Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

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Old Man Aaron
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Old Man Aaron » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:25 am

The access hatch and a Roundhouse toolbox casting were fitted with epoxy, and the coupling JB-Welded into place. I don't know if the latter will stay put, or be ripped out during a run - there's no room for a nut behind the headstock. I might drill and tap an M2 hole from the backside, and put a spare screw in there to hold it..

Rear headlight was wired up and works as nicely as the front does.

Baking twine, dyed with an acrylic wash, makes for a nice scale shunting rope; The twine was wrapped around two fingers, then removed and manipulated to give it that characteristic "sag" of heavy rope. Superglue was then sparingly soaked into the twine, to hold it's shape. A flat clearcoat hides the superglue's shine, and was followed by a wash of black, to highlight the rope's texture.
In truth, I'm just hiding the soldered joint at this corner of the tank. I didn't align it very well during construction, and I'm sure as hell not stripping the thing to re-solder it..
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All is now ready for touch-up, prior to weathering. Before that, though, I'd like to add water hoses between loco and tender, so some dummy water valve castings are on their way from Ozark Miniatures..
Last edited by Old Man Aaron on Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Keith S » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:10 am

If you're doing water connexions between the tender and the loco, perhaps you'd like to make these dummy injectors to go along with it. Here is a link to the post I made about how I did mine. I think it adds some visual appeal to the locomotive.

https://gardenrails.org/forum/viewtopic ... 51#p146751

Could you direct me to the page in "Ozark Miniatures"' website for those dummy water valves you mentioned? I've been looking for a set myself, for the same reason.

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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Old Man Aaron » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:13 am

That's some stunning detailing work, Keith. Reading that thread, I very much relate to your critical approach in viewing one's own models.
Wish I'd have thought of silicone tube. Ended up bending my hoses from styrene tube with wire inside.. Being rigid "hoses", they're attached only to the tender. The prototype hoses are a bit funny, running through the center of the rear headstock, above the drawbar. I couldn't do this on my model, as it's where I'd previously routed the headlight and ashpan wiring. Time will tell weather my styrene hoses are up to the job..

Some modification to the valve castings was needed, along with new handles and spindles, silver-soldered together before fitting. Apologies for the image quality, this was a right sh*t to photograph.
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I did think about fitting under-footplate injectors, but the prototype, like most Fowlers, had backhead-mounted ones.
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I've since painted the valves/hoses, and started weathering, but have no new photos just yet. Hopefully this or next week, I'll have time and energy to get back onto this loco and get more photos.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Old Man Aaron » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:21 pm

15/03/21
After finishing touch-ups some weeks back, a thick wash of dark (sooty-coloured) grey Tamiya enamel and mineral turps, with a tinge of brown, was brushed over a few square inches at a time. Then with a clean rag, wiped, swirled or dabbed off, leaving (I think) a suitably sooty, grimy residue. It was applied to every nook and cranny including the interior; for which of course the roof was removed. Should've done it before refitting the controls, it would've made for a faster, easier and better result.

It's not the best photo, I should've taken the loco outside first. You'll notice there's a fair amount of lint on the surface - that was from the rag I used, and it's both difficult and time-consuming to rub away. Next time, I'll try using paper towel instead; failing that, I'll bite the bullet and buy some lint-free rags for this express purpose. After a few days to dry, the entire loco and tender were sealed with the earlier-used satin clearcoat. The motion, smokebox and a few other spots will need another hit of wash tomorrow.
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The water valves/hoses were painted during touch-up, before the wash-n-wipe treatment.
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Recesses to accommodate tiny magnets, were cut into the crewmens' boot soles, by offering them up to an end mill spinning in the drill press. After that, the fireman was painted. Fitting the crew around the controls was tricky; they don't quite face the directions I'd like, but they'll do. Magnets were fitted under the footplate to hold the driver in position. Under the fall plate however, there's not enough room to fit magnets for the fireman. Consequently, the brass fall plate was replaced with steel, and I'm hoping that'll be enough to hold the fireman in place.. The water bag is a very nice casting from Ozark Miniatures; I bought enough to equip all my current and planned locos. You may notice the pony wheelset hasn't been re-fitted - I don't want it swinging about and chipping it's own paint off against the cab steps. Refitting it will likely be the very last thing on the list.
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The fire irons were fitted, having been made from brass sheet and copper wire over a year ago. I forgot to apply the grime wash to the water hatch, so it's on tomorrow's to-do list..
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Last edited by Old Man Aaron on Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by philipy » Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:33 pm

