Building an Ace Kits "K"

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by oldravendale, 1 August 2014.

  1. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    We know who designed the kit, and it is not a thing of beauty! There are considerable errors - see the tender build. However, it's the only one for a Brighton K and I'm not sufficiently clever or experienced to build one from scratch. However, it is true to say that, although the kit is cheap it will not work out that way by the time all the additional parts are taken in to account. There is a significant difference between "cheap" (and close to unbuildable), which this kit is and "inexpensive" (but totally buildable and well designed) which is where I'd put Connoiseur, for example.

    As for the chassis jig, this is the first loco I've built using it which has not run straight from the build. I'm pretty sure that there's something associated with the errant hornblock, couple with my over confidence based on previous experience which caused the problem. I'll be using it for future builds, but properly and with greater care. Chassis are my bete noir and the chassis jig has given me confidence that they'll build properly and work, which they usually do.

    The alternative camp suggests a much less expensive option which uses long ground steel rods and tapered jig axles, but my builds have usually been out of square using this technique - my inadequacy, no doubt. If there is a wish to resurrect a discussion about chassis jigs I'm happy to host it here as part of the side issue of building this kit, but we've probably previously done it to death!

    BTW, I noted on my previous post that I was taking the splasher tops off the splasher sides, even though the design and instruction is for the tops to remain attached to the sides and curved to fit. My intention in describing this was to ask for opinions about whether removal from the sides and proper bending of the tops before soldering in place would be the preferred construction, or whether anyone has experience of the construction method proposed for this kit which, to my mind, must give a flat top to the splasher. I forgot but now invite comments!

    Last edited: 12 September 2017
  2. lankytank

    lankytank Western Thunderer


    "not sufficiently clever or experienced enough to build one from scratch" - maybe not at the moment, but when this is finished, may I hazard, that you will be.....?

    Re; Chassis jig - do you want to 'name names'? (PM me if you don't want to 'go public')

    Got to admit that I've got the Hobby Holidays 0 gauge variant & find that it 'nails it' each time (or it did in a previous life), so much so that I've used it to build G1 chassis with it. It's a stretch & the chassis were short wheelbase, it can be done, just....:rolleyes: :thumbs:

    Keep going...... this is great.

  3. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer


    My understanding is that Mr ACE does not design the kits himself , but that he get's other people to do it for him.
    He has also bought in quite a few other kits over the years.

    I have always used the steel rods and tapered jig axles before and haven't really had any problems, I was hoping that a jig would make it even easier.

  4. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Hi Barry.

    I'd love to think that I'd be able to scratch build at some time, but understanding a GA is a good start, and I don't do that very well!

    I'm happy to name the jig as a Hobby Holidays one, and as you say, until now it' "nailed it" every time. This is why I reckon there's something problematical about the hornblock. On the basis of considerable experience I'd recommend the HH one every time - just treat it with respect and don't do as I did - familiarity breeds contempt! I'll bet that every time I use it in the future it'll be fine, because I'll be that bit more careful and check dimensions and locations when it's all together. I seem to remember that the bearings within one set of hornblocks were a bit loose on the pins, and this could well be enough to have caused the problems alone, I guess. Also, check the instructions and use the jig as recommended - it may be that this problem would not have occurred had I not tried to fit bearings and spacers on the jig all at one time.

    And Richard - I'm very willing to be corrected but I believe that William designs his own range himself - if he has them designed by someone else, then the errors should be picked up during a test build. In fact, that should apply even if he test builds his own design. Frankly, spacers where a central hole is not central and is too large for purpose, and tabs on said spacers which are not identical side to side suggests that a test build was not done. If it was new spacers would have had to be made which should have lead to a correction to the etch or a description of the error and the necessary corrective action in the instructions. And that's just one problem within a small catalogue.

    Certainly William has some very passable - nay, excellent - kits which have been bought in to his range. However, the trick is being able to identify, as an old colleague used to say, t'other from which.

    Nevertheless, the issue with the axle spacing is not a problem with the kit.

    lankytank likes this.
  5. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I would say this is more a mental hurdle than one of skill or experience. Anyone who can build one of these kits has more then enough skill and experience to scratch-build. There are some cases where a half etched detail in a kit would make life easier but for the most part when scratch building you can make the parts to the right size and shape. If it goes wrong just make another part!

    The only thing I can think of that might have caused this is that on the problem hornblock that the hole for the axle is not central in the axle bearing. When making the axleboxes bushes if they have been drilling a length of square bar then the drill could drift slightly the deeper it goes. Such that the hole is slightly off centre to slot machined for the horn guide. From the photos I can't see if you have marked the orientation of the axleboxes so potentially if the axle hole is off centre a certain amount, say 20thou forward of the true centreline, if you then remove and refit rotated upside down then the hole would be 20thou aft of the true centre line, i.e. any error could doubled depending on the orientation.
  6. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    I really wish kit designers would with use completely half etched or not at all. Etched lines are just as bad.. they leave loads of on the topside which is unnecessary.
  7. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    It wasn't that, in fact I think Dad had looked at that problem after I explained a similar issue I'd had with a H0 loco many moons ago.

