Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From out of the past

Many years ago my brother Noel and I scratch built a Z25 class, I can't remember the exact year however it was featured on the cover of the Nov-Dec 1970 Australian Model Railway Magazine (issue 047). I took the photo and wince at the total lack of quality, it seemed OK then and certainly shows the advances made in cameras, particularly digital since then.
I saved the cover photo below from the AMRM site rather than try to find my copy, apologies to Bob G, James McI and Ian D. It's amazing how you can put the issues in chronological order and then come back some time later and find them all mixed up.

On the cover it can be seen that the Z25 was numbered 2531 which was the case for several years until I found a better picture of the real 2531 and saw the it had a crocodile crosshead so after a little research it quickly became 2540.
I recently decided to resurrect 2540 after installing a LokSound Micro v4.0 sound decoder in my Craftsman Models Z13.
I had done some work on 2540 many years ago when I fitted some ball races to the driving axles but it was in dire need of detailing.
I removed the sand boxes that were made of solid brass and replaced them with some spare whitemetal ones from the Craftsman Models Z26 class body kit I produced many years ago, the sand boxes were cut and filed to shape to represent the ones on a Z25.
I added a new cast brass headlight, marker lights including wiring, a ladder for the tender, beading around the top edge of the tender 'hungry boards' and finally I replaced the Triang turned brass buffers with some spare bronze Protype castings left over from the Craftsman Models Z13 model kit production. I had a lot of castings left over as Trax produced their brass Z13 at the same time so my kit sales died, thanks John E. Never mind the kit paid for the large milling machine that I bought to produce the chassis for the Z13. That mill is still sitting under the layout waiting for me to do something with it. I have a lot of Mansfield Hobbies steam locomotive castings and a couple of gearboxes and driving wheel sets and now that I am retired I might just scratch build another locomotive.
Anyway, back to 2540, I now faced the challenge of fitting the decoder, a TCS KA1 Keep Alive and a speaker into the tender that already contained the motor. I won't go through all the work I did to make this work but the following photo of 2540 shows a very full coal load in the tender as it is hiding the 16mm QSI speaker and enclosure. The coal load is a bit squarish from the back but it was that or no sound. Also I just need to give the cylinders a bit of airbrushing as they are showing a lot of scratches and the weathering on them needs to be toned down.

I am reasonably happy with the result except that there is a gear grind evident once you get going faster than shunting speeds, oh well perhaps I might look at an enclosed gearbox but how to fit it is the question. In explanation I should mention that my brother turned the boiler from solid brass and the belpaire firebox is also solid with a slot running through underneath for the drive shaft from the tender so not easy to make more room for a gearbox. I was also going to replace the steam dome and funnel that my brother also turned up in brass however they were pegged into the boiler and I couldn't shift them.
So there it is a 'new' locomotive for the Cassilis branch.

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