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

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

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Jan

    Thanks for your concern but I think it might just be recoverable.

    Even if I can’t, it’s been a great learning experience, and deep down, I knew it wasn’t going to be without it's challenges despite my preparatory work. As you know yourself, sometimes you just have to learn on the job - it’s just a shame that mistakes can prove expensive!

    Your ingenuity knows no bounds, Jan ; you are indeed in a different league to me entirely.

    I tried to get some pegs this afternoon (to reverse engineer?), but nobody seemed to have them. According to my wife, demand has slumped as apparently they leave marks on the washing - I never knew they were used for washing too :)

    Indeed, Jan - the generosity of spirit amongst Westerners is quite moving. Thank you.

    Lyndhurstman likes this.
  2. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Phil

    I never thought of that, and I have one somewhere!

    As you can see it’s off, but to be fair to the little Proxxon, it does generate the heat quite evenly.

    Thanks once again for your valued input.

  3. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    it’s clearly been a bit of a rough ride, and I feel for you, but I suspect we were all, more or less, in your position at some point, with a rather shabby collection of metal on the bench and a vision of what was going to be a beautiful model in mental tatters.

    don’t lose the vision.

    The beauty of brass (and whitemetal) is that it can be unsoldered and to some extent straightened and refolded (un-filing is rather more challenging) and you can have another go. Try to remove as much solder as you can, using heat, wick, and maybe fibreglass brush, and give it all a very good scrub with an old toothbrush and Shiny Sinks or something similar. You’ll then have a nearly new kit to start again on.

    Your cage was fine, so I’m sure you can recreate it, square and flat and equally good, once you’ve done that, you can attack the wrapper again, armed with advice, experience, clothes pegs and the positive vibes of the forum.

    To your earlier question, I can’t recall where I bought my IPA, but I suspect it was a 5x1 litre bottle offer on eBay.

    good luck, we’re all rooting for you!
  4. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I absolutely endorse Simon's comments. You'll find any number of models on here bought as scrap and stripped to components before building lovely locos. I did it with a 3F I bought for around £100 with wheels and motor/gearbox and covered in solder. Sorry that I don't have a photo of the starting point. Steph may remember. It was from the bring and buy at the defunct Langley exhibition. (Sadly missed!)

    LMS 3F 0-6-0.  JM Kits (2).JPG

    When you strip it back I suggest you spend lots of time on cleaning the etches up. This applies particularly to the grooves in to which parts will ultimately fit.

    It can be done, Jonte. As with all things it takes time and practice. That is surely where the satisfaction lies.


    PS - If you want some wooden pegs let me know and I'll steal some to send you. May take a while to ship but I'll find someone in the village to take a parcel to the post office.
  5. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    I've just done a quick search and sprung wooden clothes pegs are commonly available from that well-known auction 'site and the similarly well-known on-line retailer.

    I get mine from either Wilco or Sainsbury.

    michl080 likes this.
  6. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thank you all for your moral support and valued advice as always.

    I’m hugely privileged.

    Had a bash at trying to soak up the excess solder from the footplate using the Proxxon again. Sadly, the solder didn’t melt on this occasion. Instead, the footplate curled up and came adrift at that point. I didn’t wish to exacerbate matters by carrying on so put everything away.

    Problem with this is that the tabs to centralise are no longer, so even if I managed to straighten the plate, it might prove difficult in this respect, plus I daren't look at the slots I’d prepared earlier for the valences.....

    I think the best approach would be to split the plate and the tank former, straighten the plate as best as possible then perhaps use it as a template to scribe around some of the scrap brass I’ve got left. Okay, centralising will still prove a challenge with the new, home made footplate and there wont be slots to accommodate the valence, but at least it would be flat - and clean. A better starting point IMHO.

    Whilst I thank you all for your kind support and input, I think in all honesty that I’d be best starting afresh buoyed in my new knowledge, so I’m going to sleep on it and make a decision hopefully with renewed vigour.

    In the meantime, thanks @oldravendale for the kind offer of the pegs and @Steph Dale for the heads-up, but my wife says she’ll pick some up when she pops into Wilco in the morning :)

    Cheers for now.

