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Falcon Etched Brass LMS Horsebox D1956 kit - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 03:49 pm
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IanLMS
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Good afternoon all,I recently purchased a Falcon etched brass kit of the LMS Horsebox D1956 from Dart Castings at the York Model Railway Show and thought I would share my thoughts, experience and progress with you seeing that this is my first ever go at building an etched brass kit with fairly basic tools and very basic skills.

This is not a "How to....." topic. Just me sharing my experiences and giving my thoughts/opinions as a newbie to etched brass kit building. As always, any guidance and assistance is gratefully recieved.

I am aware that Falcon/Jidenco kits dont have the best of reputations, but as I havent built anything else to compare it against, I am happy to make up my own mind.

So, here is the kit. The kit does not come with wheels or couplings. As it happened, I had a pair of 3'7" Disc wheels and 3-links in my spares box anyway so that wasnt an issue;








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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 04:18 pm
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IanLMS
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So, the tools I have;25W and 40W Antex soldering irons, various types of solder (70, 145, 188), flux (Carr's Green, London Road and Gaugemaster brass flux), Hold N Fold (Trumpeter Large type), Aluminium, Steel and Brass metal rods and bars in various sizes and Proxxon Drill/Stand.

Building the kit;
First thoughts - Etch looks nice, clean and appears to be a 4 sided fold up type of body. Instructions are minimal and miss lots of steps, and the drawing is poor and difficult to follow. There is no protoype information other than the sketch you see at the bottom. Luckily this horsebox is covered in the LMS coaching book and I received an extract from someone on another forum to help me.

I cut the parts I needed from the etch using a stanley knife on a very hard surface to prevent distortion. No issues there. Cleaned the etches up with my fibreglass pencil and used my metal files to clean up the edges/remove the tabs.
Folding of parts was made very easy with my 25mm Sq block of steel I got from Ebay, and my Trumpeter Hold N Fold (£35). 

Soldering the parts together wasn't too difficult, until I got to the side steps. Picture below will show what I mean. Very fiddly and hard to get square with little/no mounting points on the body. 

Observations: 
1. Soldering is easy....Soldering neatly is an art form and something I need to work on. 
2. I need to remember to limit the amount of flux. Where the flux goes, solder will too and it has crept into areas I didnt want it to (see along solebar, around sliding door panel, across door vent etc).
3. The metal gets very hot, very quickly so l need to use use a vice, pliers or something that is more heat resistent than skin!!! Fingers are not designed for this!!
4. Use pegs, clamps or other useful tools to hold parts together rather than your fingers. This prevents the parts shifting and will help with observation 3!
5. The instructions are not suitable for complete beginners like me. It didn't state when to solder the wheel bearings, where to locate the W irons or which way round they should be mounted, how the brake gear goes together, the need to drill the holes out to the correct sizes for the supplied brass rods (brake mechanism, handrails etc) how to shape the lower part of the body sides, or the plastic roof, or how to asemble the side steps. I can only assume that the writer of the instructions assumes that the people who purchase their kits are experienced kit builders or have a detailed knowledge of what goes wear on the various types of wagons!
6. The W irons are too low resulting in the ride height being too high, the buffers being higher than the rest of my stock and the white metal axle boxes not lining up (hence the styrene strip under the solebar)

Progress so far;


Lots left to do, including guessing how the brake mechanisms go together, how to solder the strapping on neatly, bending the plastic roof to shape and fitting the rails, vents and water guide (i think thats what the ribs on the side of the roof are), and fitting the other parts including buffers, couplings and lamp irons.

Bottom Line - I am thoroughly enjoying building it, learning lots along the way and I am positive the end product will be good enough for my layout, just a very long way from perfect!!!



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 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2018 02:21 am
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Ian,

From one Lancaster to another may I say that if this is your first attempt at a brass kit then you have made a cracking start. Falcon Brass are not the easiest kits you will find to build and are often described as virtual scratch building. Having said that there are many others out there who are guilty of that!
You look like a fast learner and I look forward to seeing this model progress. Very well done so far.

Mark Lancaster.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 16th, 2018 07:25 pm
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IanLMS
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Good afternoon Mark,Always happy to hear from another of the "Lancaster" clan and thank you for the kind words. Steep learning curve and mistakes are being made, but enjoying it.

