Finescale - of a sort?!

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Peter Insole, 26 December 2016.

  1. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    And now for something completely different:

    Many moons ago, when my sons were mere nippers, I was quite heavily involved with 16mm scale. We even had a small and very basic railway in the back garden. The boys were still a bit young to be let loose with my single live steam loco, so what we needed was a battery powered job to play with.

    Amongst the accumulation of battered and broken toys, I found a working Tomy Trains chassis that would just fit between the frames of a 32mm gauge loco, but was a bit awkward for a 16mm scale prototype. An 18'' gauge Horwich Works Hudswell, scaling up at 21.5mm to the foot was perfect.

    There are no drawings available and I could only find one single photo in a magazine for reference, so that would have to do. It needed to be a simple and durable model anyway.

    Here is the pic, with apologies to the unknown copyright owner:

    horwichhudswell 18inch locos   556.jpg

    Trouble is, projects always start with the right intentions, but round here they just seem to grow, and grow?

    horwichhudswell SAM_8470.JPG

    And here is the beastie, cobbled and completed, mainly of plasticard and all sorts of bits and pieces found lying around!

    Yes, I know it should have a jackshaft and connecting rod, but the "Tomy" motor and modified controls got in the way!

    horwichhudswell SAM_8481.JPG

  2. queensquare

    queensquare Western Thunderer

    What a fabulous looking beast, full of charm

  3. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Brilliant Peter!

    What's the latest with the ride-on?

  4. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks Jerry and JB. It was a quite nicely proportioned loco wasn't it? Its quaintness stems from the designer's insistence that it should have a "proper" chimney to cover what would otherwise be a rudely naked exhaust pipe!

    I did make a bit of a fuss with that item, being keen to capture the distinctive Hudswell trademark shape. By good fortune the original was parallel sided, and I happened to have a bit of steel tube that was just the right diameter! A steel washer was filed to an interference fit, and sweated into position, then the curvy cap was built up using Milliput, applied with a wetted finger. The base was similarly treated, this time on a squared and curved piece of plastic.

    Here is some more proof of what started out as a simple lash up...?

    horwichhudswell SAM_x1667.JPG

    A pair of Tenmille wagon wheel axles were extended with drilled steel rod for the outside cranks. I was concerned that the Plastikard chassis might not remain true, so decided to fit the opened out brass top hat bearings to four adjustable plates bolted to the frames. The whole thing could then be set up on a sheet of glass. I needn't have worried; over twenty years later it still sits nicely foursquare!

    Some gears were pinched from other toys, and superglued to the original drive and the Tenmille axles. Crude? Yes dreadfully, but they have not yet come adrift and are still working!

    horwichhudswell SAM_x1668.JPG horwichhudswell SAM_x1671.JPG horwichhudswell SAM_8471.JPG

    More later, and I will hopefully answer your question JB... (This short thread was supposed to be the preamble to it)!

    BR Tony, paulc, 76043 and 15 others like this.
  5. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Before I move on to the main reason for this thread, here are a last few words on this little shunter:

    The peculiar rig made from brass channel, shown in the previous post, was designed to utilize a feature of the Tomy chassis. On the original toy there were two switches; One power on/off at the rear top, and another midway on the underside. This latter was for reversing the direction when contacting a mechanical thingy on the track! By rigging up a lever assembly, I was able to make a proper looking "gear changer". By mounting it on a spring, it can moved for and aft, as well as back and forth.

    horwichhudswell SAM_x1673.JPG

    Another very neat feature discovered is that when the power switch, seen above, is moved from "off " to mid position, the motor runs, but disengaged.

    I also added a "throttle" by modifying and wiring part of a volume control knob from an old record player between the battery and motor. It is a bit all-or-nothing, but since having driven a couple of real narrow gauge industrial loco's, is surprisingly prototypical!

    horwichhudswell SAM_8477.JPG

    This little loco has to be properly "driven"!

    First, ensure throttle is off, then shift power switch to "middle", and apply revs. The engine is now ticking over. Select forward or reverse gear, and then shift power to "on". There is a satisfying "clunk" as the gears engage, and orf she steadily goes!

