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52F Models

Speialising in producing etched 4mm scale loco kits for NER and NBR modellers as well as the Easi-Rider range of 4mm scale model loco and tender chassis'. Designed and Produced in the UK for the discerning modeller.

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Building a Gresley-Robinson Class A5/2 4-6-2T tank engine in 4mm scale.  (Updated 15/07/2011, text in blue is the latest addition to the processThis page is intended to assist modellers who have bought one of our A5/2 or A5/1 kits produce the same results as we did. 
 
For those of you who would prefer a hard copy of this article, part 1, Building the chassis appears in MRJ No. 210 and part 2 Building the body appears in MRJ No. 226.
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.  01/12/2010 This is the finished model built from test etch 2.  Although not perfect the faults were purely cosmetic and confined to the cab furniture.  We feel that it has still made up into an accurate representation of the chosen prototype.  
The model is seen in ex works condition as running in January 1958 only 9 months before being condemned and cut up at North Road Works, Darlington.  The loco was delivered to traffic in 1926 and sent to Blaydon shed.  After a spell at Heaton the loco was transferred to Darlington where it stayed until 1951.  In 1951 it had a 4 month spell at Norwich and Stratford before returning home to Darlington.  Ther it remained until its demise in September 1958.  We are expecting to offer the production kit for sale from March2011.
 
Test Etch 3
 
The next job will be to finish the body from Test Etch 3 and build it in LNER form as running in 1930 before the Westinghouse brake gear was removed.
 
© Peter Stanger 2011. All rights reserved. The unusual aspect of this photo is that there aren't large areas of daylight around the bogie and the radial truck.  This adds considerable realism to the finished model below the footplate. This is the finished model built from Test Etch 3. This model is finished as a working example and has impressed everyone who has seen it by its running and riding qualities on an 18'-0" x 8'-0" exhibition standard layout.  We tried everything we could to make the chassis and then the finished model derail, including running it flat out off a curve across a turnout and into the fiddle yard.  This involved some high speed changes of direction that were coped with effortlessly.
 
Proving the theory of a load bearing chassis.  The weight of the complete model is 240g in working condition.  To prove the load bearing qualities of the chassis we added 147g in weight over the bogie only and a chassis weighing 70g performed faultlessly.  Next we added 143g in weight to the area behind the radial truck and once again this did not affect the chassis performance.  The chassis was then tested with 143g at the rear and 147g over the bogie and once again the chassis ran perfectly. This proves beyond any doubt that the theory of a carefully designed load bearing chassis works in practice.
 
The long process of designing and drawing the parts that go into producing an etched brass and nickel silver kit to be offered for sale to the modelling public is nearing an end and the equally demanding process of building and snagging the test parts has begun.
 
The Test Etch 1 chassis and superstructure  etches are available and have been built.  Due to delays with the supply of castings we have decided to go for a rolled boiler and fabricated Belpaire firebox.  We are manufacturing our own masters for the chimney, dome, smokebox door and boiler back head to have control of what was initially intended to be trade supplied parts.
 
Building Test Etch 1 produced a model that most people would be proud to own but there were areas that, with the benefit of hindsight, and with ease of assembly in mind, could have been better.  Any errors found on Test Etch 1 were corrected and a lot of design improvements were incorporated into Test Etch 2.  Building test Etch 2 was to determine whether or not these improvements have actually made life easier for the modeller.
 
29/07/2010  New cast parts have been fitted to the Test Eetch 2 body.  Scroll down to see the photos and text.
 
25/08/2010  Test Etch 3 has been collected and was on display at the Blyth & District Model Railway Society Annual Show at The Parks Sports Centre, Howdon Road, North Shields, Tyne and Wear on the weekend of the 28th and 29th of August 2010.
 
16/09/2010  The Test Etch 3 build is progressing nicely.  Some of the minor detail errors found in Test Etch 2 have been rectified and I've taken the opportunity to ammend the front of the right hand side tank to allow either an as built version with the Westinghouse pump fitted (pre 1932) or the later BR version with the air brakes removed.  The problem of fitting the cab roof as a permanent fixture has been solved by fitting ribs to the sides of the cab with tabs that align with slots in the cab roof.  The cab roof can now be fitted after the body and cab interior have been painted and then soldered in place.  The cab roof can then be painted by hand and the roof ventilator will still work.  Below are some photos of the progress to date.
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.  16/09/2010 The Test Etch 3 body is being built as Pre 1932 LNER version with Westinghouse pump fitted.  Note the short handrail and reduced width step on the RH side tank front.  
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.  16/09/2010  This shot shows the cab front with the firebox end plate soldered in place.  The cab front and the Belpaire Firebox will be assebbled as a unit.  The boiler will then slide over the register on the firebox front. The Ø0.7 holes are to locate the three pieces while the firebox endplate was soldered in position.  When the backhead is fitted inside the cab, these holes will be hidden from view.
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved. 16/09/2010  This image shows the LH driving step, drive's seat and the etched screw reverser on its pedestal.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
25/08/2010 Sprung LNER GS buffers, lost wax brass vacuum pipe and steam heating pipe have been fitted to the rear buffer beam.
 
