7mm On Heather's Workbench - a baby Small Prairie

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by Heather Kay, 2 August 2017.

  1. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Incidentally this 1930 photo is in one of the Metropolitan Railway books I've recently acquired.

    Although not of brilliant quality and nor of the prototype you're building it does show a baffle plate on an early prairie tank between the tank top and the smokebox/boiler (clearest evidence is below the chimney). I trust this assists your decision to include them on your build :).

    (Apologies as I've had to adjust the contrast of the scan to highlight the baffle plate which is why ghosts of the photo on the previous page are present).

  2. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Don't think I've ever seen a picture of an inside motion prairie before..

  3. Paul Cambridge

    Paul Cambridge Western Thunderer

    Legend has it that the twenty 39xx 2-6-2Ts were rebuilt from Dean Goods. I find that a rather dubious as the wheelbase was different. They had all gone by 1934. They may well have been an accountancy ‘fudge’ so that they were not charged to capital expenditure. At least the wheel diameter was the same. They could have used the same cylinders, but I currently don’t have access to most of my books, so cannot check that. Most of the other components would have been new. The Vale of Rheidol No 1213 falls into the same category, there is no way it was a rebuild of one the original Davis & Metcalfe locomotives. Probably only the number plate was reused!

    Back to Heather’s baby small prairie. I’m following her build with interest as I built 4407 in 2000 from the Mitchell kit. As mine is in its post WW2 condition, I did not have so many modifications to make. I remember the faff with the steam brake and the rear pony truck amongst other things. Baffle plates on the tank tops, how did I miss that one....:headbang: . Far too late to do anything about it now :(. There are a couple of photos in Russell’s book to boot which show it..... :confused:. 7mm models of the class are thin on the ground. I’ve only seen two in real life, mine and the one Malcolm Mitchell had on his stand prior to JLTRT becoming involved. Interestingly, Malcolm’s model was of one early in its life with a short bunker etc, just as Heather is building.
  4. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Aaaand … we're back! I felt a nice festive break from the bench would be handy. Unfortunately, it then takes me lot longer to get back into the swing of things.

    Details, details. I spent a while figuring out how to add the tank top baffle plates convincingly. Before that, though…


    I knocked up a styrene representation of the angle strip at the back of the firebox cladding. I consulted with Warren about whether such things might be affected during the painting process, but it's all good. I shall be adding boiler bands, probably from bare metal foil.


    Now for those baffles. I needed thin material that I could bend to my will. I thought I’d try the aluminium from a beer can. I think it looks okay. It took me a couple of goes to figure out how to form the mild curves without the whole affair going bananas on me, but I won in the end. The panel beating round the firebox front did give me some trials, but I made a rough cut in masking tape until I was happy with the overall flat shape. This was transferred to the metal and trimmed, before being bent and moulded to fit. I’ve elected to ignore fixing bolts, as I think I’d end up distorting the thin material. Anyway, that’s one side done. Time for the other.
  5. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    Rather more reminiscent of the LMS's "Silver Jubilee" of 1935 than a product of Swindon (or Wolverhampton, in this case)!

    Bare Metal Foil, left over from the last 10001 escapade, has been put to use as boiler bands. The cleats come from the PRC range. Quite pleased with that. Now, what’s left on my list…


    Oh. :oops:
  6. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    A couple more items have been crossed off the checklist. Smokebox door and chimney, plus some gaps filled round the saddle.
  7. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Odds and ends. I think it’s time to seriously get the chassis further along now.


    The handbrake stand, crew seats and whatever that handle is over by the reverser are fitted. The toolboxes, backhead, water gauge and other sundry bits and bobs will go in once it’s been painted. There are some levers and things that live on the floor around the backhead area, but I don’t have any in stock and, oddly, can’t find anyone that supplies them. As they’re effectively going to be invisible with the crew in and roof on, I’m not that worried.


    The smokebox dart is in place, and the safety valve support structure is attached. Now there is a positive location for the bonnet after painting. The old beer can came in useful to make the washout plug covers. I fashioned a punch from some brass tube, and spent a happy few minutes thwacking the heck out of the sheet until I was happy with several circular thingummyjigs. I gently pressed a pointed thing into them to simulate the screw heads, and superglued them on.

    Right, time to dig photos out and work out what goes on under the running plate.
  8. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Nice. That handle is - I believe - the sandbox control valve. I think.


    Alan and Heather Kay like this.
  9. P A D

    P A D Western Thunderer

    Hi Heather,
    A very nice build indeed. I note there is very little clutter on the tank tops, no top feed pipes for a start, but would it not have had some stops for the filler lids, to stop them bashing against tanks when opened. I don't see any further additions to the tank tops mentioned on your to do list . This is my grown up small prairie. I think the stops were just round lengths of wood held by a metal bracket to allow for easy replacement when they wore down. There are lifting rings and oil boxes as well and a little tank thingy in front of the right hand lookout. Something to do with the ATC???

    I think your covers between the tank tops and firebox/boiler are better than mine, which I didn't curve as you have. It's from the Warren Shepherd kit. Excellent castings, good etchings that fit nicely, but no half etch rivets, on the tank and bunker. I note also that your chimney has the cut outs around the rim as does the WS casting, which you don't always see on GWR kits. Wonder what they were for?
  10. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I have suitable castings, but despite searching I’ve not seen evidence for the stops being fitted as built. I’m erring on leaving them off - they would have made opening the short fillers awkward, too - reasoning something can be added later if evidence turns up.

