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

A gift horse

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In my slow but steady build of my Earl of Merioneth, I had, in thinking ahead, come to the conclusion that the cab was going to be a right sod. Getting the angles right would be difficult. Getting the angles right 4 times over would be really difficult.

This being the case, in discussing a visit to the pub with my friend Paul, I asked if he wouldn’t mind 3D printing me one. For the listeners who have been following my blog for a while will know, Paul is slowly introducing some properly good 3D printed kits and had started work on a model of the Square. He normally makes and models in 7mm scale but it becomes very easy with technology to convert 7mm scale to 4mm scale (or any other scale for that matter) on a whim- although worth noting it is generally easier going down in size not up as blowing up a model shows off all the short cuts you can get away with in the smaller size.

Now if you bear with me a while I think I should take you on a quick personal history lesson. I first met Paul back when I was trainee firing. It was my first day on Blanche, I was rubbish, my fireman not much better and Paul was exasperated enough to exclaim that we were proving that two half wits don’t make a full one. After this inauspicious start, I got better at firing and got to know Paul better to such an extent that we used to get rostered out together on the locos a lot. You could tell when we were having a bad day because we’d have to talk about the engine rather than something else. That’s still the case today. Earlier in the year on the Coffee Pot at Beamish we explored both ends of the pressure gauge and determined once and for all that neither end is much good and somewhere in the middle is much more pleasant all round.

Paul and I also worked together on loco rebuilds, most notably Blanche when she needed a new boiler and Mersin Emrys in 2005. In fact we were ME’s crew for the Vintage weekend when it was relaunched in full livery as seen in this photo of its inaugural run on the Saturday.

Paul’s career and mine have also taken similar paths having both worked in Derby, both worked for the same consultancy, and both on the same project in Wellington, NZ, in 2007. While I have continued consulting, Paul now runs EDM models full time from his home in York, importing narrow gauge stuff from the US for sale over here and also, as mentioned, designing and producing his own kits.

A few days after speaking to him about the cab for the Square, Paul turned up with said cab and the rest of the loco body underneath it. He told me he’d had enough of watching me hack plasticard around a crap kit and so I could have a whole Square for the price of a mention on the blog.

With this injection of pace, this has allowed the project to roll on further. I should add that I had already decided not to use the motor from the GP40 as it is not the best and so I’d got a Chinese motor from Tramfabriek. Added to which, the prototype length 3D printed body is too long for the split chassis that comes with the Langley kit so I’m going to produce a chassis to house the GP40 bogies and am now in a position where the only thing I’ll use from the kit is the front frame section for the bogies and I’m not totally convinced by that either!

Anyway, rather that waffle on any further I’ll just shove a load of pictures at the end of this so you can see the progress.

And remember, EDM Models ( are going to produce a kit of the Square in 7mm and probably 4mm (email EDM if interested because it’s more likely to happen with known demand). You heard it here first. It’ll be excellent. Go on the website and have a look at some of the 7mm kits and you’ll see what I mean.

The print

Toolbox manufacture

Toolboxes and chequer plate on the tank slopes added

Punching out the circular covers from what I believe we’re going to be sight glasses on the oil tank ends.

Oil tanks

Headlight battery boxes

What the chassis might look like – with a plate over the top at each end to hold the bogie in, the 3D printed boiler barrel over the top screwed into the side of the foundation ring area, and then the whole assembly mounted up into the body and screwed into the well tank area.

The progress to date. The marks on the top are the location of the clack valves.

Author: Chris H

Having now officially reached middle age, I am a rolling stock engineer and have worked in many different locations including a 7 year spell in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with a suitcase and left with a wife and a son. I am now based back in my home county of Yorkshire where I juggle full time work, being a Dad to two rascally mini-mes, and trying to fit in railway modelling, assisting the GWR 1014 County of Glamorgan project, and visits to the top left hand corner of Wales and Beamish. In addition to my heavily railway themed life, I am interested in rugby, cricket, reading crime novels, falconry, and medieval re-enactments.

One thought on “A gift horse

  1. They were actual proper level gauges not sight glasses. They had a float in the tank that worked the gauge. They didn’t last long! Well, in true FR style they stayed there a long time but stopped working quite early. I think the change to waste oil killed them. They weren’t really needed as it carried way too much fuel to the extent we often only filled one end tank – although that might have been because the other one had split -again

    The 009 version of the kit is likely to be out before the 7mm one

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