A Week's Brake

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by S-Club-7, 15 July 2013.

  1. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    A week off of work, but the rest of the household are still hard at it, so I'm able to spend the next few days "playing trains" with no distractions. The question is: what to do? Well, it's always got to be the last thing that I purchased, all the shelf queens can stay on the shelf!

    At the S7 bash at Brightwell earlier this year I obtained from Laurie Griffin one of his GER 20ton brake van kits. This kit has done the rounds in its time; originating as a Jidenco 4mm scale kit several decades ago. Some of our younger readers may not know of the horrors produced by Jidenco 30-odd years back; Jidenco certainly were. Their 7mm range was marketed under the "El-crappo" label. You've never had it so good. That is unless you model the GER when Jidenco is still the only source of some essentials, such as brake vans.

    Okay, so Shedmaster and Laurie Griffin have made a few modifications to the kit, especially in terms of the castings which are all of excellent quality. But there are still fundamental dimensional errors with the etched components which need dealing with.

    I was not totally unaware of what I was going to be facing as Buckjumper has one on his blog - in fact it appears to be the one which appears in the LG instructions. There do, however, appear to be some differences between the kit that Buckjumper built and the components currently supplied. Which leads us nicely into the first few pics:

    001 Kit Etches.jpg
    The etches: The Jidenco artwork on the right (cut into 2 parts to fit into an A4-sized bag) and some later parts on the left. The Jidenco artwork shows its 4mm scale hand-drawn origins with some parts being over-large for 7mm scale (e.g. washer plates are too wide) and parts which should be identical aren't. But not as bad as I was expecting...

    002 Kit Castings.jpg
    The castings: lost wax brass, whitemetal and (I think) pewter.

    What's missing? From the top downwards: rainstrips, roof, wire, angle and strip, wheels, bearings, brake operating mechanism.

    What's to be replaced? W-irons (Exactoscale sprung), buffers (self contained), solebars (those supplied are not deep enough), buffer-beams (ditto and wrong cross-section).

    003 Extra Bits.jpg
    The extra bits: Some 5x2mm C section for the solebars (should have been 6x2), other strip (plus what was in stock), Exactoscale springing units, Slaters wheels (formerly O fine, now reprofiled), sheet of nickel for the roof, some buffers. Initially I was undecided about replacing the solebars with scale depth ones as this affects so many components. These buffers I found in a drawer at Perfect Miniatures (the home of Love Lane and West Mersea, visiting day is the last Sunday every month) and would work for the buffer-beams supplied but they're a bit small for scale ones. I'll have to ask Buckjumper where he got his from.

    Tool kit: Just the "usual" stuff plus a few indispensable items such as a Hold & Fold (first time I've used mine, brilliant piece of kit), GW Models rolling mill, ultra-sonic cleaner, a lathe (for reprofiling wheels) which can be configured to a vertical drill for accurately drilling holes just where you want them.

    Confession: Having obtained the extra bits at Railex I have actually been building the kit for a couple of months, just a few hours per week. But now I've just got to one of the "why did I start this?" moments and it may take me all week to sort it out.
  2. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    Looks interesting Dave, please do carry on!
  3. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Quite. Looking forward to the next instalment. :thumbs:
  4. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    An interesting project, for sure, but the pedant in me feels the need to point out that it was Colin Massingham's 7mm MTK range that was marketed as 'El Crappo'. It might be fair comment on many Jidenco kits, but it wasn't how they sold them!

  5. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    My apologies to all concerned. My excuse is that is was a long time ago!
  6. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    The solebars:
    005 Jidenco Solebars.jpg
    Folding the first of these, even with the Hold & Fold, resulted in something that was the wrong cross-section, banana-shaped in two planes and twisted in the third. All caused by a lack of etched folding lines. Unfolding resulted in a nearly flat one-planed-banana.

    The way out of this mess is to remove the full thickness edges (scribe repeatedly with a sharp knife then flex until the pieces snap off) and attach the detailed centre to a piece of 6x2mm C section brass - 1/4inch would be closer to scale if you can find it. Try Hobby Holidays as a source of 6x2.

