September 22, 2011

"Rant of the Week: Chimneys!"

This week's rant of the week is double heading with some actual modelling - and would you believe, it's British Railways Eastern Region modelling this week! Huzzah!

So, for the rant: and to make this abundantly clear, the Bachmann Peppercorn A1 model is fantastic. None of the nine member strong fleet I own have been anything but exceptional runners, and have always looked very much like the prototype whilst maintaining a rugged, purposeful look as a model.

That is, in all but one area: the chimney. Bachmann decided, for reasons as yet unknown, to make the chimney a two piece moulding, where the top half is either the stovepipe or the rimmed chimney, and the lower portion is moulded into the smokebox.

I absolutely despise this arrangement. I loathe it! For me, it has been the strongest bug bear of any model I have owned, and for years I have put up with this strange look at the front end of my favourite locomotive class.

I can only ask "why" this arrangement was thought a good idea, when everywhere else you look, alternate chimneys on other models have been one piece mouldings straight onto smokeboxes. None of this two piece nonsense!

Well, I will put up with it no more! Thanks to Graeme King of the LNER forum, I am going to change all that, by replacing each and every chimney with a cast resin alternative. Graeme has provided for me at little cost, a total of twenty chimneys (and some spare/off cuts too) made out of resin.

My guinea pig for today's first event was old favourite, 60119, which was a renumbered model of 60114.

As you can see, the offending chimney is sliced in half, and this looks distinctly odd compared to photographs of the prototype. I disassembled 60119 down to the boiler, and pulled off the top of the chimney with a set of pliers (the top pops off quite easily), and then set to work filing down the moulded bottom half. In under a few minutes, you are left with this:

Careful fettling of the resin chimney to shape, and drilling out the holes, is vital for a good fit and authentic look.

Which leaves us with this. The smokebox was sanded down with wet'n'dry sandpaper prior to the final gluing down with a few drops of superglue - applied from inside the firebox after sticking the chimney down and into position with a little Pritt Stick. Surprisingly effective.

So the question is: was it worth it? Here's the side by side comparison of the unmodified 60114 against the modified 60119. I think it makes a great difference to the overall look of the front end.

I think it's a modification well worth the effort.

Only eight more A1s to go!

Until next time!

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