Jumbo victory!

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I am pleased to report the final completion of Jumbo 57375 as she is now known.

All the major work is now complete. Coupling links and loco-tender coupling await but she is otherwise complete at last.
It’s been a long, hard road but here we are at the end. Perseverance has borne the sweet fruit of victory.
Who would have thought such a basic model would have thrown such obstacles and offered so much resistance?
It has certainly been a model that has taught me a great deal that can be put to good use in future projects.
As in other aspects of my life, finishing the project now as we reach the end of the year draws the line under a phase that has lasted four or five years where things have occasionally lacked direction and proceeded in a stop-start manner. That can be extrapolated beyond the workbench to a major degree also but the Jumbo has brought that cycle to a close in a satisfactory manner.
I’m rather pleased with her appearance and in 2015 you will have the opportunity to see her in operation on Culreoch, bullying various wagons around!
Right now though, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy looking at my first EM gauge locomotive. Although back in the day, this model was started in OO for the notion I had of an east Central Belt project by the name of Inchkennet, here she is ready for a career in ‘south west Scotland’.
I know somebody who can’t wait to see her there!

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More photos of 10000

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As promised during the week, some more photos of 10000. I haven’t checked the model out dimensionally so far, but Bachmann seem to have researched the model well and the detail on this version sees to correspond with the period (August 1956-July 1957) when 10000 ran in traffic in this particular livery.
The distinctive yellow roof has a story all of its own which is best quoted directly from David Hunt’s profile of the LMS Mainline Diesel Electrics, No.9 in the Wild Swan Profile series;

“…towards the end of their stay in the [Derby] Works, the CME, J.F. Harrison, rang Freddie Simpson, who was the works manager, to ask why the locomotives were still not in traffic. It had been decided when they entered the works that they would be painted in BR express passenger green but the question of roof colour hadn’t been settled, so Simpson, who was known as something of a jester, replied that the hold-up was due to this indecision.
‘Freddie’, said Harrison, ‘You can paint them yellow for all I care, just get them back in service.’
In typical fashion, Simpson promptly had the roofs painted primrose yellow.
Harrison’s reaction is not recorded but within a year the roofs were grey.”

Professional wind-up as it may have been, I can’t help thinking that in conjunction with the orange and black lining, it actually works pretty well.
I’m not going to pass judgement on the overall accuracy, there being no full-size example to compare it with – for now- but examination of photographs leads me to believe that it’s a nuanced and accurate recreation of the full size beast. One thing that does impress my own eyes though is the ‘sit’ of the model which gives a pretty much prototypical small gap between the bogie top and the lower edge of the body. This is something that visually grates with me in other models such as Bachmann’s production series Deltic (happily addressed with the NRM prototype model) and can throw the look of a model badly.
I can’t honestly find anything glaringly wrong with this model on this fairly casual inspection and if you are considering the acquisition of one I would say go for it.
It’s certainly very attractive and I’m looking forward to the arrival of a pair in 1955 black livery next year from a certain South Yorkshire emporium next year!

Jumbo; The Last Lap

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It’s been a long time coming (getting on for four years now) but finally, the Jumbo works satisfactorily and the model is entering the final stages of construction. Over the last few days an identity has been settled upon; that of Stranraer’s 57375. The loco has the right boiler fittings and the vacuum ejector pipe has been fitted. She will be fitted with pipe runs along the footplate, a Westinghouse pump, tender handrails and lamp irons. I’m also going to add rivet detail using Archers Transfers which lend themselves well to the task. Here comes the fun part to counter the long, tough slog!

Here’s one I prepared earlier.

Seeing as we are still struggling manfully on with the Jumbo, I thought I’d show you some of the wagons it will ultimately haul.
Apart from the open, the construction of which we followed a few months back, all these kit-based wagons were built a few years back and have just been converted for EM operation. I’m still rather proud of the finish though.
The only exception to this is the brake which is Hornby’s 2011 release.
For what it’s worth, this to me is the best representation of the BR standard brake yet produced and whilst the Bachmann brake is still great, there’s a real subtlety about this one that gives it the edge. I’ve fitted mine with LMS Models Dowty buffers and given it a lived in look. It really looks the part. If Hornby were to produce it with oil axle boxes I’d seriously consider making it the standard (I know !) brake in my fleet of stock.

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A very sharp learning curve!