What a lovely job Aaron. We want a video of her in action asap!!

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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Snailrail » Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:20 pm

That grime is beautiful, very realistic. Not sure I could raise the courage to try it and risk ruining a loco.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Old Man Aaron » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:57 am

Been a long time since last I made a video; I think back then I had Windows Movie Maker with which to work.. :roll:
Will find another video editing program and learn to use it..

I see where you're coming from, Brian. I'm still quite new to weathering, so it's all very trial-and-error. Before slapping the grime-wash onto "Victoria", I practiced on a Stainz sitting around in the rebuild queue, (will be repainted or rebodied anyway) with good results. Tried to get a photo of it, but that test weathering wouldn't show up on camera for some reason; that's why I didn't mention it. It helps having originally painted everything with enamels, so when I'm not happy with how a weathered bit looks, it can be wiped clean with white spirits on a rag or cotton bud, leaving the paintwork as-original. That, I think is the key - being able to reverse the weathering if you're not happy with it.
If you reach a result you're happy with, I'd leave it for a day or two, come back to it. If at that point you're still happy with it, then clearcoat over it for protection. From there, you could leave it as-is, or have a go at layering more effects over what's been done. (bit of rust or lime stains, etc.) That's what works for me, anyway.


16/03/21
I was going to follow on from the previous work with some more grime-washing, but found one of the ashpan lights wasn't working after re-wiring the tender. Investigation revealed the issue was with the loco - one of the wires had broken away from the plug under the fall plate. I'm not proud of my original ashpan and wiring, so as the broken wire was to be replaced, so too was the remaining wiring and the ashpan itself. Which were all glued into place and had to be pried out. :scratch:
Normally, when I examine someone's past workmanship and think "who the hell made this sh*t?" it's on a full-size sugar mill loco, not a model one I did. :roll:
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A few hours later, I had the ashpan that should've been made in the first place. I figure loads of us put battery holders and servos next to boilers and under footplates, so a styrene ashpan on a gas-fired loco will be fine. It's removable, too; held in place by the pony wheel frame. I'll have to make a washer from shim brass to act as a bearing between ashpan and pony frame. Working in small sections, superglue was applied and sprinkled over with ground-up ash and clinker from a 7¼" ashpan. A bit of weathering powders were also helpful in giving the sides a dusty appearance. A quick spray of Tamiya flat clear then had it ready to go.
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17/03/21
The new wiring is in, held in place only by the frame spacer. An alfoil "reflector" was tacked into place by a drop of cyano in each corner, in hopes it might make an improvement over the somewhat dim output of the old setup. Bulbs were replaced for peace of mind, and just as last time, they're just 3V grain-of-wheat, coloured with Tamiya's Clear Yellow tinted with a little Gloss Red.
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The result is a little brighter than last time. Not perfect, but if your face is any more than 6" away from the loco, it looks fine. Since taking this photo, I did dry brush a little more red over the bulbs to adjust their colour. Ideally, I'd remove the frame spacer and use larger bulbs; but the cab and boiler are fixed to the chassis through that spacer.
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20/03/21
I could then get onto the second hit of grime-washing and whatever else was needed. Used paper towel to wipe it off this time, instead of a rag. Left only a few traces of paper fiber to brush away.. A darker, less-thinned grime was mixed and applied to the motion's joints and pivots.
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After that, powders were applied where needed - "rust" on throatplate, cab steps, roof, smokebox and chimney, "snow" around whistle, safety valve and ashpan openings. Looks a bit stark in places right now, but the clearcoat will tone it down a fair bit - in fact I'll certainly have to come back and apply more powder..
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Excuse the paint worn from the buffer head; I'm handling the loco by that and the cab roof's underside. Painting the buffers will be one of the very last jobs..
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21/03/21
Yesterday, I mixed some Tamiya Flat Clear enamel in a mini spray gun and clearcoated the entire loco and tender. After that, I airbrushed some track grime across the running gear, and soot over the top. I didn't photograph that job, as it was a bit busy and I was making mistakes and fixing them as I went. But I've written it all down and will cover it all in detail when I do the next loco. It's all too easy to overdo, and I did. Thankfully, after leaving it overnight, a clean rag just barely damp with white spirits can be used to "clean" where needed, and reduce the intensity of the airbrushed effect.