 
16/09/2010 The model was taken to Expo EM North on Saturday 11th of September 2010 and was well received by all who saw it.  The screw reverser and the moving roof ventilator was well received by some nationally known builders.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
25/08/2010 Sprung GCR buffers with etched oval overlays have been fitted to the front buffer beam.  Lost wax brass vacuum pipe fits through a hole in the footplate behind the buffer beam.
Etched lamp irons have been fitted to the footplate.
 
 
Building the superstructure, Test Etch 2.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 1.  Using the chassis as a fixture to position the buffer beams.  This ensures that the buffer beams are square to the footplate.
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 2 Soldering the valences to the underside of the footplate.  The 3-piece valences have been soldered to the footplate and the two part front frame etches have been soldered into their location slots on the footplate.  The soldering of the bufferbeams, the valence and two piece front frames add a significant amount of stiffness to the asembly.  
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved. 29/06/2010.
Step 3. Solder up the rolled boiler and fit the boiler bands.   This is the revised boiler from test Etch 2. Although there wasn't anything wrong with the boiler from Test Etch 1, I know from past experience that fitting etched boiler bands to etched brass boilers and getting an acceptable result takes a fair amount of practice. The revised boiler differs from the original in that it has a lap joint along the bottom edge instead of the more usual practice of a butt joint.  This allows the boiler to be soldered from the inside, produces a very strong joint and keeps fettling to a minimum.  The new boiler has half etched grooves for the boiler bands that are now full thickness but etched in thinner 0.25mm material.  The resulting boiler has bands that are in the correct place and absolutely straight and square.   The band nearest the smokebox serves to assist with the location of the smokebox wrappers. 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 4. Fitting the smokebox wrappers to the boiler.  The smokebox has been fabricated and fitted to the boiler.  I found that this method of assembling the boiler and smokebox was much easier than the method used on Test Etch 1.  All the pre etched holes lined up through three layers of etchings.  If you look carefully at the front handrail knob hole you can see the blue background through the hole.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 5. Trial fitting the boiler to the frames.  The boiler/smokebox assembly has been trial fitted to the footplate to check that it fits between the frames and sits in the location tabs on the footplate. 
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 6.   Fitting the Bunker Floor.   The bunker floor consists of 3-pieces.  They are the floor and the two uprights.  If you look closely you'll see the 8BA captive nut soldered in place in the gap between the uprights.  This nut is the rear mounting point for the mainframes.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 7 Fitting the Cab Lower Floor.  This is stage 1 of a 2-stage process.  The lower cab floor plinth is fitted into the slots in the footplate and soldered in position.  The lower cab floor is then soldered to the plinth.  The wheeled cahssis is fitted to check that the wheels clear the cutaways in the floor. Fitting the chassis showed that the lower cab floor cutaways were out of position and needed to be moved.  The drawing and artwork were  ammended to reflect this change.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 8.  Fitting the Upper Cab Floor.  The upper cab floor plinth is soldered into the slots in the lower cab floor.  The upper cab floor is then soldered to the plinth from the top.  Any excess solder has been removed from the upper surface.  Once again the wheeled chassis is used to check that the rear driving wheels clear the underside of the upper cab floor. 
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 9.  Assembling and trial fitting the bunker.  The trial fitted bunker was dropped into place on the footplate and as can be seen from the photo it's a perfect fit.  The footplate at the rear is 8'-6" wide and the bunker is 8'-5" wide.  This footplate is only 0.16mm in 4mm scale wider than the bunker, a feature that's been captured nicely in the photograph. The beading around the top edge was soldered to the recess in the top edge before the sides were folded over. The sides were then folded over to form the bunker.  Little or no fettling or cleaning up was required.  The lamp irons were fitted and soldered onto the inside of the back face.  Next the vertical handrails were bent to shape and fitted and then the horizontal hand rail was fitted and the handrail knobs soldered to the inside of the bunker.  It would be very tempting to solder the bunker in palce at this time but the cab and the tanks need to be soldered as an assembly to the footplate.  If the cab or the tanks don't fit propperly it's convenient, at the test etch building stage, to be able to remove individual parts to see where the problem lies. 
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 10.  Assembling the cab.  This shot shows the initial cab assembly fitted to the footplate.  The rear bulkhead has the coal shute fitted, the door actually slides up and down in the runners.  The bunker access doors in place along with the vertical handrails.  The bunker tank tops and sides were made part of the cab etch on Test Etch 2 and I didn't get this quite right.  The drawing and the artwork have been altered to make these parts to be a good fit.  The hand brake and water scoop stanchions are fitted to the bunker tank fronts.  These parts are currently fabricated but by the time the kit is offered for sale they will be lost wax castings.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 11.   Fitting the Coal Rails to the Bunker.  The picture shows off the beading around the cab entrance and windows to good effect.  Fold the etched coal rails to shape and solder into position. The bunker profile is used as a template to bend the coal rail etchings.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Step 12.  Fitting the remaining cab furniture.  The driver's and fireman's step, seats and reversing gear pedestals have been fitted along with the fabricated screw reverser.  The reversing handle does turn but isn't connected to anything.  The position for both assemblies was established by trial fitting the side tanks. The part of the tank that encroaches into the cab forms the back of the step and assists with tank location.
 