    Lyndhurstman likes this.
  7. Deano747

    Deano747 Western Thunderer

    Neat use of pegs ....and noted!
    Regards, Deano.
    jonte likes this.
  8. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    I’m pleased to report, fellow Westerners, that the build might be back on track and heading in the right direction.

    I started the day a little indifferent which isn’t a bad thing to be honest. When you’ve nothing to lose, caution ebbs and you can afford to get a little bolder.

    I concluded my last post with thoughts turning to building a new footplate from scrap brass, as the original had started to curl up badly and part company with the upper tank former. The former itself resembled an old oven that hadn’t been cleaned in donkeys rather than frame of one of the finest kits money can buy.

    So, before reaching for scriber, brass sheet and sundry tools - and quickly putting them back as I’d lost all appetite for this - I thought I’d just see what the electric iron could do. In a dry spell between heavy showers, I set up the iron and simply placed it at the point where the footplate was trying to escape. Miraculously, it re-bedded itself.

    Not a bad start. But The blobby mess of solder trails made the snug fitting of the wrapper on the footplate nigh on impossible, so I just kept sweeping the iron along each edge and when a dollop started to build up on the bit, I just flicked it off onto the brass Brillo pad. Eventually, everything started to neaten and bit by bit, the solder build up began to diminish.
    Still, this wasn’t going to suffice - a point I realised in bed last night as all this was turning over in my mind. Wick was definitely the order of the day, but when I re-checked my order, I saw to my horror that it’s arrival from the Far East was still a month away. Trawling, I couldn’t find anywhere that sells this stuff from an actual shop, locally, so I’d have to order it. Here I had a spot of luck, and if I ordered within a short window, the stuff would be with me pronto. All being well, it will be with me in the morning!

    With this in mind, I carried on with the iron doing what I could until the Cavalry arrived in the form of Wick. All seemed to be going well, although in a couple of spots on the side where the wrapper hadn’t seated properly, the footplate was bent vertically. This was definitely the case at the front end, but the bent up etched steps were obstructing progress with a file. No probs. I could remove some of the excess solder at that point and then hopefully bend back into shape with flat-nosed pliers.

    Happy with this small step forward, I bathed the parts in Cif using an old toothbrush, riser them and left them to try. At which point I notices that all the heat from the iron had reseated the top overlay too which had also been a casualty (I just need to run a small bead round the edge to fix the edges). Bonus.

    Having dried, I re examined the parts. Those bends were annoying me, so I returned to the bench and put the iron to work again, hoping that it if I pressed hard enough, the brass would flatten. It didn’t, and I didn’t want to damage the element. This is the point where indifference comes to the rescue.

    Grabbing a couple of old medium sized files, I pressed down hard and ran it along the edge of the footplate. Not only did the pressure exerted begin to have the desired effect, it also scraped out a lot of the remaining excess solder.

    I continued round the other two edges, and not only was I left with a flat footplate, but the vacating solder was leaving a nice surface on which to bed the wrapper. The only offending part now was towards the front, where the plate was bent even before the tragedy. That was it. Those darned bent up steps just had to be sacrificed, so under the files they went. Consequently, the whole footplate is now flat.

    I’ll take the fibre brush to the wrapper a little later, and then try and reattach the nut that came loose from inside before calling it quits for today.

    Not out of the woods just yet, but just maybe there’s an end in sight.

    A couple of photos to show you the results (I’ve placed both the practice and actual wrapper on in a couple to show what I think are improvements. I hope you agree).


    D4B06007-8A8C-43A4-8AAC-B80AFD05940C.jpeg E88B9B09-6D63-44B2-B10E-8418FBDF79DB.jpeg 4D3440A7-3BF0-460D-8AED-EE44704F5677.jpeg BCFECCA0-1C4E-4DC7-B754-BF7615F9E386.jpeg BFDB124F-0C27-4686-9C01-9C7E05EBD306.jpeg 4D6998E2-3B0C-4079-8213-96EE064C2382.jpeg
  9. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Well saved that man. With a recovery like that you will soon be an expert and I don't mean a has been, with a drip under pressure.
    jonte likes this.
  10. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Kind of you to say so, Phil, thank you.

    However, I shaln’t be resting on my laurels just yet.

    Thanks for your encouragement.

