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Accucraft Quarry Hunslet

by Chris Bird


The year 2013 has seen both Accucraft UK and Accucraft in the USA venture into 7/8ths scale steam locos. The UK Quarry Hunslet - the first scale model of the type to be made available in 7/8ths was an immediate 'must have' as soon as it was announced and quickly sold out the extended batch of 200 locos.

The model is very impressive, with a high level of scale detail, but when mine arrived arrived it was immediately evident that there was a problem. The drain cock holes, that had been decided upon to allow after-market drain cocks, ended up too close together, so that serious blow-by resulted at the end of the piston stroke. Accucraft UK  lost no time is producing a solution - new pistons that have two O rings to ensure that one is always 'safe'. Their customer service was superb, with the model being collected and returned by courier. After the truly horrendous problems with the original loco as delivered (I made four films that ended up in the bin), the repaired loco was transformed. Although it has a tendency to stall when slow running on difficult gradients, it will self start without fuss.

Here is a video I made within hours of receiving it back from Accucraft:

So the time had come to think about some enhancements other than a Summerlands Chuffer, which I found essential for a clean and engaging loco (yes I am biased!).

The Smokebox

The smokebox, as delivered was high gloss and Raif Copley kindly gave me some guidance on removing it for repainting. These notes are based on his guidance and on my own experience - but please note that they are not a recommendation to do it unless you feel totally competent to complete the job. It is not a simple job, so if you are in any doubt, please seek expert help.

First here is a photo of the loco as delivered posing next to my modified Millie. You can see the shine on the smokebox!

So before we start, a reminder that this is not a simple job that will have you whistling a merry tune as you proceed - though on reflection, if you follow these notes you might hum a little.  It took me about three hours in total, and although I have done a fair bit on locos, I was quite relieved when it was done!


The first essential is the correct nut spinners, A 3mm one is supplied with the loco, but a precision one is better. What is essential though, is a 2mm nut spinner as seen left below.

I would strongly suggest that you do not start without one!!!!

A small piece of 1/8" K&S brass tube will come in handy later on too.


First turn the loco over (carefully as things can easily bend)  and locate the boiler fixing screw near the rear axle. It is a single, black Phillips screw. Slacken this off but do not remove it.

With the loco back on its wheels, remove the two 3mm head bolts fixing the cab to the tank. These are seen below:

Next open the smokebox door and unscrew the exhaust or Chuffer. As with all parts and screws, put them somewhere safe!

Next unscrew the knurled ring securing the chimney inside the smokebox, so that the chimney is simply held by the handrail. There is the knurled ring and a spacer. See below:

Next remove the bolt holding the dome and tank in place:

Now we come to the real challenge - the 2mm head bolt holding the blower pipe to the side of the smokebox. This is extremely awkward to get at as the nut spinner will be at too much of an angle. I used curved, long nosed pliers, but to replace it, I used a short, home-made spinner made by squeezing a short length of 1/8" K&S brass tube onto a bolt head. Prepare to swear!

With the blower pipe free,  it is time for the four small, 2mm head bolts holding the smokebox down. There are two each side:

You are nearly there - it just needs a bit of juggling! Don't worry about the two brackets between the tank and the smokebox; they are not attached to the latter. Ease the smokebox up and forward. This will involve easing up the boiler (which you loosened earlier) and tank. The chimney needs to be swivelled to come free and at this stage, as the smokebox comes free, so does the tank.

Now you have the smokebox free, together with the flare at the bottom of the chimney. Next you need to free the chimney. Surprisingly the handrail is not 'painted in' and so with great care it can be eased out from the handrail knobs, a bit at a time. One side on mine needed a slight tap with a fine punch to free it, but then it was easy. With the handrail free, the chimney can be unthreaded.

Finally unscrew the heat shield from the smokebox door.


I degreased using a spray engine degreaser, but proper Gunk would have been much better. Whatever you use - it needs to be thorough. 

