’), depending on where the coupling rods are sitting you can see the drive axle (centre) rotate a fraction before the leading axle. In DCC the rotation isn’t apparent, they both move simultaneously, very odd. The coupling rods have significant slop around the crankpin, exactly what we’re told to avoid as chassis builders, there’s also significant lateral movement on all three axles. One of the benefits of this type of geared chassis is reported to be improved running, so far that claim doesn’t match my traditional kit built or RTR chassis using a ‘simple’ single axle driven gear. None of the axles has any vertical movement. On ‘Shelfie’ my Cameo layout, the fiddle yard in its current configuration hangs at an incline of 2 degrees. There is an almost imperceptible dip in the track on the fiddle yard, on the downhill direction at low speed the model shows a tendency to bind at one particular point. The track is Streamline CD75 and I feel it’s likely to be a motor/drive train peculiarity. The chassis when disconnected from the body and motor gear worm, will freewheel though this same section unhindered. If a locomotive has no vertical movement at all and limited weight this simple dip can cause wheel spin as the model passes through the gradient transition, this occurs with this engine, when pushing five normal Bachmann 14T tank wagons. It also occurred with the Oxford Adams Radial prior to the front bogie modification they subsequently made.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

More weight will likely resolve this issue, without the speaker fitted in the bunker I may well add a bit in there. As far as the running goes I’m wondering if the rods are improved, and side play reduced, if the low end running will respond accordingly. The crankpins seem over length to me even allowing this is to run on second radius curves, with both lateral axle movement and fore and aft movement of the rods then I think some of the running qualities have potentially been compromised. Looking closely at the coupling rods they are painted silver, Larry Goddard has improved his by dipping them in cellulose thinners to remove the paint, and following his example I’ve done the same. The reason for the coupling rod slop is apparent as soon as you remove the crankpins and washer, the rods have oval crank pin holes. Prior to finding this I thought there may be the opportunity to improve the rod fit by bushing and re drilling them. This clearly won’t work easily so I may try a set of Gibson 4M75 coupling rods to see if they improve things. Again bear in mind the running isn’t poor, just not as good as I personally want or expect from contemporary releases.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

With an interest in EM I had a look at the practicality of a conversion. The first thing that jars is the driving wheel size, just over 1mm too large in diameter and the bogie wheel about 0.5mm too large as well. The overlarge driving wheel gives rise to a slightly enlarged front splasher too. They are all in proportion to one another so it doesn’t shout out that they’re oversize except for when you start coupling stock which has a correct running height. As a three link user this is annoying but I can live with it for the time being. The split chassis design and gear train means that a straightforward wheel swap isn’t an option, perhaps the easiest route being a High Level chassis substitution, which will resolve the excess diameter wheel problem and give suspension too.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
Motor installation looking forwards

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
Motor installation looking rearwards

The existing chassis is hardwired to the motor leads meaning that taking the model apart for maintenance is challenging. In the event of a motor failure the chassis will need to be removed. On this model the rear injector pipes are glued from the chassis to the footsteps meaning cutting them or as I did breaking them away from the rear steps. The vacuum pipes need disconnecting at the buffer beams, and the front sandpipes need to be twisted clear of the front brake hangers to allow the chassis to be removed. The fixing is one screw each end of the loco underneath the NEM coupling socket, and one between the central sandboxes. The chassis will then come away from the body and the leads will need to be unsoldered to allow any further work.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

So what do I make of it overall? It’s a bit of a curate’s egg for me, there are some really good bits and others where I’m left thinking, why? It captures the look and character of the prototype, the detailing and decoration are very good, as is the fit of components. The fit of the cab roof and how it separates is exceptional the join lines being invisible, far better than the Bachmann 64xx. The nameplates being recessed for me isn’t a big issue, a very simple fix with aftermarket sets. The short brake gear and lack of ashpan is frustrating but like the cab plates fixable with little effort. The wheel diameter oversize is just odd, no logical reason I can think of unless it’s a drive train/gear size requirement. And the impracticality of doing maintenance is just frustrating. It leaves me feeling a little deflated, it’s better than the J94 from the same design stable, but the overall performance not as good as the Hornby Peckett for example. We should recognise a small 0-4-2T is always going to present challenges to a manufacturer, particularly getting weight and traction down effectively and to be cost effective to produce. Hattons/DJM have managed it to a degree, overall it looks excellent and performs well, certainly for most of the market it’s aimed at. But it’s still not lighting any fires here. For me that reason lies within the chassis and drivetrain, it’s just not as effective as it should be.

Would I get another one? I don’t know.

If I could get a body and fit the High Level chassis, undoubtedly yes, I would…

www.hattons.co.uk_H1410

Gaugemaster+DCC28

http://highlevelkits.co.uk/

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, djm, Eastern Region, EM, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, H1410, Hattons, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, New Radnor, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, research, review, Scottish Region, shelfie, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Ultrascale, Uncategorized, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region | 18 Comments

Eighties Body Snatcher Throwback

Ok mullet wearers, here’s a poptastic 80’s child for you. It’s an Airfix 14xx body with a Perceverance chassis underneath. Made in the era of Kylie, wads of yuppie cash, XR3i’s and mobile Motorola phones the size of house bricks for the upwardly mobile, it’s one of my early chassis efforts and I’m still pretty pleased with it.

