The following narrative describes the conversion of a Bachmann 1:20.3 2-8-0 to the 1.22.5 D&RG K-27 "Frederick John"

The conversion is one of many projects and so has been a long time in the making. I hope the following article will be of some use to any one who decides upon a similar venture. My thanks to David Fletcher and all those at MLS who find the time to help.

The engine is named for my late Father, Frederick John Hayward.

Rod Hayward Nov 2005

Here is a pic of the tender sides being marked out, the Annie wood burner tender is in the background suitably modified.
The paper templates are marked out using and stuck to the cladding.

I stick down one end of the paper first, It has slots cut in it either side of the rivet runs so as to allow more tape to be applied an hold the template in place.
These bits of tape are applied from the middle working outwards and checked with the ruler in the process.

I then turn the thing shortest edge to me and do the punching looking along the runs, that's where the eye will pick up the deviations(and even with all this I'm sure there will be).

It is far less noticeable to have the rivets slightly left or right of mark than up or down methinks.

The rivitter is a piece of rod with slide that drops and bangs the mark at a constant pressure due to gravity. The higher you lift it the bigger the rivet (within reason)

At least added together it provides some consistency. I must try doing it in the mornings tho, not at night after the PUB :)
Oh btw I leave it the same room at a constant temp, moving it about might screw up the paper tension.

Here it is lurking in the dark. Just going to let the welds go right off for a bit.


I fitted the new pilot to the front of the hen and the slide valve chests look awful.
Below is a comparison, btw the second cylinder is a Photoshop image to give me an idea,
in reality it does n't exist. To me even the quick virtual lash up is an improvement, albeit the relationship between the cylinder piston valve and looks a bit odd as the dimensions and cant are just roughed

Here are a couple of pikkies. I decided as I am going to weather the finished loco I would inflict some damage on the tender sheets. If you look close you will see some folds, creases and dents here and there.

I discovered by accident years ago that if you are too free with the poly weld when you glue thin cladding sheets to a shell it pulls at them from the back and produces subtle wrinkles and creases. Exactly what I wanted for this project.

I yet to see R/L tenders on operating locos that don't have any stretches, dings or crease marks from constant emptying and filling over the years, not to mention the dropping of shovels and fire irons. Bit like a B52 when its on the ground :)

Here it is temp sitting on an Annie chassis,

Lowered the sand dome 4mm and added the modified pilot deck.

A bit more progress, of course it helps to have detailed drawings :) Thanks to Dave Crocker

Some more bits, first up a new stack, the connie stack tapers too much for my eye. Here it is, a piece of rolled styrene sitting on the connie stack base, with a steel insert at the top for a nice crisp finish to it. The pic above shows the original idea of extending the smokebox, which I subsequently discovered was inappropriate for the period I wanted to model. This pic shows the smokebox restored to the shorter length and the stack repositioned.

Next up are the cylinders, to my mind these are crucial to the overall appearance of the model. The look big enough to do the job. IHMO they are one of the key parts of the bash, now they are in place its stating to get the right "feel" I am also dead chuffed I have eradicated any trace of the hole where the makers plate was. This late afternoon sun is the acid test. I cant see it, brill...
An under side shot of the pilot. Some styrene has been added to strengthen the join. Virtually invisible from the top and side now, so when painted should be missed.
Here you go then, some shots from the other end. Here is a side view of the aft bit of boiler with the new firebox. Next up is L8 afternoon shot to see if I missed any dents, etc. This will do me. Primer has not been rubbed back at this stage. I'll do that with 1000 wet and dry, wet. Got to let it go off tho.

This next shot shows the inside. I just made one cut from about just forward of where the generator is, back to the backhead, where it was about 3/10ths on an inch. I then warmed up the boiler a wee bit and pressed it around an old stair banister rail. The styrene holds it in place with out any tension.

