Why not scratch build diesel locos?

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Dog Star, 6 March 2018.

  1. thruxton

    thruxton Western Thunderer

    I'm afraid modern high speed trains are far closer to rocket science than to The Rocket.
    adrian likes this.
  2. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Louvres, grilles, fans and lights.

    Everything else is quite easy.

    Inconsistent louvres and other details quickly spoil a diesel model even if the shape is right. It would be useful if Evergreen or similar made sheets of various louvre profiles.
    BrushType4, simond, adrian and 2 others like this.
  3. Ian@StEnochs

    Ian@StEnochs Western Thunderer

    I’m sure they are inside. However what we as modellers are trying to reproduce is what they look like and that can be done using the same basic skills the builders of Rocket had!

    daifly likes this.
  4. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Agreed, I would still consider it good modelling mixing 3d prints or 2d etchings for some of the complex shapes that need consistency to look right light the louvres with scratch building the body work.
  5. Ian_C

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    Can't agree, in the nicest possible way. Where do you draw the craft skills line? I use a lathe to make accurate turned parts. No craft skill in that is there? Just operating a machine to produce parts. Likewise a milling machine. I could mark out a lot of hole positions by traditional means, centre pop them and drill them with a hand drill. If need a certain degree of accuracy to make a model work acceptably I'll use the best tools and techniques I have available. There's certainly skill to be acquired in the use of machine tools. The objects's still the same: making a model. By extension 3D modelling and prep for printing is similar isn't it? And I'd challenge the view that there's no skill in coming up with an elegant and well worked out parametric model. I enjoy the 'rocket science'. Each to his/her own...
  6. thruxton

    thruxton Western Thunderer

    I'm afraid modern high speed trains are also like rockets on the outside- aerospace technology for coach production, composite plastics for compound curvatures, heat formed glazing etc, etc.
  7. Ian_C

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    ..the same basic skills the builders of Rocket had...
    For those wot's really interested in the science of Rocket I'd refer you to a splendid piece of engineering archaeology...

    The Engineering and History of Rocket - M. Bailey, J. Glithero - published by the NRM in 2000. ISBN 1 900747 18 9

    A splendid mixture of blacksmithery, foundry work and some basic machining. Heavily dependent on craft and traditional skills. Also reproduces some of the correspondence between the Stephenson's relating to the build of Rocket. Engineering has come a long way since then, engineering project management not so much!
    Jordan and Ian@StEnochs like this.
  8. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer


    I think you are being unfair on those of us who produce our own etches and 3D prints as if it is somehow cheating. I can also use a lathe and a milling machine but there is no point using the wrong tool for the job. The picture shows the original render of the canopy columns for Love Lane. I think most of could not achieve the result by hand crafting and let alone 11 of them. These were 3D printed and then cast in brass.

    The shapes encountered in some diesels present some challenges best addressed in this way. Please don't disparage the efforts of those who use CAD. It may not be traditional, but it is a skill, it does take time to learn and in no way can it be said to give instant gratification.

    All that said, I wish I could build locomotives as well as you.

    John Column pic 1.JPG
    Kylestrome, Arun, SteveB and 10 others like this.
  9. BrushType4

    BrushType4 Western Thunderer

    CAD is certainly a skill and one I wish I was as good at as John (Oz7mm) is.
    richard carr and Lancastrian like this.
  10. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer

    Too kind Phil.
  11. Puddlejumper

    Puddlejumper Western Thunderer

    CAD/3D printing is illegitimate child of black magic & voodoo and I so wish I could use it:))

    It's another very useful modelling tool that requires skill to use
  12. Temeraire

    Temeraire Western Thunderer

    The cold, hard simple truth is that some of us do not have the skills to scratch build any loco never mind a diesel. Me included, and I'm
    the first to admit that. So, speaking for myself, the loss of a company like JLTRT is a big deal. It means that what I wanted to build/model/achieve
    in O gauge is no longer possible.
  13. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer

    Don't despair Temeraire (keep fighting) - something will fill the void.

    simond likes this.
  14. Temeraire

    Temeraire Western Thunderer

    Very good John! A few nasty health issues I live with means the user name is rather apt!
  15. Ian@StEnochs

    Ian@StEnochs Western Thunderer

    Hi John,

    I am sorry but I did not intend to denigrate users of modern technologies, if my postings read that way then I apologise profusely. I am not a Luddite and fully appreciate the benefits of etching and rapid prototyping. I am very happy to utilise components etc produced by modern means where they will aid my modelling. Your 3d print of a canopy support is a perfect example of where the technology should be used. It is no different really from making by hand a plastic or metal pattern and casting from that, and I have done lots of pattern making.

    However what I do find a bit annoying is the increasing number of “modellers” who won’t just get on with the job but find all sorts of obstacles which just slow things down. A late friend of mine spent his retirement years building a 5” gauge WD Hunslet or rather he used most of his workshop time making superb jigs and fixtures to make the parts for the loco. The loco was never finished but there was a collection of superb parts and a whole lot of jigs!

    The subtle curves on the front of some diesel locos, you could spend ages at the keyboard and mouse drawing what you think is a perfect 3d replica to print out but you won’t know how close to the real thing it will look until it’s printed! If it’s not right do you redraw again? I suspect that that is what Heljan do with their rtr locos but don’t go back and do the redraw! You could spend the time cutting, shaping and joining real materials until you get it to look right, that is my kind of modelling!

    daifly likes this.
  16. Ian@StEnochs

    Ian@StEnochs Western Thunderer


    I’m not questioning the skills needed for 3d modelling, I know I used to teach them. Using a lathe or a file all require skills of one sort or another. Turning a component on the lathe is straightforward, making two or more identical components needs a bit more. What I am saying is that one shouldn’t be blinded to traditional ways of building a model by too much reliance on new technology. The Emperors new clothes!

    daifly likes this.
  17. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer

    I took no offence Ian - I was simply proposing using the most appropriate tool for the job.

  18. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    More years ago than I care to remember Steph of this parish built me a Met Railway "Bug" as a surprise birthday present in the knowledge that I had a really soft spot for them. For reasons outside the scope of this thread they were a part of my growing up. At the time "we" (by which I mean me, I suppose) had a OO layout, so this is in 4mm.

    The relevance to this thread is that Steph was (I may exaggerate, but he may remember) about ten years old and only had photos from which to create this. He drafted his own drawings. It's built entirely in Plasticard except for the roof which is paper, although the bogies are modified Hornby. IMHO the loco has been captured perfectly. The grills could, perhaps, be improved but at the time he had no Western Thunder to help describe a few options. The rest of the complex curves and the locos characteristics have been captured perfectly. It is unmistakably a Met Railway "Bug". It's one of the very few 4mm locos I retained when my interests moved to 7mm.

    So, I'd argue that the complex shapes of diesel locos are within the grasp of "traditional" model building techniques. I suspect that at the time Steph didn't know that "it couldn't be done" so just went ahead and did it.

    I brush painted and lined it so Steph is not responsible for the poor finish. (I have learned much since "finishing" this loco).

    Having said all the above I reckon that CAD and 3D printing are the way to go if they are an available option. However, if they are not available to you, then traditional approaches can be made to work. In particular we now all have the benefit of the wonderful model builders and constructive criticism on WT which should be used to assist.


    IMG_20180308_164911630.jpg IMG_20180308_164928349_HDR.jpg
  19. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Hmm, I reckon you're out by a couple of years. Secondary school for sure.

    I think it was probably after the (first) apparently 'interesting' Design and Technology parent's evening where they asked you to stop helping me. :confused::))

    Thirty-ump years ago now, Dad... :D

    David Varley and Jordan like this.