I then rubbed it all down gently with a 3M medium abrasive fleece to key the surface. Probably a green kitchen fleece would do. Then I degreased again with clean white spirit (not cellulose thinners). When that was done I set the parts up an a wooden base to spray. Screws or nails to stop the parts tipping are important, however steady you think your hand is!

Then I used Rustoleum matt black, high temperature BBQ paint, sprayed on in thin coats and flashed off in front of a 2 Kw fan heater (using a proper mask).

When touch dry, I baked it in the oven for 15 mins at 100C and then a further 15 mins at 180C. Beware - the paint stinks at this temperature (though it might have been the old paint on the wood).


The first thing you will probably do, when starting to reassemble, is to put the smokebox on to the boiler and admire it. Do not be tempted, as I was, to bolt it down with the four bolts, thinking you can then fit the tank. That does not work. And, under no circumstances tackle the blower pipe until everything else is fitted and fine. It is not a job you want to do twice!

Thread the chimney onto the handrail, making sure it is the right way round. Then, thread the handrail back through the knobs on the tank (see below). It should go without scratching - though mine didn't. Maybe a little lubrication would help.....

Now put the tank loosely on the boiler and ease the smokebox into place. Beware the back, bottom parts are easy to bend and the dummy lubricator wires have to be eased into the correct position. One of mine came off, but was easily re-fitted.

Now it is back to juggling. The chimney has to go into the hole (remember to put the flare on it before you do!) and the boiler will need to be eased up to do this. Do not worry, suddenly it all happens. Then it is a matter of applying pressure to line up the smokebox holes and insert the bolts. The dome is replaced with the small brass bolt and then the two bolts in the cab.

Insert the chimney spacer with the humps upwards and fore and aft, followed by the knurled ring, threaded end upwards. This is another awkward job as you can't see what you are doing! Tighten with long nosed pliers when all is correctly aligned.

Replace the heat shield using the small Phillips screw.

Now the difficult part - you have to replace the bolt holding the blower pipe. Mine was a little chewed from using pliers to undo it, but I cut about 30mm of 1/8" brass tube and squeezed it onto the bolt head. This allowed me to insert it easily and start it. I finally managed to tighten it with the long spinner held at an angle. And when I edited the photo below, I realised I had forgotten the tiny washer.....but I rather like it without!

Finally tighten up that screw under the boiler and touch in the bolt heads with the appropriate paint.

Job done - phew!

Fitting a fine control regulator

Jay Kovac of The Train department in the US has had the great idea of producing various replacement valve spindles for the Accucraft gange of locos. As the regulator on my Quarrt Hunslet is very stiff when hot, I decided to fit one.

I am delighted to say that it operates smoothly when hot and gives much finer control. Recommended!

Fitting a fine control gas valve

Jay also produces a range of gas valve modifications which also give fine control and smooth operation. There is a specific one for the QH - so I fitted that too.

It is perhaps a tad small, but is unobtrusive and is a massive improvement on the original. I just need to paint it black now.

Quarry Hunslet with a Slomo Wagon

In 2014, the Quarry Hunslet was tested with a scratch built Slomo wagon incorporating a prototype SSP Slomo. I made a couple of videos:

March 2016

Time flies! It is now nearly three years on and I have been working on my Quarry Hunslet again. Before I get on to that, it is perhaps worth mentioning the sandboxes that appeared in the video above with no explanation. It is a long time since I made them but a few notes might help anyone who fancies making some.


They are based on ones that were fitted, I understand, when the locos were first delivered to the quarries, but the damp weather soon clogged up the sand pipes so they proved useless and were removed. I thought that the big, slab of a tank needed some interest and as the control rod guide had been so nicely modeled by Accucraft, I decided to make some.

They are short pieces of 15mm copper plumbing pipe, soldered to a flat plate at the bottom which was then filed to shape. The tops were turned from brass and a small filler was turned and soldered on. The control arms are Roundhouse handrail knobs, drilled to take a thicker brass rod which was then soldered in, files and drilled.

Here are the four, ready for painting:

Etch primed and sprayed to match the loco - I think I used Precision Paints enamel LMS Crimson....