    Maximum speed is pathetic, and it is very noisy, but her hauling capacity is more than adequate for us.

    Huge fun was had by all!

    horwichhudswell SAM_8475.JPG

    Incidentally, all the rivets used on this loco were handmade!

    If it is of any use to anyone, here's how they were done:

    There are various types of plastic round rod available, so I'm sorry that I cannot be too specific about which works best, beyond stating that it should not be the ordinary, soft "styrene" variety. That stuff will just turn into a blob!

    There is however, one that is quite tough, and has a fibrous texture. It can be identified by it's shiny surface. Does anyone know what it is made of?

    Anyway, as we are still more or less in Festive mood, for this demo I'm using a hopefully appropriate heat source...


    The trick is to approach slowly, but keep the rod rotating by TWIZZLING twixt finger and thumb!


    As soon as a little blob starts to form, the desired end is very near... be prepared to move smartly away from the heat or it might suddenly melt and combust...


    This one has just formed a perfect mushroom head...

    SAM_x1686.JPG SAM_x1694.JPG

    With a bit of practice, and after quite a few unwanted pyrotechnic events, you would be surprised at how rapidly you can make a pot load of the things!

  6. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    That's the way George Slater used to demonstrate, but he used his ever present cigarette end. :) His original Plastikard red/brown rod would form the mushroom heads but the makeup of the rod changed a few years ago to a sort of khaki colour and that is no use. So I still try and keep the old red/brown rod in case I need more rivets. However, I've never managed it with the 10thou rod which tends to wilt rather than form. :)

  7. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Ah yes, the old cigarette trick!

    My eyesight is getting bad now though. Too many times I have set fire to my whiskers when attempting to light up....

    Wagonman and 3 LINK like this.
  8. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Now this is where the story really starts...

    When my little grandson comes to visit we bring out the collection of old toy trains. He loves them.

    Last Christmas, Argos were selling Chad Valley Ride-on Trains at a ridiculously discounted price. As someone pointed out, it was almost an insult not to purchase one! I was so impressed with it that a second-hand set was bought on Ebay, thus doubling the track length, providing an extra carriage and another loco for spare parts!


    We both have great fun running trains!

    There is a problem though. Our house seems to be shrinking, and he is rapidly growing too big! How can I future proof this treasured train?


    Now I must say that whilst he clearly enjoys all his toys, one thing that really gets him excited, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a proper, realistic SCALE model! He frequently asks me to get the Hudswell down from the shelf for a closer look.

    And that got me thinking about that spare loco...

    Plain disc driving wheels, motor, gearbox and controls available... Mmm?

    How about one of these?

    horwichwren s3 10483841313_a7f147f7cd_o.jpg

    Drawings there are a plenty, and lots of photo's too. There is even the real thing at the NRM for reference.


    Just how hard could it be to do an albeit rather bigger, steam outline version of the Hudswell?

    I have tested the toy chassis with 25lbs of ballast (the manufacturer recommends a maximum load of 30lbs) and found it should have sufficient traction to haul the young lad on a riding truck for a few years yet?

    The rails are a peculiar five and three quarter inch gauge, but the deep tyres and flanges bring the inside frame width spot on for a normal five inch gauge back-to-back. By a fluke, when scaling the drawing up to those dimensions I discovered that the donor wheels are exactly the right diameter!

    So I have once again committed myself to another project.

    I might just get it done in time?

    BR Tony, Jon Nazareth, Neil and 10 others like this.
  9. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    I've inherited a lot of the right type of Slaters rod from a late friend and we got a nice scented candle for Christmas. And then a certain brake van project needs quite a lot of rivetty things - top tip, thanks Pete!

    I really like the big engine idea too.

  10. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    The little shunter was built with Plastikard, but this fella is a whole lot bigger! I have always thought that MDF is a horrible material that should never have been invented, but as it is relatively cheap, is easy to work and above all, readily available, this was the medium chosen.

    Bearing in mind that MDF has precious little structural integrity; it behaves remarkably similarly to plastic and can warp and bend in the most unexpected directions, I decided to box and brace the structure with timber as much as possible.

