A first kit-build: 3500 Gallon Churchward Tender - 4mm Scale.

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by jonte, 28 May 2020.

  1. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    From here it looks like you have learnt a lot by having a go. The right tools make it easier but it is just practising to use them together with visualising what needs to be done before starting.

    How about finishing the tender as one of the less than pristine examples in one of the GW weed killing trains? See here - A little fun: Can we identify this tender? Buying a couple of sheets of 10 and 15 thou brass (eg. K&S) would provide materials to scratchbuild a copy or two as practice pieces at very little cost - only buy the spring castings etc if they work out as you want. If I were to scratchbuild this tender I wouldn't use an inner former, solving your (and most peoples) biggest difficulty in one go- laminating brass is not easy.

    Bigger can be easier, but may need more heat.
    jonte likes this.
  2. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    I’d agree with all that Fraser said. Sound advice.

    laminating is a pain, but it does give a strong and square structure.

    jonte likes this.
  3. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    In my experience, bigger just means the 'big bits' get bigger - the 'small bits' stay the same size and there are frequently more of them.

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  4. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Sorry to hear that you're giving up, I can only empathise with you I have several part built kits that will never get finished for various reasons, but it formed part of the learning experience. I suspect that most of have one or two failures stashed away were all part of the learning process.

    I don't think that you will necessarily gain anything by moving up to 7mm, the materials used are thicker and can be harder to work and quite often there's more finer detail to add, which can be just as onerous to form and fit. The thicker materials also need more heat when soldering.

    As Overseer has mentioned above, some brass sheet would be an ideal way to practice forming and soldering, before splashing the cash on another kit.
    jonte likes this.
  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

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  6. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    I am now in a position to agree with you there, Simon :(

    However, I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary angst has I have just soldered the wrapper from the inside to the ‘skeleton’, which is what I did the second time round after unsoldering it all. That said, the undulating appearance on the tank sides - which I can only assume is a consequence of all that excess heat - I consider a happy accident, as it mimics those of many prototypes (and side panels on diesels) and is one for the notebook ;)

    Many thanks for your support throughout, Simon.


  7. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer


    Thanks for the heads-up, Steph, but I shaln’t let it put me off.

    I don’t think it was the frustration of small parts that led me to semi-abandon the build, just a minor hiccup in a line of many, and at a point where I realised that whatever I did from now on, I could never polish a t*£d.

    Thanks for your help, Steph.

    Best wishes,

  8. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Phil, and thanks for your empathy and sympathy. Much appreciated.

    I’d like to think that I’ll return at some point in the future - perhaps a mound of coal in the bunker might mask the errors :( - but perhaps you’re right.

    As I’ve written above, this has been a steep learning curve, and an enjoyable experience for most of it, it’s just a shame that I’ve gone too far down the road to undo it all and address the little bits and bobs that let it down such as that gap at the front. Still, I know why it happened and what I wouldn’t do again. I’m happy that with everybody’s generous help and sound advice, I was able to overcome certain issues, learn new skills and understand the process so that next time I can strategise better and identify issues/solutions before they arise. My brief experience with the kit has also helped in this regard, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

    I take your point about building in the larger scale, and I’m not really sure that I have the necessary funds or the room for the Premier scale anyway, but it would be nice to have a dash more room to get the iron inside without having to think several steps ahead in order to do so. Besides I now have the Weller in my arsenal ;)

    Thanks for your time and benefit of your experiences, Phil, but most of all your interest.


  9. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Sorry to hear of your difficulties but glad to know it's not a total loss. As for the next etched adventure I'm not sure that a larger scale would lead to less frustration. Unfortunately larger scales bring new problems with getting heat into the joints. As Steph says the parts you are soldering are not really much different in size, the larger scales will have more components of a similar small size to add the extra detail you can incorporate in the larger scales. In some ways this is why I enjoy switching to the 2mmFS modelling as there are fewer components to solder and I get a completed model quicker. My only suggestion would be for the next foray is to find a much smaller kit, either a simple wagon or lineside furniture but most importantly etched in nickel silver rather than brass. In my opinion nickel silver is vastly superior to brass and will make the kit assembly much easier. Then getting a kit finished will give you some of the skills and experience to start an etched brass kit, but start with nickel silver first.
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  10. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian, and thank you for your valued advice.

    It’s interesting your mention of the benefits of 2mm scale in this regard, as I was building this almost in sync with Tim’s (Modbury) scratchbuild of a similar tender, and I couldn’t help envying the pace at which he completed the build. Of course, Tim is a master of the art, but still, I couldn’t help feeling that the smaller size was a bonus in some way or other to an expeditious completion.

    In relation to nickel silver, I’ve read of its benefits especially to the newcomer. Apart from readily accepting paint and a more user friendly tolerance of heat, I believe it’s also more robust, and oh, how I began to wish that that the manufacturer had chosen this material for the footplate which had given me so much angst. To be fair, once firmly attached to the tank former, it is indeed a solid unit, but it has to be coerced into staying flat. The chassis sides too will bow if left open to the Sun’s rays (how do I know this?).

    Still, it is an excellent kit and one which will build into a beautiful model - which it will be next time - which goes to show that with a bit of practice, even a newbie can build a brass kit :)

    Many thanks.

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  11. Mike Garwood

    Mike Garwood Western Thunderer


    I dont know who told you that NS is more friendly then brass - it isn't. It has a higher heat resistance and is more brittle when bent. Brass is far more forgiving and accepts heat far more readily than NS. With NS etches you get one go at a bend, maybe two, but certainly no more before it shears. Don't ask how I know! :mad:

    Don't give up, you've really got a knack for getting around problems in a build. If you've problems with 4mm building they will only be magnified when you move up to 7mm. I'm not knocking 7mm building, if I had had the chance I'd have choosen 7 to start with. But cost put an end to that ambition.

