I’ve thought about starting this thread a few times. I’m not sure how revealing people will be or if they even think about it. That said, I’m intrigued by the choices people make and what motivates them to commit to one build or another.
The desire, in my teens, to “burn coal in something that worked” has distilled through the years to include, nowadays, a larger component of research; a gathering of peripheral information that so enriches the years of building. An element of anthropology thrown in. My motivations too have evolved as has the selection of activities in which I choose to participate. I could never be satisfied with “just one”. I need to build again and again with different objectives, different experiences, different dreams to indulge.
There are several builds on this site that demonstrate a clarity that was never in doubt. 92220’s Evening Star from Works Drawings for one, Greenglade’s A3 for another. There are others on MECH and still more in Australia and elsewhere that are epic reproductions requiring a commitment (by the whole family) of decades, often a lifetime to realise the end product.
But how does one begin that journey with absolute conviction and unerring commitment to see it through? That’s what I want to understand!
So, if you are willing, share with us why your chosen model is special to you. Why a 9f? Why the Great Bear? Why is scale perfection important? Why make all those parts you can’t see? Why follow drawings and not make 'your own version of the type? Why make something that others have made many times over before? Why use the techniques that you use?
In short: what is your own, individual, personal motivation?
I am quite embarrassed to be the first to reply to your question which I am sure will produce some interesting answers.
For my sins it was fairly simple. I was very disheartened with published designs. Martin Evans' B1 which I started I lost interest when I bought the full size drawings and saw how much they had been altered. The change that hurt the most were the wheel centres which are so wrong and are very noticeable when the loco is viewed side-on. Also the boiler is much too high.
So I decided the only thing to do was to work from full-size drawing and then I could only blame myself for any errors. Scale was decided by the backhead fittings. I wanted them to be scale, so the loco had to be at least 7.25" gauge, although I am amazed at what a lot of you are doing in 5" gauge!
Having decided the gauge I then needed to decide on size and weight. I am too old for a large engine so a tank engine seemed to be the answer. I am not sure how I ended up with a Terrier - maybe I went to the Bluebell and saw Fenchurch. Anyway I did some research - and found that most of the major drawings were available in the library in 'The Engineer' and 'Engineering'. Stroudley published a lot of the drawings in these publications in the 1870's. I drew most of the drawings in pencil on an A0 drawing board with parallel motion and a set square. Then the PC came along and I have since been converting them to CAD. I wrote a little program to convert all the drawing from full size to 7.25" gauge which is 7.7931:1 scale - I think I described this program in an earlier part of my thread. Since then, I have seen all the other Terriers being constructed on this Forum which is great and there is camaraderie among us. Hopefully we can help each other. I know I have benefited greatly. And what a pretty locomotive the Terrier is - and so advanced for its time.
Finally I decided to add a twist by building two - both Fenchurch - as an A1 and A1X. It does take longer but what is a year or two extra in 30 odd!! I hope you all have a great and inspiring 2019. Ed
Last Edit: Dec 27, 2018 12:18:30 GMT by terrier060
Goodness, what a complicated question to answer properly!
I guess the first question regarding my work is, Why 2.5" gauge?
At age 12 I got sick of aeromodelling and the inevitable heaps of balsa and tissue, and reverted to my first love of steam trains (why steam trains? - you'd have to delve deep into my psyche for that....). After faffing around, trying to convert a Mamod stationary engine to run on O gauge rails, I happened to go to a fete where the Welling club was running a portable track. Chatting to an old boy there, he recommended I try LBSC's "Southern Maid". I bought a tiny Centrix lathe from a friend for £20, set it up in the attic on a bench with a 2" vice, where I could only work sitting down, and got started.... I was lucky that Fred Stone's model engineering business was just down the road, so with advice and help from him, including odd 2.5"g parts he had lying around, by the time I left school I had a very different 2.5"g 4-6-0 which sort of worked.... and a lot of spare parts. One ambition achieved and a lot of skills acquired.
So, why 2.5"g narrow gauge?