    Except that I didn't have any 6x2; I'd purchased 5x2mm with the intention of keeping the solebars under-depth so that the side stanchions would fit without modification (which means there's trouble ahead...). So I sawed down the middle of the 5x2 to create two 2.5x2mm angles which curled themselves into corkscrews as the machining stresses were released. Several hours of straightening later the angles were soldered to the edges of the half-etched section of solebar. A few bits of wire for horse-hooks and bolt-heads, and a few minutes with the engraving tool to improve the appearance of the works plate had them almost ready for use.
    009 DRR Solebars.jpg
    Other opinions are available...:(

    Buffer beams: Replace the flat etches with 6x2mm C section brass channel.

    Except that I didn't have any 6x2mm C channel (see above). So I ended up machining the ends of a piece of 1/4 by 1/8inch brass bar before drilling holes for the couplings and buffers. Just to say that the large lump of brass was difficult to solder into position and to add soldered detail; and that the buffer holes all decided that they'd locate themselves just where I'd finished the machining so thet all needed filing to get them back to approximately the correct location.
    007 Underframe Trial Assy.jpg
    Oops, forgot to mention the Exactoscale cast brass coupling hooks in the "bits to buy" list above. Note the buffers have been though the lathe to clean them up and to sharpen the edges. Unfortunately one didn't survive so was replaced with one I had to turn from brass, another first for me. Rose growers look away now; subsequent photos will have lots of black spots visible which indicate how it fits together.
  7. djparkins

    djparkins Western Thunderer

    Dave -

    But as you say, it WAS 40 years ago! I built several of the 4mm wagons from the Jidenco range for customers back in the '70s, when I was commision building + several MTK kits [and here I declare an interest, as Colin Massingham was a friend - though I certainly had absolutely no connection with his company!!!]

    I found it rewarding and immensley satisfying to build the Jidenco kits, improving them with scratch-built parts or other materials available at the time and I truly think we are losing something from modelling today by expecting to be spoon-fed everything.

    I recall building a rake of the etched versions of the 4mm MTK Mk.1 coach kits for a customer. Again, I added lots of detail but the result was still better than any Mk.1s available today in 4mm RTR [or 7mm!]. As I recall, I was particularly impressed by Colin's Mk.1 RKB.

    I think we have forgotten how to differenciate between kits that are really an aid to scratchbuilding [as my original range was intended - diesel locos for £52.50 for heaven's sake!] and which can be really satisfying to build and improve [as you are doing so well here] and some of the 'state of the art' stuff of today. There is still a place for these kits - even if it is only to help ensure that scratch-building skills are not entirely lost from the hobby! And as you say, these are still the only options available for some prototypes.

    Good work so far!


    Michael Osborne and john lewsey like this.
  8. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    I too have built some of the 4mm Jidenco range. The one that I most remember was a GWR 6 wheeled fish truck and I still have a photo or two of it.

    GWR Fish truck 003 by Rob Pulham, on Flickr
    I paid £6 for the kit and had to do a little scratch building and when I was letting my 4mm stuff go I planned to donate it to Ormesby Hall but at the last minute listed it on eBay with some other stuff to my surprise and astonishment it fetched £140 and went to a gent in South Africa.
  9. 7mmMick

    7mmMick Western Thunderer

    Great to see this on a thread Dave, inspiration to finish off my six wheel version. Im looking forward to seeing how you tackle the 'obstacles' the kit throws up. I must say I have to agree with DJP in as much as kits like this almost force your hand into finding out drawings and relevant research. I do always do this in any case but I think so many modellers are missing some enjoyment by digging the bits out the box and just cracking on without even searching out a photo of the prototype,

    ATB Mick :thumbs:
  10. dibateg

    dibateg Western Thunderer

    I like your view Mick - yes it's an aid to scratchbuilding, I think I've 'enhanced' every kit I've built inclinding the MOK 8F - which is the best kit ever. I also confess I put Slaters brass buffers on my MMP kits - sorry Dave!

