March 12, 2013

"A4 Conversion Parts, Final Test (Part 1)"

It's been nearly a year since I started developing this conversion kit to make a late 1940s London & North Eastern Railway garter blue A4 Pacific, from a Hornby 1930s A4 Pacific. In that time I've dealt with the first set of trial etches (which you can read by clicking here: Part 1, Part 2), identified some shortcomings and had the artwork modified to take into account these shortcomings. The result was no.60011 Empire of India.

Peter Harvey has been terrific throughout the prolonged development process, and I can show here the final set of test etches, prior to testing them on the next "guinea pig".

However, you will note a new brass etch amongst the original two sets. This third etch is for adding Cab window spectacles, a suggestion made on the LNER forum and now acted on.

The initial thought is that the etches are the right size and shape (a very good start!) and that the removal of the silver painted faux spectacles will allow the brass ones to look the part better. I will start by stripping the printed numbers on the cabsides and smokebox front of this model, before continuing on to repeating the process I worked through last June in terms of removal of the valances, and addition of the etched components.

One change I will be making to this build, is to fit the lamp irons as the designer intended (the etch is designed to be used to create the correct shape and design lamp irons, which Hornby's model does not portray).

The intended identity of the guinea pig has been chosen, and it will be no.32 Gannet. You will note that the tender behind is not the correct type. The reason for this is that I am waiting on a spare garter blue non corridor tender which I have lent to a friend for use on his exhibition layout of sorts.

When that reappears, it will be coupled behind Gannet, which will be the first and only one of my A4s in full LNER livery, albeit with stainless steel lettering and numbering, and no.32 on the smokebox front.

The original locomotive survived well into my chosen time period in LNER livery and never actually carried British Railways branding whilst in garter blue. This therefore made her the obvious choice, amongst numbers 14, 25 and 26 (Silver Link, Falcon and Miles Beevor respectively).

This makes her the second bird namer in the fleet after Mallard, the ratio of the "special" A4s to the normal A4s being quite out of balance for a normal working timetable to be frank.

Once I'm satisfied there are no further changes to be made to the artwork, I intend to make the etches available for sale, both as a set of the three etches together, and the two smallest etches separately.

If anyone has any feedback on this product they'd like to share, please do so via the comments section here and on any blog entry featuring the A4 conversion etches.

Until next time, when I should have finished working on this one!

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