By the time I had a house of my own, I had done several years firing on the Talyllyn and had a growing library of books about the narrow gauge. One was Michael Billington's history of the Cliffe Hill Mineral Rly with a nice drawing of the Bagnall "Mary". I thought how nice that would look as a working model, and that my spare pair of cylinder blocks could be worked in easily, even though not prototypical. I got the Centrix out of store, bought an old sideboard as a work bench, added a decent vice, did some rough drawings of the frames and got started again. Gradually, I found that, in this scale, working to the prototype was a lot easier - rather as Ed has gone for 7.25"g for the sake of realistic cab fittings, my locos at 1.25" to 1' offer similar possibilities. After four years, I had a loco that looked the part - and I joined the 2.5"g Association so that I could run it at rallies. I didn't have time to devote to a local club but four or five rallies a year were OK, so membership of the Association fixed my commitment to 2.5"g, while being able to build close to scale committed me to 2'g prototypes.
My L&B "Lyn" followed a few years after and won a Silver medal at the ME Exhibition and first prize in its class at the Midlands Exhibition - so close scale appearance became even more important to aim for so that I maintained that standard.
I did almost no model engineering in the 1990s as my job responsibilities grew, but I kept exploring possible prototypes for the future and, if I saw one that took my fancy, tried to get the drawings, eventually finding one where the proportions for a model looked excellent - and that explains why I went for the NBL Burma Mines loco.
For me, researching the prototype is as much fun as building. For "Lyn" there were hundreds of photos to track down but only a rather vague erecting drawing. The research led to masses of correspondence all over the world and one or two lasting friendships. Researching the Burma loco led to a lot of dead ends, but also some very interesting contacts.
So my motivation is that I enjoy the research and the building - and need the finished loco to run well enough to enjoy the occasional track outing. 2.5"g narrow gauge is big enough, as hauling heavy loads is not an ambition. I want a loco that is as close to the prototype as possible - partly so that the driving experience feels as much like driving the real thing as possible, only smaller! And, as you can see from my recent thread, I am still pondering what to make next that will meet the parameters above, introduce me to new engineering skills, and present me with research and production puzzles to stop me ever being bored....
2.5"g narrow gauge modeller - Bagnall 0-4-2T, L&B 2-4-2T "Lyn" and just completed Burma Mines Rly 0-6-0 - all to 1.25": 1'. Now to find another 2' gauge prototype to build....
My motivation was that I'd always had an interest in building Steam Engines of any kind for as long as I can remember, and I didn't want to regret not making a locomotive of some kind when I had the facilities to hand.
As for what locomotive, I've always liked the look of Tank Locomotives but I wanted to see the valve gear. 5" seemed to be the ideal gauge because it's about the right size for the equipment I have, it's big enough to pull a meaningful load, you can run it on raised or ground level and it will fit in the car.
I'm not overly interested in the detailed history of the railways in general and locomotives other than from the point of view of the Engineering involved. I'm bemused at the tribalism exhibited between fans of the different regions, I don't get that at all. To me they're all flawed in so many ways and obviously doomed so it seems bizarre to be so vehemently in one camp or proclaim any locomotive to be the best. All locomotives are intermediates on an evolutionary journey from dominance to extinction.
From the Engineering point of view, I see no difference in the approach I take to making a locomotive to the way I'd make anything else. I use the tools I have, modify and improve them, and buy new ones if they are useful. I have no time for traditional versus modern manufacturing arguments, burying one's head in the sand is counterproductive and far less interesting than embracing new things in my opinion.
As for detail, I see little point in modelling much that isn't seen, but I'm probably in the minority in that. I admire those who do, but wonder if it's too often the cause of the project never being completed. Completion is paramount for me else I see little point in starting a project.
For about 40 years I modelled in O gauge (and still do from time to time). During all that time I admired the work of model engineers but never considered myself good enough to emulate their achievements. One of my colleagues started to get interested in radio control 16mm narrow gauge and then started to assemble one of the Polly kits. I soon also developed an interest in 16mm and acquired a loco, some coaches and a few wagons. I think it would have remained there but he eventually finished the Polly and after a few teething troubles he let me have a go. Well, after a sniff of coal smoke and steam oil and I was hooked.