    It emerges that at least one of the axle rods isn't square wrt the rest of the jig. Hence, one miss placed hornguide.

    adrian likes this.
  8. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    You are probably quite correct about the mental hurdle, Adrian. The prospect of drawing out the parts I need and then cutting them with any degree of accuracy seems an insurmountable problem. Perhaps if I just actually tried I might find I can produce something! However, I have enough kits stacked up in the loft to last me for the rest of my lifetime, so I may well just keep working on those.

    As for the bearings, that's a valid comment. I'd not marked the orientation, but before removing the errant hornblock I had rotated the bearing through 90 degree segments as 7mm Mick had suggested this when we discussed at Telford. Sadly it didn't do the trick this time, but marking up the orientation for the future is another thing I've learned! Just common sense, I suppose.

    Thanks for the thoughts, Adrian.

    And Peter - you are so correct about the question of half etching. This is another area where a test build would have identified that it's near impossible to get a smooth curve with a partially half etched location. If the metal had been full thickness I'd have achieved a far better result and easily if I'd annealed it. As it was I was unsure whether annealing would create differential expansion between the full thickness and half etched areas so I avoided it. In the metal it looks not too bad, but I suspect that, when primed, the lumps and bumps will become apparent! Once I've formed the splashers I'll probably have a go at polishing the metal as smooth as possible with fine files and emery paper, but there's not much thickness before I'll be through to the other side!

    Maybe car body filler will be my friend.

    Peter Cross likes this.
  9. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    As an idea why not superglue a single ply of toilet paper (clean of course :p) to the top of the splashers then sand/file/polish to the metal. It may take a bit longer but that way any dents in the metal will be filled without resort to car body filler and there's less risk of removing too much metal.
    Pencarrow likes this.
  10. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Save yourself a lot of time and grief and just cut new ones from scrap etch, 15 thou will do and be easily formed. No sanding filing or filling. Use the originals as templates.
    Wagonman, AJC and adrian like this.
  11. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thank you for the suggestion, Dave. It's not one I've heard or thought of previously, so I'll give it a try. If it fails I'll send the footplate to you......:)

    And Mick - that's a very serious option which I actually considered. However, the outline, slots and all defeated me. You may well be right in suggesting that a new footplate would, in the long run, be the proper answer, but I chickened out. You'll see which of us is correct in a year or so.:))

  12. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    No problem....:p at least it's not GW :rolleyes:.
    Peter Cross likes this.
  13. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Oh, I think it may have Gone Wrong, Dave.....:))
    D G Williams and Peter Cross like this.
  14. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Glad you like the Hobby Holidays chassis jig. I bought one earlier this year along with the rolling road bits. Looks like a good piece of kit, so reassuring to hear your view.

    I also like your opening statement. Bad kits are painful and can be expensive to complete (with all the extra bits needed) but they are priceless in terms of the experience you gain. I'm now happy to make and modify parts. Would I be there if the kit had fallen together?

    BTW, I'm not excusing poor kits just saying every cloud has a silver lining.
    lankytank and Peter Cross like this.
  15. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I couldn't agree more about your comments, Chris. I'm learning a lot during this build, more than I would with a straightforward kit. That doesn't excuse the poor quality.

    Here's where I'm up to now.

    100_0545.JPG 100_0546.JPG
    Footplate now incorporates those lovely sweeping curves. Valance is fitted. Splasher sides are bent up from the footplate. And I removed the splasher top from one of the splashers to see whether it provided a better result if formed and fitted separately. It's just been tacked in place for the moment. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a better, more even shape than if there ws a flat top, so I'll apply this to each splasher in turn. I need to check the instructions such as they are but it appears to me that the splasher tops are actually a wee bit short for the way they are intended to fit - there is a half etched line which I think should tuck under the footplate to give a good fit, but it doesn't! I'll review things before I proceed further, but the remaining splashers will probably be curved inside out.

  16. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I would definitely continue separating the splashers tops and rolling them before fixing. It would be nearly impossible to get them looking right if left on. Could it be that the splasher tops are meant to fit behind the fronts instead of on top? Might make the length match, or maybe not.
    Pencarrow likes this.
  17. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thanks, Fraser. It's good to have endorsement of my thought in this regard.

    I wondered the same thing about the length, but the half etch line is on the outside, and if the tops are not separated they naturally create their location on the top of the splasher side. Now, knowing this kit as we do, that is not an infallible guide but separating from the main etch and fitting in this way is actually not too difficult and gives the appearance of having been designed in.:))

  18. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer

    Keep up with the good work Brian.

    I'm currently in the throes of building a turntable (Barry knows from where...I've not used all the 1.5mm angle yet!) and I'm having to make new parts for that as some of the etches are either the wrong hand or have dimensional errors.

    lankytank likes this.
  19. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for the thoughts, Ian. Can we see some photos of your turntable? It's really helpful to see what's done to improve and correct!

  20. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer


    I will when I get back from doing some research at the NRM.