I made the control rods from piano wire with the pivots silver soldered on. This gives a very strong rod - much more robust than using brass. The feed tubes were made from brass rod with a brass nut soldered on. They were bent and (I think) glued in.

Incidentally, I sourced the works plates from John Lythgoe. These were normally only supplied with nameplates, but he did a spare set for me.

The Modelearth Cab Kit

Two years ago (Spring 2014 if I remember right) Si Harris announced that he was sourcing a limited number of laser cut cab kits for the Hunslet. These had been designed by Graham Bone and would be available as a full riveted and half riveted version. Not being a huge fan of riveting, I chose the half riveted one and in due course it arrived as a heavy sheet of 1mm thick brass with various extra parts and a nicely bent roof. There were no instructions - but that would be no problem, I thought.....

This is what came (click on the image to see it larger):

All looked straightforward until I began to realise that there were many more parts than I could possibly need, some parts were duplicated and some had no obvious use at all. I thought all would become clear when I removed the waste parts....

.....but it didn't! Some things were obvious, but six pieces for the top sides of the cab? I decided to wait for the instructions and in the meantime the plus side was that I had a fine box of scrap which has come in very useful indeed!

The kit was shelved and then, in April 2015, I received the instructions. I can understand why they took a while - it is no small job to build, photograph and write it up. They were worth waiting for though as Graham had done a very nice job!

However I was involved in other projects - not least the building of Brian Wilson's Jack......

Building the Cab

After another nine months on the shelf, I finally got round to it. Partly this was because I had just finished the Hunslet Jack and was 'on a roll' and partly because I was inspired by the great job that Richard and Dave Turner had done with their article in Garden rail 255. And they had done it without instructions .......Respect!! As I write this, it two years on from the launch of this kit and I realise that there were only a limited number sold.  All may now have been built - but then maybe not. I have had my usual set of struggles and have learned a lot, so perhaps it might be of interest......


The parts come with the rivet holes lasered, but not to the correct size. The instructions say to drill all the holes (not the ones in the spectacles) out with a 1.2mm drill so that the 3/64" brass rivets can be pushed through before soldering. However my experience is that if the rivet is an easy fit, it has a habit of dropping out when you turn the piece over to solder (yes masking tape will hold them in place) and if I get the hole a fraction too big, the solder creeps through and enlarges the rivet head. Anyway, I only had a 1.18mm drill and (engineers please skip this bit) by waggling the drill in the hole I could get a firm push fit with a light tap to do the last mm. This meant that they all stayed in position with no solder creep.

Before riveting, I deburred both sides of the hole with a larger drill held in my fingers. This created a slight countersink for the solder. I also cleaned and abraded both sides of the panel.

Note that the top rivet is omitted.

I fluxed and soldered using wire solder and a micro blow torch - though I seemed to always get way too much solder on...

After snipping off the rivets with side cutters, I then had to file down and rub down the solder/rivet to get a smooth finish. This was a real pain so solder paste might well be a better option!

Cab sides

 It turned out that I only needed two of the six top bars supplied and just a couple of the back end brackets (so lots of nice spares!). The instructions were nice and clear so it all went together OK. I used a couple of pieces of the edging strip as strengtheners.

The rear bracket is positioned with a rivet.

I used a couple of pieces of the edging strip as strengtheners and luckily I had some 1/8" tube in stock for the rear post support.

There is plenty of the edging strip provided and I drilled the 1.5mm hole and marked the 5.5mm to the edge of the cab. I then annealed all but the end 15mm as I wanted to retain the strength in this. I then bent it carefully to shape and cut it to length.

I soldered it using the same method I used for Jack, holding it in place on a board with panel pins and using a micro blowtorch.

Cab Soldering

I was about to rivet the cab front when I realised that to solder it easily, I needed the front to be flat on a board, not standing proud with the rivet heads. I therefore decided to rivet it after soldering - and this meant re-thinking the riveting - see below.....