    I like your Shephard prairie. I know I’ve intimated I’m not taking new loco commissions, but I was persuaded to take on one of his new 1501 class kits.
    P A D likes this.
  11. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Recesses for the chimney cap bolts? Creating turbulence?
  12. P A D

    P A D Western Thunderer

    Maybe they had lower stops of some sort to suit the lower filler and they are just not visible in any photos??? Leaving them off is probably a wise choice.
  13. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    I think they're casting cores; they have (4 of) them on Drummond LSWR chimneys as well. The rim is hollow and the only reason for the holes that I can think of is that they're effectively the places that the core locates in the mould. Therefore, it may well be that the origin of the GWR copper capped chimney is to provide a simple, easy to manufacture cover for the holes. In which case, spun copper is as good as anything else...

    P A D likes this.
  14. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    You beat me to it, almost certainly core holes. A nice detail to include.

    GrahameH and P A D like this.
  15. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    The tank tops look good for a 3100 as built. Neither top feed or ATC had been invented at this stage! Tank bump stops came later (I was lead to believe by an authority that they are associated with the clip levers and not the screw fillers) and tank top axle lubricators were scattered through the small prairies in a thoroughly random way sometime in the thirties. Lifting brackets are my big question mark. There no early photos of the tank tops and they don't show in the GA, unlike the water filler and ventilator, and it would be interesting to see if anyone knows when the lifting brackets started to be fitted. Was it at the first Heavy when Swindon/Wolverhampton realised they needed an easy way to lift the tanks off? Anyone any ideas?

    Heather, my apologies for the rabbit hole.

    Dog Star likes this.
  16. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Simon, no need to apologise. You’ve more or less confirmed my suspicions.
  17. P A D

    P A D Western Thunderer

    Hi Simon,
    I have looked in the Prairie Papers N0.3 and there are many photos of 45XXs with screw fillers that have the stops. Did you mean it the other way around, because now that I think about it, didn't the clip lever type fillers have a built in stop?

    I also note in a photo of the prototype for my model 4567, that it did not have stops! AAAAAARRRGH! :rant: Don't know how I got that wrong.

    That will teach me to be a smart ass!

  18. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    This is a very interesting question for in some cases the question could have been written as "when the lifting brackets started to be left in place".

    So what is the difference you may ask - some lifting rings were fitted when a lift was required and removed afterwards, for example the rings in the coal space of tenders were replaced by nuts/bolts otherwise. This info came to me from Ernie Nutty so I have no reason to doubt what he said, just how widespread was the practice is unknown to me.
  19. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    I didn't say I believed the authority! I should have made it clearer by finishing the first cup of tea before engaging keyboard! Mention of the Pannier Papers suggest a look at 4409 and 4410. Now there's weird, as they say around here!

    I am aware of the situation with the tenders. Did the practice of building brackets into the tender tank come with Collett?

  20. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    In an attempt to gather all my enthusiasm to push this model further on, I cranked up the volume and had a playlist of top choons playing through the day.

    I didn’t bother with photos, but I tidied the etched balance weights and fitted them to the wheels. Later, I’ll disassemble it all again and get some Milliput behind the etched fronts to make them solid.


    Next on the agenda seemed to be fitting the brake weighshaft. All the brakes and linkages are pending some 3D printed parts, but it made sense to fit the operating bits under the cab. I spent a while fiddling about with the bodywork in place, working out where the handbrake appeared under the cab, as this defined where the weighshaft goes. A hole was drilled, not quite centrally, through the main outside lever. In the box of bits, I found a brass casting which probably was meant to be for a tender handbrake. I decided quite quickly it wasn’t suitable for the job in hand, but it gave me an idea on how to replicate things.


    Not quite clear here against the tape, but here’s my interpretation of the brake linkage. A section of square tube was found to be almost ideal, and a small chunk of brass was fitted at the top of the frame to support the structure. Anything at the top is essentially hidden by the hanging bar, so I can get away with a fair amount of artistic bodgery.


    While I was in the swing, I worked out the reversing gear lever pivot on the driver's side. Some scrap NS etch, a short length of brass tube as a stand-off from the frame, wire and a small brass nut, and it looks about right. I’m not sure what is in the nickel silver alloy of these frames, because I broke two 7.5mm drill bits getting through it!


    This is the brake side again, with the lid on.


    Sandboxes and sanding pipes seemed the next obvious thing. On the real thing, the rear pipe is quite prominent, running at an angle from the hopper under the cab doors supported with a bracket sprung off the frames. The kit white metal cast boxes underwent some serious surgery, as they were too big and I had nothing suitable to replace them. On the real thing - which I think might be suitably abbreviated to OTRT from now on to save me typing! - the hoppers are virtually hidden by the steps and the hanging bars.

    Now, as we know, these kit frames are not quite right. That circular hole is in entirely the wrong place, and it kind of throws things out of whack. The pipe on this side, for example, has had to perform some wiggles to sit nearly right. It was a bit of a pig, but it gives the right impression, at least.


    The pipe on the other side is a slightly simpler affair. I couldn’t make either sit right down by the rails, but I might have another bash at them when my head clears again.

    I needed to take some better photos of the whole loco for something I’m working on, so it meant reassembling everything. A good test for making sure the cylinder block and gear can be reassembled without anything breaking - and the air pump, which is another story I’m not going to go into now.



    Well, I think that’s definitely looking the part now. Encouraged with that, I shall take it all apart again so I can give it a damned good bath in the ultrasonic thingy.
    Last edited: 21 January 2019