.
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved. 
Step 13. Fitting the Cab front bulkhead and side tanks.  The Test Etch 2 cab bulkhead now has provision for bulkhead mounted gauges and these were sweated in place before fitting the bulkhead to the front of the cab.  The overhead shot clearly shows the fabricated screw reverser.  Step 5 shows the boiler and smokebox assembled ready for fitting.  The master has been produced for the boiler backhead and this will be a white metal casting. The tanks are such a good fit that the cab bulkhead is held in place and it was not necessary to solder it in place.  Next step will be producing a special tool to form the Belpaire firebox.  This may take a day or two to produce and perfect so it will be sometime next week before this part is fitted to the model.
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
We have constructed a folding and bending fixture for the Belpaire firebox  and the above image is the pre-formed Belpaire firebox. This is how it will look when supplied with the kit. This part is so visible and so easy to get wrong that we felt that it would have to be supplied in the preformed condition. The back piece will be a two-piece etched part and the front will be a white metal casting.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
Smokebox door master fitted to the smokebox.  This part will be a white metal casting on the kit offered for sale.
 
27/07/2010.  The masters to produce the cast whitemetal parts have been made into a mould and I expect the cast white metal chimney, smokebox door, snifting valve, dome, firebox front, tank vents and brake cylinder to be available for assembly to the body from test etch 2 this week.  Photos of the new parts in place on the body will appear on this page in a couple of days.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.  29/07/2010.  This shot shows the white metal smokebox door and turned dart, the chimney, snifting valve, dome and tank vents low melt soldered in place.  The valve chest cover and the smokebox steps have been soldered in place. The firebox is in the process of being assembled and the firebox backhead  casting is in the process of having the furniture fitted.   
 
 
 © Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.
29/07/2010.The cast firebox back head is in place and the etched hand wheels and regulator handle have been fitted. For some reason, try as I might,  I couldn't get a sharply focused shot.  The detail on the real thing is far crisper than would appear in the photo.  The white metal fittings add a useful bit of weight to the model.  Once the firebox has been fitted the white metal backhead can be soldered in place on the cab bulkhead.
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved. 07/08/2010. The side tanks are the last things to be fitted.  This shot shows that the safety valves and whistle have been fitted.
 
 
Building Test Etch 1
 
 
© Peter Stanger 2010 All rights reserved.   All photos from this point refer to parts on Test Etch 1.   The test chassis has been built and can be seen here under the test build body.  Up to now no serious problems have been encountered and what is particularly pleasing is that the bunker, cab and tanks are a perfect fit on the footplate.  The side tanks have an inner piece making them a really strong box section construction and greatly assisting in their assembly to the footplate.  Next job is rolling the boiler and the smokebox wrappers and forming the Belpaire firebox.
  
