4mm High Level Kits LNER Y5

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by PaulR, 1 April 2021.

  1. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Although I’ve been a lifelong enthusiast of railways south of the Thames, I also appreciate the beautiful liveries and landscapes of other pre-grouping railways. So, when I decided that a change of scenery would keep the enthusiasm alive, it was the Great Eastern Railway that I turned to. I have a huge fondness for East Anglia, having forebears from Essex/Suffolk and a much loved aunt who lived in Halesworth for many years.

    I’d been looking hungrily at the industrial locos on the High Level Kits website, the LNER Y5 (or Class 209 as it was in GER days) was the decider. Start with something small, I thought; well, the LNER Y5 is certainly that, a diminutive 0-4-0 industrial tank engine with dumb buffers.


    The Class 209 were originally a Neilson and Company standard design when two were purchased by the GER in 1874 to work east London goods yards. They proved to be a success for working on yards and docks where small radius curves were the order of the day, and over the years six more were built, two by Neilson and four at the Great Eastern Railway’s Stratford works. The High Level kit enables you to build all versions.

    I started building this model in January, and this is a general description of my experience with it.
    NHY 581, AdeMoore, spikey faz and 3 others like this.
  2. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    The kit comes with a purpose designed gearbox and Chris Gibbons at High Level also supplied a motor. As I was building it in EM Gauge, I purchased wheels and a crankpin set from Alan Gibson. This was all I needed to get going.


    There are two important pieces of information in the instructions. The first is the emphatic command to follow the instructions as written. This is very important advice as the instructions are comprehensive and clear. Nothing is left out and there is nothing ambiguous. I only made two detours. One was when I thought I knew better and was proved decisively wrong. My other deviation was when I inadvertently missed out a step by forgetting to solder in the rear nut which holds the body onto the frames. Luckily I found a way around this (Phew!).

    The second piece of information expresses the kit designer’s great confidence in his work. It states that if, at the end, the locomotive doesn’t work, it is because you have done something wrong and not because there is something wrong with the kit. That might initially sound arrogant, but having built it, I know this to be true; in my opinion this little model it is an astonishing achievement of kit design.
    Last edited: 1 April 2021
    AdeMoore, adrian, spikey faz and 3 others like this.
  3. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    I’ll put my cards on the table here – this is the first etched brass kit I have built in 4mm, in this case in EM Gauge. Looking back, and referring to the psychologists’ four stages of competence, I started out at somewhere between the unconscious and conscious incompetence stages – in other words, suffused with optimism and false confidence, but generally ignorant of what was to come!

    The build starts with the body, a sequence of steps in which the smokebox and splashers are fitted , before creating the bunker and folding up the cab. The immediate impression is that this kit fits together really well. There is almost no need to tweak or file anything, tabs and slots are in the right places and all the parts are the right size.

    Fig 1.jpg

    The cab roof requires bending to fit the sides and this, along with the smokebox and splashers, is best achieved by annealing the brass, for which I used a flame torch. This was my first attempt at annealing and I was a little anxious about it initially, but in fact it was not difficult, and creating the correct profile just required care and patience. Once again, everything fitted together accurately, which made soldering up relatively straightforward.

    Fig 2.jpg

    So far, so good!
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  4. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Hello Paul - do we take it from this that this will be an ongoing narrative? Looks very promising so far...

    AdeMoore likes this.
  5. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Thanks Adam,

    Yes, I will keep posting the progress - I'm quite a lot further on now. I make no claims to being a master builder and I'm learning a huge amount from this little beast!

  6. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    That is turning out quite nicely. To be honest there are quite a few complexities with this loco - not the kit I hasten to add. I mean the style of the prototype, the shape of the cab, the buffer beams above the level of the footplate, the coal bunkers and small smokebox etc. What I'm trying to say is that if you continue as well as you have done with this then other loco's (with a few exceptions) won't be any more complicated than this.
    Rob Pulham, NHY 581, AJC and 2 others like this.
  7. AdeMoore

    AdeMoore Western Thunderer

    Watching with interest.
    PaulR likes this.
  8. John57sharp

    John57sharp Western Thunderer

    Great work, hope to see more of this lovely little engine.

    PaulR likes this.
  9. NHY 581

    NHY 581 Western Thunderer

    Nice to see I am not the only one who has had his head turned to the East, Paul.

    Smashing build of a charming little engine and one I shall be following, as I too am yet to produce something in etched brass.

    PaulR likes this.
  10. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Thanks Rob, I'll do my best.

    Yes, for now I've gone east. I've planned a new (very small) cameo layout based in Suffolk in EM Gauge, and told myself that I can't start it until I have two working locos - this is the first. Guess where I'll look when the time comes to start weathering!

    Did I see you lurking on Jerry Clifford's Missenden Zoom talk about Tucking Mill the other week? I find those two little layouts so inspirational. William Smith's Wharf is utterly gorgeous, and only about two feet long.