At around that time I retired and managed to enlarge and equip my workshop so took the plunge and bought myself a retirement present. I liked the size of 5 inch gauge and initially intended to follow the Polly route as well but didn't really like the narrow gauge outline. I always liked standard gauge prototypes and luckily managed to find a part built Britannia. Most of the machining was completed and it had a commercial boiler so I took the plunge. There was still a lot that was new to me but I was fortunate to find this forum, encouraged to start a thread (It started with a buffer) and have received lots of help and encouragement along the way.
My mantra has always been that if you can see detail on a good photo it should go on the model. That is just the same in 5 inch gauge but a lot of the time that means it also has to work. To that end I have spent a lot of time detailing and redoing parts of the Britannia so I am happy with the level of detail. Along the way I have managed to slay a few engineering dragons like riveting, machining and silver soldering.
I suppose what I'm saying is, never think your not good enough, there is always help and encouragement to keep you going.
Difficult to know where to start so I’ll begin very early on which might help explain what makes me tick. My father introduced me to modelling in general and my grandfather (mother’s side) introduced me to railways and both of them regularly took me to the London ME, first when based at Seymour Halls and other venues as it outgrew the last. My father built me a large scale model of HMS Hood which we used to sail at the local park, I was 8, around this time I built my first airfix kit, a gun and truck which could just be made out under all of the glue. My grandfather was very much an ‘LNER’ man which has rubbed off on me, he had a very large collection of 00 scale models and before his death had built and started a large model railway in his garden. My father and grandfather had an everlasting influence on what I liked best, HMS Hood is my all time favourite warship, I have built a model of this beautiful ship a number of times, from a scratchbuilt 1:150th model shown at the Wembley ME in the early 80’s to today’s 1/200th plastic kit by Trumpeter with a very large amount of extra photo etch detail that I've added. Since a very early age I have not been able to build a model out of the box, each has to have added detail and be better than the last. My grandfathers favourite locomotive was 4472 Flying Scotsman for which he had numerous models off, my favourite when he was alive was the then new ‘Trix’ model with working firebox and headlamps. I haven’t stopped building models since the first, it’s been a continuous love affair since ‘8’, although other than the recent HMS Hood model it’s many years since I built a kit, I’m never really satisfied with a kit, even the Hood kit has been modified extensively. Although my love of trains started from a very young age, I didn’t start building one until my present model of 4472, this is my first loco although I did pick up and complete the part built Heilan Lassie during this build which I completed as 4470 Great Northern. I used to build for a commission, mainly warships as I have a great interest in them, this part-time work led me into full-time work within the film industry from the early 90’s, it was here that I found my true place in life. It was while working on a film in the late 90’s (James Bond) that I first got the inkling to build a steam locomotive, I wanted a new challenge having built just about everything else. I duly bought myself a lathe and a set of drawings for ‘Doncaster’ I wasn’t really concerned by the model's complexity, as I have said before they are all the same just that some take longer to build. Of course, me being me I increase the build time buy wanting to make the model as close to possible of the prototype, that includes all working parts. Due to workload, it was probably another 10 years before I made a proper start which is also when I joined this forum, a forum I might add that without it I’d struggle to do half the things that I have. I can build to a drawing, but understanding what I’m building needs first-hand experience and that is found in abundance on this forum for which I’m most grateful. I have to say that I very much fell on my feet in choosing 'Doncaster', having now seen the other designs available, I'd have been very disappointed to have chosen any of them over Don's design, luck played a bit part here. Back to my model, I love all aspects of the build, I get a lot of pleasure from the research and now know an awful lot about my chosen subject, rarely a day goes by without me doing a little more research into 4472 or one of her sisters. I now have a number of folders filled with drawings and photo’s, both for reference and of the model itself along with notes that I have made along the way. I have come a long way but boy do I have a long way still to go, I am very happy to have taken the recent decision to have the boiler made for me by an expert, not cheap yes (I could buy a decent second-hand car for less) but it gives me peace of mind and free’s me up to get on with all of the other jobs left to do and there are literally thousands. The rest is more or less covered in my build thread, sometimes I look back and think ‘will I ever finish’? and when I look at what’s left to do it’s frightening… but hey…. Upward and onwards….
With me it is very simple - I was the boy who always wanted to be a steam locomotive driver, and as my Dad often said, was born 50 years too late.
