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Gladiator LNER/BR J6

9978 Views 39 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Rob Pulham
With the end in sight for the J79 my thoughts have started straying to the next build which is to be an LNER/BR J6 (ex Great Northern Railway) This is to be built from a Gladiator Kit which originated in the George Norton Connoisseurs Choice range (according to the etches). Extras include full inside motion from Laurie Griffin along with a few of his detailing parts. Once it's painted (by Warren Haywood) I will then be weathering it and adding the finishing touches.

We start with what's in the box.

First the brass castings and turnings

Then the very cleanly cast white metal details.

Then the etches,

The chassis etches are quite substantial nickel silver etches, but the body etches feel much thinner so I suspect that they will require a bit of careful handling until they are soldered into a rigid structure.

Wheels and Pick ups

Finally the extras, These are all from Laurie Griffin and were my suggestions to the gent that I am building it for to not only enhance it but to replace the vulnerable etched lamp irons.
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The J6 is is officially underway,

I decided to build the tender first to get a feel for things and the plan is to use the tender for the pickups so hornblocks were fitted. The good news for this plan is that there were etched cut outs for fitting them with certainly simplified things.

All the wheels are blackened but I need to stock up on steel 10ba csk screws because I haven't enough to do the drivers.
The horn guides are Finney but I seem to have misplaced the strips for retaining the hornblocks so I used a trick borrowed from Warren Haywood and used surplus 12ba nuts and bolts from Slaters crank pins to create retainers. In fairness I could have probably just soldered strips of scrap etch across the bottom because the Slaters wheels are easy to remove.

At the minute there is a lot of side play. I plan to leave this for the moment because the finished model has to negotiate 5' radius curves.

You will note in the last photo that I shimmed the spacers with some scrap etch I am not sure whether I really needed to but it helped to level the space with the top of the frames and to get a tighter fit with the rear spacer that goes through the frames mid way. I suspect that if I had tested it without removing the etching cusp I may not have needed it.
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Although it looks to have been a little quiet on the J6 front things have been progress albeit that it's taken a slight detour.

After careful study of the tender in the photo v's what came with the kit, my client decided that he would prefer a different tender to make the loco match the photo. The alternate tender is now on order from David Hill at Gladiator but won't be available until March. I plan to continue to build the original tender, if for no other reason than to make sure I don't lose any of the bit's off it. - I have made a little more progress which I will share at some point.

Which means that thoughts have turned to the loco itself. I am very gratefully receiving help and guidance from Paul Pen-Sayers (@Locomodels) on building and fitting the inside motion in the chassis and I have been given Carte Blanche by my client to replace items in the same manner as I would if building it for myself.

So far I have elected to obtain some Premier coupling rods and some driving wheel springs from Ragstone. The latter I will need to modify but they will look a bit more like springs than the rather 1D etchings attached to the frames. In fairness to the kit, the etches are labelled 1992 and things have moved on a bit in the detail stakes since then.

This is what I mean by 1D they are a single layer etch with just the outline of the strap that retains the leaves.

The reason I elected to go for the Premier rods is similar, in that the rods provided are only dual layer with the back layer half etched and they are designed to pivot on the crank pin rather than the knuckle joint. I could perhaps have modified them to pivot on the knuckle but without adding another layer from scratch, I felt that they would still be a bit on the delicate side for coupling rods. Paul of course made a superb job of those for Heather's build and I am guessing that he made up some additions in his workshop.

Moving swiftly on, I have started to clean up the inside motion parts and slipped some of them onto an axle to see how they fit.

Much more work to do on them of course - including attempting to straighten those straps...
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As mentioned elsewhere a lack of time and energy has allowed me to do a few small jobs on the J6 that didn't require anything that wasn't therapeutic.

Although David had advised that it wouldn't be available until March it was a pleasant surprise when an email suggested that it could be collected at Bristol show. Warren Haywood very kindly collected it for me, so the build has resumed. Perversely I have decided not to start with the tender but to get the loco frames done next - it's to have working inside motion.

