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In this article from the July, 1961 issue of Railway Modeller, The Rev. Awdry reveals how he custom-built his model for "Toby" from scratch. Happy reading!
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A 4mm. scale model of an ex-G.E. Y6 0-4-0 tram-engine using a motor bogie as a basis
by the Rev. W. Awdry
MY son and I first met a J70 tram-engine at Yarmouth in 1951. She was exceedingly dilapidated, but nevertheless there was a certain dignity about her as she trundled along the street ringing her bell. The guard walked solemnly ahead carrying a red flag. We tracked her to her lair at Vauxhall, and made friends with her driver, who allowed us to explore her “innards” and take photographs.
There and then I decided to try to persuade the Fat Controller to procure a tram-engine for our railway. This was surprisingly easy. By a “coincidence” he too had met one on his holiday, and had been equally fascinated. So when “Thomas” was in trouble with the police for running along the quarry line beyond Ffarquahar without cowcatchers or sideplates he had his answer ready. “Toby” arrived in the autumn of 1951 and the story appeared in 1952.
The pictures of “Toby“ in the books were based on my photographs and Skinley's blue-print. They therefore more or less resemble a J70. I started planning a model for my own line, but had no chance to build it till we moved to our present parish near Wisbech in 1953. Meanwhile I read up the subject and found that there were two types employed at Yarmouth, Lowestoft and on the Wisbech and Upwell line. They were the 0-4-0 Y6, introduced in 1883, and the 0-6-0 J70, introduced in 1903. Both looked similar in general, but there were difference in detail. As my model was to be powered by a Romford motor bogie, it struck me that the four-wheeled prototype would be more suitable.
We arrived at Wisbech in January 1953, only to find that the last Y6 had been removed and scrapped in November 1952. However, I scrounged some old photographs locally, and the authorities at Stratford (E.R.) kindly gave me a photostat copy of the 1883 working drawings, from which I prepared my own. Incidentally, there is an excellent “sideways on” photograph of a Y6 facing page 23 of the Railway Observer for January 1957, if anyone can get hold of a copy. There is also in the same issue an article by Peter Proud on the class.
The model was built in three stages. First came the underframe, the motor was adapted to fit this, and last of all the body was built to fit both.
This consists of sideplates (Fig. 1), endplates and bufferbeams (Fig. 2) and cow-catchers (Figs. 1 and 2).
Sideplates. Mark out two pieces of thin brass 65mm. x 17mm. Scribe where shown (Fig. 1) to indicate flaps hinged to reveal motion. Mark and cut out openings 7.5mm. x 5mm. at each end of each piece for footsteps. N.B.—Do this before cutting out and squaring up sideplates.
End plates. Two pieces 6mm. x 31mm. from same sheet of brass (Fig. 2).
Inner Frame. Four pieces of OO rail, two 65mm. and two 28mm. (Fig. 3).
Bufferbeams. Two pieces of brass sleeper strip at 31mm. Drill 10 B.A. clearance for buffers. Use beams as template to drill endplates (Fig. 2).
Solder side and end plates to their respective pieces of rail. For sideplates, rail must be flush with top edge and sides. With endplates, rail must be flush with the top edge, but placed centrally to leave plate overlapping at each end to mate with the rail at sideplate ends (see Fig. 3).
Make a jig with stripwood on a piece of flat board. Solder the underframe to-gether inside at the corners. Make sure all is square and true. Bolt bufferbeams to endplates using buffers.
Footsteps (Fig. 1) are small pieces of brass cut to fit openings. Two are needed for each. One rests on bottom and the other 3mm. from top. Note that each step projects through sideplates by about 1mm. Mask projecting steps as in prototype (see photograph) with small pieces of copper or brass busbar (16 gauge) filed to a triangular section and soldered in place.
(a) File armature bearing screws flush with ends of motor frame. Nick the filed ends for screwdriver adjustment.
(b) Remove sideframes. File down mouldings to clear inside of sideplates.
(c) You may have to file down cheeseheads of bolts holding sideframes to magnet assembly. If you do not they will probably fowl the underframe.Reassemble motor. Stand on plate glass to test for “truth.”
Hang underframe on motor bogie
For this you need a strip of brass. The measurements are not critical. Mine is a strip 10mm. wide by about 65mm. long. It came, I think, from an old dry battery. Drill strip at centre, making sure that the hole is large enough to clear the locknut on the bogie pivot-bolt. At 12.5mm. on each side of centre bend strip down through just less than a right-angle. Offer up strip to motor bogie and hold in position by a washer made of lead strip and a nut on the pivot-bolt (the extra weight helps good running).
Fit underframe over motor and adjust frame on brass strip till height and level are right. The bottom of sideplates should be 1.5mm. above rail level. Mark strip, remove from motor and solder in place inside underframe.
Replace frame on motor. Track test for rail clearance and the best size of lead strip washer.
Take a sheet of pins in paper. Mark out (say) four or five rows of 36mm. length. These pins are the bars of your cowcatchers. Why so many rows? Well, if you are as ham-handed as I am, you are sure to spoil your first attempts, and it saves time and annoyance to have others ready in reserve.
Insert an extra pin between each two pins in each row (Fig. 7). By the way, the official drawing shows twenty-four bars on each cowcatcher. I only managed to squeeze in eighteen. You may do better! Now take as many pieces of straightened 22 gauge tinned copper wire as you have rows of pins. Each piece should be at least 54mm. Drawing-pin each down on a row just below the pin heads (Fig. 7), leaving a surplus of wire each side. Solder wire to pins.
Take pins from paper. Trim surplus wire, leaving about 5-10mm. wire each end for soldering tags. The wire is the bottom stretcher of your cowcatcher. Bend it to the semi-elliptical shape shown in Fig. 3, remembering that the pins must be on the outside. Take care that the pin at each end is vertical and that those at the corners incline together.