Volunteering on Preserved Railways when in my teens quickly showed that to progress to driver status would require far more commitment and a considerably long wait.
Miniature steam locomotives provided the short cut. I was very fortunate in that on my first visit to the IWMES Easter Sunday afternoon 1983 at age 16 (and wearing my Talyllyn Railway grease top hat and TR cap badge) I was allowed to drive one of the locos by Arthur Grimmett. I was hooked!
Having no engineering background or training whatsoever, I decided to accept the unanimous verdict of the IWMES experts to start building a 5"g Railmotor of Don Young's design. I had the facilities of Ryde High School available at lunchtime thanks to the very generous help of the Metalwork master Ken Stratton, and Wednesday afternoons too, and in the school holidays the use of Arthur Grimmett's workshop at Apse Heath.
By the summer exhibition of 1984, I had a rolling chassis on display. It was just on display; not an exhibition entry for the cups etc, and Don Young took me to one side and said that was a pity as he would have given me an award of a year's free subscription to LLAS. I was sufficiently confident at stage one to extend the frames to the rear and widen the buffer beams to produce eventually a sort of Dolgoch with outside walschaerts valve gear. At quite an early stage, having married the modified Railmotor 2 chassis to the Railmotor 1 boiler, I altered the lifting link arrangement to the superior SR type (at age 16 or 17).
I was probably very precocious and annoying, and probably still am!
When I started at University I was awarded a scholarship, and the first term's scholarship money was spent on a Reeves boiler kit for the Railmotor No.1 boiler plus the required silver solder and flux.
The discipline of having limited workshop time using machine tools, meant that all machining was meticulously planned in advance, leaving all handwork - and as much as possible being handwork - at home - to make maximum use of time.
All this was interspersed with the considerable generosity of IWMES members allowing me to drive their own locos, or struggling with the club locos.
The idea of building a 'perfect' loco of my favourite company or design never occurred to me at all - I just wanted that 'thrill' of driving and firing a miniature locomotive which often would be in quite challenging circumstances as I have explained on another thread - that only made it so much more enjoyable and rewarding with passenger hauling.
Just as a bit of an aside, Christmas Day 1984, the oil fired central heating etc boiler blew up! A lady walking passed on Christmas Day, knocked on the front door, and my Dad answered and she said 'Do you know your chimney is on fire?'
'Yes I do!' replied my Dad, probably smartly closing the front door!
That central heating boiler provided all the brass to melt down at Ryde High School in the furnace to cast all the frame stretchers for 3 subsequent locos, to my own wooden patterns.
A friend at school had a relative who provided a manganese bronze propellor - this was melted down into cast sticks in the Ryde High School furnace that provided the bearing material for the connecting rods and coupling rods, plus the safety valve bodies and much else besides.
In those far off days, you could go down to the W H Hurst Sea Street Newport IOW warehouse/yard close to The Quay and get whatever steel you wanted. In those days you had a chit written out, then you had to go upstairs of the main shop, where Mr Hurst, then very elderly, was in charge in herringbone tweed suit. Your chit from the yard in Sea Street was worked out and I think I paid £3 for the Railmotor's frame steel. The Sea Street warehouse/yard still had line shafting in the roof from when the Wheeler and Hurst Foundry required the castings to be machined some 70 years earlier.
Everything in those days was done on a shoe string budget of a teenager doing arduous summer jobs that eventually resulted in a shed and lathe and drilling machine at the end of my parent's garden.
