'Frankenstein' the 'thing'

by Mark Pengelley


Frankenstein was named as such because of a nickname some fellow 'garden railway' friends of mine gave to me because of my ability to make anything Mamod/Mss work. The idea for this locomotive came about when I had been admiring some other peoples 'thing' locomotives and realised that they all had one vital flaw, they all seemed out of breath and underpowered. This was something I was not going to allow myself to have, so I set about collecting cheap toy steam parts on ebay and slowly putting it all together.

The parts and repairs

This is the first serious part I bought for the humble sum of £12. This boiler was not in great condition, but I could fix it with a little work. Sadly the whistle insert was loose and the whistle in turn was jammed tight in it, so I needed to get it out in order to save the fire box and the boiler ultimately.

The next thing to was to remove the whistle with minimal damage, ideally I'd have like to have saved the whistle, but it proved impossible so I heated the whistle and pulled it out of the boiler complete with insert. The damage was minimal, but did require some reshaping of the hole now.

The next thing to do was to get the insert back inside the boiler. So I had an accident with an air saw and the boiler fell in two.

This is how I propose to fix it. Strip all the paint off the boiler and around the insert and making a sleeve for the inside.

Here is the sleeve all made up and ready for soldering. I stripped the remaining paint from the boiler and began preparing for the re assembly.

Here is the filler plug end showing the prepared areas. Instead of using rivets to fit the combustion chamber back onto the boiler, I put some 4 BA screws inside when I silver soldered the insert in.

The insert re fitted with the two screws in place.

Showing the rear end of the boiler with the filler level plug.

The two halves were then reunited with the insert slid inside, and the whole thing was silver soldered together very carefully.

A slightly unorthodox approach? Maybe, but I have faith in the repair. Having thought a long time about how to do this, I decided to carry out the join in the confinement of the combustion chamber and use a sleeve to offer more strength in the weakened area. Both of which should give me a good strength and also a good place to be just in case of a failure.

Next up I made the combustion chamber shorter and also enclosed (as a fail safe). I wanted to fit the motor on the top so it was kept warm by the fire inside, being an over-type I felt this necessary.

I made the new combustion chamber body slightly longer than the original to house the proposed burner, it would also offer a slightly greater heating area. The last thing I wanted to have was a lack of steam.

Here is the boiler & combustion chamber sat on the frames. The wheels are just some I found lying around. The idea is to use Roundhouse wheels, axles, cranks and rods so hopefully I can make this loco re-gaugeable. 

The engine assembly

Next up, the motor assembly. I decided to stick with using Mamod/Mss parts once more, this would give me the opportunity of upgrading to o ring cylinders at a later date if so required.

Cutting of the frames, using a spare Mamod one as a template.

I then put is tall together using a Mamod reverser and fitted some ballraces for the crank I am going to make.

All fitted to exactly the same dimensions as the Mamod frames, so I should have absolutely no port or timing issues.

Anyway, you get the general idea.

Here is another mock up of the whole lot. This is going to be the approximate location of the motor on the combustion chamber. I am at present unsure of the best way to transfer the motion down to the wheels as yet, Ideally I'd like to gear it down to about 4:1.

To be continued.......