    Here are some pics of the first stages...

    SAM_8660.JPG SAM_8665.JPG

    Oh, they are so excitingly BIG!

    The furthest axle will be the motored one, and fixed, while the double circle indicates the maximum travel of the suspension that would be fitted later.


    Steel angle would have been better, adding extra weight, but I happened to have a couple of lengths of aluminium in stock. It was also exactly the right scale dimension to boot!


    When checking that everything was square, I couldn't resist the temptation to park the wheels in place; for inspiration purposes of coarse!

  11. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    What wonderful 'toys' for your youngsters..... We all would have given anything for something like this at that age!

    Likewise, the Hudswell is a delightful piece of work!
    jonte likes this.
  12. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Nice scale model of Modified Hall 7902 there, Pete. I can see now just how the driver made the loco go round the bends.:D

    But seriously - what a wonderful project.

  13. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    A couple of great projects there Pete, the Hudswell is particularly delightful and I'm please you have posted photos as it features on my to-do list, albeit scaled up to suit 45mm track.

    Is 'Mouse' one of the Horwich locos, in the same vein as Dot, Robin, Wasp and Fly? Lovely little thing although I always preferred them without the saddle tank, are you tempted to do the little tender they came with ?

  14. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks Giles, Brian and Steve. I'm glad the little Hudswell is an inspiration, I only wish I had been able to find more information, which I could then share!

    Mouse is indeed one of five Horwich built versions of the original Beyer Peacock trio. I decided to opt for the saddle tank as;

    It would reduce the problem of fabricating that formidable dome by half!

    Making the tank removable will provide top access to the inside of the boiler for the control switches and wiring.

    As Wren is preserved in that condition, the little man will hopefully get a surprise and recognise "his engine" as the real thing on display at the NRM!

    A major, though unspectacular step has been achieved during this season's holiday after the project had been laid aside for most of last year. I would like to keep the WIP in some sort of order, so here is a catch-up picture post (or two?)...


    A view from the underside, showing the centre section boxed and braced up.


    The original bearings are being used for the time being and new springs have been temporarily fitted at near maximum compression on the longest screws to hand that fitted. I have since made a more sturdy system with tubes and spacers. Until the frames are fully painted, the motor will also stay wrapped in film to prevent lubricant soaking into bare MDF

    SAM_8685.JPG SAM_8689.JPG

    The cut out in the cover will hold the bottom of the motor in place by it's large gear casing - as per the original plastic body.


    The motor 'box' is a bit intrusive at the moment, but hopefully will not be so obvious if some dummy leaf spring detail is added, and the whole lot painted 'oily' black!


    And then assembly started on the well tanks and cylinder casings...

    I'm sitting, posting this during a joyful and somewhat noisy family gathering, and am accused of being thoroughly unsociable, so...!

    Happy New Year to all,

    BR Tony, AdeMoore, chrisb and 10 others like this.
  15. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Sorry Steve, I forgot to answer your second question:

    Yes to the tender. A representation of it will be used as the "small person" riding truck!

    All the best,

    AdeMoore likes this.
  16. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Thanks for answering my questions Peter, appreciated. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops :)
    All the best
    PS - Enjoy the party
  17. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    A grand time was had by all at the party - particularly my grandson! At one point I couldn't resist taking some photo's, so grabbed my camera. Trouble was, in my haste to capture the moment I failed to notice that I had dropped the unique USB charging/uploading cable!


    There might be a delay before I can post any pics of new work.

    Meanwhile, here is the rest of the catch-up from last year:

    SAM_8738.JPG SAM_8743.JPG

    I have left the underside of the cylinder casings open for the time being, allowing me to accurately align internal tubes that will act as the piston rod guides. I'm keen to ensure that there is as little friction as possible on the slidebars, oily lubricants are not an option for this model! Besides, my daughter in law might be none too pleased if the little man comes home covered in goo. A bit of dry graphite should work fine, and not do any harm?

    The open gap at the front end of the frames is still a weak point, but I have yet to make the steam chest that sits between the cylinders.


    Comparison of this profile with the previously posted pic of the prototype "Mouse" might reveal what appears to be an error?

