7mm On Heather's Workbench - Prairie ago-go

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by Heather Kay, 8 January 2020.

  1. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I need to get this thing finished. Why can’t I just settle down and finish the damned thing‽


    Late last week I fitted the smokebox stays. They’re attached to the smokebox, and are currently a push fit into the front deck plates.


    A little delivery from Modelu means I now have crew, tools and lamps to play with.

    Now, where did I put that mojo? I had it here earlier.
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  2. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    Being self-employed requires discipline, and there a good number of them. The one you might have fallen foul of is taking on a commission that you didn't really want in the first place. Or perhaps you have discovered the job will not make your wages. No wages = no food on't table. Loss of mojo is a serious matter.

    Of course, if the Small Prairie is for yourself then loss of interest doesn't really matter. It's not unusual (said he who just dumped a layout without even running a train). Good luck with this Heather.
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  3. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Cheers Larry. It’s more of a general malaise. There’s stuff going on personally and domestically that keeps stealing my time and energy. The current state of the world in general also affects me more than I’d like.

    This prairie is a commission - I have very kind clients who don’t pester me unduly, and have been remarkably patient with me. It’s the last proper loco build on the books, although there are some super detailing and completion jobs in the pipeline. Once this is out of the way, and I’ve cleared a couple of lingering coach commissions, I can get into new projects that have been waiting patiently for their turn under the soldering iron.

    Or I could just call it a day and move on to something else entirely. They do say you should never turn a hobby into a business!
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  4. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I gave the loco body a good scrub with a bristle brush, hot water and some cream cleaner, then gave it a couple of sessions in the ultrasonic bath. That’s usually a good way to find out what’s been soldered on badly. It’s now in the AADF (Advanced Air Drying Facility, aka my airing cupboard) to dry off thoroughly.

    Time to to have a bit of a tidy and play with some light pipe.


    One lamp has been sacrificed for the cause. Being resin, the fine handle broke as soon as I tried to drill things out.


    The lamps are designed with rectangular slots in the bottom, so they can be dropped onto lamp brackets easily, if not quite prototypically. The lens is easily drilled out. The clear lenses supplied by Alan actually have a silvered adhesive backing to them, and cleaning that marred the clarity. I may have a chat with Alan to see if they can be provided without the silvered back. It seems like my original idea of painting the interior of the lamp with silver to give some reflectivity may be unnecessary.

    The Sony TOSlink "cable" disassembled well. It’s plastic, and can be sanded and cut fairly easily. I sliced a 45° chamfer on the end, and when illuminated was pleased to see it looked not a million miles from an oil lamp wick. The light source in the photo is a daylight lamp, but in the final application a straw or yellow LED will give a more correct aspect.

    Encouraging results, I think. The worry really is the fragility of the resin lamp handles. With the lamp stuck prominently on top of the smokebox, it might easily get broken. I’ll have a look and see if I can make a fine wire substitute.
  5. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Baby steps.



    Safety valves fitted, bonnet posed for photos. Smokebox attached and steam pipes installed. They’re a bit short, so I’ve made them fit the smokebox and will add something to fill on the running plate. Smokebox handrail done. Chimney perched for piccie. I’m kind of inclined to leave it off until the main painting is done. While the real thing rarely had a copper top, the client inevitably wants one, and it'll be easier to mask and paint off the loco. A drop of epoxy resin will hold it later. The smokebox door is left off for now to allow for lighting installation. I’m still to pluck up the courage to drill a hole in the smokebox for the light pipe!

    In fact, I intend to have an electronic chat with Alan B to see if he can’t do a bespoke version of the lamp for me which is solid throughout. I’ve always found him an amenable chap, so we’ll see what transpires. Replacing handles is something else, though. The fragility of the resin is a worry to me.

    Incidentally, ultrasonic baths are ideal for locating badly soldered joints. The sum total of bits that fell off amounted to three: two bits in the cab, and the oil feed thingummy on the smokebox.

    Nearly time for primer, I think. Once this hefty bout of Imposter Syndrome leaves me, I’ll be right on it.
  6. paulc

    paulc Western Thunderer

    Hi Heather , what about the Slaters lamps . I realize they are cast so not as easy to drill as resin but the handles dont fall off either . Just a thought .
    Cheers Paul
    Heather Kay likes this.
  7. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    Cut the plastic handles off the lamp and replace with nickel or brass wire, a bit fiddly admitted but would save a lamp.

  8. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    Something I’ve been putting off for as long as I can has been the brake rigging. I was secretly hoping for some resin hangers and shoes, which may yet arrive one day. In the meantime, I’ve assembled the cast parts.

    Now, the observant might notice the cross-shaft leverage is probably on the wrong side of the loco, but this is a happy accident I am going to accept. The main drive gear is otherwise in the way of the slack adjustment rod from the weighshaft. Because the drawing I worked to is viewed from the right way up, and you build it all up t'other way, I got it inverted. I think it’s a compromise I’m happy with. Of course, I may have got it all the right way round after all, but I don’t think it’s going to matter either way.

    My client has been informed of the latest developments, and is happy with the lighting experiments and would like a mild dose of weathering to the finished model. I am happy to oblige. All I need to do now is round up my painting mojo to get the process under way. Before that, though, running trials to see if there are any brake shoes likely to short the current collection. Mmm, sparks!
  9. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    With the brake hangers held in place with blutack, a quick whizz up and down the test plank fails to reveal any shorting. A more comprehensive play might help, after I put the motion back on.

    The plan is the hangers will be held on with PVA or similar, so should the need arise they can be removed for servicing and the like.

    I will get to painting soon, I promise.
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  10. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    The decorators have made a start.
  11. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    All the green done. I think I’ll let it dry so it can be moved into a warm place overnight. I’ll check how it looks in daylight tomorrow.
  12. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Looking good Heather. Is there a lump of something with a hole down the middle missing off the front?
    Peter Cross likes this.
  13. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Well spotted that man! I’m painting the chimney separately, along with the smokebox door. I’ve got some fiddling to do inside the smokebox for the lamp installation, but I wanted to get the main paintwork sorted out first.
    AdeMoore, Len Cattley and Pencarrow like this.
  14. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Yes, I’m glad we’ve moved on from the deservedly short lived and little known Churchward s##t brown livery.
  15. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    A rather poor image showing the state of play. Green is all done, apart from under the front boiler. I’ve got the buffer beams painted, along with the roof and cab sliding panels.

    There things must sit for a spell. The delayed revisit to hospital was yesterday, and I’m back with extra plumbing for a short while. Not quite the outcome I’d hoped for, but there we are. I have given myself light duties, so I may get further work done when I feel in the mood.