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Bodging a body for Lawley

by Bradypus (Nick)

"Nobody wants to talk about Vanessa, and the terrible things Vanessa's done to me..."

... runs a song by Flanders & Swann. However, barring a few cuts, bruises and burns, my Vanessa isn't really that terrible. However, I did know a Vanessa once, and she was a big girl too...

Being a 'big engine' fan, I fancied another loco equal in stature to Wrekin. Much as I love my Lady Anne, she is a bit overwhelmed by my 16mm scale Isle of Man stock. I was very pleased with Wrekin and, as Accucraft's Lawley power unit has just become available I... er.. availed myself of one, courtesy of Trackshack and concocted a backstory and a body to suit.

What if...

...the Foxdale mines in the Isle of Man had been re-opened in 1920 and been more successful? The IoM Railway might have asked Beyer Peacock to supply a powerful 0-6-0 to supplement 'Caledonia', inherited from the Manx Northern. The same design might then have been adapted for a certain railway in Yorkshire with a bumper rhubarb harvest to haul...

The result:

Like my Ruby railmotor, the general style is based on IoM No.16 'Mannin' of 1926, plus a dash of W&L 'Countess' in the cab openings, with dimensions adapted to suit from a large scale general arrangement drawing of No16.

The body is 1mm brass sheet, punched with rivets using a home made press and soft soldered together. It is attached to the running boards by 2mm countersunk screws underneath. Wherever possible I replaced the hidden Accucraft hex head screws with stainless steel panheads or countersunks to leave me with enough hex heads to use for the visible fasteners.

The body is split into five main units: the tanks; cab upper/ front spectacle plate; cab back/ bunker sides and cab roof. The upper cab is held onto the tanks by the handrail knobs in the sidesheets passing through tabs extending up from the tanks (which saves four screws). The cab back forms half of the top of the side opening and bolts onto the sidesheets by four of the salvaged hex screws. The cab roof is held by small brass clips and lifts off for servicing. Soldering was done with 60/40 resin cored solder, the joints being smeared with additional resin flux before heating with a 75W iron, supplemented by a pencil torch for the large areas. I goofed slightly with the width and had to elongate the holes for the gas tank to make it fit snugly in the side tank.

The boiler handrails are attached to angle brackets on the tanks and carried in knobs bolted into the smokebox. However, the knobs along the boiler are dummy and stop just short of the boiler shell. Likewise, the dummy whistle is supported by the operating rod extrending from the cab front and its flange floats above the boiler. At time of writing, I still have to fit the clack valves and feed pipes to the sides of the boiler.

To accentuate the 'Beyer Peacockness', I put a very slight taper on the chimney with a file in the lathe. It's only 1mm off the diameter at the top and hardly noticeable until you see it next to parallel-chimney Wrekin, but there is a definite something about it!

(The cab roof does fit, honest! Better pic to follow)

As a mixed traffic loco, Vanessa required vacuum brakes for passenger working (even if they are never coupled up!), so I added an exhaust pipe from the brake ejector between the cab and smokebox using 2.5mm brass rod and added standards to the buffer beams. The flexible hoses are springs extracted from the rubber oil seals around ball bearings. I have also added eyes (1/16in split pins) for safety chains but am still looking for some suitable chain.

After I bought the power unit, she spent several weeks running round without a body while I tried various additions. As my first loco with 2.4GHz R/C (Planet 5), I wanted to try a few things with the extra channels available. As a result, she now has a home-made whistle, operated by a small servo in the left hand tank, and an exhaust diverter/draincock effect operated by a servo in the right hand tank. Details to follow if anyone is interested? The receiver and batteries live under the footplate.

In the cab can be seen the steam takeoff for the whistle at the top. The original filler plug is M10x1.0 thread. I made a hollow banjo bolt to suit and tapped it M6x1 to take a shortened brass bolt, which now serves as a filler. Centre is the regulator with a small brass arm added to take the link from the Hitec HS81MG servo bolted to the floor.

The Accucraft drain screws were ditched in favour of globe valves from Steam Fittings. The left hand valve is the boiler blowdown, the right is the lubricator drain. The pipes exit under the footplate like injector overflows. I blanked off the drain in the bottom of the lubricator by fitting a small screw smeared in silicone sealer and drilled the side above the footplate to take a new pipe. The technique to drain the lubricator now is to open the globe valve while there is still some pressure in the boiler and then crack open the regulator.

I piped everything up with 3/32in. diameter but would go for 1/8in. next time for the lubricator as it takes a fair bit of pressure to blow the condensate/oil emulsion mix out.

Painting was done with Halfords etch primer and Phoenix Precision aerosols LNER Doncaster green, which is the closest off the shelf match for IoM 'Ailsa' green (not that this is the IoM, of course...). The blackwork was sprayed with Wilkinsons Stove Black. Following a suggestion on here (credit required?) I washed the bare body using a dishwasher tablet and, so far, seem to have a more robust finish than previously. Lining transfers came from a member of the Gscalecentral forum and were bought for an authentic IoM Beyer Peacock 2-4-0, which I still haven't got round to building!

An earlier photo , taken with a different camera in softer light. The green looks much less violent and more Ailsa-like!