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
This view of the test build chassis and body from the fireman's side clearly shows the full profile frames and the vertically mounted Mashima 1420D motor.  The box section tanks mentioned in the previous paragraph can be clearly seen in this shot.  The loco springs are double thicknes etchings mounted on the inside of the integral spring hangers.  We have managed to achieve compensation on all 12 wheels with the bogie and the radial truck being load bearing.  This means that any tendency to being smokebox or bunker heavy does not detract from the adhesive weight on the 6-driving wheels.
We are hoping that the production version will feature a fully detailed cab complete with screw reverser.  As with the prototype the bunker and side tanks are "wpap around" construction and encroach into the cab.  This method ensures that once soldered in position the superstructure is exceptionally strong.
We were initially woried that the shape of the footplate valance would cause problems for the modeller but making it in 3-parts solved this problem and it wasn't dificult at all to fit and get right.
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
06/06/2010. The boiler, both smokebox wrappers and the Belpaire firebox are now fitted.  The firebox front will be a white metal casting and the part shown in the image is the actual master for this part.  With the benefit of hindsight the etched firebox will either have to be preformed  or replaced by a casting. This etched part was difficult to form without the use of special tools and fixtures and we feel that leaving the modeller to develop the shape himself from a flat etched part is unacceptable.  This part is very prominent, highly visible and it's very easy to get it wrong.  The cab roof will be one of the pre-rolled parts and as can be seen from the image the cab roof is a perfect fit.  The sliding roof ventilator slides the full length of the runners.
Next job will be to produce the masters for the chimney, dome and smokebox door.  Hopefully
we will manage to find enough time next week for this task.
 
 
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
24/06/2010.  The masters for the chimney, dome, snifting valve and smokebox door have been manufactured and you can see them in position on the boiler.  It is our intention to include sprung buffers with the kit and we have managed to source a supply of parts.  The A5/2 is unusual in that it had oval head, GCR buffers on the front and round head Group Standard buffers on the bunker end.  This was probably to prevent buffer locking when running bunker first due to there being a greater front overhang than that at the rear. The oval overlays for the front buffer heads will be included on the footplate etch.
 
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
24/06/2010. This view from the driver's side and shows the tanks with the tank vent pipe masters and the vacuum ejector pipe in place.  The films for Test Etch 2 are with the etching company and with any luck work will start on the Mk2 version next week.  The Mk2 version incorporates any re-desingn work that has been found to be necessary to ease and simplify the assembly process. 
 
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
09/06/2010.  The bogie has now been assembled and clearly seen in this image are the working compensation beams complete with a representation of the leaf springs.  The horn cheeks are made up from 8-individual pieces and the strengthening gussets hold the cheeks in position while the assembly is soldered in place. Once all eight horn cheeks are soldered in place the parts of the gusset that span the horn cheeks are cut out using a piercing saw leaving  a fair representation  of how the original looked. 
 
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
25/06/2010.  The above image shows the bogie with Gibson 3'-6" x 10 spoke wheels fitted.
 
 
Image © Peter Stanger 2010. All rights reserved.
26/06/2010.  The chassis from Test Etch 1 is now wheeled and will negotiate 3'-0" radius curves .  The coupling rods are size for size on the gibson crankpins. There are no tight spots and there was no need to move the hornblocks in their cutaways.  This speaks volumes for the accuracy of the chssis drawing, the accuracy of the films and the etching process.  From the amount of deflection on the radial truck while negotiating a 3'-0" curve, I would think that the truck would probably negotiate curves down to 2'-0" radius.  This augers well for the radial truck arrangement is very similar to that used on the N8, N9 and N10 0-6-2 T tank engine chassis' soon to be released.  I'm pleased that I've resisted the temptation to go for a chassis production etch as there was an unexpected gremlin lurking there.
 
One thing I found while wheeling the chassis is that the wheels used are not the size that's quoted in the catalogue. I knew that I'd never be able to source 5'-7" x 18 spoke driving wheels with an 11" throw and the nearest available at a sensible price were Gibson's 5'-6" x 18 spoke with an 11" throw used on the Metropolitan Railway 2-6-4T tank engines. This had been factored into the original drawing but I did expect that 3'-6" would be Ø14.00mm not 13.77mm and that 3'-8" would be 14.67mm not 14.45mm.  I know that this doesn't sound a lot but when you've designed a bogie and radial truck to be load bearing, it does make a difference and the neither part will do its job propperly.  The bogie pivot has had to be redesigned and the cutaways to acommodate the radial truck have had to be redrawn and lowered in the frames.  The saving grace for the driving wheels is that they can be drilled to provide the correct 11" throw for the coupling rods.