I cleaned and fluxed the parts and then set it up on a board with a block of wood to create the right angle. I used steel blocks to hold all firm and, after checking with a set square, did half the joint at a time

Riveting again

Did I really want to start adding a lot of heat, solder and awkward filing to do the cab front rivets? Well for the ones round the spectacles I did do that, but when it came to the ones at the bottom I had had enough. Now the proper thing to do would have been to get the correct rivet snaps and do it properly, but that would take time and a lot of hassle.....

Instead I chose a compromise method which worked beautifully (in my eyes!). I made a slightly bigger countersink at the back of the hole, snipped off the rivet about 1mm proud and then, when they were all in, I laid it on a sheet of steel and gave each four light taps with a tack hammer. The compromise is a slight flattening of the rivet dome, but it is rock solid, neat and (hooray!) no solder to clean up!

So now I had a cab that looked like this:

And it fitted on the loco when I had soldered on the fixing brackets (which were supplied pre-bent with my kit). They were exactly right for the Accucraft fixing screws if flush with the back edge of the cab.

The Cab Back Sheet

I imagine one could have an open back to the cab and retain the original back sheet as shown above, however the one with the kit is nicely detailed so I decided to go for it. The instructions have comprehensive photos so I did not take any. I would say that it is easier than it looks, especially using my compromise rivet method. There are a couple of issues however:

The cab doors are, of course, made from the same material as the strips making the runners. This means that they cannot possible slide - especially when painted. I thought of making new ones from 0.8mm brass, but in the end decided to chamfer them at the top and bottom. We shall see if that works! The doors needed knobs so I modified two rivets in the lathe and soldered them in position after drilling out the pilot holes provided.

The other issue is fixing the back sheet at the top. Dave Turner kindly sent me a photo showing how they used brackets and side bolts, but I opted for a different method. I modified the arched piece (which I think is for an open backed cab) by shortening and chamfering the ends so that I could solder it between the tubes to be flush with them at the back. The back sheet is then bolted to this with two shortened 10BA bolts.

Incidentally, that row of holes, which I originally thought were for rivets, do appear on some of the cabbed Hunslets. Heaven knows what they are for and what size they should be - but I drilled these out. Maybe too big, but it's done now. I will take a view when I do the front ones........

I found that the 1mm strip supplied to make the lamp bracket was just two thick for me to make a neat, double bend, so I used some 0.8mm strip instead.

The handrail posts are not 3/32" rod with 8BA screws as suggested - I used 3/32" brass tube with 10BA threaded rod soldered in. I then put 1/16" rod down the tube for strength and soldered it at the top.

The Spectacle Rims

These look fiddly and they are a bit - though not as fiddly as the swivelling option shown in the instructions. My early kit didn't have the parts (fortunately!).

The suggested rivets are lace making pins which appear to be in brass, but I couldn't find any, and anyway, I prefer the look of a rivet. I used 1/32" brass and so the holes were not big enough. I needed to drill them out to 0.8mm and found that none of my drill chicks could cope with a drill that small. In the end I used an old watchmakers' drill where you slide a sleeve up and down to make it work - fiddly but effective - and amazingly, I didn't break the drill.

I left the rims on the sprue for ease of handling. Here are the rivets in position:

Soldered - too much as usual!

Then filed fat and the second ring placed on for soldering after a little adjustment to get it round:

Then it is a matter of filing with a fine file and using abrasive until they fit in the holes. I think more fettling will be needed once the paint is on.

The Roof

The kit came with a superb roof, nicely bent to shape and with all the rivet holes. With my new riveting method, this was going to be simple.......or so I thought.......

The battery on my drill was flat so I put it on to charge overnight. The next morning I was busy tidying the workshop in anticipation of a visit by my good friend Roy Wood. When there was space to move, I spied the roof and thought that I could quickly drill out the rivet holes so I could have a few in place to show. I grabbed the drill and started drilling........ It dawned on me, very slowly, that this was more effort than usual and that I was using the wrong bit......... Too late for those holes .....oh Bother!

What I should have done, was to rivet the ones with the correct holes, solder the roof frames in position and then superglue the rivets into the big holes. Instead I tried to solder them. What a mess! The solder ran through, doubling the size of the rivet head. I did them four times, rubbing off the solder in between, before I got it just about acceptable........