Progress update: Again, lack of decent instructions has required me to make the best guess when it came to fitting the brake system. After looking at the pics and from comments from other users on a different forum, it is obvious the white metal brake pulley / linkage thingy is too low. The part in the bag only had a small hole one end and was not linkage shaped but i took a guess at what it was and where it should go. Easily fixed as I will remove it, fabricate one from brass/plasticard and re-attach.

As this is my first attempt at soldering white metal I under-estimated how quick white metal melted and obliterated one of the gas tank mounting brackets using my 25W iron. So I am now very concerned as there are more much smaller white metal components that I will need to solder. A temp controlled iron might be a safer bet for me in the long run. I am of the opinion that if there is a tool designed to make the job easier, buy it!!! even though I will only use it a few times, it will be worth it. 

The other parts went better but need more practice.








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 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2018 12:29 pm
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IanLMS
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Modifcations to the brake linkeage made and added some of the side strapping to one side. I am not happy with the ones that drop below the solbar. They look nothing like the prototype ones but its the part number the diagram is telling me to use.





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 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2018 02:32 pm
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Ian,

You are having fun on your learning curve!

White metal soldering! Been there done that and even burnt a hole in the T-Shirt!

White metal will melt about 145 degrees and it is best to obtain some low melt solder. Carrs do one that melts at 70 degrees.

You are quite right to think about a temperature control iron. I was lucky and - many years ago - got myself a temperature control unit from Brewsters in Plymouth. The unit plugs into the mains socket and you simply wire your favourite soldering iron into the unit. I was told that they stopped doing that unit due to regulations from something called the EU, whatever that is!
You can always give Brewsters a call to see if it is still availbe, here is their web page:-
http://www.soldering-shop.co.uk/index.php/.
Rather than wait a year to see if they bring their old unit back you could buy one of the temperature control units that are available on the market. If you are going to solder white metal then make sure that you can get the tip temperature to 100 degrees or below. I have seen some units that are totally unsuitable for modeling as the lowest tip temperature available was above 150 degrees.

Once you have good temperature control life becomes so much easier!
;-)



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 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2018 03:00 pm
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IanLMS
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Thanks for that. Just ordered one off ebay which has a hot rework air gun as well and it goes down to 100 degrees (so they claim). I saw a you tube vid with someone using a butane soldering iron for white metal so the hot air gun might be easier. We will see!!



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 01:42 pm
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Ian,

I have always avoided using gas soldering even near brass as the flame can get hot enough to melt brass if you are not watching carefully. I hate to think how white metal will react! I am guessing you will need nerves of steel.

As you get into brass kits you may wish to look at resistance soldering. I purchased a unit from London Road Models a few years back. They are particularly good with smaller, more fidly bits but must be kept away from white metal as they instantly raise the temperature of the solder to 600 degrees. The work does cool very quickly after contact is made so it makes handling the work so much easier.

Having said all this about soldering I must point out that if some bits have got to difficult to get an iron in I have resorted to glue!



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 03:37 pm
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IanLMS
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The hot rework station I have just ordered has a hot air gun so no flames to worry about and apparently controllable between 100 and 450 degrees. Its a chinese branded iron (Yihua 992D) so I am not expecting too much, but its looks like its worth a try.
http://yihua-soldering.com/product-1-3-4-2in1-hot-air-rework-station-en/147666/

Found one for £79.99 on Ebay - expecting delivery Fri/Sat and will be tried out next week.

Ian



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 07:14 pm
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Even with the mishap, you're worlds beyond me at this sort of thing. If I were to try soldering such a kit together I've no doubt my clumsiness would reduce the whitemetal bits to puddles.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 07:33 pm
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IanLMS
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I have had plenty of guidance from both YMR and RMWeb which has really helped me get the confidence to have a go. I am sure you would be fine at it. I have low expectations of my own abilities which allows me to learn at my pace without fear of ruining the fun or end product. I am not doing it professionally nor am i giving advice to others so i am free to make a hash of it lol



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 07:53 pm
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Let's just say that my first effort at soldering, I completely destroyed the motors I was trying to reconnect the wires of, and I still tend to have a hard time even with stuff that simple.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 08:11 pm
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IanLMS
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I cut my teeth on scrap bits of metal and joining wires. After that the kit wasnt too bad. I still have a long way to go especially with white metal. The new iron might help though. We will see.



