A Good Read Modelling in Gauge 1 Book 2 : JvR's Contribution

Discussion in 'Book Corner' started by David Taylor, 5 January 2018.

  1. David Taylor

    David Taylor Western Thunderer

    I bought this book basically to find out what JvR type A B & C boilers were - much mentioned but never described in any book or magazine I have!

    The book is a compilation of JvR's contributions to the G1MRA journal. The photos are all black and white except for the covers and mostly grainy. The drawings are reproduced a bit more legibly - good enough to get the idea of what he's talking about.

    That sounds a bit harsh and I assume this is due to the fact they've been scanned in from copies of the journal or something.

    Having said all that, it is an excellent book! Probably the best thing I can say about it is it makes me want to go to the workshop and build something. I refuse to work on anything else until my 5" gauge loco is finished but after that I have decided to try a G1 live steam loco and this book has already given me an idea for how to do an inside twin cylinder block made from layers after seeing his idea for a fabricated outside cylinder/inside valve set-up.

    The contents include letters JvR wrote, either with ideas, explanations, or in reply to other things going on at the time; articles he wrote about boilers, cylinders, and valve gear; notes about his involvement with Aster and his various attempts to see if 'cheaper' live steam models would be good sellers (his answer: not really); descriptions of his own locos and railway, etc.

    JvR's writing is great - easy and fun to read for the most part and he seems to know what he's talking about backed up with long experience. I've been convinced to give meths firing a go given he was so satisfied with it.

    Given the contents of the book it is ideal for casual reading - picking it up and turning to a random page to find something you haven't read yet. I can only think of one piece that runs more than 2 pages.

    It is a real shame so much good info is hidden away in back issues of various magazines. This book is an excellent way of gathering some of that and making it more easily available.

    Highly recommended if you are a loco builder or like a bit of history. Maybe not so much if you're more interested in laying track and running RTR models.
    isambardme, unklian and jamiepage like this.
  2. isambardme

    isambardme Western Thunderer

    Yes, David, Jvr was a pioneer who is talked about in hallowed circles with reverence. He was a big fan of meths firing and as you say his links to Aster are well known. This book seems to be seen by many as a really useful go to reference book.

    Moving on to your first build, I think it is fair to say you may have a choice as to how it is fired, meths or gas. Coming from a 16mm background I know that the early products available from Roundhouse & others were meths fired. Some developed a habit of either running out of control or catching fire. The reliability of gas firing may well be why Roundhouse & other makers inc Accucraft have only offered gas fired models for many years. No doubt some of this was down to operator error, but some was due to the fact that running a live steam meths fired loco can demand a higher level of skill & concentration than running a gas fired loco.
    This may stir some loyalists up, but other notables in G1 circles have agreed that running a live steam gas fired loco is often rather more straightforward than running a meths fired loco. Many experienced operators of meths fired locos take pride in their high level of skills & some can even look down a little on gas fired loco operators!
    I run both & enjoy both, but please do not underestimate the learning curve you may well embark upon with a meths fired loco. I will just suggest you might like to consider the purchase of a mini fire extinguisher if you choose meths. Keith Bucklitch, ex G1MRA technical officer recommends them & with good reason. I saw a very experienced runner have a fire on his Aster King Arthur while running at Bromsgrove Model Engineers tracks.Luckily the mini extinguisher quickly saved the day. (I bought mine from Mike at Chuffed2bits in Warwick & always keep it to hand & have used it to safely extinguish the fire at the end of a run with my Aster B of B loco.) It gives peace of mind. Make no mistake, running a meths fired loco is great fun & I love it, but please be aware of the volatile , flammable liquid you are working with. (Of course, you might choose coal firing, as some do in 16mm & G1 and as you may do in 5" gauge, but I cannot comment on that, except that it also looks fun.)
    Good luck with it all,
    Last edited: 8 January 2018
  3. David Taylor

    David Taylor Western Thunderer

    I like the look of meths firing because (a) the burner looks so easy to make compared to the gas setup, (b) it looks a lot smaller and neater, (c) I assume if the water runs out the meths fire won't be hot enough to cause any damage to the boiler, (d) I don't like the roar of the gas I hear on Youtube videos.

    I'm not going to worry about coal firing in G1. I just want to watch the trains go by and not worry about the condition of the fire. I have 5" gauge for that! I'm not sure I'd coal fire a boiler with dry sides and back to the firebox and I'm not willing to make a proper loco boiler that small. I want to keep it simple.

    What causes the meths locos to have unwanted fires? Overflows of the burner or spills from the tank/sump?
  4. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I've had the "joy" of operating a couple of coal fired 7mm scale models, the aroma was fantastic but it's not what I would call fun.

    Clarry Edwards used to make his meths burners in a w shape so the wick was arranged in rows, much like toast in a toast rack. That was very effective, his little Tram engine had a firebox that was 3/4" square.
  5. isambardme

    isambardme Western Thunderer

    Hmm- meths fires can indeed come from burner overflows and/or sump/tank spills. Fires can damage cab areas, paintwork etc. The main priority is of course to put them out asap to minimise any damage.
    Certainly turning to the boiler water issue, in 16mm Roundhouse took pains in their designs to make sure locos ran out of gas before they ran out of water to protect the locos. With G1 live steam it's up to the operator to keep the tender topped up with water. Most but not all locos are also fitted with an axle pump to help keep the boiler supplied with water and again there's no substitute for 'knowing your individual loco well. A rolling road is very helpful to get to know your loco properly before taking it to a meet!
    (By the way some wise advice to any reader I was given a while ago - don't buy a live steam loco until you have seen it running. Caveat emptor!)
    Last edited: 9 January 2018
  6. isambardme

    isambardme Western Thunderer

    All I can say is that the people operating their 16mm coal fired locos that I have seen were certainly enjoying themselves. Yes, another different set of skills are involved. But to scale coal firing down to 7mm with a small 7mm cab to peer into, small cab controls & a small firebox door to open & coal up may well not be so enjoyable… Of course, different people like different things...

    Last edited: 9 January 2018