It was my first compensated chassis, in EM gauge and like the Craftsman 02 I’m currently working on, of it’s time. Power is provided by a Portescap motor and gearbox, driving Ultrascale wheels. The build was straightforward and simple, the design giving beam compensation onto the rear axle, pickup collection provided by phosphor bronze wire bearing on the rear of the drivers. It was a valuable learning experience, getting wheels quartered, the horn blocks aligned and working smoothly with the adjustments needed to find the perfect ‘sit’ of the chassis to make optimal use of the compensation.

The body has had quite a makeover, new chimney, dome, smoke box door, backhead, and Autotrailer gear, all from the Riceworks range. Unfortunately with the closure of  Mainly Trains these components may no longer be available. I think London Road models may have some of Rice’s though.

Looking at the model today I can see areas where I could improve my efforts, I’ve got far better at working plastic and metal together, see the Bachmann/Brassmasters Jinty above. The 14xx’s dome and chimney could do with re-seating and the top feed pipes reworked for a start. In the next day or do a Hattons 58xx will arrive, for conversion to a  Forest of Dean 14xx, and it will be intriguing to see how the pair, my 14xx and Hattons model, stand back to back. Hopefully, with initial overviews at Hattons a week or so ago giving me some confidence, my next 14xx will be plug and play with just a number change and minor detail variations to attend to.

So as I wave goodbye to my daughter off to martial arts I wonder where the time has gone! The 14xx is nearly twice her age. I’ve photographed the locomotive, edited the picture, and written, edited and posted this piece from my phone, to her that’s ‘meh’, to us is it ‘meh’ yet, or still something to measure how far we’ve come?

On that note I’ll leave you with thoughts of Kylie, PWL, yuppies, and Guards Red 911’s.

 

Mostly Kylie though…

 

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, brassmasters, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Eighties, EM, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, iphone, Kalmbach, life, LMS, LNER, magazine, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, shelfie, skill, skillset, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Ultrascale, wagon, Western Region | 6 Comments

Notes from Olympia 2 (Toy Fair 2017)

img_0553
Further notes from the 2017 Toy Fair. Returning to the Oxford stand the Golden Valley 0-6-0 Janus Diesel shunter was available to view in painted format. Bear in mind these models have been handled by production teams as well as visitors so they get a fair bit of handling, hence the missing buffer on this example. Release date is very close on this, with it likely to nudge into the second quarter. Two of the seven plank private owner wagons, accompanying this loco’s liveries were also on show.

img_0555
Three livery versions of the carflat were displayed, the BR blue looked a little on the light shade. Weathered examples looks like an overspray, rather than some of the more complex printing styles that Bachmann have recently introduced. Release anticipated in the second quarter retailing at £29.95.

img_0556

img_0558
MK3 samples were shown in InterCity swallow liveries. The paint samples looked very good, opaque and clear legible printing with clearly defined edges. The colours looked about right as I recall seeing them. New liveries announced include Scotrail, Stobart Pullman and Virgin Trains West Coast livery. The internal lighting showed no evidence of flicker, pick up is through the bogies and electronics within each coach ‘smooth’ the current to minimise any flickering. Colour of lighting and glazing looked correctly subdued as did the internal detail. All types retail at £34.95
Livery delivery expectations as follows.
BR Blue Grey, FO/TSO expected second quarter, RUB fourth quarter.
Intercity Swallow, FO/TSO expected second quarter, RFM third quarter.
Scotrail, FO/TSO/CO third quarter.
Virgin West Coast, FO/TSO/RFM third quarter.
Stobart Pullman, FO fourth quarter.

img_0561
Apologies for camera shake on this one! The Dean Good is released with a snowplough as part of the standard range and will be available with DCC sound fitted. Final design of snowplough fitting to the locomotive is yet to take place with discussion yesterday on the possibility of using the NEM socket as part of that assembly, allowing a purchaser to use the locomotive as normal roster stock without the plough. Snowplough fitted are expected third quarter, in time for the Daily Express to warn us of the coldest/hottest winter to come, ever!

img_0563
The seven plank will get several new liveries including a re-run of the Weymouth CO-OP livery (numbered 9). The model has sold exceptionally well, and there are Coke variants for 2017, with two rails added as per the image. Body and chassis details remain as previous issues. New liveries/numbers also for the LNER 6 plank, 4 plank and LNER/NE cattle wagon. I didn’t look to see if any tooling changes had taken place on the cattle wagon, however none were mentioned.

tp1

toadh2

toadh3

toadh1

Hornby had examples of the EP’s shown at Warley, the GWR/WR Toad being of particular interest for me. The stand was very busy throughout the day, but as at Warley the current team is definitely very interested in the product and its development. Last year Airfix were proposing a see through/cut away Q6 locomotive in their engineers range. Apparently this model is not in current plans to be produced. Bachmann with their expanded portfolio of companies were there too, but with no additional products from those announced earlier in the month. It was interesting to see that with the audience of Toy shop buyers who naturally go there, that the Bachmann range has potentially had a wider exposure to buyers from the high street who may not normally come across the product. It was an interesting day out and thank you to those trade representatives who tokk the time out of their day to talk about their products and plans, it was much appreciated.

_B6O4719.CR2

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, oxford, Oxford rail, Scottish Region, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, wagon, Western Region | 7 Comments