Saturday, 16 May 2020

May 2020 FCAG meeting

The FCAG met by Zoom this month, with a record attendance: Stephen, James, Chris M, Chris G, James, Jim, Simon, Alasdair, Alastair, Nigel, Andy, Graham, Mick from the NEAG and Tony from the Grampian area group. We had a busy  two-hour session of "On My Workbench".

First up was Chris M., who has been pushing on with his Fowler 4F chassis build after the advice on gearboxes from Nigel and Jim at the last meeting. Everything now runs fairly smoothly and he can now turn his attention to finishing the model.


Jim showed us his build of the late John Boyle's etched kit for a Caley 45' coach. Starting with the bogies, he took us through construction of the underframe (with 14BA studs soldered in as bogie pivots) and the gradual build up of sides, ends, the roof (which he remade in hard 4 thou brass shim), buffers and other fittings, and finally ready for the paintshop. The pictures tell their own story. Full details are on Jim's RMWeb write-up.


Chris G. then gave us an update on his nascent - but rapidly-developing - Bosalek project, which can also be followed on RMWeb. Pointwork built, baseboards laser-cut and assembled, landforms starting, buildings being positioned, and everything to a very high standard.

Next up was Mick, who has several chassis projects on the go. One of them was to revive a J26 which was prone to short-circuits. Mick's solution is a new tender drive, built around a layshaft driving all three tender axles via worm wheels.

Meshing was tricky and was achieved by finely adjusting the shaft end bearings. A Nigel Lawton 8mm diameter motor is held in place using a brass ring turned to a smooth push fit on Mick's lathe which in turn is soldered to a brass plate which sits above the frames, with double-sided PCB used to ensure no shorts.

The tender body is from an etch for a B16 and has added brass bar weights. It runs smoothly and slowly without Simpson springing, so Mick does not propose to add any - in any case the loco has them already, and will be wired through to the tender, so a nice-running loco should result.

Alastair updated us on progress with his South Queensferry layout, based around 1890 as construction was finishing on the Forth Bridge less than a mile away. Two Ikea shelves form the baseboards and a Templot plan is pasted down ready for tracklaying. Unfortunately I failed to screengrab his photo correctly so you will have to imagine it .... but we did also get to see his sheet metal bench (his other hobby is 5-inch gauge live steam) and the guillotine he intends to use to manufacture sleepers.

Nigel talked us through his recent build of a French electric loco which has curves in multiple planes. His forming method is nothing more than a good smooth-jawed vice to pin the etch gently against a suitably-sized rod, then persuading the sheet metal to the correct shape with a smooth piece of wood. Others, it seems, prefer to roll on their thighs.

 The chassis is a short-wheelbase Tomix tram chassis; Nigel made a slot in the boxy area below the underframe to carry a DCC chip..

Since the shot below, some further livery detail has been added, giving a touch of red and yellow. It's an impressive beast.

James had an interesting little straight-DC controller which he'd built from a PP3 battery, a pulse-width modulation circuit board, and a voltage and current display. Very neat. A 2mmSA magazine article is reputed to be on the way.

Tony showed us his Black 5 build, from the Association kit. The boiler has been drilled for fittings, the cab is partly built and awaiting overlays, the tender is coming together, and the chassis was painted this morning. It should be wheeled by next weekend. There were a few tales of one step forward, two steps back, but overall he is happy with progress.

He also showed us the latest changes to Dunallander after the experience of exhibiting at Aberdeen last autumn. In order to ease the radius of the curve at the end of the layout, while still fitting in the limits of the Roy's shed, the goods yard has been narrowed by six inches and a couple of sidings removed. The reminder have been straightened and are now more accurate for Dunblane, on which it is based. Here are "before" and "after" shots:

The layout has also been altered from a continuous-run with a traverser to an end-to-end with individual fiddle yards - the operating team feels this will work better at shows.

Alisdair showed us the further progress he's made with the track maintenance train of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, where he is (or was, before the lockdown) allowed to work off his excess energy as a platelayer once a week. The basis for the coach is a Masterclass Mark 1 BSK, with B4 bogies from an old Association etch. The Weltrol is scratch-built I think. The detail of the load includes chairs and baseplates. There is rivet detail on the fastening ring plates.

Finally James showed off the button gauge he'd turned up in the lathe ... for P4!

The 2mm one is on the right ...
Apparently he found these so useful when building 2mm track he wanted the same thing for the larger scale. A nice example of cross-fertilization to close the meeting. We all seemed to survive without tea, sandwiches and cake, so we'll aim to run another virtual session next month.