Construction of a model Bulleid Light Pacific: West Country Class Locomotive No. 34008 Padstow

13 Jul 2011 Body Phase II  
  The reason for the delay in adding a progress report is principally due to two major errors in the kit:-
  • Cylinder front and back etches are ~3mm too wide i.e. the cylinder covers would not be flush to the sides;
  • Cab roof and side etches are wholly inaccurate.

Faced with the double dilemma my enthusiasm waned and it's taken nine months to steal myself sufficiently to tackle the fundamental errors on the part of the kit producer. I settled for attacking the cylinder etches first. This required unsoldering the cast whitemetal parts and nibbling away at the outer sides; essentially reducing the width to that of the internal body strengthening part. I was loathed to unsolder the cylinder castings as these were used to align the slide-bars by virtue of the piston rods, in the first place. Having resolved the cylinder width difference to my satisfaction, I decided to carrying on building the body in the hope that with the combination of loco top and side casings correctly aligned I might be able to judge how to reshape the parts that form the cab.

From left: main body, internal body strengthener, chassis & motor / gearbox unit 

The main body is an assembly comprised of four etched brass pieces:-

  • smoke-box front

  • top casing

  • side casings

  • rear former

Detail added to the main body at this stage; basically everything that would be a struggle to attach once the top and side casings are attached to the internal body strengthener. :-

  • whitemetal smoke-box top and chimney casting

  • whitemetal safety valve castings - 3-off

  • whitemetal whistle casting

  • etched sand hopper filler sliding doors - 4-off

  • firebox wash-out plugs - two strips of five, not in kit!

The actual assembly order I chose was:-

  1. Drill clearance holes for 10BA bolts for attaching the smoke-box front that allow separation of the body and the internal strengthener. The holes in the strengthener are elongated to ensure (good) alignment between the side casings and the cylinders;

  2. Spot solder the top casing to the (separated) smoke-box front;

  3. Spot solder the rear body former to the top casing;

  4. Reattach this assembly to the internal strengthener with 10BA bolts, and align;

  5. Spot solder the left-hand side casing front whilst aligned using the bent down sides of internal strengthener;

  6. Spot solder the right-hand side casing.

Once satisfied everything was aligned, further solder was applied to all joints. The assembly could have been much easier if the rear body former was the right height - it's ~2mm too short. Of more concern at this stage is the unsatisfactory shape of the cab-front former compared to this rear body former; the kit supposedly builds only the first 70 engines that were built with an 8' 6" cab. However the profile of the etched cab front appears more appropriate to the wider cab fitted to the last 40 members of the class.

Left: 8' 6" cab; right: 9' cab

The visual difference between the two cabs is evident in the above two photos; on the narrower cab its sides become flush (with the casing) at a point where the valance panel is attached to the side casing.

 Here's how the model now (15th July) appears...

... with the addition, to the chassis, of the buffer beam with buffing gear and coupling hook, some preliminary test running (in reverse) with a load showed a need for increased swing of the rear pony truck.

I'll probably advance the chassis further and fit the cylinder covers, next. Followed possibly by the brakes, which require considerable work drilling holes for brass rods in the cast whitemetal brake-hangers.

5 Aug 2011 Bit of a digression!?  

I got as far as adding the cylinder covers and decided to make a start on the tender, thinking it would be straightforward. WRONG!!!!! This time, the etched parts for the tender's chassis and cosmetic frames are oversize, demanding another exercise in lateral thinking prior to major metal removal.

I've fitted buffing and draw-gear to the tender to allow some test running (of the tender) prior to adding the rest of the detail. Note loco cab is still detachable from the body to allow work on the front cab windows; the one nearest the camera is almost finished:-

The final job (on the cab) will be a bit more filing to level the mating surfaces between the cab and the body.

12 Aug 2011 Tender progress  

The tender is now virtually complete; in fact I've sprayed-painted the chassis and wheels. The only things left to add are the vacuum and heating pipes.

A little tweaking of the up and over hand-rails is required, however it's essentially finished. Here's a close-up of the detail of the rear of the tender; a unique feature of Bulleid tenders.

Both the electric lamps and the ladders were built as sub-assemblies prior to attaching to the tender. This seemed the easiest option, at the time!

Clearly there's a fair bit of cleaning-up to do before painting.

21 Aug 2011 Back to the loco body  

The tender has now been under-coated, so there was no excuse but to get-on with the loco body. I chose to add the gutter-strips next, which make the whole body assembly firmer by being soldered to the top and side casings. In preparation for adding detail to the front-end, I soldered in place the (lower) valance panels forward of the cylinders. (To improve access for maintenance purposes these panels were removed from Oct 1952 onwards.) 

Next I tackled the front-end that has a (literal) wealth of detail. From the ground up:-

  • Vacuum & heating pipes on buffer beam
  • Electric Route Indicator lamps and lamp-irons on front footplate
  • Atomisers and associate pipe-work above the footplate
  • Smoke-box door - another wealth of detail in its own right
  • Electric cable conduits down either side of the smoke-box front
  • Front cowl, sometimes referred to as an inverted trough

View of the front end with the front footplate fixed in position after having the lamps added. I took the opportunity to add the attachment bracket to the Devon Belle Headboard, at this point in time.

Almost finished! Smoke-box door yet to be soldered in place after final clean-up.

The loco is now starting to look more like a Bulleid pacific; all that's missing are the smoke deflectors!


7 Sept 2011 Cab assembly finished  

The cab (still unattached) is nearing completion, just requires removal of the excess solder. Photo shows Back-head temporarily in place for inspection by the crew:-


Sept 2011 Some early test running  

Tender completed and sprayed in primer. No detail added to chassis.

21 Sept 2011 Main bodywork finished  

With the cab attached to the main body and sprayed BR Green, attention turned to the completion of the chassis in terms of adding brakes, brake rigging, and fore and aft pipe-work.


Closer view of the front-end of the loco; taken whilst conducting clearance tests of the pipe-work.


3rd Oct 2011 Lining and plates  

Lining and cab-side numbers were applied over a week ago, and the last
few days have been spent attaching the plates: name, crest and class.


7th Oct 2011 Not a lot left to do now  


Note route code discs positioned for the special excursion to Dorchester



  Jobs outstanding are:-
  • Spray loco and tender with satin varnish - primarily to provide extra adhesion for the plates on the loco
  • Matt-down the black top casing but not front cowl
  • Glaze cab windows
  • Attached firebox backhead
  • Fix crew in cab
  • Matt-down the black tender top area
  • Add coal to the tender

Photos of finished model, or Back