Hmmm. a bit of mottling here
Lastly, here is a shot of the back showing how I have squared up the sides of the firebox. The connie has a section a bit like a light bulb sort of shape Managed to sneak out with my rattle can and spray the boiler

I also made some mock up motion. The primary exercise was to see of the relationship was ok when viewed from the side and to see if the parts would go together as imagined.
Lastly the straight on side shot, which confirms that the whole fret is very slightly undersize and will needed adjusting before it goes off. The motion bracket to the top left is about 2 mm too far away from the piston valve.
Simply moving the whole assembly forward will result in the connecting rod and crosshead assembly whacking the rear bracket. This would be exacerbated by the connecting rod also being undersize.
The cab. I was never really happy with the Annie wood burner one I started with. I fairness its pretty close, but its too narrow. I could live with the wrong window arrangement, but the narrow doors.....

Thanks to go David Fletcher for the PDF.s (again), they really made life easy. The hardest part was altering the front to allow for the tapered firebox I have on my bash. Got there eventually.
Here a couple of pics of the front showing one of the doors installed.
From the pics that some kind folks posted it seemed to me that the door hinges are pretty much like the ones you find around the house, in as much that you can only see the bits that hold the pin.

I don't want to have any "extra bits" on the front of the cab, so I knocked these up out of some small brass tubing. The wires you can see are temporary affairs to ensure alignment.
The hinge plates, cab doors and cab drilled with a .75mm drill, or similar and then styrene rod is plugged in and the whole lot cyanoed for strength.

If any of you Colorado guys spot any howlers, sing out please :)
Here is the cab painted up. All closed up, the roller blind is a piece of 20 thou brass and is hinged so it folds down so one can pack the loco away.

Not prototypical, but practical.
This is a shot with the blind down and the back window open. The pins in the front doors are temporary btw. This is a shot of the front, shows the home-made hinges to good advantage, the little top windows were a pain to get symetrical.It also show the side windows in the rarely opened position.

The push rod which runs under the roof to the back of the cab. Stops them flapping about and allows you to set the door opening from a vent to wide open. Here is the actuator rod for the front doors. Its a bit of 32 gauge steel wire which runs to the back of the cab. I cant see me getting my podgy figures far enough forward to where the handle should really be. Its virtually invisible from most aspects. If you look close in pics 2 and 3 you can just about make it out


This is a shot of the tanks and center footboards. The tanks are made from 3/4 inch waste pipe. The MR drawing shows them as about 20" so they are about half the dia of the drivers. This checked out OK.
Here is the right hand side, the tank and boards are plugged in to the boiler. You can see the chamfer here and the end of the planks, showing the grain. The connie slots are filled in, it would have easier to use them, but they are a little bit too high.
The left hand side. The MR drawing shows support brackets on top of the front footboard, but none of the pictures I have show this.
A general shot of where we are now.

Just in case you were wondering how the boiler comes off for maintenance, the cylinders separate by means of a cut in the pipes, hidden just under the front footboards. You can see it here.
Here is the front end popped up, the pipe halves are held true by a telescopic insert. This is the bit you can see poking out of the top pipe.

First up a shot of the new metal footboards and tanks with piping (as per #454, not the MR drawing, not so many bends :)

Next up is a shot of the pilot area scratched out of brass stock.

Here is a pic of the tool box opened to show how the bolts hold it and the deck in place.

The spindle brackets and spindle

A shot of the motion assembly so far from the front.

From the side.

And this is where we are at the moment.

Now for some detail Firstly for the motion, I drew a scale plan of the bits.

Then I stuck it to a piece of card and made a mock up. Itís much less painful to bin bits of paper, rather than brass when you find out that itís the wrong size.

When I was satisfied I had got the right proportions, I started the preparations. Lots of pics and questions to the people at MLS before I even started cutting. Virtually all of the parts are made from 25 by 1.5 mm scrap sheet strip I got years ago from a metal supplier.

I cut the drawing into the required bits and stuck them on to the brass sheet with paper gum. I then traced around the outlines tapping with a punch and marked the sheet with a series of dots. Next the paper was peeled off and the dots joined up or drilled where necessary.

Wherever there was a pair of items required they were soldered or sweated together and made as a pair, e.g. the cage, spindle brackets, etc.

The cage was actually cut out as a flat item and then the center aperture was drilled out at the corners to with an 1/8th drill and the bits in between with a 1/16th drill, following a line scribed just inside the marked area. Again, these were made as a pair sweated together.