My motivation was simple. When I was at school, I was interested in engineering drawing and started to draw an Stanier 8F by copying my old Hornby Dublo loco. I didn't actually do a very good job but at the time I also thought I would make a 3.1/2" gauge model of it. I never had a workshop so went into making radio controlled model boats as I could do that in my bedroom. Later on, when I started my draughtsmans apprenticeship, I had the opportunity of using the works equipment. That got me thinking of building a loco again. One day I heard that Evening Star was going to be renovated and I got interested in building an accurate model. At the time, I was the MPBA (Model Power Boat Association) rep for the Chelenham Society of Model Engineers. I commented to one of the older members who had built a number of 5" gauge GWR locos, that I thought a 5" gauge model of Evening Star would be a good model to make as an accurate working model. He looked down his nose at me and said " Nobody in their right minds would make a 10 coupled loco, and it would never work if made to works drawings anyway. That was like a red rag to a bull. I was determined to show that it could be done! The main problem was that OI had no idea where to get drawings so I wrote to the Science Museum in London. I got a letter back saying they had a dozen different assembly drawings and I could buy copies of the drawings. They also explained that they would be copied from original drawings which were quite fragile so copies would be expensive. At the time I worked in the drawing office of Delapena Honing Equipment Ltd, and had access to the 48" dyeline printer and Melamine printer film. Melamine draughting film is impossible to rip. It can only be cut. I offered to copy the Science Museum's drawings onto melamine film which would make them almost indestructible and easy to take copies off. They jumped at the chance and I collected their drawings, copied them, and copied a set for myself. That started my loco back in 1969. Then I decided the colour just had to be right so I investigated BR Loco Green and found out that T & R Williamsons were making a batch of paint for Evening Star to be repainted prior to being donated to the NRM. I bought a 5 litre can of that same batch, for my future loco. One day when I was walking through the factory workshop I saw someone filling 250mls tins of adhesive for mounting honing stones. I asked our Buyer if I could buy 20 tins. He asked what for so I told him that I had this tin of loco paint and wanted to put it into smaller tins. Later that week, after I had decanted the paint, I took 19 of the tins down to the Cheltenham Model Engineers meeting to sell and recoup some of the cost. I think I got rid of the 19 tins in no more than 5 minutes. That made me think that there was a business in authentic railway colours. I investigated British railway colours and got some samples from Joseph Masons and T & R Williamsons, who both made [paint for the railways. That meant I had the basis of a business and so Precision Paints was started. That put my loco on hold for the next 30 years or so, and I re-started it in 2001 when I built the frames. In 2004 I retired on health grounds, after a major operation, and have been working on it ever since. Over the years I had the paint business I bought drawings from the NRM, probably every 6 months, until I have a copy of every 9f drawing that they have on file. That was my motivation....to prove it could be made as a fully working model.
There's general suspicion in the family that dad wanted to keep having kids till he found one that liked trains; hence I'm the youngest of three. My earliest memory (that I'm sure is a memory, and not the result of seeing a photo later) is of a cardboard steam loco that dad made me, it sat in the lounge room, and was big enough for two year old me to sit in the bunker, where I'd make "chuff chuff" noises. So I grew up around trains and steam; when I was five dad retired and bought his first steam loco (I came across this short video of her with her current owner: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeuOb8VLnYM ) and laid a track in the backyard where I got my first drive of a loco soon after. When I was six, dad built me a simple steam-outline battery electric loco, which I wore the original wooden wheels out on; I still have the replacement steel wheels in my workshop. When I was six or seven, dad bought his first 5" gauge loco; I recall coming home from school one day to discover a 'giant' (to a six year old, and compared to 3½" gauge) steam loco in the front entrance hall. We soon had a larger dual 3½"/5" track around the house, and I'd take every chance I could to get a drive of a steam loco, or my battery loco, or failing that I'd just scoot a carriage around the track. This was when dad started getting set up for running commercially, he bought several carriages from someone who had a maze of track around their large property (I've driven dad's loco's around that track since, it was a great run!), and had an oval of 64' diameter portable track built. So I throughout my primary and high school years the family ran 5" steam commercially, and I drove a lot, helped with setup and packup, and learnt about and got involved in maintenance of loco's and rolling stock. It was when I was eight or so I decided I was going to build a steam loco "when I grow up." Which lead to an array of variously successful (or not) battery electric loco's over the years, before finally starting on Blowfly in about '96. I got the frames built, then got distracted by bigger things and started on a 7¼" narrow gauge loco instead. I eventually decided that was too big, and sold it unfinished (just needing the cab roof, a lick of paint, and pipework to complete), and used some of the money to buy the castings for Blowfly. By this time I'd moved out on my own, and was just visiting dad occasionally to do a bit, but I got Blowfly to a rolling chassis, and did some work on dad's sweet pea. This was when the commercial operations, now being run by my brother, came to an end, and dad - who's health was noticeably declining - soon after sold off pretty much everything. Blowfly got pushed under a bench and forgotten, as I messed about with work and relationships, etc. In 2014-ish I quit work to look after dad full time, and pulled out the Blowfly to see what I could do with it and the remains of the workshop. The rest of that tale is ongoing in my build thread on here.
