Victorian Railways W Class Shunting Locomotive
A Kit in Various Metals
The W class locomotive is back on the workbench after a long period of inactivity. To make the project easier to manage, we divide the project up into sections. That way the drawings can be prepared one section at a time and it makes the drawings more readable. The first section being tackled is the chassis of the W class. This in fact includes everything from the footplate down, plus the motor and gearbox combination. It is our intention that this will be a world-class kit in every sense.
The beautiful wheels for the locomotive have been crafted for us by David Foulkes of Steam Era Models. Originally we were looking at Romford wheels, but discovered that the Romford tooling was worn out and unable to produce any more of that size. The Romford wheels would have been a compromise actually, as they are 10 spoke wheels with the crank in line with one of the spokes. The real thing however, was 11 spoke with the crank between the spokes. A further benefit of having the wheels made by David was that they come with stainless steel tyres, fine scale crank pins and near-scale sized spokes. Stainless steel tyres exhibit a greater degree of grip than other metals and improve the traction.
After a lot of deliberation and experimentation, we have settled on a North Yard fully enclosed gearbox of 35:1 gear ratio. Combined with a Mashima MH-1626 motor and the largest flywheel we can cram in, this combination should provide powerful and quiet operation.
The majority of parts below the footplate are being designed in 0.45mm Nickel Silver. The chassis spacer is designed to provide a fully enclosed space between the frames that can be filled with lead shot to increase the weight of the model, and therefore its tractive effort. However other parts will be created in etched brass, phosphor bronze and stainless steel. A full range of metals are being used in the production of this model, each metal being chosen for its special properties where they are required in the model. For example, 0.13mm phosphor bronze is used for pickups, and also for highly detailed name plates. Stainless steel is chosen for high strength grille work that will not bend with normal usage.
The drawing below shows the main working drawings from which the etch drawings are derived.
The drawing is more detailed than can be shown on this web site. To view it in greater detail, click on the drawing, then when it comes up in full size, right click on the picture and choose 'Save Picture As'. You can then examine the drawing as a JPEG image.
The drawings are being prepared with full chassis detail including springs and brake detail, however these items are optional. If you do not care for that level of detail, they can be left out. The two main versions are being produced, the original Mercedes Benz powered locomotive, and the re-powered GM engined version. The model can be built either with the demountable pilot or without.
There will be room in the back hood section for a DCC decoder, and a standard 8 pin socket will be provided in the kit. No provision is being made for sound, as the model is really too small to fit a sound unit into. Every effort is being made to keep the cab area as clear as possible of machinery.
W Class Update - April 23, 2009
The first test of the nickel silver chassis etch has been assembled and checked. A few minor changes were made to the design to improve ease of assembly. The gearbox has not yet been received, so could not be fitted. Steps are not fitted as they are to be made in a thinner brass material to represent see-through mesh.
The shunters boards were left off to enable the under frame detail to be seen. This is only a trial of the first etch, and several more etch versions may be required before we are happy with the fit and assembly of the parts.
Although not visible in these shots, the springs, hangers and equalising arm are represented by a relief layer of nickel silver. The equalising beam is just visible between the first and second axles from the right.
W Class Update - June 12, 2010
Some tests were conducted using a new higher resolution build by the company that does our 3D stereolithography builds to see if the new resolution was up to the standard we want for this model, and we were very encouraged by the results.
The test side panel for the locomotive is only 18mm by 42.5mm in size, but the detail is astounding. Unfortunately, the cost to have all the panels and their alternates for the GM versions is going to be very expensive, so it may be some time before we can afford to allocate money to these builds. The intention is to have the builds lost-wax cast then use them for patterns for pewter casting.
Please note there is no schedule for completion of this kit, it has to be shoehorned in between the normal mechanism business of the company and funded as money is available. It will be ready when it is ready, as simple as that.