7mm On Heather's Workbench - the only one left


Western Thunderer
My mother couldn't complain as she encouraged bro and I into music. He does a very good Les Dawson and I played brass. She never was comfortable with the Mahavishnu stuff although I did try desenstinisation training!
Frame Painting

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
I'm still here. Just.


Most of the loco underframe is painted now. Then I realised I hadn't allowed for fixing the brake rigging safety chains. So, out with small drills and I made holes through the frames in suitable places. It would've been better if I had done all this beforehand painting, but that seems to be the way I work at times.

The tender frames already had holes, of course.

I still haven't worked out how to best attach the reverser reach rod in order that the running plate and frames can be separated. I'm hoping something will become obvious a little further into the joining it all together and making it go process.

This ought to be the final week on this build, and I had hoped to be a little further on that I've managed. Life, inevitably, seems to insist on getting in the way. Tomorrow, for example, I shall be under the tender ministrations of a dentist having a session of root canal treatment and bank account depletion. :confused: :'(

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
Toothy-pegs notwithstanding - and a regular bout of osteopathy the following day. I am a glutton for it at times! - I finally managed to get some bench time in.

No piccies, sadly. This is basically because what I've been doing is painting stuff like frames and brake rigging, fitting rigging safety chains and all kinds of other mundanities. I'd hoped to be a bit further along with things, but that dratted real life keeps rearing its head.

I also spent an inordinately long time working with various bits of brass tube attempting to fabricate working middle buffers for the tender. I won in the end, but not until I got through three aborted efforts. Again, no photos. Nothing to see here, move along please.

It's the end of the month I'd planned for this build, but I think I shall have to add another week so I can reassemble things and get the beast running with the motor fitted. So, it rather looks like next month's tasks will be footling around and catching up with various builds.
Even more details!

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
Ugh! Glacial progress, not helped by more Real Life.


Between bouts of paint drying, today was about wheel balance weights. I spent a while cleaning up the etched ones, only to find they were not quite like the real thing. I ended up making replacements in black styrene. I'm currently applying filler to the backs of the wheels, which is the white stuff.


The motor and gearbox went back into the loco frames. Once the wheels are done and painted, I will refit the internal gubbins, fit the coupling rods and set the frames running gently in on the rolling road.


I fitted the tender brakes and rigging.


The safety chains look okay - at least there's something there now. The challenge will be doing the same on the loco so the brake rigging can be safely unclipped for maintenance purposes.

Keep plugging away. It's all we can do, sometimes.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer

It runs!

I spent most of yesterday afternoon fettling the motion. The challenge was to get the thing running as smoothly as possible under power. Of course, that meant the coupling rods and inside motion had to be fitted, tested, taken out, fettled, refitted, tested, etc. I reckon it was in bits seven or eight times, with some more this morning.

Of course, being a fool. I'd painted the inside motion before testing it properly. Following Steph's advice to "slosh some Brasso over it" meant the paint came off again! But it did the trick. Tight spots on the eccentrics have gone, and likewise for the crossheads - though some unorthodox surgery has been required to ensure the latter don't end up binding on the front axlebox bearings.

Eventually, I could push the whole caboodle along the bench with everything wiggling about in a fairly satisfactory manner. Now, I'm letting things bed in on the rolling road before I take it all out again to reapply some paint!

I have to say, even though this setup is essentially idiot proof, I haven't enjoyed the process. My usual preference for commissioning an expert to do this kind of work seems vindicated. It's been an interesting and frustrating exercise, but I don't think I'll willingly do it again.

Right, test match from Lords on the wireless, Boycott is wittering on, and it's nearly time for lunch!

Steph Dale

Western Thunderer
If you've got paint coming off, it may well mean it was on places it shouldn't be. All mating and running surfaces would have been left bare metal


Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
Heh! I thought they were.

I think what stripped most of the paint was a dousing in IPA to clear the Brasso. I'm now painting things again, with more care. Once reassembled, having already had a dry running- in session, I'll apply a drop or two of oil to various places.

Back to the cricket - and waiting for paint to dry!
Near, but still far

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
I declare this build as finished as it can be until the electronics have been breathed on. After that, it'll be into the paint shop and final details.


