Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

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Bilco
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Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:05 pm

Last May we were on a walking holiday around Whitby, and on one of our trips we took the North York Moors Railway train from Whitby to Goathland and walked back to Grosmont. While waiting there for the train back to Whitby, I wandered into a nearby local shop to buy a paper, and found this on their shelves …

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On a whim I bought it, thinking that one day I might be able to convert it to something Gn15-ish. By the time I took Berger Hall to MOMING’17 I had come up with the idea of bringing the layout 100 years forward to 2000, and making the railway a miniature line, for which the Grosmont purchase might become a suitable loco. However, now that Berger Hall has been asked to more exhibitions well into 2019 it will stay firmly in 1900, as people seem to like it like that.

I had intended to make the conversion of this particular sow’s ear my Winter Project but, as mentioned in the Bit of Estate thread, the construction of two Smallbrook ‘Katie’ kits and repeated bouts of faux-flu saw off any time to spare for conversion work. Now that that’s all behind me I’ve rooted the box out and I’m ready to make a start.

The locomotive in the box is manifestly a toy; when still in the box one can remove the little tab marked ‘Pull out’ and by pressing the top of the ‘dome’ train-like noises erupt. These are the usual ‘chuff-chuff, whoo-whoo’ sounds, and a red LED shines out of the smokebox door as well. There is no motorization – it’s definitely push-along.

Out of the box this is what one sees …

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The locomotive is a sort of LMS Class 2P look alike – in a darkened room, with your eyes half closed – but the tender is rather Germanic in appearance. Touchingly, the letters LMS in small Gothic script appear on the tender sides. There is a cow-catcher on the front buffer beam for some reason, as well as 'buffers'.

On the back of the box is a picture of the whole range on offer – two loco types in different colours, some with coaches. Maybe there is potential for converting the coaches into something useful in O-16.5 scale.

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Time to get the tools out. Hours of fun …
Last edited by Bilco on Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bill

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:10 pm

Right, first thing to do is to dismantle the beast. Lots of little screws hold it all together, and will no doubt come in useful for something in future. This is the result of a frantic 10 minutes unscrewing …

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I had imagined that the loco was constructed entirely of plastic, but the footplate and cab are a one-piece metal moulding. The boiler is moulded from red plastic and painted the same green as the footplate, but the tender is moulded in green plastic to match the loco. There is a little sound card with loudspeaker and LED and 3 button-type batteries.

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One thing I had managed to do in the early winter was scour t’Bay for suitable underpinnings, and I made two purchases …

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... an unmotorized 4-6-0 loco chassis of unknown provenance, and 6-wheel tender drive mechanism by Hornby – the Made in England version. The chassis will lose the rear set of wheels to become 4-4-0. In fact, there will be much violence done to the footplate and tender as well ...
Last edited by Bilco on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:16 pm

My first bit of butchery was to the footplate. My building material of choice is plasticard, so hacking metal about is a bit of a new experience. I fitted a new blade to the trusty hacksaw and set about removing the unwanted bits. First to come off was the cow-catcher, followed by the strange sloping area in front of the smokebox saddle. Then the large semi-circular cutouts under the footplate front succumbed to the saw. I wanted to remove the cab front too, so got out the piercing saw, and used it again to cut through the sloping area between the in-cab splashers. Finally I rooted out the bastard and filed away all the rough edges I’d managed to create with my cackhanded wielding of the hacksaw – never mind the odd gouges, they can be filled in later …

The results of an hour of cursing and flailing about in the garage …

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I wanted to make the tender front open for the driver to sit in – Harry Ramsden, driver of ‘Kaffie’ from Berger Hall kindly offered himself up as a measure of how much needed to be cut away. The hacksaw made short work of cutting down the sides of the front, and a razor saw cut away the front of the coal space extensions …

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... and extraneous detail was sanded off the back ...

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So far so good – next job is to hack away at the loco chassis and tender drive to get them to fit. I’m enjoying being back on my favourite track, adapting and adopting, and making it up as I go along ...

Hours of fun ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:15 pm

The latest bit of bodgement and ad-hoc-ery ...

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The motor was prised out of the tender frame, and about 3mm cut off the back end, to make the frame the same length as the tender body. Also, the steps were hacked off the sides.

The locomotive chassis was dismantled (hope I can remember how it all fits together) and the rear set of wheels removed, to make it a 4-4-0. Then about 30mm was cut off the back end so that the remaining wheels will roughly (very roughly) line up with the splashers.

