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!

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!

Field Trip 1 – Supplemental

Whilst preparing the previous entry I remembered a Youtube clip from a few months back which featured footage of the line shortly before closure in 1965.

Unexpectedly, it was accompanied by an extract from the KLF’s legendary and rather rare ‘Chill Out’ album of 1989. I think it actually works rather well!

As a coincidental footnote, Bill Drummond of erstwhile outfit lived in Newton Stewart, further down the PPW in the period the film was shot which adds a bit of a poetic edge!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU-yhABM4bg

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…)

Taking stock

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One project that has been bubbling away at the back for a while is this LMS Diagram 1790 Period 2 Brake 3rd.
It started life as one of those bargain Dapol knocked-down kits that in my opinion offer some of the best kit-basher material around.
Modifications include replacement of the bogies with Bachmann version which were easily re-wheeled with EM sets.
Comet cast underframe parts replaced the old 1970s vintage mouldings, the sides have been drilled out to receive grab rails and the vent holes in the roof have been filled pending re-drilling so the torpedo vents can be mounted in the correct configuration.
Once painting has been completed and the interior suitably decorated, I intend to add the Shawplan glazing.
It’s a tribute to the excellence of the original Airfix tooling that this model still scrubs up well the better part of 40 years after introduction!

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

A consignment of tender wheels arrived today although I was slightly crestfallen to see that my supplier had provided OO wheels on pinpoints which were ultimately as much use as Nigel Farage to an Edinburgh taxi driver.
After weighing up my options, I trawled my parts boxes and found a set of 14mm spoked Markits tender wheels and saw that they would sit comfortably on the Gibson EM axles I had spare.
Feeling pleased that I’d pulled off the bodge successfully, I placed the wheelsets into the tender frames and have placed them temporarily under the body. There is still a bit of filing and clearance to be done underneath so the wheels turn freely and in truth I wish I’d fabricated new outer frames but things are pretty much on course now here to create a very nice little engine. I’m looking forward to adding the smaller parts and getting on with the painting.

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Love me tender…

I decided to crack on with the tender underframe for the Jumbo tonight following the arrival of frames from Caley Coaches. The Caley very thoughtfully settled on a standard tender chassis wheelbase during the Drummond/McIntosh/Lambie era and that means I was able to put something underneath the DJH castings. You can see the supplied arrangement in the top picture. How anyone ever produced a running model from this garbage is a matter of amazement. How the hell you solder an entire tender body together whilst installing bearings, wheelsets and ensuring overall squareness of both body and axles is utterly beyond me. To think I used to get so frustrated and blame myself for failing in these tasks!
I would say most successful builds of early DJH were in spite of rather than due to the design!
Anyway, that’s enough grumpiness on my part, let’s get on with our tale.
You can see that I attached a spacer to one end of each of the frames. This is a precaution to prevent any distortion through heat during assembly that might occur if I attached both spacers to one side. This creates a risk of your chassis looking like it should have a Fyffes sticker on it!
Assembly was fairly straight forward, the openings for the axle bearings having been gently opened out prior to assembling the frames. Once this was achieved, I attached the bearings using axles to check squareness. Lastly this evening I attached the transverse rods for mounting the brake gear.
There we have to bring the job to a close for now as I need to order correct 4′ diameter wheels for the loco and also some Carrs Brown Label flux for the stainless steel coupling rods on the loco.
One thing’s sure, I’m going to have to cut the frame ends short and carry out some substantial surgery to the lower body ends on the tender in order to mount these frames at the correct height! Once that’s done to satisfaction I will add a false floor for the purposes of mounting the chassis to the body.
Not Mission Impossible by any means but care will certainly be required!

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