Hints and Tips to Aid Kit construction from Alan Gibson Workshop

KIT ASSEMBLY. Rather than solder as such use a product called 'Solder Paint'. This is a liquid something akin to normal paint but in a grey form - the liquid is the flux required for the solder and the grey matter is the solder in a very fine granular form. These tins when bought have invariably settled out and need a good stir. You apply the solder paint to the model using a small paintbrush or cocktail stick, place the items together and apply heat with your soldering iron. Before your eyes a silver line of solder will appear - no mystery to neat joints at all. Use a glass fibre brush to clean up the joint and you will find that any solder that had spread over the model at all is in fact removed just by this simply rubbing action.

LAMP IRONS. The times we see good models spoilt by lack of these or even worse they are there but bent all over the place. In 4mm scale its so simple to just use normal office staples cut down and soldered into place. These will never bend and in fact will normally cut the offending person before relenting to be damaged. Yes etched ones in kits will always look more correct but they are so soft and bendable that they are invariably bent before the model is even finished.

LOCO TO TENDER COUPLINGS. Having tried all methods over my modelling years I find the simplest method the best. A 1oop is formed from say 0.9mm brass wire and fitted to the front drag beam of the tender - this loop needs to be roughly of the following dimensions - project from the drag beam by 15mm and be about 3mm wide. On the loco all that is needed is to again use a section of 0.9mm brass wire and form this into a simple 'U' shape with one leg of the 'U' being soldered to the rear drag beam.

CURING THOSE SHORTS. How do you get metal brake blocks close up against the wheel without creating an electrical short? This is one of the questions that I get asked time and time again. Well, one of the quickest and simplest solutions is to cover the brake blocks with Copydex - a product that dries to a rubber like finish and once painted you will never notice the difference.

REMETALLING BEARINGS etc. If you have wear in the holes of your coupling rods or you open them out just that little bit to much, don't despair. Place the offending item on a piece of wood, place a drop of flux into the hole and touch it with a soldering iron and solder. You will find that the hole will fill with solder but there will always be a dimple dead centre. You can then drill out to the size required or ream with a round needle file - twist the file in an anti-clockwise direction. The prototype runs in white metal bearings so why not your model.

SPLIT AXLES FOR 2mm AXLES. The internal diameter of normal biro tubes makes them a good fit on 2mm diameter axles and when they are cut into shims they make ideal spacing washers. Longer lengths can be used as sleeves to make up cheap split axles.


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