So, my motivation? A lifelong love of steam that will hopefully see many loco's built in the future.
Post by ettingtonliam on Dec 28, 2018 14:20:05 GMT
I must admit to having been put off initially by the thread title 'Whats your motivation' because it reminded me of questions by HR managers during job interviews, back in the days when I had to undergo such things. (The obvious answer 'I need the money' was not well looked upon)
However, as a child I made the usual Airfix kits, and wooden boats including a 'Hobbies' trawler 'Anglian' which I sailed on the local boatin g lake. I thought it had long disappeared but after my parents deaths I was clearin gb stugff out of the roof, and came across 'Anglian', still in the wooden box I had made for it around 1960! Around 1963, my school opened a brand new metalworking shop, complete with 2 Boxfords and a Harrison lathe, drilling machines (no mill though) and a full sized forge. I was entranced by this, did O level metalwork, built a Stuart No 9, and persuaded my father to help me acquire an old Myford lathe from a local garage which was closing down. Between us, and with some help from a local jobbing machine shop (remember them? Used to be several in each small town in the West Midlands--) we built a Westbury milling machine (the predecessor of the Dore Westbury) from castings, built a Juliet part built a Speedy and built a 3" scale Wallis and Stevens roller to the Plastow design, which got me a silver medal in the Model Engineer exhibition of 1971. Life slowed thing down somewhat, but I always had a workshop of sorts, usually containing an ancient lathe (Drummonds, Myfords) Into the 1990s, after a selection of stationary engines (Tangye Twin, Centaur, Stuart 600 gas engine) I was more settled and was working on a 4" scale Tasker steam tractor, sometimes at home, sometimes (especially the gear cutting) at night school classes (Dewsbury, South Shields, Shrewsbury). It was 90% complete when it was stolen (and never recovered) from my workshop while I was working away from home. This knocked me back a bit, and then I went to work in Ireland for some years. I didn't have and metalworking facilities over there, but did manage to do some woodworking in the on site joiners shop at the weekends, so taught myself pattern making and made patterns for a planing machine and recreations of several discontinued Stuart Turner models (600 gas, No. 3 steam compound) getting the castings made in the UK, and doing machining whenever I was at home. Now I'm retired although with less time at my disposal than you might think, and am building as a challenge 'Locomotion' in 7 1/4" gauge to the David Piddington design, hoping to getting it completed in time for the 200th anniversary of the original, in 2026.
All through the years, whenever work or life has been getting a bit much, I've found it theraputic to go in to the workshop and make something, even when, on one occasion, when the 'workshop' consisted of a large vice bolted to the front bumper of my Series 2 Landrover, and a toolbox of hand tools.
When I was a lad, I was lucky to be able to wander round places like this....with strict instructions from the foreman not to jump over the pits, or climb on the engines! Apart from that no one seemed to bother what you did or where you went.
Towards the end of steam, 9Fs abounded at this place and were to be seen just about every day, passing our house on heavy iron ore trains. This had a lasting effect that is still with me today and for years I dreamed of building one of my own. The opportunity for this came in 1983 by which time I had the money to buy a lathe and make a start on the now familiar Les Warnett model.
Whilst researching detail and measurements for my model from the two real examples that had been saved from Barry Scrapyard and taken to the fledgling “Peak Rail” at Buxton, I got involved with the restoration of 92214.....the rest is history as they say!
Now that I’m retired, I want to get on and make my model work again but as so many others have found, never seem to find the time to do it justice, there’s always so many other things you have have to do. As well as that, I have an unfinished Martin Evans “Jinty” to complete, a Galloways Non Dead Centre Engine to build, my Maxitrak Class 25 still hasn’t got any windows in it or paintwork finished, no sound system etc. etc.
Cheers Dazza (Darrell McCulloch) “There is a small steam engine in his brain which not only sets the cerebral mass in motion, but keeps the owner in hot water.” author unknown Member of MVHR, SDSR, QSMEE, DSR, Ffestiniog Railway