Content with that, I set about protecting what's been done with a final clearcoat. As it's raining and the humidity is over 90%, I decided not to risk a foggy clearcoat right at the end of the job, and hauled the dehumidifier from my caravan into the garage. With the garage closed up after two hours, the humidity had dropped to 60%, and I sprayed the first of two coats with the mini spray gun. With that, the garage was opened, aired out, then closed up and the dehumidifier turned on again. Once I finish typing this, I'll go spray the second coat and call it a day.

As an aside, that ultrasonic cleaner is a godsend for cleaning the airbrush. It makes owning and using one far less of a tedious nightmare than it used to be.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Peter Butler » Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:00 am

That is a beautiful paint and grime effect Aaron, you should feel well proud of that now. Also, the ultrasonic airbrush cleaner idea is brilliant, the thought of cleaning the thing each time I use it has put me off before, but you have offered new hope!
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by philipy » Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:36 pm

Aaron, like Peter I'm impressed/intrigued by your ultrasonic airbrush cleaner. Never heard of one before and haven't used my airbrush for years simply because its such a pain to clean. Can you give us any details of the cleaner you have?

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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Old Man Aaron » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:15 pm

The ultrasonic cleaner I bought was only a cheapy from Evilbay, with a 600ml capacity; Set me back about $50AUD and works very well. As mentioned earlier in this thread, it's been great for cleaning the loco's motion without dismantling it and losing the timing. Some people swear by ultrasonics for cleaning airbrushes, others are vehemently against it, claiming it'll destroy the o-rings, plating etc. My airbrush is another Evilbay el-cheapo I bought after breaking my last one. (no room for error when refitting those tiny nozzles) Although airbrushes have their uses and I wouldn't be without one, I hate the damned things, avoid using it whenever possible, and have no qualms about simply buying another cheapo if this one runs into any real problems.

After spraying, I dismantled the brush and placed the parts in a jar filled with white spirit. The jar was then placed in the ultrasonic, which was filled with water to help the vibration reach the parts in the jar. Ten minutes running, then left it to sit overnight because I'd finished work for the day, had a shower, and held no intention of more fiddling with an airbrush, by that point. Ran it another ten minutes the next morning for good measure, then re-assembled it and sprayed some new white spirit through the brush, just to be sure it was clean. If I were you, I'd get one of the 2-3 liter units that resemble deep fryers. They're not that much more expensive and you will at some point, want to clean something too big for the little 600ml one.

22/03/21
The loco is very nearly done. The buffer heads were painted in the usual way, by rolling and dabbing cotton buds, dipped in black, white and brown enamels. A few rivets and the smokebox/chimney received some dry-brushed rusty streaking. And a chock was added after I found it laying in the box of parts for this loco.
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Something I did some time ago but never mentioned, was to put an M3 thread on the end of the drawbar pin. I found the drawbar had a tendency to drop when visiting some bad trackwork, leaving the weight of tender and train, hanging from only the wiring connection to the loco. (I've just realised this is partly why the wire broke off right at the plug.) A washer and hand-strength threadlocker should prevent any loosening..