    I sold a 2nd hand Jidenco 4mm 4-4-0 kit recently and was really suprised by the interest. I suppose anything is better than nothing and even an old low technology kit can give you a starting point - like my K3 from an Anchorage kit for instance. Sometimes the research is half the fun.
    I look forward to seeing progress.

    best Regards

  11. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    That's providing you can find a picture of the prototype. I spent ages researching online and bought two books to find an exact prototype of my vans – and even that is one very small picture.
  12. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    Depends on your definition of "aid": in some kits then "hindrance" would be a better word. It all depends on what you, as a modeller, want to do. You can either put the kit together, or you can make a model of a particular prototype in a particular condition on a particular day using the kit's bits where suitable.
    {grumpy-old-man-mode /on} But back when these kits were designed there was no internet. And you couldn't just go to the NRM and get a "pipe and rod" drawing. At best there were the drawings by Roche:eek: and if you were lucky you could find a very grainy (and small) picture in an Oakwood publication. And if it wasn't locomotive information you were after then you were really stuck! You really have never had it so good:) {grumpy-old-man-mode /off}

    {Urban-myth-mode /on} One story I did hear at the time about Jidenco was that their prime business was etching printed circuit boards. When the PCB business was quiet then the girls in the drawing office (all hand drawn artwork, no computers in those days) were given a loco or wagon to draw up (based on what information?) and get etched. No test builds or revisions, add a few castings and go straight to market. {Urban-myth-mode /off}
    The story does explain a lot (different dimensions for coupling rods and frame holes; no after-market suspension parts available in those days) but whether it's true or not I don't know.
    Buckjumper likes this.
  13. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    The Body
    A look at the photo of the etch in post 1 shows that the outer end, sides and floor are joined into one piece. The Griffin instructions just say fold up the ends and sides, with some guidance on how to perform this process. But there's a snag. The sides are the correct length and the ends are the correct width. Unless you're supposed to bevel to 45 degrees all the bits that meet, "fold up the ends and sides" will not work; especially as all four bends will need to be in exactly the correct places as well. There is a half-etched fold line this time, but it's on the wrong side of the etch so is not going to help with the location.
    There was nothing else for it but to saw the ends, sides and floor into seperate parts. The floor was fettled first to remove the cusp, keep it square and to resize it to 1mm shorter than the sides and 1mm narrower than the ends. The ends had 1mm removed from either corner, but only where the sides were full length. The ends of the sides would later be hidden by an overlay. The inner ends also needed narrowing.
    011 First Trial Assy using Rubber Band.jpg
    The pic shows a trial assembly used as a means of checking everything isthe correct size. Note the partly narrowed outer ends. Whilst the parts were still flat(ish) some lines were scribed to show where the inner ends needed to be fixed; and beneath the floor more scribing to show where the Exactoscale suspension units would eventually reside.
    008 First Trial Assy Using Magnets.jpg
    Another trial assembly. This time using a whiteboard and magnets. Trial assembly photos slightly shown out of sequence :(

    So it's all ready to solder together. Or is it? It looked as if access to the interior of the veranda would be limited after assembly so some detailing would have to be done first, especially to the inner ends.
    012 Inner End.jpg
    The Laurie Griffin supplied handwheels are shown bottom-right. They are too small and have too few spokes. The Jidenco etch does have some flat 6 spoke wheels of the correct diameter so these had a ring of 0.8mm wire (filed to half-round) soldered to the rim; a handle turned from 1mm diameter wire; a turned washer to beef up the centre of the wheel; and a mounting bracket. The etch still has a number of holes. The one on the left was filled; the ones on the door had a door latch and a handle fitted. Then I moved the hole for the wheel outwards so that the guard didn't do himself a mischief every time he went inside!

    The sides had a couple of over-large holes for handrails. These had a piece of microbore tube soldered into them -- very difficult to do neatly after assembly. Some 3mm angle was fitted to the top of the sides, between where the inner ends would eventually be. This was to stop the sides from distorting later in the build process. Similar lengths of the same angle were fitted to the top of the floor, also between the inner ends, to strengthen the joint.