Then I pondered about how to solder the frame pieces on without losing all the soldered rivets! In the end I held them in place with masking tape and used (for the first time ever) an 80 watt soldering iron to make sure the heat went where it was supposed to. I held the shortened frame pieces in position with bulldog clips.

This photo is after the event!

You can see that the rear frame piece has to be shorter to clear the tube supports.

It fitted - phew!

The Tank Strip

There is a characteristic riveted strip to go round the tank and the instructions sound easy. And they would be if somebody hadn't put sandboxes in the way! The idea is to position the strip, mark three holes - one at the top and one either side - drill and loosely rivet, check and if all is OK, drill and fit.

Well I did it three times! How I got it so wrong the first two times I don't know ...... The cab must be bolted tight and right up against the tank. Mark which is the front of the riveted strip so you don't mark it one way and fit it the other.. Check, double check etc. etc.

You can see that I wasn't much better marking out the holes for the sandbox rods (though In my defense they do need tobe oval as the rod moves from side to side when operating them!

Got it in the end...ish!

And from the inside showing the riveting.

Test assembly

With the cab and back sheet bolted in position I could fit the roof (which just lifts off) and decide on the method for conducting the steam from the safety valve through the roof.

For my first attempt (which has yet to be tested), I removed the arm and modified (by filing away a piece at the bottom) two pieces of 1/4" OD K&S tube to fit over the safety valve tubes. I then used a piece of the brass waste to make a joining plate by drilling two 1/4" holes at the right distance apart (and then filing them so they actually were the right distance apart. I then shaped this using the linisher (bench belt sander) and drilled a hole for the fixing bolt that hold the valve in adjustment.

I then cut two pieces of 7/32" tube to just go through holes in the roof and, as there was some play in the holes of the spacer, two short pieces of 9/32" tube as collars. With the holes cut in the roof (measure and measure again) I was able to assemble it in situ and fix it with a long bolt with two lock nuts (this keeps the bolt head high and away from the solder which was about to be applied).

It is all a bit wobbly at this stage, but with it all positioned and looking good, I soft soldered it in situ using a fine flame on a micro blow torch.

I could then remove it in one piece for this photo:

So here are a few photos with it all put together (Click image to enlarge):

Front detail:

Back detail:

Safety valve detail:

One of the great things about taking detailed progress photos is that it allows you to see things you have missed. The above photo shows me that I need to adjust the roof fit!

Radio Contol

Well the previous photographs were taken back in early March 2016 and as I write this, it is December 2016 and the painted parts are drying in the domestic oven. Before I write about the painting, though, I will describe my project for fitting radio control.

Earlier this year, I had fitted radio control to Jack, the Garden Rail project loco designed by Brian Wilson. There followed a number of servo failures and as I removed the cab over and over again, I wished that I had planned for easy removal. But I hadn't and it was a real pain!

Jack did have three servos - regulator, reverser and whistle - but for the Quarry Hunslet I decided on the simple approach, with just the regulator radio controlled. The trouble was that I then decided that it must be easily removable - preferably with just one screw (I like a challenge).

Fortunately there is quite a lot of room in the cab, to the left hand side of the boiler, where the real loco has a coal bunker. What was needed was a box that would fit in there and contain the batteries, receiver, switch, charging socket and servo......

The Box

I tend to design these things as I go along, so I took some measurements and marked out a brass strip that I had in stock. This was 40mm wide and 0.75mm thick. I marked marked a line 25mm in for the fold and marked two 45 degree cut outs where the bends would be. i then folded this into shape to form the box and soldered a piece of 0.5mm plate inside to hold it rigid (ish). I honestly have no idea why I didn't use a plate the right size to fill the whole back of the box - I suspect it was because that piece came to hand...

In the photo below you can see that I had made a cut out for the servo - a 9gram micro servo (I was feeling lucky and I had it in stock!). Also I had soldered on a brass block to raise the box to clear the blow down fitting on the footplate.