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Work with the Jumbo had been at a kind of impasse of late as I tried to figure out why the rods wouldn’t behave correctly when power was applied. I tested first the rods (as four coupled units) then as this still showed the problem I decided to pay attention to the bearings with their massive slop. I decided to replace them but then became unhappy with the frames themselves. When I offered them up to the jig again there was still a lot of slop in the bearings and I decided to unsolder them and try to reset them on the jig. Just out of curiosity I checked the manual for the jig and, BANG, the realisation dawned; the mock axles on the jig are 1/8″ diameter. Guess who was using 3mm diameter axles on the loco! Cue a Homer Simpson moment.
I had been a little unhappy about the fact I had been producing new rods for a previously built chassis whose spacings had been altered in between times so I bit the bullet and dug out a spare set of frames which had been hanging about since 2009. Using the fresh bearings and Comet EM spacers I quickly knocked up a new chassis which also now has somewhere to mount the pick-up plate!
This model has made similar progress to a wee drunk man on a Friday night; one step forward, two back but I don’t care, I’m in a good mood and I know at least that it’s all going together correctly this time. Culreoch WILL see that ‘Doonhamer’ Jumbo in service soon enough!
All the same, isn’t it time the Imperial measurement system was carted off to an honourable retirement?
Metric is so much more logical!
(Retreats to nearest hard cover…)

Bits and bobs for sale

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I’m currently having a clear out of surplus items to gather some funds for EM track and wheel sets so I’ll be putting a few more bits and pieces up over time.
First up are these 4mm road vehicles from EFE, Oxford and Base Toys.
A useful selection covering the 1955-70 period. I’ll accept £45 for the lot.
Also available are fifteen Bachmann Presflo wagons in Blue Circle yellow livery. £100 secures these.
I also have a Bachmann A1 in original BR apple green livery as 60114, WP Allen, tested only and yours for £75.
If any of you are aircraft modellers, I also have a decent quantity of 1/72 aircraft kits for sale. Mainly British prototypes though there are a couple of US and Canadian types, all of the 1930-60 period.
As always, please reply if there’s anything of interest.
More railway-related items will appear in due course! 😊

As Summer draws to a close…

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Today has been a beautiful day down here in the Debatable Lands, as has the last few days in truth.
It really has been a fitting end to the best summer I can remember in ten years. The beginnings of change are there though as house martins circle and swoop, building themselves up for their long migration flights, the days are very noticeably shorter by comparison with even a month ago and the leaves on trees are already showing signs of turning.
Even on a personal level there is a sense of changing seasons afoot as I reach the age of fifty next year and take stock of where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve been in the same house for not far short of fifteen years and when you consider that makes for close on one third of my life it kind of slaps you in the face a bit! Similarly, I’ve been in the same job for 21 years and though it’s been reasonably lucrative I feel it has about served any useful personal purpose now. Both these factors are converging in a way that will probably make for big changes in my life over the next year and possibly beyond.
I’m not a materialistic individual as a look around my house would probably betray. You won’t find a state of the art telly, flash car, gadgets or the like. My models, books, two guitars and two pedal bikes are the only real material things I have any true attachment to, so money is not a true driver in my life.
I’m going to look at the situation next year and as I was lucky enough to join a good occupational pension scheme before they went hugely out of fashion with our enlightened Neoliberal employers, it may be that there’s enough in the lump sum pot by now to clear the mortgage. If there is I’m out of the rat race and leaving the ‘hands-on’ stuff to the young men!
Somebody else can do the weekend and nights while I get my health and energy back, hopefully working somewhere with better hours and less responsibility.
With no mortgage to worry about, I hope that work will become more a matter of choice than necessity as remuneration will be less important than it is when your primary need is to keep a roof over your head!
The next aspect of transition will be to sell up and move back to Scotland; not that far away in practice and preliminary observations suggest I’ll be able to find a place suited to my needs for no more and hopefully even less than the worth of my current abode without travelling too far.
And that’s where this piece starts to fit into the more common framework of my blogging.
One very important consideration of this move is modelling space and I’m looking at somewhere that has sufficient garden or yard space to construct a purpose-built modelling/layout shed or outbuilding.
Finally, with concerns about overloading the loft of this place out of the way, SERIOUS thought can be given to construction of a layout.
Hopefully there will be space somewhere in the house for the bikes and a tumble dryer, and with luck somewhere to put a wood-burner too!
After what seems a good few years in a holding pattern it’s good to rediscover a sense of direction and purpose.
How this is going to manifest itself in terms of my modelling output will start to be outlined in my next entry.
If you haven’t already nodded off, thanks for staying the course on this one! 😉