Building an Ace Kits "K"

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

  1. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    This could be interesting........

    The reputation of Ace Kits is, to be altruistic, less than stellar. However, Ace Kits are amongst the least expensive of all kits (currently this is £149.99 including tender) so I'm expecting that there may be some problems and a need to replace some of the detailing parts with upgraded versions. I've never built one before but I bought this kit a few years ago as the only available option for an LBSCR "K" Class 2-6-0. I saw a few of these and thought them one of the most attractive of the Moguls, and their reputation in real life was of a very high order.

    I'll be building this as a late BR version, c1960.

    32337.  Willesden.  14 April 1964.  Photo by Brian Dale.  FINAL - Copy.jpg

    Here's the prototype - in fact the very last "K" I saw, at Willesden Shed when on it's way to King's of Norwich for scrapping. It's 32337 on 14th April 1964.

    This will be a long build. It'll be fitted in between and around other builds as I'm anticipating some frustrations and the need for thinking time.

    So, what do you get for your money?


    The kit comes in a very decent box, probably suitable for the completed model.

    IMG_2388.JPG IMG_2389.JPG

    The instructions. I read these last night. There were only 4 or 5 sheets or so. Drawings leave quite a lot to be desired and there's no list of parts. I also found that some of the part numbers from the frets did not match those as discussed in the instructions. Not the greatest start.


    These are the etches as supplied. Actually they look pretty good. The issue will be whether they are all the right size for each part to fit each other part and I'll not know that until I start building. The chassis parts are at least in nickel silver, although if there are any dimensional shortcomings that won't count for much - we'll see how we go with that.


    Here's the first conundrum. There's an extra packet with a set of nickel silver coupling rods in it and a couple of other brass parts. There is another set of coupling rods on the chassis etch. So what's going on? At the moment I've no idea but I guess all will become clear if I build both sets and see how they work with the frames.


    Here are the castings. All white metal (no lost wax) although the overall quality looks good at first sight. I anticipate replacing a lot of these with lost wax castings if I can find suitable alternatives.


    These are the other components. I have a Portescap motor/gearbox and a set of Slater's wheels. The axles on loco and tender will be split and insulated. I'll be using a set of Steph's horn blocks and Slater's insulated bearings on the tender and already have a set of Slater's insulated horn blocks for the loco. There are no prepared cut outs on the tender so these will have to be marked up and fretted out.

    IMG_2395.JPG IMG_2396.JPG

    Finally for the moment here's some of the prototype material to which I'll be working. Steph managed to get hold of GAs from the NRM and there are decent pictures of a number of the locos in the magazines.

    I'm guessing that this build will take at least a year. It'll be interesting to review the situation in twelve months from now.

    Steve Cook likes this.
  2. Dikitriki

    Dikitriki Flying Squad

    Oh yes, the comedy section.

    Brave, brave man.

    Ace are right in no.1 place on my list of kits never, ever, ever to touch.

    I believe that the K is actually amongst the better of their kits (it's a K Jim, but not as we know it), however, and I agree with you that it is a most attractive prototype. I would recommend that you don't bother giving any feedback to Mr.Ascough, unless you like your competence being called into question.

    I do wish you the best of luck.


  3. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer

    Good luck, I fear you will need it.

  4. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    The coupling rod sets: IIRC the ones on the feet have the knuckle pin on the wrong half of the rod. Corrected with the extra set, but absolutely bu&&er all chance of them aligning with the axle holes in the kit...
  5. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Brian,

    I wish you all of the luck in the world and that you have a smoother ride than I did when I tried, and failed, with the J Class 4-6-2t - B326 Bessborough and count myself very lucky to have found a very competent modeller to complete it for me.

    B326 06.12.04.JPG

    best wishes

    BrushType4, ScottW and john lewsey like this.
  6. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Good job I'm up for a challenge!

    I'll have another look at the coupling rods tomorrow - in fact I'll make them up soon and see how they match up with the axle holes in the chassis. If they don't I'll be making my first set of scratch built rods, won't I?

    I'll try to keep this thread updated as I go. But, as I said earlier, this will be a slow one, I'm sure.

    I'm pleased to be a member of WT. I think I may need some help as I go.....

    That J Class looks the mut's nuts. Dunno if I'm up to something as good as that.

  7. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    I'm slightly embarrassed, I have just let out a guilty laugh - I hope you didn't hear it Brian :oops: I read your opening post and liked your enthusiasm that came across about the build with all the components and reference materials, quickly followed by four knowledgeable chaps all saying 'good luck with that' :))
    If we loose the knowledgeable bit, you can make it five, 'Good luck Brian' :)
    Not sure we've ever had a thread that showed enthusiasm followed so quickly by good-natured despair, it has the makings of a classic. More power to your elbow I say, and your piercing saw, and your spare stash of brass, and your bucket of patience.....
  8. dibateg

    dibateg Western Thunderer

    Sixth Bloke! Good luck Brian!

    I guess if you start assuming everything is wrong........

    I'll be interested to see how it turns out...
  9. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Dad (Brian)

    I had a look through my notes on this last night and it seems I didn't find any major errors compared to the drawings, but did note to build it off the drawings rather than use the instructions. Which, as an aside, would seem to make me something of a hypocrite.

    There are a good few castings in Laurie Griffin's range that will help, not least the cab details.

    Providing one or other sets of coupling rods are correct, the jigging of the hornblocks will soon take care of any misalignment between the rods and bearings.

    Have fun, and please provide loads of pictures and details; in due course I've got one to build too!

  10. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    I'd give him all the feed back he deserves :D ....... barge, touch and pole spring to mind.

    I have heard to much from beginners and experienced alike who feel they have been ripped off even at half the price.

    A semi - scratch build approach maybe ?