I marked out for the switch - a two pole two way slider to allow it to switch between on and charging. I drilled and foled this out. The holes are clearance for 2mm screws.

Then a cut out for the socket and I was ready for the battery pack - except that it didn't fit. My box was 1.5mm too short. Bother, I said!

I managed to get round this problem by cutting a slot for the battery wiring bulge to fit into, but it would have been a lot more sensible to measure the battery before I made the box...

At this point, I cleaned it up, degreased, etch primed and then sprayed it matte black. In the photo below you can see how I folded the box.

The box was going to be very crowded, so I needed a very small receiver. I was aware that Planet had done one that would fit, but I couldn't find any for sale - anywhere. A call to Dave Mees of AbbeyBach Engineering Services Ltd in North Wales (he fits the R/C for Accucraft) sorted me out. The Planet kit is no longer available, but he could supply me with a Hitec transmitter and the tiny Hitec Minima 6L receiver which would fit. Within two days it was delivered (thanks Dave) and I began the merry task of binding the KA6 transmitter to this non-standard receiver. Lets just say that it worked, somehow, but certainly not by following the instructions!!!

Now I was at the assembly stage. Ising a fine soldering iron, I soldered the battery leads to the centre pins on the switch, with the power lead to the bottom pins and the charging socket lead to the top pins. All fitted well, but the box was still a bit flexible so I mae a post to go in the back corner, drilled and tapped to take 6BA screws.

It fitted in fine with the cab in place, but when I took the cab off, I found that I needed another spacer to bring it level. I maked out where this went on the footplate and drilled a 6BA clearance hole. I then marked through this on to the spacer block and drilled and tapped 6BA. So that was my one screw - how would I connect the servo to the regulator so that it was quick release? The answer was to use piano wire, heated and bent so that a simple right angle bend was 'sprung' through a hole drilled in the regulator arm, This was very hard steel and needed a fresh drill and lubricant.

Below, you can see the r/c module in position. The trouble was that it flexed a bit when in use. I considered many different ways of strengthening it, but in the end a small brass support soldered to the cab bracket at the rear, just supported it enough.

After the painting is done, I will make a small coal tray to go on top to disguise most of it.

The Painting

The first reason that I put off painting the cab was that to get a match for the Accucraft maroon, I would need to use the Precision enamel, which is a real pain to use from the aerosol I have in stock. And then there was all the masking to be done for the interior, which has to be done first, as enamel must follow acrylic car spray - or they will react. All too difficult......!

As the months went by, and my "Jack" was looking superb (to my eye) in the dark green, I began to think about a complete colour change. But that would mean taking the tank off and that was a real pain too....wasn't it?  Well no, it wasn't - as I discovered when I read my notes above and spotted the magic words "undo the bolt that holds the dome and tank in place". These notes are as much to remind me what I did as to inform the world, so, I was much relieved to find that after unscrewing the boss holding the chimney to the smokebox, the tank was removed in a couple of minutes.

It is necessary to ease the handrail forward, through the knobs, so that it can be removed. A little at a time is best to avoid damaging the painted rail. The lubricators are soft soldered on, but were easily removed by easing a craft knife blade behind the small flange (You could use a clean, hot soldering iron I guess). The sand boxes simply unblolted and I was ready to prepare for painting, by giving it a light rubbing down with a £M fleece and degreasing thoroughly.

On my maroon tank, the handrail knobs and sandbox control guides are gloss black and I decided that the latter should be green, so i just masked the knobs with Tamiya masking tape.

The paint is an Aldi special: Metal protection paint. This is an enamel (like Precision) but has an excellent, fine spray nozzle. It has the disadvantage of a slow dry time and, in fact, does not fully harden for a couple of weeks at normal temperatures. It responds pretty well to baking in the oven though.

You can re-coat after 5 minutes when the paint is stick very tacky so great care is needed. I supported it on a block of wood and after three coats, allowed it to dry for 15mins and then transferred it to the oven at 100 degrees C for an hour. I also cleaned, degreased and painted the sandboxes.

