If you haven't already joined a club I would do so - talking face-to-face with other nutters, and watching locos in use will be valuable. You may be better able to judge which advice is good and which less so. For every question you'll get more than one answer, of course. The club may have books you can borrow.
Welcome, there is certainly a wealth of information and experience on here, so as Wilf says please do ask questions.
If you're in need of inspiration perhaps this society is near you: www.lincolnmes.co.uk/ Also there is the Harrogate Model Engineering Exhibition on 10th & 11th March that would allow you to get a good idea of the opportunities available in the region.
Hi Dan. Thanks for the link, and information on the Harrowgate show, both look interesting. I see LMES mention Station Road Steam, and I have seen that company mentioned in other places. Is that a good place for a beginner to contact for parts, information etc?
Station Road Steam make chunky locomotives, and have a good stock of second-hand engines and models. They're not appropriate for parts or other model engineering supplies. See their website: www.stationroadsteam.com/
It would be a good idea to try and identify which model it is you have - there are a number of suppliers who each have a range of locos, so knowing which one is relevant would be useful.
"Parts" is not really where it's at. Most of us make all the bits from stock materials or castings.
If you have photos, posting them here would be good, but you'd have to upload to a photo-hosting site like Flickr first.
Thanks Wilf. I know its a Pacific Class, I my main problem lies in knowing what should be there, as I suspect a number of bits are missing. As said above, I know only a minimal amount about the workings, so have a long way to go.
If you can post photos then we'd be able to narrow it down as there are a limited number of Pacific wheel arrangement designs and all have distinctive features.
It's in situations like this that linking up with a local society can come in handy because here we can only really give advice whereas a society can give you that and physical help, including the opportunity to have a go at driving.
If you have a steam loco - there's a word that sooner or later has to be mentioned...Boiler!!!
If your model-in-bits has a finished boiler you have to move heaven and earth to track down the paperwork. Without this you might (?) be able to trace its parentage with a serial number and makers of club markings. But things can get very tricky without.
Which is, again, where a good club can come in. Boiler inspectors can be very helpful - or very obstructive.
If you have to buy a boiler because yours is missing or no good, it can be expensive. But, this is the amusing bit, kitting yourself out to make your own boiler is way. way cheaper than buying a lathe to make the other bits. And the skills are no more difficult to learn, perhaps easier.
I will see if I can get a photo uploaded. The family is agreed that the (copper) boiler was made by my relative over forty years ago. Whether it ever had a test certificate I can't say, and there will be no relevant paperwork around now. The boiler still has lagging and outer cover attached, so investigation would be needed to find out more information, although AFAIK there will not be any boiler number. I think I need to carry on reading for now, and have a look for a club in due course.
It might never have been certified then, but the good news is the boiler code does allow a boiler to an existing design to be certified providing it has been built to a published design. This is what I have done with the boiler on my Grandad's Britannia, which was built in the early 1960s. Basically a thorough examination internally and externally (checked against the drawing) then blank all the holes off to do a twice working pressure shell test and take it from there.
Hence our suggestion to tie up with a society as they will have the registered testers who can advise accordingly.