Jidenco W Class in EM Gauge

The model came to me from a dear friend who was very fond of the large Southern Tanks.  He modelled the W in EM, and Z and H16 in 0 Gauge.  His W was started when he still modelled in EM, but had been dropped from a reasonable height suffering significant damage and then put away for 30 years.    The W being a development of the Southern Moguls is of great interest to me and it’s a reminder of it’s owner who was not only a genuine polymath, but a true gentleman who had total recall of his immense knowledge and experience – very useful in a pub quiz on one of our canal cruises!

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It’s a Jidenco kit,  and very much of its time using a big Escap and Sharman Wheels.  It had obviously got as far as being painted, mostly primer and a bit of black.  As might be expected after 30 years the Escap gearbox was completely seized – the grease having dried out.   I removed the motor and cleaned the gearbox and chassis in IPA (not the ale) and after replacing the motor oiled the gearbox and chassis.  It ran on South Junction much better in reverse than forwards as the pony truck just hunted from side to side looking for the first chance to derail.  The return cranks refused to stay tight and undid themselves and the valve gear itself was very undercooked (single side expansion link etc.) and to me this rather spoilt the effect.  However to me the model as a whole had the ‘look’ and was worth an attempt to finish it.

Body

There was no point proceeding unless I could take out those nasty buckles in the roof which I really wasn’t sure was even possible, so I made a sort of dolly of brass rod of appropriate diameter on a steel rod that I could poke in the windows and proceeded to panel beat the roof into better shape.  This was surprisingly successful given the limited access and encouraged me to have a go at straightening the worst of the rest of the dents.  I also reworked all the steps to get a closer look to the prototype.    At this point it was Modelstripped and given a clean with a soft wire brush.

Chassis

Encouraged by progress so far I bit the bullet and started building new valve gear from the bits left over from a SE Finecast N class chassis kit that I had built to go under a Bachmann N Class that had re-used the Bachmann valve gear.  At this point I had only intended to replace the valve gear, but the N1/W valve gear would have been very difficult to retro-fit to the Jidenco chassis which was quite different in design and I decided that the best way forward was to fit a SE Finecast W Class chassis compensated on the twin beam principle that worked so well on the N Class and Rebuilt River U Class that I am building.

I collected a chassis kit from ExpoEM at Bracknell and this went together pretty quickly although in the light of experience I did reinforce the delicate leaf spring detail before cutting out for the High Level Kits hornblocks (on all driven axles).   The chassis is actually a mogul chassis with cosmetic frames at the cab end with white metal bogie framing.  It required some material to be removed from the top of the chassis (front and rear) to correctly fit the Jidenco chassis. I always drive the centre axles where possible so left out the chassis spacers in that area.  I set up the centre hornblocks to be perpendicular to the frames with a long rod, soldered them in and set the rest using the articulated coupling rods and a set of stepped end rods and springs.

I really wanted to re-use the Sharman Wheels on the new chassis and was pleased when these came off the old chassis fairly easily.  I was even more pleased when I put them on the new chassis with my GW Models wheel press and they went on solid and true!    With the lovely etched pony truck built and fitted, and the wheels in place I was able to set up the equilising beams to give the correct ride height and I now had a push along toy!  As an aside I’m using the Markits deluxe crank nuts that appear to have the same threading as the Sharman crankpins.  One of the crankpins appears to have lost some of its thread, but I was able to flash some solder into a Markits nut and that held OK.  As it happens it’s on a centre driving wheel so this really matters!  The return cranks are the SE Finecast etches soldered to a Markits Deluxe crank nut.

There’s not a lot of room behind those steps to the tank filler, and the SE Finecast cylinders are supposed to be over scale width.  This is almost certainly a good thing for an EM Gauge model.  The cast brass Motion Bracket is a fraction over width, but still needed fettling to make room for the coupling rods which were also thinned.  The etched Rocker Bracket on the other hand being on the other side of those steps was definitely too wide and was reduced in width by over a millimeter, so that it just protruded beyond the valance.  All of the brackets supporting cylinder, rocker and motion were packed up to slightly raise their height in the chassis.

Cab Roof and Interior

At this point I decided to tackle the cab roof.  The Jidenco cab sides met in the middle to form the roof – very difficult to carry off successfully, and in this case not a pretty sight.  The roof was cut open using a carborundum slitting saw revealing the completely empty cab.  Using photographs I derived a drawing of the roof to give me the rivet patterns which I ran up using my GW Models rivet press.  I then formed the new roof with a better representation of the hatch which I modelled open.   The empty cab was tackled by first fitting floor sections fore and aft of the Jidenco section provided.  A couple of my SE Finecast Mogul chassis kits came with a spare backhead so that was easy, and those very helpful people at SE Finecast kindly supplied the seats, reverser, brake standard and bunker front from their W Class kit.  I fabricated the bunker shelf and the tool boxes that sat on them.    The shunters handrail on the back indicated that this was a LHD engine, yet the ejector pipe on the side of the boiler said RHD engine.  Something had to give so I moved the ejector pipe and made good the boiler and smokebox.  With the engine unambiguously LHD I fitted a shortened reverser moulding on the left hand seat and the brake standard on the firemans side at the back of the cab.   In the gloom of a W cab I think this will do.

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Looking at the photos I see that the smokebox wrapper was fitted back to front and the model generally looks more knocked around than it does in the flesh, so more remedial work is required.  I also have the SE Finecast whistle moulding to replace what’s there now which doesn’t look at all like the real thing.

Further updates will follow shortly as I would quite like this to be ready for YMRG Open Day in July so will need to keep the pressure up.

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