At the same time, the piston rod glands (which were removed when the loco was stripped) were replaced with the graphite string supplied in the Roundhouse servicing kit - they've been left loose and will be nipped up under steam. Some steam oil was worked into the cylinders and valve chest by capillary action, by backing the gland nut away, and touching a flat-blade screwdriver dipped in oil against where the rods enter the cylinders and steamchests. This was repeated a few times, and the rods worked back and forth a bit to help draw and spread the oil inside. The motion was sparingly lubricated with 20w50 engine oil in the same way, and gently freed-up. Trailing and tender bearings were also oiled. I really need to buy some needle-nozzle oil bottles for the works.. :roll:
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Although I can't steam test the loco until the 4th of April (just want to give the airbrushed enamel time to cure before exposure to hot oil) I can at least take the ex-works shots, and look back at the saga this loco has been.
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I'm extremely pleased to say that 2½ years after its initial completion, (and five years since first starting the project) "Victoria" is finally finished the way it was originally intended. :oops: Can't wait to see it on a string of wholestick trucks on the next "proper" tramway. :D
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I found the ashpan lights and front headlight were untenably dim, when viewed outdoors in the evening. Checking the voltage with a multimeter, the 3V bulbs were receiving only 2.4V from the fully-charged pair of NiMh AAs in the tender. So I added a third cell, but didn't have a 3-cell holder - only a 4. So I just "blanked off" one of the cell spaces by soldering a wire across it. This did the trick, and all the lights now throw a respectable incandescent beam. 8) They should be fine on 3.6V, I think 4.5V was their limit.
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The water bag is hooked over the side, and retained with a blob of blu-tac. Yes, I know the ashpan should have damper doors, but.. :dontknow: :roll:
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For those that asked, I'll get some video in steam sometime in the coming weeks, get my head around this new video editor, and post back here when I have something worthy of publication.. I learned quite a bit over the course of this loco, and took many notes on what did and didn't work, for reference next time.
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Speaking of "next time" - the staff at Scum Class Works (as I'm now calling it) will work through some smaller jobs, then start looking at the next loco to be done - a 2016 Bundaberg Fowler to be named "Calloway". I was going to write an even more detailed thread on the pre-cleaning and weathering of the loco, but after reading back through this thread, I think it's already detailed enough, and repeating that would be pointless.
Thanks for reading, hope it gives someone bad ideas.. ;)
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Peter Butler » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:05 pm

She looks superb Aaron, a real professional job, you can expect nothing but praise from your colleagues when you next meet, they will be green with envy I'm sure.
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Keith S » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:10 pm

What an excellent job. The glowing ashpan is a very interesting detail. I think also it bears repeating how realistic your track is. The rails themselves are a modelling triumph.

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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Snailrail » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:17 pm

That's just fantastic, love it !
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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Andrew » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:28 pm

Just catching up with this thread - that loco is REALLY lovely! You've nailed the finish, I reckon - a loco that's been worked hard but still looked after.

I'm inspired to carry on working on my Accucraft model of Baldwin 590, never much liked by WHR crews and so seemingly rarely cleaned... I shall be re-visiting this thread for tips!

All the best,

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Re: Further Improvements to a Roundhouse Fowler

Post by Lonsdaler » Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:31 am

Hi Aaron,
i too am just catching up after my extended absence - what an absolute corker that engine has turned into! I think we can be our own worst critics - you have to remember that the overall effect is seen at a distance of 4-6 foot, and the niggly things you know of and notice will not be seen by other observers.
I take it the Tamiya paints are acrylic - or are they? Presumably you're confident of the resistance of the clear coat you've used to the heat it will be exposed to.
A beautiful model very nicely enhanced. I'm sure that when Mr. IN Spectre finally arrives at Anzac Creek, he will want a guided tour of Scum class Works :lol:

Brilliant stuff - well done :thumbup:
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