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All the cut edges were dressed smooth ready for the start of the next stage - building up rather than chopping off.

Hours of fun ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Jon Randall » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:49 pm

Looks fun 8)
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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Grum » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:42 am

I can't imagine just yet how this is all going to look, but knowing your ideas and skills, it should look great!

I have been tinkering with a chassis and frame for a small rail car, - all very tentative at the moment.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:28 pm

I've been concentrating on the tender for the last couple of days, and this is the result ...

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A close-up, warts 'n' all front view of the driver's seat ...

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... and the side view. With some help from a guest at Berger Hall, a certain Mr Wells, Harry Ramsden has been able to come 118 years forward in time to try out the seating arrangements. "Very nice," he says "But still no cab ..."

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And a top view. I think this will be a steam-outline i/c loco - then I can fit a rudimentary set of cylinders and valve gear, and the driver won't have to shovel coal ...
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:40 pm

I think I've hacked enough bits off the metal footplate, and it's time to do some building-up. As a first step I've stripped off the thick paintwork, using my paint stripper of choice - undiluted Dettol. I left the footplate in a Dettol bath over-night, and the paint just peeled off in big flakes. A scrub with a toothbrush has removed what's left in sneaky corners, so I'm ready to go.

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The plastic boiler and firebox section is in the Dettol bath as I type ...
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:53 pm

The plastic loco body came out of the Dettol bath on Friday, and the weekend has been spent fettling it and improving the fit to the footplate. On the original toy this could charitably be called approximate. The fit of the rear of the body wasn't improved by the smokebox wrapper either, but things are looking a lot better now ...

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I sourced an LMS Ivatt 2MT chimney and an LNER Gresley O2 dome from 247 developments, and they seem to fit in quite well. I also found a Hornby King smokebox door on t'Bay to finish off the front aspect, but it's not fitted yet ...

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There's a new cab front in plasticard, and some holes left by the hacksaw frenzy are now filled in. There still needs to be a bit of minor fettling and filling, but the major work is just about done - a new cab roof is to come.

Hours of fun ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Wed May 02, 2018 8:16 am

An observation about the Germanic appearance of the tender sparked up a feeling that had been growing in me, too! I see that the LMS 5MT had a raised portion on top of the tender, but I suspect that it's the triangular reinforcing pieces around the toy tender top that give it that Germanic look.

So, out with the saws and knives, and several swearwords and misdirected cuts later ...

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... off has come the raised section, and the sides have semicircular cut-outs to the top edges. The driver's seat has also been cut down, and moved forwards a couple of mm, to match the photos of prototype miniature locos I've found. The tender body seems to have slipped forwards a touch in the second shot ...

As before, Harry Ramsden, denizen of Berger Hall, has travelled to 2018 to try out the new arrangements ...

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He seems happy enough and, at his suggestion, the rear edge of the cab roof has been cut back so that he can see and reach into the cab more easily ...

I tried to make the front cutouts match the level of those in the cab, though they do seem a bit large. This is the rough finish - I need to do a bit of fettling and smoothing yet, but I think it looks a bit more Angicized now. It does appear more balanced with the lower tender ...
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Wed May 09, 2018 4:00 pm

After spending some of the last few days avoiding the lovely weather and fiddling and fettling the loco bits (and discovering that I'd run out of grey primer on a Bank Holiday weekend) I was finally able to give them a waft of primer today ...

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The primer does a great job of pulling the bits in various materials together. It also shows up how much more fiddling and fettling needs to be done ...

Hours of fun ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Mon May 14, 2018 6:18 pm

Well, that turned out to be an interesting weekend. The issue of the wheels under the splashers had been niggling at me for a while, and a comment on the NGRM Online forum prompted me to act. I decided to make a continuous splasher to sort out the wheel spacing v splasher spacing ...

My first step was to fill in the gaps between the splashers with built-up blocks of 3.5mm plasticard strips, increasing in size as they went up. That produced the sort of effect that I was after, but, of course, there were lots of gaps between and at the end of the strips. I made up a Milliput and water paste and spread it over the sides and tops and, when it was thoroughly dried out, sanded back. That filled in the gap, but the junction between the metal of the splashers and the filler proved very reluctant to disappear - time for plan B ...

