So where were we?
We need to start today by drilling out the exhaust ports – use a 1.0mm drill in a pin vice. Drill from the inside at either end and then in the middle before joining the holes, as with the roof grille, with a sharp knife. Finishing is harder because the opening is quite small – not that small openings are a bad thing, far from it in certain circumstances! A fine needle file can be used but it’s often easier with plastic to take an emery board and cut it down to a thinner strip using old scissors – this works surprisingly well! It allows you to file within small gaps quite well. A freshly cut strip will also give you a decent sharp corner too. Try it on an offcut of Plastikard first if you’re not sure.
With that done, we’re ready for handrails.
We also need to drill the centre handrail in front of the centre windscreen – I forgot to mention this yesterday! The handrail joins the body just where the curve of the bottom corners of the centre window join the lower edge – use photos as additional reference too to mark with a scribe or sharp point before drilling with a 0.5mm drill.
Drilling the top handrail – the centre of the holes should be in line with the start of the curve of the centre windscreen.
This will be one of the things which will really transform any older or more basic model – coaching stock and wagons too. Making handrails and lamp irons is a skill which will help you improve your modelling no end too – a real key skill.
For the class 31, the handrails are all formed using the model a direct reference point – don’t mess about measuring off the model or drawings, you’ll just make life harder for yourself.
So take a length of 0.33mm (though my nickel silver wire from Eileen’s is 0.31mm but it makes no difference) and a pair of small pliers, ideally with smooth jaws and make a 90° bend with about a 15mm ‘leg.’ Incidentally, don’t use thicker wire, there’s nothing to be gained in strength and it’ll look clumsy. Place it in the lower hole of one of the main handrail on the cab front. Hold it so it is in the correct position going upwards and by eye take hold of the handrail where the next 90° bend will be needed to turn it towards the centre of the loco.
this should now pass over the handrails other hole above the tail lamp – if it doesn’t, start again. You may need a few attempts if you’ve never done this before. But don’t be despondent – no one is born with these skills and they all take practice.
When you’re happy with the position, hold it in position and by eye take hold of the handrail with your pliers where the final 90° bend will be needed and make the bend. Trim the end to leave about 15mm again. Check the fit again – are you happy with how it looks? Honestly? If you’re not, have another go. If you are trim a 15-20mm length off a piece of 0.45mm wire. This will be the intermediate support for the handrail. I solder these together, with the handrails on the model but stood off the surface – hence the 15mm legs. Nickel silver wire is better as it conducts heat more slowly than brass.
The handrail in place ready for soldering.
I used 145° solder as its low melting point allows a joint to be made quickly which is advantageous when soldering so near plastic, and Carr’s Green Label Flux. If you have your own preferences go with them but this combination works very well.
Geeting ready to solder – Carr’s Green Label Flux and 145° solder.
The flux is applied a fine brush to the joint, carefully or you’ll knock the support out of line!
Applying flux with a fine brush.
Ideally the soldering iron should have a fine, pointed bit but if you don’t have one, just go careful. The advantage of a fine tip is that you can concentrate the heat which allows the joint to be made quickly with less risk of melting anything! The iron needs to be clean with a minimum of 145° solder on the tip. Touch the side of the joint, the solder should flow easily, withdraw the iron and allow to cool.
Soldering. Note the fine tip – this allows a small concentration of heat at the joint minimising the risk of melting the surrounding plastic.
Once cool, remove the handrail very carefully – it should come out ok, but if it breaks, just start the process again.
Soldered and ready for trimming.
Once you’re happy, trim the excess wire away to leave legs of about 3mm.
Handrail finished and ready to fit.
To fit the handrail, use a piece of 20 thou Plastikard as a spacer to keep the handrail at the correct distance off the surface – once in place secure with a small amount of superglue applied from behind. Simple!
If you’re not comfortable for soldering these or don’t have the equipment you can use a minute blob of epoxy – just trim the wires before gluing the two together as they’ll not survive being removed.
Now repeat for the other three!
The handrail in front of the windscreen is a simple, make a 90° bend with about a 3mm leg on 0.33mm wire, put in a hole at one end, use the other hole to judge where to make the other bend – trim, check and if happy secure as above using the same 20 thou spacer.
You’ll need some 0.25 mm wire next – mine is 0.25 jewellery wire intended for hand making your own jewellery, craft shops and Amazon are good sources. For the small handrail in the middle of the plated doors is a small diameter material than the other handrails so I used this her – just as before using pliers, but you’ll need pointed ones to make sure they’re not too wide for the job.
The fan and grab irons on the roof.
The grab irons (small handrails) on the roof are simple, there arte just a lot of them!
Drink and biscuits before starting and pop on some relaxing music.
For the smallest ones I abandoned pliers as they’re took large and used my point tweezers, which worked by well – as before use a 20thou spacer whilst gluing them in place from behind. Though when they’re in pairs, do them at the same time – having two next to each other at the exact same height looks very nice! It’s laborious but the end result, especially with the Extreme fan, looks very good.
Still with me?
Right lamp irons – we need four for 31569. Read on…
Lamp Irons are very delicate items which so many people in the past have beefed up to make them more durable. And the results have often been terrible. At one time office (Bambi?) staples were recommended – bent in a way which meant everything was represented but looked terrible!
Too thick in the wrong places and too thin in others – but we can improve on this. You’ll need either 5 thou/0.15mm or 10 thou/0.25mm strip from Eileen’s Emporium. There’s a different method for each, the thicker strip is simpler and what I used to do but I prefer the thinner strip as the result is stronger.
In both cases the lower detail of the bracket, where the real thing attaches to the body is on the body itself – either left in place as with our class 31 or separately applied for a wholly new bracket.
10 Thou Strip
This is quite simple, as the diagram shows, the folding is quite simple. Reinforce with solder once it’s made before trimming to size – you can use superglue if you prefer but it won’t be quite as strong. Round the edges as required by the prototype – use photos as a guide as it varies from class to class. I taper the leg which goes into the body to allow a tight fit in a 1.0mm hole, this is my preference for a good, firm fit.
5 Thou Strip
This is a bit more involved – I prefer this way as it’s stronger, but I think you need to solder it together for strength, I doubt glue would be as effective.
Basically, you need to make a ‘T’ shape, where it’s double thickness throughout – it takes a little practice but once you’ve got the knack it’s quite straightforward. Once soldered, it’s very strong! Cut, trim and shape as before! I taper the tail to allow it to fit in a 0.7mm hole.
Open out the holes for the lamp irons to either 0.7mm or 1.0mm depending on your chosen method.
Cutting the lamp irons to length.
To trim the lamp irons to length I drill a 1.0mm hole in a scrap of wood (a spare shelf from a flat pack bookcase will do) and put the tail in the hole and rest the lamp iron itself on a small metal ruler as in the picture. A curved scalpel blade can then accurately cut the lamp iron to length, it’ll make light work of such small metal section. Round off the edges, as shown above, carefully with a needle file – work slowly too.
Trim the tail to about 2mm – 3mm and fit in the same manner as the handrails but use a 10thou spacer.
The developing class 31.
And we shall leave it there for now! Final body details next.