Thursday 27 December 2018

Another green loco!

Well I must have been a good boy, because Santa brought me another new toy.

Yes, it's one of the lovely Hornby Pecketts. A small loco, but highly detailed and superbly liveried.

It runs well too, although I've only tried if on a few laps of my Son's train-set. One thing I have noticed though, when viewed front on, is that the chimney is not straight. 

Still, it looks good shunting wagons.

Hmm, I seem to be gathering a collection of industrial locos!

Just in case you think I am in danger of simply collecting RTR models, I also got a new static grass applicator. It's rather more professional than my tea-strainer ebay special, and I would hope less likely to give me a shock...

Saturday 22 December 2018

More on Heljan Manning Wardle Issues

While the inability of my new  Heljan L&B Manning Wardle to run through the PECO 12" radius pointwork of Awngate is a big disappointment, I did say I'd check it out on the newer 18" radius points. So I took it to the club last night and ran it on the new under-construction layout. It did manage to run smoothly through most of the points, but at a couple of them it derailed in the same way seen before - with the pony wheels lifting at the tip of the blades of a facing point.

I realised it seemed to occur taking the left-hand route (whether that was the curved or the straight route), so I looked again at the centring springs. Having tweaked them to reduce pressure in an attempt to help the loco negotiate 12" radius points (as advised by the instructions) the truck was not staying central. I've no tweaked them back to maintain just enough pressure to centralise the truck, ensuring pressure was equal each side. This helped a great deal.

I've also tested the loco on my also under-construction layout Hexworthy, which also has PECO 18" radius points. However despite the adjustments to the pony truck, it would still derail on three of the four points, depending which way they were switched. Eventually I could see no option but to take a file to the points...

The modifications used a small file, and only took a few seconds:

  • At "A" the inside of the blade was stroked with the file to sharpen the tip, taking care not to affect the top edge
  • The recess of the fixed stock rail was also stroked with a file at "B"

The idea is to reduce the amount the blade protrudes from the fixed rail so the flange of the pony wheels cannot ride up on the tip. This, frankly, should not be necessary for any RTR loco, but it does work, and now I can run the loco through all the points. This trick may well work on the 12" points used on Awgate too, but I don't really plan to use the loco on that layout.

That's not quite all the issues though. The couplings point upward, and are far too high to couple to stock, including the PECO coaches.

The club layout has 12" curves and gradients. The loco did manage the curves, which is a relief, but at some points it stopped with it's wheels spinning. These appeared to be at transitions in gradient, or to the super-elevated curves. Some of these track sections probably need adjusting, but it is clear that the loco needs more vertical movement in the pony trucks, which is currently restricted by the coupling extensions meeting the buffer beams or cowcatcher.

So we are getting there, but we're not quite there yet.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Christmas come early, or very late?

Finally, my Heljan L&B Manning Wardle has arrived. To say this is long-awaited is an understatement, it's nearly two years since I ordered it, and it was already later than originally scheduled then.

I know they are not everyone's cup of tea, but I've liked these locos since reading P. D. Hancock's Narrow Gauge Adventure. The model certainly captures the lines of these distinctive machines, the detailing is impressive, and the livery is finely applied.

I fear it may be rather delicate though. The brass pipe under the right tank is hanging free at the rear, and the motion covers drop off rather easily, though I expect a drop of superglue could sort those. The rear cow-catcher appears to be bent upward and outward too. There are some plastic mouldings in the box, I think for brake rigging though the instructions don't mention them, I doubt I shall bother fitting them.

The cab interior is detailed too, though at this angle the distorted rear cowcatcher is clear. The instructions say couplings can be fitted with the loop removed, or the cowcatchers should be removed to allow the loop to be retained.

Running is smooth enough, though I've not been able to run it in properly on Awngate. The problem seems to be with corners, or at least point-work, where the pony wheels derail. The instructions claim the loco can manage 305mm (12 inch) radius curves, but if it derails, adjust the springs on the pony trucks to loosen the tension with tweezers.

Here's the front pony truck, and as you can see I've opened up the springs until they don't make contact at all until the truck is near the end of it's travel. However, so far, this hasn't helped. I've also tried adjusting the spring of the pick-ups (one of which can be seen above the wheel) which apply downward force to the wheels, but neither increasing or decreasing the force has helped.

Hexworthy is being built with 18" radius points so I will have to see how it fares on those, and on the club layout which has 18" points but 12" curves, I'm hopeful it will do better. But so far the performance seems disappointing.