Parts of the etches do show their age and so it is with the loco springs which are a very basic etch. My client has asked me to build it as if it were for me so I have the discretion to obtain replacements for anything that I think could be improved upon.

The Hornblocks are Finney and were from stock so I will need to pick up some replacements for them from the Guys when I see them next.

The spring castings are from Andy Beaton at Ragstone Models and will be modified to make them look more like the J6 springs before fitting.

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Further progress has the chassis together and ready for the fitting of the hornblocks.

Despite the quite substantial frames there was still a bit of flex in between the two main spacers and the rear one which is just soldered to the top left the bottom of the chassis with a tendency to splay outwards. To get over this I have temporarily soldered a third frame spacer (labeled motor spacer in and I also cut one of the wider frame spacers down and soldered it upright to take out the splay at the rear.

As is comes there are three sets of spacers, marked from when it was blown up from a 4mm kit 00 gauge, EM gauge and P4 I am using the EM gauge spacers as a compromise between getting int to go around 5' curves and having sufficient room to fit the inside motion.

Before I go any further I am going to rework the springs and fit them before adding the Horn guides.
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A spring in the step, or should that read, "some steps with the springs" (groan!)

We started with this.

I then patiently cut that down to get these separate pieces

What I am aiming for is a 3D profile of these

Then I started to re-assemble them - and to misquote Eric Morecambe, all the right bits but not necessarily in the right order....

Monday evening should see them ready to fit (I hope!)
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I had originally planned to go to Kettering show this weekend with a stop over on Friday night. Taking the decision not to go has given me an extra couple of days of thinking/modelling time in which to really get my head into the inside motion.

Fellow modeller Paul Penn-Sayers had offered to cut out a motion plate for the J6 for me. Paul has also supplied lots of information and patiently answered my 'newby' questions regarding inside motion for which I am eternally grateful. While I fully intended to take up the offer events somewhat overtook me.

While studying the GA drawing to work out which bit was which on Wednesday evening I had the thought of importing it into Inkscape (the drawing package that I use to draw for the silhouette), rescaling it to 7mm scale and then highlighting the components that make up the motion so that I could see what they are.

You can see the difference in the layout of the motion compared with the Midland variation in which the motion set from Laurie Griffin is based - below is a snip from the LG instructions.

While I was doing my stuff in Inkscape, Chris suggested using my silhouette to create a template for the motion plate to test whether it would fit between the frames etc. I thought that a great idea and within a very short space of time I had drawn up and cut this

I used that to transfer the measurements onto a spare frame spacer and drilled/cut filed it out. Due to using it as a template to scribe around, some of the measurements were fractionally over size, while the internal ones were slightly undersized. I kept filing until the slide bars fit and I got this. - I added the framing top and bottom afterwards.

Looking at Paul's and Nick Dunhill's superb motion plate examples, I realise that I will have to file some relief in the tops and bottom of the slide bar seats/openings in a similar manner to the centre opening where the eccentric rods will pass through, in order to allow for the up/down movement of the piston rods.

This is it in the frames - held by a blob of Blue tack

Although as I say I am very grateful to Paul for his offer to cut one out for me and looking at the example posted by Heather Kay on Western Thunder, it would have been of a much higher fidelity than my first effort has achieved but it's a skill learned and Paul's help has helped me to make sense of GA's which has previously eluded me - all the lines blurring into a shapeless mass. Another skill which will only improve with practice and should translate into better quality models at the end of it.
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Alongside creation of the motion plate, I had to prepare the slide bars and make the cross heads fit.

Once I had them running nice and smooth and having test fitted them in the motion plate, I detailed them with the very prominent oil pots on the tops. Made from spare etch and nickel rod

I am not sure why but these proved and absolute pain to take photos of...

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Photography of small objects can be difficult. It is a combination of light, focus (manual or auto, Manual is best), focal length (zoom), lens aperture and whether you have macro setting on the camera. Sometimes a good lens can overcome the issue, sometimes you can fit a magnifier lens.

