My First Brass Kit

Discussion in 'New members' started by William Thomas, 4 November 2018.

  1. William Thomas

    William Thomas New Member

    Hello, my name is William and I am 11 years old. I have always been very enthusiastic about railways, no matter what their size. My dream has always been to be involved with railways and one day I would love to be able to exhibit my own layout.

    A year ago I started going to a model railway club with my dad, in the hope of learning how to build different types of models.

    A fellow member of the club, “oldravendale”, asked me a few weeks ago if I would like to learn how to solder and build kits. Of course I said yes, because it would be fantastic to learn about soldering and kit building.

    I would like to thank the member of Western Thunder, who gave oldravendale the kit at Telford for me to build with Brian’s help. When I’ve built this it will be used on our club layout.

    The picture below is of one my first creations using solder to join brass pieces together. I learnt that if you solder it in the right way you can make a joint which can be almost impossible to break.

    upload_2018-11-4_21-10-37.jpg upload_2018-11-4_21-10-37.jpg

    How I created my first masterpiece (ha ha!)

    My tools

    • Soldering iron

    • Solder

    • Emery paper

    • Flux

    • Sponge

    • Small leather cloth

    • Nail files

    • Abrasive mesh

    • A small machine vice

    My steps to soldering

    1. Gathered my tools together so they are at hand when needed.

    2. Warm up the soldering iron so it’s ready to use later on.

    3. Clean the brass with sand paper so the solder sticks to the brass. If there is any grime it could prevent it from sticking.

    4. Put the flux along the joint which is going to be soldered. This is to protect the brass while it’s heated up by the soldering iron.

    5. Next I melted some solder onto the iron and put this onto both pieces of brass.

    6. Slowly move the soldering iron across the brass to create a smooth joint, between the two pieces of brass, without exposing to much solder on the brass.

    In my next post I will write about how I am getting on with the wagon kit mentioned above.
  2. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Well done William, you have overcome several hurdles on you way to being a railway modeller.

    First, you have listened, obviously, to your tutor and fought the demon of the Black Art of Soldering - practice is the key.

    Second, you have joined a good "club" in WT where positive criticism and praise aboud (along with pictures).

    Third, you have made your first contribution to this forum and your post is good - clear, concise and commumicative.

    WT shall be your friend... just like a room full of helpful people on your own worktop. Just look at the number of times that I have asked for advice and help herein, always get positive responses.

    Please continue to post progress no matter how small you may think.

    Best wishes, Graham
  3. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Hi William,

    Welcome to Western Thunder. The kit you're starting to build came from @daifly (Dave), who I hope will be along in a minute or three, so you can thank him yourself.

    I'm sure @oldravendale (Brian), will be a good tutor; he started me off along the way of building my own kits and models. I now design them for other people. We used to build Airfix kits on the dining room table, it was an age ago, but sometimes seems like yesterday.

    (son of Brian :D)
    Peter Cross likes this.
  4. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Welcome aboard. I wish I'd started soldering when I was 11.
    Most important part about any form of model making is have fun.
  5. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Hi William
    Welcome! That's an excellent first post showing a great start on the kit! I'm very glad to have had a small part in your introduction to such an absorbing hobby. Keep up the good work!
  6. 7mmMick

    7mmMick Western Thunderer

    Hi William,

    Great to see you posting here:thumbs: I was about your age when I started my first etched brass kit and never really stopped. In fact I looked for ages for another kit of the same prototype but in a larger scale. Thankfully I found the one I was after and have thoroughly enjoyed building it again. I hope you enjoy the build like I did and when you’re 40 (I bet that seems really old :D) you can look back too.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your build,

    Good luck

  7. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for posting, William, and welcome. I know you'll have loads of advice and comments from this forum - and sometimes constructive criticism.

    We'll enjoy building your kit together, and you'll soon have a collection of photos to demonstrate your progress.

    Dog Star likes this.
  8. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    Welcome aboard. It brings back memories of my first attempts at soldering about the same age as you but that was in the days of copper bits heated on a ring on the gas cooker. :) I was thinking that you might want to add another tool to your armoury and that is solder paste which comes in very handy when soldering small detail parts. The paste contains its own flux so you only need to clean the metal. Here's an advert for one such paste on Ebay. I have used this one and it works very well

    MECHANIC XG-50 Liquid Solder Paste 15g 35g SN63/Pb37 Leaded SMD BGA SMT Stencil | eBay

    You only need a very thin smear of paste on a joint so don't get a large size of pot - most of it will probably go dry, hard and unusable before you use it up. :) And you can heat the paste indirectly - i.e. placing a clean, "dry" soldering iron bit on the metal close to the joint and let the heat go through the metal to melt the solder. Once you get the knack, you can get joints with little or no solder showing.


    [PS Later] And some wooden spring clothes pegs are excellent for holding small parts while soldering them, or clamping them when soldering them together.
    Dog Star and Dave Bowden like this.
  9. Spitfire2865

    Spitfire2865 Western Thunderer

    Only 11 and soldering! Took me almost 8 years more than you to start.
    Keep up the good work. We love seeing plenty of pictures around here.
  10. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi William,

    welcome to WT, you have certainly made a good start into the art of soldering, well done. I look forward to seeing your progress on the kit, we like lots of photos with our posts - but could you please post them 'full size' as most of the eyes that will be viewing are much older than yours.

    Keep up the good work

    kind regards

  11. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Hello William! Welcome to the best online model railway club!

    Looking forward to see your progress in this fun hobby.