Wrack and Ruin

A mid-life crisis in narrow gauge

So Simple It's Simplex

It took a while to get through all the domestic tasks on Sunday morning, but eventually I was able to return to the IP Engineering Plate Frame Simplex kit I started last week. And once I got down to work, I was glued to it.

I mean, literally glued to it. And it was glued to the cutting mat. The tools were glued to the table. The cat was glued to the floor. Everything in the whole world appeared to have been glued to everything else. Epoxy resin gets everywhere.

Putting the base frame aside for a moment - with difficulty - I decided to build the motorised chassis instead. It went together reasonably quickly, and I was even able to fit a Delrin chain set without too much effort, although it hangs between the axles like a hammock - I think I’d have struggled to get the chain joined if I’d taken out one more link, but it clearly needs it. I’ve been told it will stretch in use. Unfortunately, I misplaced one of the short axles provided (it subsequently turned up in the wrong bag), and by the time I’d found it, I’d already substituted a longer 45mm axle. But it seems to fit, and trying to unglue it again seems like asking for grief.

I went back to the body. Having got the two brass footplates stuck between the frames (they sit tight between the edges and the instructions even suggest they only need gluing on one end to the buffer beams, which can’t be right), the next part is assembling all the finicky detailing. Incredibly, I managed to put the seat together with all the individual slats correctly spaced, and nobody died and I didn’t set fire to anything. The drivers controls are - ulp - two pins that must be bent and glued into holes drilled in the cab base. I gave up when bits I thought I’d fixed together earlier started to come apart (including one of those darned brass plates). Really not looking forward to assembling the bonnet, another couple of sheet parts supposed to be glued on their edges. But I’d say there’s now an evens chance of getting this thing running, whereas before there were good odds on a twisted lump of whitemetal ending up tossed in the bin. But I never want to do one of these again.

Definitely taking another look at the Pressfix kit.