Of course, when it was cool, I had to try it in position:

So now it was the turn of the cab. I lightly rubbed it down with the fleece and then degreased it with thinners - three times to be sure. It was then Etch primed with Upol Acid etch 8 and baked in the oven.

The next step was to mask it up for the inside spraying - the black is first so the masking is basic:

I used acrylic Matte black from Halfords (thinners based paint)

The masking tape was removed and the paint hardened at just under 100 degrees C in the oven.

Next it was masked for the cream top part. I used Tamiya masking tape for the join line, but ordinart decorators tape for the rest.

I used Peugeot Panema Beige acrylic car spray - but any cream or ivory paint would do.

When it was touch dry, I removed the masking tape and baked it as usual. The line between the black and cream is not perfect, but is not visible when the cab is in position.

Masking for the outside green enamel takes some time. The inside panels, where the curved cut outs are, need masking tape cut to shape. This is what it looked like after spraying!

All of this has to be removed when the pint is barely touch dry and is a genuine pain, but the results are worth it!

I did have a little over spray of green in one place in the cab - and, of course, I could not touch in with acrylic over enamel. I mixed a little white and beige Humbrol enamel and got a pretty good match for touching up and trying it in position:

At this point I was getting a bit worried about whether I had enough etch primer left and, more important, whether I had enough of the green. I bought it a couple of years ago and have not seen it on sale since........

I prepared the back sheet and had just enough primer for this, the sliding doors and the rear handrails (not shown).

I masked and sprayed the inside as for the cab front:

And then sprayed the outside and the doors. This was a bit of a disaster as I somehow got some wire wool fibres on the surface (well they were on the bench when I did the masking) and I did not spot them until the paint went on. I had to bake it as it was and rub it down the next day. Luckily I had enough paint for the re-paint, but it all added to the stress!

It was when the paint was dry that the problem with the sliding doors came back to haunt me. I noted further up the page that they were the same thickness as the runner slots, but hoped that my chamfering would allow them to run. Not a chance!! I had to reduce the height by about 1mm and re-chamfer them again and again before they would go in. I tapped them lightly into a half open position and there they will stay until i strip the back sheet and start again........

The Roof

This was simply rubbed down, de-greased, etch primed (just enough) and sprayed matte black on the outside and cream inside.


Such a simple job - and I had an hour before we had to go out - what could go wrong? I cleared a space on the corner of the bench, fitted the cab in position and put in the 2mm bolts that had fitted the Accucraft side sheets. For some reason, two of them were really stiff in their holes and needed the long nosed pliers to assist the nut spinners. Not ideal, but I thought "this one is not going to have to come off anytime soon". Then I remembered the front hand rails. On Jack, the cab had to lift to fit them and I groaned as I prepared to undo those bolts. Then I decided to check and found that they were different and would slip right in. Phew!

Then I looked at the rear, long handrails and found that the cab did have to be lifted for these. Bother. I took out the bolts (with the help of the pliers) and raised it up - only to find that the rails would not go into the tubes because of the paint. Mmmmm.....! So, later in the day, the cab came off, I ran a tap through those 2mm bolt holes, I stripped the paint from the top of the handrails using masking tape and thinners, and then put it all back together.

The radio control module fitted in neatly (though I need to blacken those shiny screws) and I managed to find a Busybody drive who only needed an amputation below the knee and some robust sanding of his gluteous maximi


One thing I discovered when I had my little sports car professionally sprayed recently is that paint 'nibs' are a fact of life. I used 2000 grade wet and dry on a rubber pad to remove them and then T cut back to a polish. This should really be done after a couple of weeks so there will be more T cutting to do in due course.

Name Plates

This loco was previously named Seagull using commercial 16mm scale plates, but I decided to re-name it after our cat Bodkin. With help from members of our Model Engineering Society, I drew up the 11mm high plates on a 2D design software, printed with a laser printer on to Press and Peel PCB paper, ironed this on to brass and etched it using Ferric Chloride at home. I am sure it gets easier, and the results would get better, but the commercial suppliers certainly have the edge!