    Stay safe

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  12. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Nickel-silver is certainly different to brass, but I wouldn't say it was better or worse. It does transmit heat at a different rate, and it doesn't mark so badly with solder or flux. However, it work-hardens much easier, so forming things is generally harder and, yes, it's far less forgiving of mis-forming.

    All those things work for better or worse. I am one of the few here who has been taught to solder, so I don't seem to need as much heat as many others do. I don't worry too much about what I'm making a model out of, but am picky about cleaning up both before and after soldering, and that includes on occasion cleaning the solder. I don't select my solders on temperature generally either, but on how they flow or wet the joint.

    In summary - a lot will come down to your personal experience. You might find you prefer certain solders, a certain soldering iron and can express a preference for brass or nickel-silver; it would still be difficult which is 'best' for any of those things.

    The important thing is making those first steps to building that experience, and you're well on your way with that!

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  13. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Mike.

    The nickel silver properties were gleaned from just reading around.

    It just goes to show that there really are two sides to every story....

    Interesting to read that you agree with other Westerners when you advise that there are no free lunches in kit building. I’ll just have to soldier on.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence in my problem solving skills, though; it boosts my wavering morale :thumbs:

    Thanks also for your interest and other nice words during the build.

    Good health.

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  14. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks, Steph.

    Best wishes.

  15. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I reckon that if you limited yourself to brass or NS, you’d end up missing out on something. Probably most kits are available in brass, so I’d tend to the view of getting in there and doing it, perhaps with a wagon or two to start, and hopefully building a repertoire of “can do that-s”, relating to techniques that are common across kits.

    if you want to go 7mm, whilst agreeing with the caveats that others have posted, I suggest that you download & read the instructions for a Connoisseur kit of your choice and then, perhaps, purchase one of them. It’s not a bad place to start.

    How about Seacombe in 7mm?

  16. Allen M

    Allen M Western Thunderer

    Jonte and all.
    As I said to someone else recently trying new technology.
    You won'rt remember but once you where very small, then you grew a bit and started to pull yourself up, then you walked. You made lots of noises then it became talk. You held a pencil and made lines which progressed to become writing. You held a spoon and found your mouth. However there where a few stumbles & fumbles on the way but you did not give up.
    Now comes bits of brass, a soldering, solder and flux. Like any new skill there will be stumbles & fumbles and just like the other skills it is possible to get there.
    Onwards and upwards.
    My late dad used to say "there is such a thing as must not, there is no such thing as can't" meaning give it a go.
    Allen Morgan
    Who after about 65 years of practice at soldering messed up a joint a few days ago.:(:oops::eek:
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  17. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    I think you may have sussed me out, Simon ;)

    I downloaded the instructions to the Buckjumper last week, which looks very attractive. But how could I link that to S’combe?

    Well, whilst deep in the heart of London Midland territory, the station was dual served by both LMS and LNER, the latter providing a service to Wrexham Central along GCR lines, the former to New Brighton and W.Kirby. Ironically, the LMS service ended prior to WW2 while the LNER service continued right up to the end. Remember that the Buckjumper was an LNER engine? ‘Yes, but that never ventured far from the East Coast in latter years’, I sense you might be thinking.

    However, as I’ve found so many times when researching ‘stuff’, bizarrely, there are exceptions to every rule, and perhaps the odd stray ended up in that Welsh shed (Croes?) for some industrial purpose or other. And whilst lodged therein, a requirement was needed for a small loco due to the constraints of the run-round at S’combe, and so it happened that the little ol’ Buck’ fitted the bill......

    A bit far fetched? Perhaps, but fact is often stranger than fiction, which is why, well into the ‘60s, we saw a former GWR loco in the form of a 57xx Pannier tank at New Brighton, which as you know, Simon, was an electrified line AND just over’t road from S'combe, so maybe not so implausible after all?

    I’m not implying this will ever see the light of day, mind, but as you can see, the thought has indeed already crossed my mind.

    Thanks for your input, Simon.

    P.S. Seacombe IS 7mm ‘O’ Gauge ;)

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  18. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Alan, and thank you for sharing these warm words of wisdom.

    Indeed, life is a marathon and not a sprint in so many ways, and we all need to learn to walk before running - blimey, now you’ve started me off :)

    The thing I’m most pleased about my attempt is that my soldering has improved exponentially, so for this reason alone I’m glad I trod this well worn path. If anything, it was the wrong soldering iron that caused most angst, but thankfully this is no longer the case.

    I just think the loss of momentum and the odd glaring error or two have quashed my enthusiasm, but I would like to try again.

    Many thanks for your input and support, Allen.

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  19. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    That would be my fault then as it was myself that mentioned from my experience I prefer N/S to brass. Not wishing to digress any further on Jonte's thread it's probably a discussion worthy of it's own thread at sometime - for now I'd go with @Steph Dale's comment that the 2 materials each have their different merits and we each have our reasons for preferring one over the other.
  20. michl080

    michl080 Western Thunderer


    it is not nice to see a fellow modeller accept defeat.
    There have been many useful ideas about what to do.
    I have been following your thread only loosely, but I start to think I know where the problem might have been.
    You need
    - a good kit
    - good tools
    - courage
    - confidence

    I am sure you had the first three points fully covered, but I think you were in doubt if it wouldn't be too difficult.
    Adrian hits the point, get a couple of wagon kits and see your confidence grow.