Chapter 10 – Tender is the Night – A bit more chassis and then the bodyNb. I have just realised the last two Chapters as my ordering was Chapter 7,9,8....9 and 8 numbers should be reversed, but the build order is as posted.
Next is to add the contacts to make this bogie “live” (nb. I polish the SEM wheels to remove the chemical greying as this seemed to be the right thing to do to ensure best conductivity, not sure that it matters? Perhaps a reader can confirm?). I purchased a bogie contact kit from Hollywood Foundry and set to work modifying it to provide wipers on top of the bogie wheels as the use of spoked wheels precluded the wipers acting on the inner face of the wheel as recommended. This is a fairly simple process, however care is required to ensure the contacts touch the wheels well enough to pick up the current however not too hard. The Hollywood Foundry instructions are characteristically helpful and complete, so I don’t need to add to them. The picture below shows the final result prior to attaching the wires:
To test that it was working I did two things, the first was a test of the first bogie with the second (original) bogie isolated, then a test with both old and new bogies live. All good. I added the second bogie, all stopped.....Hmmmmmm......Placing just the tender on the track with another loco, still all stopped, so it’s not just this loco and therefore in something I have done I must have introduced a short circuit. I found the tender base is metal and where the contacts centred on the bogie, the pick-up strip was touching this metal on both sides of the chassis hence the shorting. Once I located the issue it was easily fixed with a wrapping of thin electrical tape to isolate the live section from the chassis.
As above, I also added decent weighting to the tender to ensure a good connection between wheel and rail at all times (and offset the very slight inertia introduced by the wipers), and now the tender both runs very smoothly and could conduct an orchestra. A little bit of weight off the possible maximum load is a small price for smooth operation. Time for some more test running per the earlier chapter – Interestingly, with bogies and changes to the loco, the V-in-build actually starts to look a bit like what we’re trying to make, sort of kind of....
Ok, bogies are all good, next task is the tender body, below shown with all pull-offable bits pulled off, but before alteration otherwise.
Measuring it up, I was in for a pleasant surprise – the tender body is quite close to the V prototype
- Length - The body is 1mm too short, the chassis is close to spot on
- Width - is close to spot on
- Height - Side body height is approx. 0.5mm too high. Side frame is 1mm too high, mostly due to the thin metal frame layer mention above. Rear platform is 1mm over height.
Probably the most obvious problem is the round embrasures on each side of the front of the tender are approx. 1.5mm too wide. As they are well formed, have nice surface detail, and replacement would be difficult to achieve invisibly, I won’t be changing them - Yes it’s a further compromise but this one of the lesser choices. I’ll let you know if anyone ever says to me “Nice V Andrew but what a pity about those tender front embrasures being 5” over scale, it’s just not right”.
..........So, not a bad match for a tender made on the other side of the world around a close cousin to the V, to a Phoenix tender (albeit based on a Baldwin prototype) on an Australian locomotive. And that’s just as well as the tender body is made from very hard plastic that would present issues modifying. Indeed, if I had had to, I would have likely just built a new body rather than tried to cut/shut this one.
Having made the decision not to alter the tender body itself, some changes need to be made to remove “non-V” elements, these are:
- Off-centre water filler
- Shunters steps
- Rivets - Yes, rivets. I am no rivet counter however the pattern on the model is quite obviously different from the V.
Having done this, and filled in the hole where the fake coal was and the other holes with putty, the “reduced” tender looks like this:
And so, finally, having worked on all the major bits of the tender we can get to the detail. For the detailing of any item of rolling stock my approach is this - Look across all diagrams and photos you have of the prototype and work your way from one end to another, or from one side to another, whatever method, however trying to ensure you pick up every single piece of detail you are going to incorporate, and write it in a list. This sounds simplistic, but I have found it the best way to ensure nothing is missed. Further, the list gives you a work plan (particularly helpful if you take a break during building the model) and enables you to “tick off” each item as it is completed. While writing it up, I start to think about a logical build sequence – to ensure the least risk to added detail from new detail going on. For example, I will build any under chassis detail last as it will be easiest to work on the tender while I can sit it flat on the modelling desk.
My detail/work list for the tender is:
- Rear buffer
- Lamp holders
- Replacement inspection covers
- Front handrails (I have managed to retain the rear ones and they are very close)
- Coal board
- Safety chains
- Solebar/chassis side detail
- Below chassis detail – wheelguards, pipes, air hose
Deliberate exclusions are:
- The builders plates – as these will likely follow my usual method of card which has enough rise to appear separate from the body
- Tender bogie chains – this model will be used regularly in service and I’m not a masochist
My relationship with detail is funny, it’s a real love/hate. I love doing it and seeing the loco come fully to life, but sometimes I just wish it was done. You might later find yourself referring to this as the “Curse List” as you work your way through 10 items of detail to find another 20 still waiting, and still those goods trains are underpowered, however it is a really good feeling when you cross the last detail item of the list and it becomes the “Satisfaction List”.
Next: Chapter 11 - The last straw, and other detail