    Now just solder the sides to the outer ends to the floor to the inner ends...
    013 Body Assy.jpg
    More strengthening pieces added above the side doors and along the curved portion of the outer ends. Those of you who are still awake will have noticed that the inner ends are a bit too tall -- I forgot to allow for the thickness of the floor:mad:. More curved strengtheners were fitted to the inner ends which then had their tops filed back. Sorry about the comedy soldering inside the veranda but access is limited especially now the strengtheners are fitted.
  14. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    How NOT to make half-round wire

    Just in case any of you need to modify etched handwheels by adding a bit of texture, here's how I create one essential component. Some steps are optional...

    Start with a piece of straight round wire, in this case 0.8mm diameter. Find something slightly smaller than the finished size to wrap it around, then wrap the wire around several times -- in this case I used my pin-vice. Springly wire ends up as a considerably larger ring than required. Answer, anneal it. Hold the still straight end of the wire in pliers and, with the blowtorch held in the other hand, warm the coils to bright red. Sounds simple? Until the flame catches the straight bit of wire and instantaneously heats it to white hot, at which point the red hot coils fall onto the floor. Picture of workshop floor follows:
    014 Carpet Burns.jpg
    Don't try this at home. Why? Because your nicely annealed coils now have molten nylon stuck to them.

    It wouldn't have been so bad but with the pliers and a still hot straight piece of wire in one hand, and a flaming blowtorch in the other, all space on the workbench suddenly disappeared. When I eventually found somewhere safe to deposit my oversized (it's got their name on it...) flame thrower, my coil of wire was melting it's way down to the concrete.

    Scrape the nylon of off the (now cool) wire coils, wrap them again around your bar to reduce their diameter to something approaching what is required. Cut the coil into individual rings, give them a slight twist to align the ends which should be soldered together. Remove any excess solder (and carpet!) before placing on a piece of softwood. Belt the ring with a large hammer. This should embed the ring into the wood, thus holding it in place whilst you file half of it away.

    I'll try and get the next stage of the story together this afternoon when the workshop gets too hot for a few hours.
  15. fenman

    fenman Active Member

    Is that before or after you have watched the Tour de France.
    Regards Peter.
  16. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    The TdF on itv.com/tour is streaming in the background as I model (as is the golf and the cricket. Only one at a time though, depends how England are doing!). At about 15:30 the sun comes around and shines through the window straight into my eyes, also reflecting off the shiny brass so I can't see anything! And then it gets flipping hot so I go indoors for a cuppa tea and watch the end of the TdF stage on the TV.

    And today I'm writing the episode in this never-ending docu-drama. Part ?? (I've lost count) follows.
  17. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    The Frames

    Remember those lines that were scribed underneath the floor before assembly started? These were used to position the Exactoscale springing units (along with a tri-square) which were tacked into position. When satisfied that they were in the correct place a bead of solder was run around the outside.

    The buffer-beams were tacked next, using the centre line to position them centrally, and then had trouble creating a bead due to the solid lump of brass that comprised the buffer-beam! A 40watt iron, lots of flux and a following wind saw enough solder deposited to keep them in position. A modicum of oversize was filed off of each end so that the buffer-beams became flush with the sides and ends. Pictures for those (like me) who can't decipher the above:
    015 Buffer Beams Added.jpg
    You might (just) be able to make out some of the scribed lines in this view.

    015a Other Way Up.jpg Nearly finished?


    These needed some fettling to get them to fit between the buffer-beams remembering to ensure that the bolt-heads align with the W-irons where appropriate. The instructions helpfully instruct you to fix the solebars "...level with the outside edge of the body" which contradicts the photographs, Tatlow's drawings and even the drawing supplied with the kit. I turned some paxolin tufnol stubs to fit into the holes in the buffer-beams so that the solebars could be affixed with sufficient clearance for the buffers (see photo):
    016 Adding Solebars.jpg Whether there'll be enough room for the buffer shanks and the brake gear is still to be determined...

    The end overlays were added next; but not before the triangular sections had been removed. These were later replaced with some 0.005inch triangles which I felt better represented the multi-layered prototype.
    017 Triangles.jpg
    Hmmm, ironwork is a little bit short due to increased depth of solebars and buffer-beams. Perhaps if I crop the photo then nobody will notice... (edit: they actually almost match the prototype which also didn't go all the way down)

    Now it's time to start thinking about the ironwork for the sides which, because I've increased the depth of the solebars, will no longer fit (if indeed it ever did).
    018 Paper Strip.jpg
    This photo shows a strip of paper cut to the same size as the etches supplied along with the (also too short) vertical etch for the T-section.