I cut sides of 0.2mm plasticard - I've had a piece for ages - must get some more. The new sides were super-glued onto the sides of the splashers and then all was sanded back to give sharp edges and, with lots of filling, sanding, and swearing, smooth tops. A waft of primer and ...

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The photos make an intersting comparison with my last post. Good enough for government work, I think ...
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby MickT » Tue May 15, 2018 9:11 am

The best ideas are the simple ones! Excellent way of making the driving wheels fit comfortably under the splashers Bill! Take the Great Central way of doing it as the guide!

Bassett Lowke class 20 comes to mind with the "new improved look"

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Thu May 31, 2018 3:56 pm

Not much modelling has been done since my last post, as I went up to the Lake District with our local walking group - a week away in the land of blue skies and mid-20s temperatures. I did get to Ravenglass Station to see a bit of the Ratty - River Irt arrived with its train, and I got the inevitable 'turning the loco on the turntable' photo.

However, now I'm back I've started to paint the beast - I chose a slightly more 'apple-y' green than I used on Kaffie and the others. Here is the latest state:

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The parts laid out ...

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... and some loosely assembled. The boiler is a very tight fit in the footplate, and I will have to clean off the inside edges before final assembly.

The next step is lining and a coat of satin varnish - hours of fun ...
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:49 am

Another week, another step. The lining and varnishing is done, and the results are appended herewith ...

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As usual, the photos show up areas where work is still needed. There is some paintwork touch-up to do, and I shall have to make decisions about the front end - the original cylinders on the donor chassis were mounted rather higher than I can achieve under this footplate so would severely restrict the sideways movement of the bogie. As the loco is supposed to be internal-combustion-engine-powered, cylinders would be purely cosmetic anyway, so I may just quietly forget about them. That would mean that I don't need connecting rods and all the other gubbins - I will have to shorten the brass pin for the coupling rods on the rear wheel though. However, the area under the footplate at the front needs something to fill-in the area above the bogie, so I need to try out some ideas there.

I have the Narrow Planet name and works plates - they arrived yesterday - many thanks NP! I think I'll put a couple of vacuum cylinders on the tender to fill in the area behind the driver. They could be inside the tender body, of course, so not requiring any input from me! I also need to put some sort of controls in the cab - a gear lever for the automatic gearbox, a throttle ('though that could be mounted by the driver's seat on the tender), a brake lever (ditto), and some gauges connected with the diesel engine. Oh, and couplings ...

Hours of fun ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby chris69 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:57 pm

Great job! Congrats!!!!! Don't forget a pillow for the driver.......
best
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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:16 pm

So - 10 days of fiddling and farting about have produced very little real change ...

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... the side view ...

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... but this close-up of the front end shows that the issue of bareness under the footplate over the bogie has been addressed. Just two pieces of 5.5mm L-section, with some curves whittled into the bottom edge. Black covers a multitude of sins ...

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This view into the cab shows that some controls have appeared ...

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... and this close-up into the cab shows a couple of quadrants with levers and 'lights and switches'. They are actually left-over bits of the UE Inspection cars I hacked about so brutally a few years ago, which have been lurking in my bits-box ever since. On the left the lever for the automatic gear box, and on the right the throttle and space for a brake lever, in course of manufacture.

And the driver - well, a few weeks ago I netted this kit on t'Bay ...

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... I used the legs of the sitting figure, with the knees raised a bit and the feet brought back a bit, and the torso of the kneeling figure, plus a couple of random arms - there are plenty in the kit. The resulting pose seems OK - leaning forward, reaching with one hand, holding onto the seat with the other.

Still some tidying-up to do, but the hours of fun seem to be reducing ...
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

https://sites.google.com/site/myoldlayouts/
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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby ian holmes » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 pm

That is pretty darned amazing! A great job.
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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Bilco » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:25 pm

Many thanks Ian for the kind comment.

Right, this project has had its final pimping and primping, and I declare it finished ...

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A similar view to the last posting, but with NP name and works plates added. I had a set made in 1:24th scale, but they looked way too big - the name plate was longer than the splasher. I hope Keefs don't mind being blamed for this build ...

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And, just for a change, the other side, showing the brake lever now in position ...

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... and another view of the brake lever, plus the back of the driver's head ...

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... and a front view to end on. He is Cuthbert 'Cookie' Biscuit, great grandson of Arfur the head groom at Berger Hall.
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: Sow's Ear Seeks Silk Purse

Postby Jon Randall » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:58 pm

Very Gnice Bill 8)
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