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 Posted: Fri Apr 20th, 2018 01:54 pm
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Latest update and I hope I now have the brake linkeage and rods at the correct angle, or at least better!. Added more hinges on the one side and noticed from info that folks have been sending me, there is a vertical bar between the two upper hinged doors thats missing from the kit. This looks like it swings and latches which locks the doors in place. I quickly fabricated one, but need to use thinner rod and put it on a bit straighter. Something I will get round to next week (there were funny looking hinge type things in the kit but they didnt resemble anything on the prototype pictures so I have no idea what they are)
 
Progress is slow but it is still progress!! My overall summary so far is that I am happy with the kit and I would definately buy another Falcon kit and live with its minor issues. On the recommendation of others, I will probably buy the MJT W-irons as they would be the correct size and possibly easier to install.
 
Other than that, I am still really enjoying putting the kit together, learning lots from all fo you experts and maybe one day, I will find the courage to try a loco!!
 
Ian






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 Posted: Fri Apr 20th, 2018 05:22 pm
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Hi Ian,

Just reread the thread. Nice work. Although not applicable to this build, white metal detail bits are usually best attached with CA or epoxy, and as the last bits to be added. Much easier to remove with a blade or CA solvent (paint stripper usually works for epoxy).

Depending on the mix some older white metal castings will melt almost at the temp of the solder.

I've been using a Chinese iron with temp control for over 18 months now, it is as well made as the expensive ones (and uses the same ceramic element parts!) and at less than $15 cheaper than a set of bits.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Apr 20th, 2018 06:06 pm
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IanLMS
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Thanks Nigel - hopefully the new iron will be at home when I get in from work, if not tomorrow. 
For the white metal parts with a pin to secure them, CA makes sense. However, if they are flush with the surface, my concern is that I will knock them off then cleaning it up for painting. I glued the axle springs etc but that was onto the styrene addition.

I will try to get time over the weekend/next week to try out the new iron and report back.

Have a great weekend

ian



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 Posted: Sat Apr 21st, 2018 07:45 am
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Hi Ian,

If there are no cast pins you can always drill a hole and use a brass one. Solder up the brass bits, clean up, then fix the white metal bits in place. That way they do not get knocked off. White metal needs to be scrupulously clean, grease-free and bright with a toughened surface for solder, CA or epoxy.

Nigel



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 Posted: Mon Apr 23rd, 2018 02:13 pm
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IanLMS
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Thank you all,Well, here is my new toy - £79.99 from Ebay. Hot Air Gun (variable fan speed and 100-450 C range) and Soldering Station (200-450 C). 

Used it yesterday and the gun was perfect for moving items soldered in the wrong place, and for certain white metal soldering. Put items together, add flux, chop a bit of solder off and place in position, more flux and apply hot air gun. Shimples. The solder melted quickly and flowed into the joint. Didnt work on certain areas (buffers) as I could get the solder to flow properly so used to iron instead. 




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 Posted: Mon Apr 23rd, 2018 02:19 pm
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IanLMS
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So, the latest update with the horsebox - while getting to grips with the new soldering station, I managed to attach several of the remaining small parts - hinges, brackets, lamp irons and the white metal parts (vac hoses, buffer hook and buffers).
I must remember in the future to solder all of the brass bits first before moving on to white metal!!!!

Here are a few pics of progress so far; 






Roof next (Styrene with white metal vents etc).

Ian



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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2018 09:39 am
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IanLMS
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Good morning,After another very busy weekend I managed to fit the windows (spare clear plastic from packaging), paint the interior black, fit the roof (styrene sheet) and vents (centre one I had to scratchbuild) and rain guides (used styrene sq rod).
It is now ready for a good clean with Viakal and priming. 

I am using Precision Paints etching primer for the body & chassis, with Humbrol primer for the roof. I am then not sure whether to use Red Oxide primer (recommended if airbrushing red shades) on the body or go straight for the top coat of Railmatch Crimson Lake.
I could just use the red oxide primer, but not sure how it will adhere to the brass. Any advice gratefully recieved?

Ian




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