June 24, 2012

"A4 Conversion Test Etches - Part 1"

You will recall that recently, I had been indulging in some conversions of Hornby garter blue A4 Pacifics in order to gain 1949 condition A4s. I identified a few problems with this approach, went away, had a think, and came up with a solution; a set of etches that makes the removal of the valances easier, and also caters for missing components and/or damage.

Peter Harvey of PH Designs recently finished a set of test etches for a conversion kit I had specified. Unfortunately, it's taken me a few weeks to find the time to now get around to using them. One of those things - but the wait was well worth it, in my opinion... So in this first instance, we have the donor A4 Pacific; a Hornby Kingfisher which has been split from a Flying Scotsman trainset.


Now we bring in the etches for the conversion. The first one includes the shaping tool, which you attach to the valances, along with a few components such as the reverser and AWS plate which Hornby's fully valanced models do not have.

 The second set of etches have replacement lamp irons, doors, numberplate brackets and the crucial missing access hatch (which goes directly below the nameplates on the front end of the streamlined casing).

All in all, it looks terrific. Will it work as well? In short, yes. I attached the valancing shaping tool to the valances through a few careful drops of superglue - since the valances are coming off, it matters not that it ruins the plastic it's attached to! And then ran a sharp scalpel over the length of the shape.

Once this was done, I removed the shaping tool carefully, and have soaked it in some meths to clean it off for reuse. The wonders of brass, and the ingenuity of Peter's solution to my problem.

Using a set of pliers, I carefully bent the valances at the scalpel cuts, until they came clean away. It was so easy that it surprised me when it was all over within five minutes! It took me a good hour to do Mallard's valances previously.

So here we have the current state of play - missing all of the accoutrements for now, as it's late and I need my sleep! Valances now fully "defrocked" and awaiting some filing down and rubbing with a wet'n'dry pad to finish the job off. I don't think that's come out too badly at all. Spare Kingfisher shown for comparison.

So there we have it - one set of valances removed in a half hour on a Saturday night. My first bit of modelling for weeks, and I loved it! Until next time - when I'll be tackling the rest of the test etches for this conversion. Night all!

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