  11. NHY 581

    NHY 581 Western Thunderer

    Hi Paul,

    You did indeed see me tuning into Jerry's input. I also did Micks later on. Both really informative and enjoyable.

    I too am a big fan of Jerry's layouts. If I hadn't decided on the next couple of projects, then a light railway theme would be on the cards.

    That said, both my planned layouts will have a slightly ramshackle air about them.......more weathering.....

    And what will the second loco be, I wonder...?
  12. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Fig 3.jpg

    The next stage was to create the saddle tank. This ends up as a good, solid structure with space inside where the motor and gearbox will eventually fit. There is a double fold in the tank sides, which once again requires annealing. This is more tricky, and is best taken slowly, with plenty of reflective pauses.

    Fig 4.jpg

    Once again, the instructions help with this. There is an extra side tank piece in the kit which is a thoughtful idea, because this part could easily end up as a dog's breakfast. I was quite pleased with myself because I didn't need the extra piece. Once complete, the tank slots perfectly into the space between the smokebox and the bunker – what joy! The whole thing is then soldered together and the locating tabs can be filed off.

    Fig 5.jpg

    Inside the tank is a space which is perfectly designed for the motor and gearbox.
  13. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Footsteps, valences, bufferbeams, chimney, safety valve, sandboxes and handrails are all quite straightforward to fit with a little filing and drilling here and there. Some of the parts are very small and need care. Where it seemed appropriate I used a resistance soldering iron, but you could manage without one. Most of the time I used my trusty Antex 25W soldering iron. The whitemetal parts are of decent quality, as are the lost wax castings.

    Fig 6.jpg

    My set of small drills, down to 0.3mm, were important, and also a range of thicknesses of brass wire, although much of it is supplied in the kit. Unfortunately my storage system for drill bits and wire is a bit chaotic and I had to keep measuring them with callipers, but that might be a good idea anyway. The locomotive that results is very pleasing; the model feels solid and square. I’d been keeping a tally of time spent and to this point took 38 hours. So far so good!
  14. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    That looks very nice indeed, Paul, though you might expect that from the earlier posts. These tiny Nielsons are charismatic chaps.

    A good kit really helps, doesn't it? One thing though - I long ago gave up on worrying about sub-0.5mm drills: where the material will take a 0.5mm hole, you may as well drill one. Partly that's about the life of the drill in hand tools, but mostly it's about allowing sufficient solder/adhesive into the joint. It is very rare indeed that such hole sizes are truly critical! You can probably tell that I am a historian and not an engineer...

    Last edited: 18 April 2021 at 09:40
  15. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    You might be on to something there Adam. The truth is, I snapped a few mini drill bits working on this loco. I'm certainly not an engineer either, and my wife will tell you that I'm clumsy by nature. In fact, the more I think about it, the less suited I become to the more delicate aspects of this hobby!
    Rob Pulham and AJC like this.
  16. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    The chassis fits together very nicely. I decided on a compensated chassis using High Level Kit’s standard hornblocks on the front pair of wheels. Once again, the instructions are comprehensive with a precise construction sequence. The coupling rods and connecting rods are then made up, and as with standard practice, the coupling rods used to solder the hornblocks accurately in place.

    Fig 7.jpg
  17. ullypug

    ullypug Western Thunderer

    I've one of Chris' Neilsons to build, so I'm watching with interest.
    Mind you I intend to convert it to an 0-4-2 PDSWJR to match the ex East Cornwall Railway 3'6" one that was re-gauged and which ended up eventually on the Selsey Tramway.
    But then I'm stupid like that...
  18. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Wow, that sounds like serious micro-engineering - good luck with that!

    It's an extremely well thought out kit. Building it has been a joy, but it has also reminded me how important it is to make sure that when tiny parts drop out of clumsy hands, there is a safety net of some kind underneath!
    Rob Pulham, NHY 581 and Dog Star like this.
  19. PaulR

    PaulR Western Thunderer

    Fig 8.jpg

    When the under part of the boiler is made up, again it is best to anneal before bending. Once assembled, this sits in four slots in the centre of the springs. This, and the firebox, remain separate and are fitted at the final stage when the loco is finally assembled. It all fitted together well in a trial run, with very little adjustment. I was really starting to get a feel for this little loco – a plucky little engine which thinks it’s a big beast!

    Fig 9.jpg
  20. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Lovely stuff, Paul. I take it from the tone of this post that the motion became a trial? I look forward to seeing how you tackled it. One notable thing about these kits - back when exhibitions were a thing - is how many you see built (same for Mike Edge's kits) and this speaks volumes for the quality and user-friendly design of these things. I've a long term hankering for one of Chris's big Barclays, but haven't got round to it: besides, what I really should be doing is building a proper branch engine for my bit of the SR. And not a B4. Or a Jinty. Being perverse, it'll be a pannier, but with a difference...


    PS - @ullypug: pleased you've decided on the 0-4-2ST version from the ECMR, it's a conversion I've always wanted to see.
    PaulR likes this.