Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway

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Spoke too soon

I knew I shouldn’t have said there was no stopping me. No soon than I had and holidays and work got in the way. Fortunately work has progressed on the Square.

The first picture shows some more of the brutality required to the Langley body to make it Square. Both ends had the wagon top boiler cut down and then ground flatter still.

They then had the representation of the tops of the tanks and the boiler cover added.

Next will be to fashion the tank ends, tool boxes and oil tanks.

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Can’t stop me now…

With the new set up, the desire to get on with things is insatiable at the moment.

I was having a particularly unproductive day today (well I was preparing for tomorrow’s trip to a rolling stock overhauler in a South Yorkshire town) so I gave up an hour of the day to a model I’ve been wanting to produce for some time.

(Picture taken from Richard Dunn’s Narrow Gauge to No Man’s Land)

Busta, on the Ffestiniog, is a Fairbanks-Morse speeder. These were produced by the hundred during the First World War for transporting staff around the lines. How Busta ended up on the Ffestiniog is a matter of some conjecture but is presumed to have come with some of the other ex WD stock during the Col. Stephens reign. There is a photo of it on the WHR in old company days where it was used by the platelayers.

Busta was rebuilt in the 1950s and was by all accounts terrifyingly fast. It was given the nickname Busta by Bill Hoole who knew all about going fast. In one incident the throttle fell apart leaving Portmadoc with it stuck in full open position and so it probably did the fastest trip across the Cob ever. The ending was not pretty and the Management (AGWG) ordered it to be dismantled.

In the early 2000s when I was working at Boston Lodge, the wheels were unearthed and a plan made to rebuild it back into original form. More on the history of Busta can be found here.

This was at a time of some interesting volunteer management techniques which led to a rise in “pointless projects” with Busta and the vertical boilered Leary being two outputs. So to me, Busta is a symbol of some very amusing times where friendship bonds were made that last.

In researching the Fairbanks-Morse speeder, the project leader uncovered some records of their use. Apparently with them being pretty lethal the first time round with their speed and the uneven trench tracks, the macabre humour of the drivers led them to awarding each other “kills” for killing or maiming brasshats. In one noted incident, a driver became an ace in one go by having a particular severe incident which accounted for all five of his brasshat passengers.

The model of Busta uses the park bench and picnic table kits from Metcalfe Models, a length of 0.45 wire, and a micro chassis from Japan.

The body consists of a picnic table top with the picnic table seat forming the foot rest.

The frame is made up of the park bench legs, left unfolded, with each pair stuck back to back and then cut down to be a good fit on the table top.

The park bench seat is then cut into individual planks to form the mid section frame piece.

The back of the park bench is used to form the grille over the engine.

These photos below show the used parts which gives an idea of how to do it.

The wire was used to form the hand holds front and back and the drive lever which sticks up through the hole for the picnic table umbrella.

This assembly is then just stuck on the top of the chassis with a dab of blu-tack.

It will be finished with an appropriate seated WW1 uniformed officer and hopefully a WW1 RFC Officer as a tip of the hat to the “aces”.

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Much rejoicing

The office move is about as complete as it can be at the moment. The important thing is it works. The space worked out perfectly which is important as I do actually do real work in it (no, I do!)

Here is what my 3D drawing package envisaged (free- Sweet Home 3D if you’re interested).

And this was the result:

Obviously the CAD package does not do clutter!

This does mean we are back in business and to celebrate I’ve swapped the wheels on the Square.

As 009 modellers will know, the problem with the Langley Fairlie (apart from its price) is that it relies on using the Bachmann GP40 chassis, the wheels of which look like something from a skateboard when under the Fairlie.

I realised some time ago that the wheels from an N gauge Ivatt 2-6-0 / 2-6-2T were the right size. What I hadn’t appreciated until today was that the gear wheel on their axle is about bob on too. They are 0.2mm too big.

So my solution was first to remove the old wheels and gear wheel, then cut a slot from the bottom of the bogie frame to the axle hole to form a keyhole shape (I.e. the slot was a right fit on the axle). I then drilled the 2mm hole for the axle out to 2.5mm. This allows the axles to move out the required 0.2mm for the gear S to mesh properly. A bit of a basic solution but it works and means the new wheels are a “drop in”.

The spokes in the wheels will then be filled with resin.

Of course following this week’s announcement I could wait for the Peco/Kato model to become available and use that but this Fairlie has a date at Warley this year and it won’t be ready for then!

I also started looking at the cylinders and rods. My Langley kit was incomplete when his why I got it for such a low price. The cylinders were missing from it so I bought 2 sets of Lilla 3D printed cylinders from Robex and sets of slidebars and crossheads from RT models.

The cylinder block will need slicing in half and section taking out the middle for them to look right but I’m pleased this Fairlie should look the part when done.