So this is what it looks like now:

Dummy coal box

Well I have made one, but am not happy with it as it is too small. Here you can see it in position, but my next job will be to make another.

Lubricators etc.

The eagle eyed will have spotted that I have not fitted the scale, Roscoe lubricators on the front of the tank. This is because I don't really like them. They look fine when folk have weathered them in, but mine is a shiny loco and those brass wires (pipes) don't do it for me. I much prefer the slightly over scale ones I have on Jack (see below):

There is also the matter of a whistle. Make one or use a casting? Watch this space....

Charging Socket!

It is a good thing I designed the radio control for easy removal as the first time I plugged it in to the Futaba type rx charger, there was nothing - no light on - no contact. "Bother", I said and set the stopwatch. It took 30 seconds to remove everything - so that was a result. Re-fitting took 45 seconds, but 15 of those were spent looking for the screwdriver! I fitted a different socket from stock but got the same result.

I remembered that when I had bought the charging sockets I had taken two sizes, but had not realised that I only had the wrong size left in stock. I Clearly I needed a different size charging plug - but what were they called? It took me over an hour of research on the internet before I found that it was really very simple - they are known as "DC Charging Jack". Of course! They are on many different chargers - but what about size? I needed a 5.5mm one but could only find 5.5x2.1mm and 5.5x2.5mm available. It appeared that the Futaba one is 5.5x 2.5, but my sockets that I had tried were 5.5x2.3 and the one I hadn't was the even smaller 5.5x2.1 version. Then the thought struck me that maybe I had a suitable charging jack on an old, redundant charger (there's a box of them in the garage). I found a 2.1, joined it to the charger lead, fitted the 2.1 socket and....it worked. Phew!


I did consider a working whistle, but in the end, decided it was just too difficult. A casting would have been the easy option, but I had a spare hour so decided to make one. I turned the 'bell' from 1/4" brass and the 'tube' is bent 2mm brass bar. I found a 6BA brass screw with an oversized pan head and drilled this head to take the tube. Then I turned it down and filed it oval to look like a flange. The most difficult part was drilling the hole for it in the cab front sheet. I didn't didn't want to take the cab off again, so it was carefully done!


As I said above, I wanted the slightly over scale lubricators that Brian Wilson had supplied me with for Jack and so this became a joint effort between Brian and myself. The ones I wanted are both expensive and require a lot of fettling, so it was very kind of Brian to offer to supply two, ready to fit (these were a special favour and not available commercially - though Modelearth do list 7/8ths scale ones).

When they arrived, they were beautifully polished - and more like jewellery than fittings!

Here you can see one with one of the Accucraft versions:

The problem (there is always a problem!) was that they came with a 6BA fixing screw that is designed to go through the side of Jack's smokebox. On my loco they need to go through the front of the tank which would have to be removed, and must miss the smokebox/tank brackets. I really didn't want to take it all apart again, so I had to bite the bullet and take a razor saw to the screw, the dummy bolt heads and also to the bracket itself. I used the belt sander for some of the shaping and then finished with a fine file.

The Accucraft lubricators have a locating pin and are soft soldered to the tank. When removed, these leave a very small hole and it took a bit of very careful marking to get the mounting hole to match this. I then drilled out the tank holes and tapped them 2mm. I test fitted them using 2mm pan head screws. Hex bolts would have been nicer, but the screws were easier and are hidden anyway.

Then I etch primed the brass and brush painted the brackets using some body colour sprayed into a lid and allowed to thicken a bit. As I had run out of 'brass black' I used a little 'gun blue' on a paintbrush to just tone down the shine in places.

They were baked in the oven at 100 degrees C for an hour.

After fitting, it was just a matter of bending some copper wire (thoughtfully included in the pack by Brian) to represent the pipes. I annealed the thicker wire so it would bend, and then polished it again. At present this is just a push fit in the lubricators, but I soft soldered the drains in using a micro blowtorch.

They are not a perfect match, but good enough for now. I may tone down the copper in places to give the impression that it is polished where it is easy to get at.......