  11. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    You are hereby elected to the role of Mayor Of Tenacity. Well done!


    jonte likes this.
  12. Mike Garwood

    Mike Garwood Western Thunderer

    Well played Jonte! Excellent stuff!!
    jonte likes this.
  13. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Tenacity (Population:1) ;)

    Thanks, Jan

  14. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks for your support, Mike.

  15. John57sharp

    John57sharp Western Thunderer

    Hey Jonte good to see that your are persevering. Can I recommend a number of things you may find useful?

    Garyflex abrasive blocks are really good for cleaning etches and parts, being rubbery they don’t have nasty spikes that get in your fingers like fibreglass. They come in fine, medium and coarse, look a bit like track rubbers.

    solderballs. Just what it suggests, tiny sizes of solder that are excellent for small parts, cuts down on the cleaning up.

    keep it up, with all the help on here we should all be able to build anything!


  16. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Well, quite ;)

    You’ve no idea, John, how relevant your post is as I seem to ouch my way with everything I touch. Those darned splinters!

    So thank you for the heads-up re the Garyflex.

    I received instruction re the solderballs from @oldravendale which is a marvellous idea as you suggest. However, no matter how hard I try it (wood, glass and brass all to no avail) I cannot get the bit to pick it up :(

    Guess I’ll just have to keep practising.

    Many thanks for dropping in, John, and for sharing your helpful tips.


  17. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    Another suggestion which might help you out - you might try using solder paste to attach overlays - i.e. you apply a thin coat of the paste on the back of the overlay, place it on the model and heat from front with a clean solder bit. There are a good few options on Ebay - here's one

    SMD Easy Print Solder Paste SN62% - Pb36% - Ag2%, 8g - 1.4ml 5901764329251 | eBay

    This paste is basically standard 60/40 but has a small amount of silver added which helps it run better. It also has its own flux in the paste.

    Don't be put off by the small size. The problem with solder paste is that it does tend to go off after a while and becomes difficult to use and since you don't tend to use a lot, getting a larger amount usually ends up with having to throw a fair bit of solidified paste away. :)

    Last edited: 21 June 2020
    jonte likes this.
  18. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Did a spot of reverse engineering this morning, fellow Westerners, on a newly acquired clothes peg or two and used them to build this:

    6A89932B-BD3F-4800-85AD-0392E6A052C1.jpeg BAFAA1E8-38A4-4D2E-A6A4-0A1237370B58.jpeg 41CEE67E-2E55-4445-80B8-D2D619CD910C.jpeg B2030D1E-F79B-4087-A6E6-DC5FC43CD260.jpeg

    It’s a mock-up of a tender side and footplate, with the footplate extension attaining a similar width to the model.

    So what’s it for?

    Despite recent efforts to return to something flush and true as was the case with the parts prior to meltdown, I seriously doubted my abilities to get it just so. Even if I managed to achieve some sort of uniformity along the join of tender sides and footplate, I doubt that I would have been able to attain the ‘gap-less’ finish of the prototype.

    Having already unsuccessfully tried to run a thin neat bead along the footplate to address this, and not wishing to reintroduce yet more unwelcome solder, I began to consider a solution that would address the gap and control the amount of solder required.

    To that end, I remembered the ‘hit and miss’ arrangement of the solder deposits which had leaked through from the location of the tabs when soldering the tank former to the footplate from underneath:


    If I could imitate this in some way, I’d have a great starting point in the form of almost uniform blobs of solder that I could join up, dot to dot fashion, to form the nice thin bead required without flooding the place out. Or that’s the thinking anyway.

    Hence the replica footplate to practise on.

    Rather than bore you now with what’s in mind, I’ll close for now and come back after tests have been conducted.

    So I’ll leave it there for now, apart from to convey my sincerest thanks to @Steph Dale and @Phil O for sharing their top tip re the clothes pegs.

    For once, no swearing or cursing ensued due to parts moving as the iron was introduced and/or burnt fingers.

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    Deano747 likes this.
  19. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Jonte, don't forget to cut the ends of the pegs back like mine, so that the tips grip.
    jonte likes this.
  20. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Jim

    Now, that sounds interesting :)

    Many thanks for the link and also your helpful contribution.