A small point here, there are a number of preferred choices for soldering techniques and what follows is what works for me, not a definitive ďmust doĒ.

It is a given that all the parts must be clean and free from dirt. I use a glass fibre stick to polish up the parts. I first tin both sides of the materials to be joined and then I hold one end with a pair of long nosed pliers in the torch flame.

With a second pair of long nose I work back from one end to the other, following the second pliers with the first as the work cools from behind. A tray of water is kept at hand to drop the work in when done. This washes of the flux and the stuff I use is aggressive (Bakers No 3) and has to be got rid of after.

At this point the work is drilled and filed to a point where only minor dressing is necessary after separation. Each piece presents itís own puzzle, I now needed to bend the flat cage. The center section was the problem. Sure I could bend one ďarmĒ, but how then to turn it round in the vice? Another problem would be the distortion around the corners, as these were very close to the center aperture.

In the end I cut the cage top to bottom and made two halves, rather like a pair of forks with the middle two prongs missing. I annealed these in a flame to ease the bending process. I stuck the prongs into the vice and then gently tapped over the ďhandlesĒ.

Afterwards I soldered them back together. If you look closely you can see a piece of code75 OO rail behind the join, reinforcing it. (I donít throw anything away :).

Lots of filing with small rat-tails later you have the bits all ready.

The wishbone was made the same way, bent around from strip and a thicker piece of brass soldered on.

I donít use any clamps, just tweezers, the vice and long nose pliers. It is difficult, even after years of practice. I still manage to melt a bit I did not want to when adding another detail, Itís just stubborn persistence that gets one there.

The best way to avoid this annoying melting I find is to hold the work next to the previous join with a pair of small pliers. They act as a heat sink and then you just have to be quick and accurate with the join in progress. Not always easy and not always achieved first time.

The cowcatcher was pretty much the same. I used brass tube for the body, much easier to flatten. These were marked out and drill prior to soldering. All the rivet stuff is brass or copper wire snipped up and soldered in, very much as you would use styrene and rodding.

When done it will all be painted with a coat of selenium dioxide, which will blacken it all, without adding layers of primer and paint, most of which would certainly get chipped off, especially the cowcatcher. If you look closely at that the top bit has been beefed up (cowcatcheróbeef, oh never mind) with an extra row of rivets.

One last tip, the marking out is everything, take your time. God knows how many bits I chucked before I was happy. I use a magnifier lamp with one of those round strip lights itís a must. Even then the photos show some errors I missed.

Be critical, ask yourself if that is really Ok, or could I do it again and take out that hole thatís a little high? I got a few of those wrong and filled them with brass wire and re drilled. Yes I know itís picky, but the attention to detail in this scale is a moot point. If it does nt bother you, then donít bother. Can it be seen? Etc etc.

To me the bits I spend the most time on are those parts that are strong characteristics in a model. There is no doubt in my mind that a K27 has many of these and itís going to take a while.

I adopt my day job practice here. When I write a letter, or a report on something that I now is going to be subject to close scrutiny I never send it out that day. I always put it to one side and read it first thing in the morning. Usually I cant believe what I had written the day before.


Here are some pics of the crosshead assemblies

This is a shot of the 60 bits (minus the con rod nut split pin) that make up the left hand side assembly. The con rod pin is an 8 BA set screw with a sleeve soldered on to make a shouldered bolt.

This is so it can be fixed to the outside plate, whilst the guides and piston rod are fixed to the inside.
This in turn means I can remove the con rod if required without undoing the whole lot. Here is a shot from the back that show the recessed heads and the con rod bolt secured to the outside plate. The con rod bolt head also sits flush on the inside with the top retaining screws. This makes for good clarence around the leading driver crank pin

This is a shot of the assembled right hand side, showing the castellated 8 BA nut and split pin. The nut was made by screwing it on to a bolt with a second nut to secure it, whilst it was drilled with a .6 mm drill. The castle slots slots were then cut with an Ex ACTO razor saw. The nut was then screwed onto the con rod pin and a hole drilled through the pin to accept the split pin, which is just a piece of .3 brass wire bent to shape. Fiddley, but fun. It certainly emphasis the possibilities that can be explored in such a large scale.