The top stretcher has to fit immediately below the bufferbeam. Take several pieces of 22 gauge wire. Remove kinks, bend each to the shape of an elongated staple 30mm. long and with tails at right angles of at least 5mm. each (Fig. 8).
Final assembly. You now need a thickish lump of plasticine (Fig. 9). It should be smooth and flat. Prong the tails of the top stretcher into this, and offer up the lower stretcher and bars. Prong the tails of lower stretcher into plasticine 10mm. from upper stretcher, arrange pins along upper stretcher and solder. This is more easily said than done! Work quickly with a hot iron, soldering every third pin.
Repeat till all eighteen are firm. It may take some time. When you have two cow-catchers which are satisfactory, trim heads and points off pins and try for fit under bufferbeams. Solder tails inside sideplates. Fit frame to motor again. Test cow-catchers for track clearance.
I used odd bits of 1mm. plywood, but shellacked card would do as well. Mark out footplate (Fig. 4), the two sides (Fig. 5), and two ends (Fig. 6). Scribe sides and ends for planking, cut away window openings before cutting out and trimming the pieces.
Note on windows. Two sizes of opening have been given: 5mm. x 7mm. in Fig. 6 and 6mm. x 8mm. in Fig. 5. Why? Reason: all windows were of horizontal sliding type, but earlier locos had them sliding inside the body. Later, windows were fitted outside, Sometimes locos returned from the works with both types fitted. In this model 5mm. x 7mm. represents the size of the glass pane and 6mm. x 8mm. represents the frame.
In my model I took the easiest way. End windows were glazed with cellophane stuck on outside in closed position and framed with paper strip. Side windows were pieces of perspex stuck on inside in a semi-open position. Hence the larger aperture for the side windows.
We have gone into this at length here, because obviously you have to decide which sort of windows you want before you cut them out.
Footplate (Fig. 4). Mark out aperture to be cut away for motor, also mark where inside edges of body sides and ends are to go. Cut away motor aperture before squaring and trimming footplate edges. Test footplate on motor and underframe, making sure that (a) it is a good push fit over holding strip and ends of motor frame, (b) it sits flat on underframe.
Assembly. Dry assemble sides and ends on footplate. Make any adjustments needed to secure a good fit before sticking with “Durofix.” Note that (a) footplate should project all round body by 1mm., (b) the top of each side runs the whole length of side (the ends fit in tiny mortises cut at the top of each side of ends).
While body is drying assemble parts for...
Roof work is in two stages : (a) false roof, (b) real roof and mountings.
False roof. This is needed to give body strength and to take funnel and other mountings.
I used an old bit of CCW “flat” coach roofing I had handy, but doubtless well-shellacked balsa would do. Cut it the exact length to fit between the two ends. The bottom projection (if CCW roofing is used) will fit neatly between the sides. Do not fix yet. The piece should fit tightly enough to stay in place while curve of roof is sandpapered down flush with the ends.
Now, with false roof in place, offer up body to motor and frame. Press down and mark where false roof must be hollowed to clear motor pivot-bolt. Do this with drill or countersink bit.
Track test with body in position, trying the effect on performance of lead screwed to underside of false roof. I found it good.
Do not fasten false roof to body yet.
Real roof and mountings. The real roof is a piece of card or 1mm. plywood cut to same size as outside measurements of footplate (Figs. 10 and 4).
The funnel is a sleeve from a Tri-ang coach or wagon bogie suitably trimmed. The collar is a washer (2 B.A. I think). I did not attempt a spark-arrester— cowardly, I know, but there it is!
The bell. Cut off the head of a panel pin and solder it inside an inverted U staple made from a wire paper fastener. The “chain” is wire from a broken-down point motor (Figs. 11a and b).
The condensing pipe is 16 gauge copper wire bent to the shape shown (Fig. 11a). The collar is a washer (2 B.A. I think). The valve was once the metal cap from the carbon of a dry cell.
Assembly. First fix roof to false roof. Place false roof in position on body, and glue roof to it in usual manner for van roofs. But be careful that no glue gets on sides or end of body.
When dry, remove roof assembly and mark out positions of mountings. Drill suitable holes. All mountings are a push fit, and “anchored” with “Durofix.” The bell chain is soldered, in middle, to top of staple holding bell (tricky this), and at each end to lil pins projecting from roof.
Trim up whole roof assembly, and finally glue to body.
The windows can now be glazed by methods outlined above.
The oldest trams with inside opening side windows had a sort of three-arch framing outside the body round the window openings (Fig. 12). I traced these on cartridge paper, then cut them out and stuck them on outside.
Strapping and moulding. Slater's card strip. The photographs show my efforts as distinctly poor.
Handbrakes. Small pieces of Mercontrol tubing. Wire slotted through and suitably bent. Held by “Durofix.” For positions see Fig. 4.
Handgrips. Beheaded pins bent and stuck each side of doorways.
In their last days both Y6s and J70s had black sideplates. The bufferbeams were black too. Sometimes the number was on the bufferbeam in white figures, sometimes on the endplate above it. Sometimes they carried the B.R. totem on their sideplates, sometimes not.
Their pre-nationalization appearance was very similar except for L.N.E.R. or N.E. on the sideplates.
They looked very different in Great Eastern days. The body work was chocolate brown, and a polished brass oval number plate adorned the centre panel of each side. Their sideplates were blue and their bufferbeams red.
Each loco carried its number in gold figures on the bufferbeams. I suspect, but have had no confirmation, that the gold was shaded with blue.
Sometimes, as the photograph shows, the number appeared on the sideplates as well, ousting the company's initials. They must have looked very smart and attractive.
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