    The well tank is barely half the length that it should be! As mentioned before, the small four wheeled tender will act as the riding truck, and a small person leaning forward to reach the working regulator and reverser could tip the thing up. The track curves are extremely sharp too, causing unacceptable overhang in the confined spaces available indoors and I decided that for safety and comfort to reduce the footplate to a short step representation. I hope that when complete, it wont be too obviously wrong?!


    The screw heads are very close in scale size and shape for the tank rivets. Once filled and the whole area painted over with deliberately thick coats of enamel paint, they should look quite acceptable?

    SAM_8877.JPG SAM_8873.JPG

    I am very lucky to have a good old fashioned ironmonger trading nearby. M6 nuts and bolts of various lengths are not only spot on for scale, but a bag full is as cheap as chips by comparison with what the DIY mega stores (no names necessary, as they are all rip us off the same) charge per dozen!

    Holes for the cylinder cover studs could not be drilled as they would have been too close to the outer edges of the MDF structure, so they are decorative only. The covers were glued and then screws added for security into a firm backing. Heads have since been filled to hide them!

    More soon.

  18. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Cable found and returned! Photo's loaded and resized for your inspection!

    A problem that has been rattling around in my head for the past year is the motion. The connecting rods will have nothing to do except look pretty going round, but the coupling rods will be working under a fair amount of stress.

    I wasn't too bothered about adding crankpins to the blank leading wheels, as that would be a fairly straightforward job. The plastic wheels are hollow mouldings with spokes for rigidity, so it was easy to remove one and cut a segment of wood that could snuggle between the two adjacent spokes and be countersunk screwed to the flat disc from the front. That should provide enough meat to bolt the crankpin into, as well as resisting the bending forces that will occur.

    Quartering was a bit of fun, mainly trying to work out the amount of crank throw from that large fixed pin...


    What I also fancied for the new pins was a pair of these...


    Only guess what? I could only find this one in my collection.

    Our house is so full of junk that it makes Steptoe and Son's pad look minimalist! Amazingly, my wife has an encyclopaedic knowledge of where everything is, so when eventually I gave up, grumbling, she asked;

    "Why on earth didn't you say that's what you were looking for?"

    Within seconds, she reappeared with a little pot containing no less than four of them - complete with locknuts!

    However, using all four by the same arrangement as above for the driving axle would not be possible. The original crankpin is that fairly large diameter hollow affair. Removing it would have left a big hole in the front disc, and the fixing screws would be far too close to the edge for comfort! I shall have to be content with working around it, as it is. Friction might be a bit of an issue, but thanks to the gearing, the loco will never be able to attain much speed, and the length of track available will ensure that the bearing surfaces will not have to sustain continuous running either. It will be interesting to see how the arrangement fares in service, so a wary eye will be kept on them anyway.

    The main questions about these rods is what material to use, and how, especially bearing in mind the extremely limited resources? Another worry is the safety of precious little fingers: The overall space between the wheel faces and the slidebar/crossheads means that there is no room for much of a gap. The action of the motion could be similar to that of a pair of scissors?

    I therefore needed something that would be relatively soft and flexible, in order to reduce potential injury to the level of "Ouch!", while at the same time be strong and durable enough!

    This is where I am now leaping into the unknown...

    It has got to be worth a try?


    Laminating plywood!

    Four layers for each rod.

    They have turned out to be amazingly strong, and yet still have a bit of springy "give". Now they have been smoothed and rounded off, they shouldn't be capable of detaching any erring digits!


    The small screw was installed in a pilot hole, just to check the quartering was OK.

    Yes, one was out and binding a bit!


    I still need to find some suitable spacers and washers before a more thorough testing can be carried out, but so far, these rods and crankpins are working perfectly!


    They don't 'alf look business like too?

    A good few coats of paint and a nice bit of weathering and polished Metalcote or suchlike, will hopefully hide the grain?!

  19. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Looking great Peter!

    AdeMoore likes this.
  20. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    Best use of Furniture bolts I've seen! We use them for building up theatre seats - attaching the upholstered backs and pans to the steel frames etc....