I felt there was something missing on the firebox. I then remembered it was the whistles. On the real loco, there's a support affair under the whistles, so I cobbled something out of a spare casting that looks about right.


With the shiny boiler fittings placed for effect, and the roof posed because I want to leave it loose so I can fit all the cab details after painting, and the tender not actually coupled, or the loco brake rigging not installed, it still looks like a 2251!


The inside motion went back in without complaining, so it's had a drop or two of clock oil to help it along. It now runs very smoothly. Over the coming weeks, before I can get it to the electronics department, I'll run the loco up and down my various bits of test track to give it some exercise.

So, there'll now be a hiatus on this build until almost the end of the year. Time to pick up the pace on a few other lingering Bench Queens, I think.
The final leg?

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer

3205 was returned to me at Reading. While I'm reliably informed I can run the loco on a straight DC setup and it won't break the electronics, I think I'll err on the side of caution and keep volts and things clear for now. As it's the start of a new year, I've made up a list of things that need doing with the idea that - weather permitting - I will be in a position to paint this critter and get it finished and ready for its journey to the other side of the planet. Rather worrying is the length of the list, but it is mainly little jobs and sorting out odds and ends.

I'd better find the box with the remaining bits in it, then.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
This post Christmas and new year malaise won't shift. I've been attempting to get through my list of things to do, but it's hard going for some reason.

Anyway, I added the rain sheet posts and fitted the front buffer heads to the tender, blacked the loco and tender buffers, repaired the vacuum pump link pipe I broke some time ago, replaced the cab step bolt heads I removed when I moved the holes in the steps, and contemplated painting the model.

While the finished 3205 will have features the real loco carries in preservation (copper chimney cap and brass safety valve bonnet) I'm actually making a version as it ought to have been when new. I discovered that this series of 2251 class locos had cast brass number plates, which is nice. I think 3205 appeared new after the war, so the livery is plain green with GWR on the tender. I also confirmed the buffer plank number only appears on the loco.

So, while I've not actually done a lot, I've done some useful things. I keep looking at the part-disassembled model here on the bench and wondering whether it's worth just getting on with the painting. So, paint shop temperatures willing, I think I will.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer

It wasn't even on my list, but I've added the condenser and whistle chains to the roof. The kit includes a brass roof, but I felt the cast resin one was quite adequate. I added the central cross strip from brass scrap etch. Officially it ought to be riveted, but sometimes life is too short. I defy anyone to notice they're missing once the roof is in place.

I'm currently wondering about whether to fix the chimney in place now, or do it after painting is done. That copper cap will need masking in either case.

Time to crank out the ultrasonic bath, I think.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
I began the painting process. I did etch primer last week, but I've been waiting on a little warmer weather to start the proper painting.


A gentle waft of plain grey acrylic primer over everything, and I then remembered to clean up and mask the whistles!

Anyway, a basic overall coat of black went on earlier. Yes, I know it's going to be green, but black seems a sensible place to start. Things went swimmingly, until the loco slipped off the board it was standing on and landed sideways in the drying cabinet. I decided to leave well alone to let paint dry before I investigate damage beyond what I could actually see.

Yes. I did say a rude word. I'm now going to spend the rest of the day cuddling the cat and feeling sorry for myself.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
I finally plucked up courage to investigate the damage. It could have been a lot worse.

One dislodged buffer body and the ATC bracket from behind the front plank, steam heat pipe knocked squiffy, slightly bent footsteps on the driver's side. The first two revealed rubbish soldering, frankly.

So, I've just had the thing on the bench and fixed the shonky soldering, gently straightened the bent bits, and I think we're good to get back in the paint shop. I've made a suitable offering of thanks to the modelling gods, as well.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer
The loco and tender upper parts have had a dose of green. I'm letting things harden off a little before a close and critical inspection shortly.



All the bits for the cab are getting some attention. I need to have a think about cab dials. Nicely printed ones may be to scale, but they rely on the cast or turned gauges being correct as well.

Heather Kay

Western Thunderer

Getting there, part two. Shiny bits posed for effect. I think I need to do a gentle rub-down of the boiler and firebox, something I'm not keen on due to the various protuberances and desired details. It'll also need a gentle waft of green again after that. The black bits have been painted with matt, but I intend to gloss varnish in due course.

It's very pleasing to see the loco and tender in the proper colours at last.