    Part one of the solution is to make the 8 wooden blocks (out of brass) which sit in the recess of the solebars.
    019 Wooden Blocks.jpg
    Sorry about the depth of field. These are 1/8 x 1/16inch x 5.3mm with 0.5mm x 0.010inch stubs. The stubs represent the flat part of the T-section, the 0.7mm diameter wire the bolt-heads. You'll need 8 of them but make a couple of spares as tweezers have a habit of launching them across time and space! Those that weren't launched were put safely to one side as the side ironwork needed sorting first.
  18. 7mmMick

    7mmMick Western Thunderer

    Fantanstic work Dave, I had a real problem with the solebars on my van and I really wish I adopted your approach. It's a good job these vans didn't run together as yours is putting mine to shame :thumbs: Good thing is you've inspired me to crack on with the ironwork on mine tonight, it's definitely one of those jobs that stalls a build and leaves the work on the shelf taunting you :)) :))

    ATB Mick
  19. Wagonman

    Wagonman Western Thunderer

    I thought the Jidenco range was the work of Peter Beaumont, hand drawn of course and possibly not test built, but drawn by his hand rather than the office girl's...
  20. S-Club-7

    S-Club-7 Western Thunderer

    The posts above show the work completed before my week's break started; about 70 hours worth plus the research.

    So first thing Monday morning (after mowing the lawn) the first job was to sort out the ironwork on the sides. The kit has no location guides of any sort for these, so some careful measuring and scribing was needed.

    020 Flat Tee Section.jpg
    The first part of the side iron work. Note that the bits near the doors are different to those near the middle, and there are left and right variants of these (do the instructions mention this?). I hope the photo is clear enough to show that in many cases the central stripe wasn't central. More on that later. Each piece was numbered, as was it's location on the van, before transferring the height at each location (I know that they should all be the same...) and bending to suit. The "wooden" blocks were temporarily fitted and the iron work trimmed to fit. Then the (now) excess bolt-heads were filed off and some symmetry imparted (that means lots of filing) whilst reducing the width to 1/8inch to match the "wooden" blocks. A few dabs of solder paste and a quick fizz with the RSU saw all 8 parts fitted -- after about an hour's work on each one. To celebrate the "wooden" blocks were also soldered in place and then trimmed.

    022 Wooden Block.jpg

    This is the first time that I've used solder cream for this sort of job and was very dubious before I started. Not any more. Here's the first side BEFORE I started cleaning off the excess:
    021 The First Side.jpg

    Next in the queue were the 8 diagonals. Two variants with a distinct top and bottom to them. Again there was lots of filing to reduce width and impart symmetry. More solder cream and RSU work, a couple of bolt-heads ended up in the wrong place so had to be filed off and replaced with a stub of 0.7mm wire soldered into a drilled hole. Another hour for each of the 8 diagonals.

    Nearly there, he says hopefully! Next up was the "sticky out" bit of the T section ironwork, starting with the bit bolted to the solebars. I couldn't find a piece of 1.0x0.5mm strip so had to file a length from some scrap etch and then solder into place on the "wooden" blocks, like so:
    023 Vertical Tee Section.jpg
    The image on the far right also shows the "sticky out" bit of the T section supplied in the kit. Again there were 2 variations, both of which required modifications (top and bottom) before solder cream and RSU came to the rescue again. They bend and kink very easily if they need removing because they didn't go in the correct place first time:mad:. Another 8 pieces at an hour per piece.

    024 Sides Done.jpg
    Repeat the side-saga for the ends (sorry, no photo yet) and that was my week's break. So far I must have spent at least 110 hours on it. Completing it in an uninterrupted week was really never going to happen, especially when I had to keep taking time out to write on WT (that takes a long time as well, well it does for me).

    But you don't get rid of me that easily. I'll be back with the next episode some time soon(ish).