While most of the focus has been on the layout recently, I have made occasional progress with the Hudson Hunslet kit. I managed to fold up and solder together the bonnet and radiator weeks ago, I was very pleased to get this right as it is a tricky shape, the two parts of the bonnet are partially overlapping and partially aligned.
The side panels are then attached, along with the handles/catches at their top. As you can see in the picture I used a piece of card with notches and a strip of masking tape to hold the handles in position, some solder had first been applied to the bonnet side, the iron was then applied to the inside of the bonnet. I was very relieved the rest of the soldering didn't fall apart! More tricky was the rear panel and angled control panel as seen below - a picture which reveals how untidy the soldering is inside the bonnet! The sanding gear control lever can be just seen protruding from a slot.
At this point I was diverging from the instructions. I tried soldering the main frames to the footplate, and managed to get one end on, but I wasn't going to get them straight and perfectly aligned when soldering, and my iron isn't really up to a good job. So I continued making up the body, attaching the seat and rear bulkhead (with sand-pipes) to the footplate, and the gearbox with controls as a separate unit. This is as far as I got with soldered construction:
Here's a close-up of the gearbox and controls, sorry it's a bit blurry but this assembly is about half and inch tall! I'm rather pleased with the soldering. The instructions suggest soldering a handrail knob to the end of each lever and filing to a ball shape, but I figured life is too short, so I simply added a blob of epoxy glue. They may not be perfect spheres, but they should look fine when painted. I now think the long lever to the left (the reversing lever) should be the brake lever, and that the instructions have the wrong part-numbers, but I didn't realise until too late.
The frame was finally assembled using epoxy glue. Purists may sniff at this but if Jaguar and Lotus can stick their cars together I'm not worried, it will be plenty strong enough given the surface area to bond. It was also easy to do without burning fingers, and with a few minutes to adjust until everything was aligned. At this point I was going to glue the bonnet in place, but then had a better idea...