  11. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    The problem with the range is that it's so darned inconsistent and now includes products from Ravenscale, Meteor, DJB and others. Some of which are, at least, buildable. The old Ravenscale Terrier was, by reputation, a very good kit and the ex-DJB stuff falls in to the category of 'generally worth the effort'.

    And then there's the J tank Mike mentions above. Built on the chassis from the L 4-6-4t it needs new rear frames and pony truck making, the coupled wheelbase is too long and the rear spectacle plate a work of fiction. A scratch building aid at best; and I've got two of them. That way I could at least be certain I had a full set of valve gear for the one with outside motion!

  12. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for all the good wishes and comments! Seems to me that if I can actually get something out of this that looks vaguely like the real thing and goes as well I may end up somewhere near the front of the class!

    Seriously, though, I was aware of all the bad press about these Ace kits before I bought the K and that is the reason it will be put aside from time to time when (as undoubtedly will happen) things go wrong. I'll be building it between working on completing the 9F. As Steph has said he and Yorkshire Dave have both spent some time poring over the kit and their feelings are, intially at least, that it's dimensionally close. Some of the white metal fittings are works of fiction, but I believe that these can be addressed with the help of certain and reliable parts suppliers.

    I'm truly not expecting it to work out any less expensively than a passably god kit by the time all the bits and bobs are bought. I'm also expecting it to trip me up quite frequently. However, as I've mentioned in previous posts it's an opportunity to extend my skills and quite probably start down the path of a bit of scratch building.

    Despite my comments about trying out the coupling rods initially I've decided to go my normal route and start with the tender. That is usually pretty good at giving a feel for the way the designer was thinking. (Note to Steph - instructions and screws for hornblocks, please). Edited to say that I've just picked up the instructions on the web site. Thanks for making them available.

    In the meantime I actually have the DJH A3 on the bench right now for attention to the reverser (the subject of some posts a while back) and fitting the brake gear on the loco. Steph had a look at that when he was last here and I hope I have a plan now to modify and make it fit without shorting. There's a bit of work involved with that, though, as all the motion will have to come down so that I have some room to play with.

    I really appreciate all the comments. They make me smile if nothing else, and I suspect there will be little enough of that on this build! As I've said before, I also value the suggestions when problems occur, so here is a real opportunity for the collective body!

    Best regards.

  13. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Steph,

    I did not know about the chassis 'swap' especially as I think that the J kit preceded the L kit by some time in the annuls of 'Ace' history.


  14. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    You may well be correct, but at the very least it's fair to say that the J chassis is better for an L than a J...
  15. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Steph,

    I have not looked at the L, but no doubt, you are correct


  16. Scanlon

    Scanlon Western Thunderer

    "This could be interesting......."

    Hi Brian,

    Good luck with this kit, you are going to need it!

    My model is of 32351 and before I started building for myself I asked Redcraft to tackle the job, thank goodness. A few observations if I may. You say you will build 32337 and presume in BR condition. Looking at the photo of the whitemetal parts I cannot see a cut down dome, composite gauge chimney nor the BR style safety valves or the base in which they sit. Of course your photo may not show all that was in the pack. In addition there is no sign of the Weir Pump or will you build it with two live steam injectors?

    Bill A. did eventually provide the cut down boiler mountings after much chasing and for a late SR or BR(S) you will need composite fittings. The slidebars and crossheads as provided are p**ts and Laurie Griffin has castings for the H1/H2 Atlantics which with modification are excellent, they are a bit too long. He also provided injectors and cylinder relief valves/drain cocks which are the same as fitted to the Z class 0-8-0t.

    Looking at your photos you seem to have found most of the literature you will need. The drawing shown is of the locos as built and I'm sure you will have noticed the dome position is different for a late SR or BR(S) loco. If I can work out how to include photos I'll post some if it would be of help.

  17. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for these comments, Roger.

    Yes, definitely a late BR version, and of 32337 in memory of that picture. As such I guess I'll need the injectors rather than Weir pump. I'll be looking for a suitable dome and chimney at Telford and I'll see Bill Ascough about the cut down boiler mountings.

    I was anticipating trip to see Laurie Griffin at Telford to get bits for this loco, so your sggestions are most helpful. Also for the cylinder relief valves/drain cocks and injectors.

    I guess I'd have recognised that the dome position will need changing but I hadn't until your posting here. Another bit of research time saved! (Actually, didn't some of them have two domes like some of the C2Xs - not that I'm building one of that version.)

    I'd love to see some photos of yours. Not too difficult using the "Upload a File" function, but I'm not PC savvy enough to say more than that!

    Great bit of help in a few paragraphs. All and any similar comments will be gratefully received.

  18. Scanlon

    Scanlon Western Thunderer

    Well let's try and answer some of your points. Yes some of the K's did have two domes but the second was for a top feed and dispensed with in the 1930's. As for the composite gauge chimney and dome, at the time of my loco being built no one did a correct chimney or dome and these had to come from Bill A. I'd start negotiations now if I were you.

    Here are close ups of the cylinder/slidebar and injectors

    What a pity none of these fine locos made it into preservation. Maybe after the Bluebell have finished the Atlantic they might put this right!

    If you'd like any more photos please let me know.



    Attached Files:

    Rob Pulham likes this.
  19. Scanlon

    Scanlon Western Thunderer

    Oops that did not go too well, here are the photos of the loco as promised!!!! K class 070814 (2).JPG
    K class 070814 (1).JPG

  20. Dikitriki

    Dikitriki Flying Squad

    Hi Roger,

    Glad to see you are getting the hang of posting photos - we will get a build thread out of you yet.

    Can I please ask you to resize your photos before posting (while maintaining the aspect ratio), such that they do not exceed a max of 1600 width or 850 height, whichever is relevant.