Here is a shot of it all in place.

Took some time out to finish up the cylinders prior to painting. Here is a general shot. I used the brass for finer detail, such as the "snifter valves" and also made some rings to protect the cylinders from damage and give a nice crisp edge.

Here is a close up. You can see where I got it wrong here and there ;)

And lastly this is the whole sub assembly.

Some general shots so far

Here is a close up shot of the pilot end, now painted, showing the cylinders to good advantage. Already they have had some knocks and the brass rings around the caps have discolored, so it does Ont show as badly as white styrene.

This is a general shot of the left side motion. I had to re think the rear bracket support. If you look at the earlier epics, they are different. Once I got into the reversing gear it was obvious I had deviate from the prototype a little. Now there is a brass tube that runs across the chassis with a steel pin inside for reinforcement that pokes out through the brackets. There just was Ont the room to fit a curvy rod as per R/L (not with out hours and hours of additional fiddling) Most of this arrangement is obscured anyway.

Top view showing how tight all the clearances are. Surprising when you consider its all flapping around out in the breeze. General shot, gear in forward

Same again, gear in reverse. Note the differing positions of the wishbone and the valve spindle. Made it all worthwhile in the end when I rolled the beast along and it all worked ;)

Lastly a general shot with one of the cars from the 5 car set is going to pull. This is all ready for it and consists of Full brake baggage, 3 pax and a combine.

Its been a while since I did any work on the loco and the main reason was the making of the second set of valve gear. I finally got my finger out and finished it off. It was gutty, but now it's done it does look quite nifty. Some here are some shots of the finished gear, runs as sweet as a nut, no binding at all I am pleased to say. No at last I can push and get the thing finished

The next job was a complete change. I had been looking at some of the air pumps around the bazaars and was n't too impressed, so I decided to indulge myself in some fine detailing for a change. I collected a some shots from all angles and eventually ended up with a pretty close rendition of the duplex pump fitted to these locos. Styrene tube and sheet, with some 1mm bolt heads added from a military modelling detail pack

Here are some pictures of the latest additions. I have reglazed the cab and painted the inside, prior to the detailing later. I have replaced the Connie sand dome with a home made one as the former has the wrong look, especially where the shoulder joins the boiler. There are new marker light brackets as the Connie ones are in the wrong place(too far up). Also added is the front step on the smokebox and the head light. 20thou brass sheet and wire.

So with a bit more stuff added and the flowers starting to bloom I decided some more general shots would be in order. Here is an update on the loco. I have to thank Jack Thompson for sending me the headlight from his Berlyn T-19 for my Annie T-19 bash. From this I was able to get the details I needed for the K-27 light you see here. Its the usual Bachmann job, fitted to all their stuff with some wings and fasteners added. Thanks Jack.

I have added most of the tender detailing. New underframe and end beams with truck chains, rerailers plus some plumbing. The ladder is not fixed yet as I am going to apply the decals to the rear first. I'll add the coal later.The boiler was cut into around the footboard bracket area and the bracket fasteners let into the plastic about a mil to represent the gaps in the cladding in this area.

The steps up to the sand dome were also added. The generator is not quite right as its the original Connie one, but where do you stop? You can see it here raised up as per the K-27 and just about make out the firebox taper. The thick plastic exhaust pipe was binned and a new brass one added. The cab doors open by means of rods from the inside of the cab roof at the rear. Again the door hinge pins are temporary.

I have added some details to the boiler too. The washout plugs would have been easier to do much earlier, that is If I had remembered. Funny how some things go "Oi, you forgot this...."

One again I notice I have knocked off a smokebox stay and its lying in the bottom of those plants somewhere...

Like I said before, it's a bruiser in this scale. I just couldn't run a 1.20.3 job on this RR.

May 26, 2007

Here are a few shots of the loco with some very slight weathering (powders mostly) less is more. Nealy there, I have added a fair bit more detail since I took these pics, but as usual as it's July in England it's chucking it down outside. Looks like the smokers are going to get soaked when they get chucked out the local pub tomorrow when the Smoking ban comes in.


June 30, 2007