If using a point and shoot, they usually have a "Macro" setting for shooting in zoom mode. You just have to ensure good light is available.
Auto focus sometimes has a hard time deciding which object to focus on, Manual focus can take time to get just right.

Strangely, shifting the camera itself, either closer or further away can overcome the focusing issues, but not always.

After 30 years of photography, 18 of those using digital, I still have issues with focus occasionally, especally when shooting in zoom mode, up close without zoom, or in macro mode and no amount of manual focus and/or aperture tweaks can overcome the issue until the camera is moved and the lighting is sublty changed.

I have also found too much light to be a bad thing on a couple of occasions too, purely due to it causing "bright spots" that even manually adjusted focal length, manual focus and manual aperture control can not resolve.
Although there hasn't been much to share, work has been progressing on the J6.

We now have all the springs attached to the frame. Initially I though to have the centre springs removable and the for and aft ones just soldered on but in the end I drilled and tapped them all 12ba so they are all removable should the need arise.

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After my interlude with the Streamlined Coronations I am now back on the J6.

Over the last couple of evenings I have prepared the Finney Hornguides/blocks (nicked) borrowed from my A1 kit until I collect some more from the guys at Telford.

Then I started on the instructions which have you prepare the outer chassis first and then attach it to the tender footplate.

Here's where I got to on that last night.

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Further work on the tender last night got one of the more difficult bits behind me - bending the one-piece tank sides/end.

However, I will start off with a bit of a gotcha! The instructions tell you if modelling post 1940 to drill out two etched dimples on the rear right hand side of the tender for hand rails that must have been fitted to some tenders at some point.

Having done it I immediately started to think I wonder. Sure, enough when I looked at photos of 64206 which is the loco being modelled I noted no rear handrail....

So, I opened out the holes to 1.55mm and soldered some stubs of rod in - this is it from the inside

And from the outside - thankfully nothing shows

Next the tender sides are rectangular but on the real thing on the tender that I am working on there are cut outs for a handrail as in this example by Ron Bowyer.

GNR/LNER Gresley "J6" class 0-6-0 No. 64223. by Ron Bowyer, on Flickr

I have to confess to struggling with the instructions on this point so I went my own way. There are sections of etched beading to represent this and having worked out for myself how I believe they are meant to fit I tacked them to each end

This allowed me to scribe a line to cut/file to and then I unsoldered them and removed the bits that needed removing. Time will tell as to whether what I have done is correct but studying various photos it looks right.

The next job was to drill out one of two dimples for the front handrail knob - these are design for a short rail where the top is cut out as I have done or a long rail where the side is left at full height. I drilled out the lower ones.

Then I carefully marked out where the first bend should be and then bent it using my Metalsmith Drilling table with a rod slightly smaller than the required bend clamped to it.

If this sort of thing scares you take heart. I didn't get it right first time, I just calmly straightened it with fingers and thumbs finally using smooth bladed pliers to finish off and them remeasured and tried again. The first side (the one in the photos) I got right on the second attempt. The other side took three goes.... but I got there.

Next up is to solder in the bulkhead.

Where the instructions are really lacking is that they refer to parts but don't number them so you are constantly searching the scans of the etches and the index to find out which part you are looking for - the scans are labelled with part numbers and there is an index but it would be so much better if the instructions had part numbers alongside the text.

Then lastly solder the side/end piece to the footplate.

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Quote: Further work on the tender last night got one of the more difficult bits behind me - bending the one-piece tank sides/end.

The little ZEUS book 'data charts and Reference tables'.
On the next page after the middle, (chart 15), is information that will take most of the guessing out of where to position a bend.

Might help someone . . .
QUOTE (LTSR @ 27 Aug 2018, 21:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Quote: Further work on the tender last night got one of the more difficult bits behind me - bending the one-piece tank sides/end.

The little ZEUS book 'data charts and Reference tables'.
On the next page after the middle, (chart 15), is information that will take most of the guessing out of where to position a bend.

Might help someone . . .

I will seek out a copy,

Many thanks.
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