North Pilton Flexicity kit build

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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I have been beavering away at this for some time now and will be glad to get it off the bench. I have been a little reluctant to post on this but as ‘3 Minutes if Fame‘ asked me about how I was getting on with it I though I better write some words.

I have had a few problems with missing bits but these were sorted very quickly once you can get through to NP, best try in the evening as no contact managed during the day. Emails to the webb site not responded to either. Instructions leave a lot to be desired, better a few selected pictures rather than lots of words that do not cover the eventualities. Plus I believe that the instructions have been changed somewhat and with a set of duplicate pictures one with notes and seating diagram the other no seating diagram etc,all of that is a pity as this has the makings of a great model. For the kit to include all of the wiring parts, LED’s, batteries, charger, switches, motor etc it is a good value kit. Let down only by the Instructions. These were not numbered so a beginner could easily get lost, I numbered them all immediately I got them out of the box hoping that they were all in the correct order, they were (I think).

I have regarded the kit more like a set of parts to make up as I feel, this has given me the ability to do changes and not make it up as a 5 car that I bought but as 3 car somewhat on the lines of the Nordhausen Combino’s, but the finished item will be in HSB livery as if they had a few sets as well for services out to the Selktalbahn.

Where to start on these notes is a bit tricky so I will start sort of at the begining, in those immortal Julie Andrews words ‘that‘s a very good place to start’.

The kit comes with an awful lot of parts, all neatly packed in almost all labelled bags for what they are. The laser cutting is nice and neat with parts fit being mostly near perfect, but be prepared for a small amount of sanding on mostly tabs to get things in place.
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I started inevitably with the light fittings that go into the front of the Tram and to be honest this did not make much sence till further down the line. But I persevered with it as it was on my Page 1. I did however not do the LED’s fit as I want to get things painted before this for obvious reasons. This has applied to all lighting and wiring.

Next up was to construct the front part of the Tram and this was attended to and left to dry making sure that all was square as the instructions suggested . At this stage I think some suggestions to part paint the inside would have been helpful, ensuring that clean wood was left where things would be joined. The inside is still not fully painted even after my spraying so that is something that will become a problem later. I am not at all sure that NP has even thought through painting as all of their pictures are of an unpainted one, and as I have never seen any other reviews thus I am a little confounded by this.
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So onwards and forwards with the working power bogies, these left me a bit flummoxed as with the side frames as when constructed and the cross fills below added the lay shaft was completely at a woblle end to end so additional off cuts were fitted in to get the gears so that there was little wobble. Then the gears are somewhat poorly cast so a fair bit of cleaning up is required to get them to run feely. It was around this stage I seriously thought about buying a couple of Swift Sixteen Flexible length chassis to replace these, but I persevered. Once in place I resorted to Tooth Paste to act as a grinder to get a free running chassis, just remember to clean it all out. The picture of the bule gear clearly shows the ridges, though the instructions do tell of this and how to resolve it.
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The axle ends are fitted with roller bearings as are the layshafts, very good and this shows the promise of the NP product. The axle gear is held in place by a couple of laser cut washers which so with plenty of 806 and some UV glue held them and the kayshaft gers in place very well. However when fitted the axle gears and layshaft gears were far too tight a mesh to even turn the axles With the end plates in place one way up, nowhere near in mesh the other way up. Thus I had to open up the holes and move the bearings down. A better bet adopted on the second one was to fit the end plates the wrong way down with some slight sanding to get the mesh perfect. Both chassis run well now and much to my skeptical thoughts the motor gears meshed with the layshaft to perfection! Oh yes the motor gear comes with some heatshrink and a small plastic bearing to fit to the motor shaft. I was also very skeptical about this but with some 806 and more UV glue it all seams pretty solid.
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Next up come the body build and fitting the chassis. The instructions give this as an all glue together assembly, I did not warm to that idea as I like to be able to remove the motor as necessary, so the bogie (for want of a better term) was fitted after all the other surrounding driver end, then drilled for 4 of 8ba nut and bolt fitting. This has worked very well but gives issue later in the build as it will not be possible to fit the internal seats and hand rails as the bogie now needs to be twisted to remove from the corridoor end. Current thoughts are for sub assembly for seats and handrails to go in and out for each side. But that motor will take some disguising as it sits very high in the body. time will tell but a few passengers and some standing may just do the job.

As you can see the bogie has wires coming from the motor for testing and ultimate wiring in. I made the effort to oair them and mark one side so that they will both run the same way when wired up. A small piece of Red heat shrink acts as a marker but I should have made the wires longer as they only just reach the roof top when in place. I will runthem up at one end and may need to do a plug at the motor end for this, more grey matter bites the bullet.
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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To continue with the build so far, when I put the bogie together it was very apparent that I needed to have a brass bearing as well as the roller ones. This was so that the axles would not wear away any of the bogie that was touching but also to give strength to the joint between the bogie and the axle plates. As the holes in these were a little different to the actual build I felt some additional strengthening was required as the interface holes between these and the bogie were not not aligned meaning that fitting the suggested cut offs of cocktail stick would not work, though perhaps a smaller one may.

Below you should be able to make out the brass tube. This is a repeated pic of an end power bogie.
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Below is one of the middle bogie showing the axle cover plates in place. On this one you can see the additional bearing end pieces of the layshaft have added off cuts bodged in place to get better mesh between the axkes and layshaft. I am not currently planning to use but will eventually complete.
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Here you can see how I managed to fit the additional motor to the centre bogie. The 5 car makes allowance for an end bogie and the centre car to be powered. But as I am wanting a 3 and possible on occasion 5 car I decided to power all 3 of the bogie cars. For those that do not know these units are 1,2,3,4,5 with 1,3,5 being powered and 2,3 being ‘swingers’ suspended from the powered bogie cars. For this bodge I used some off cuts of smaller ply to get the meshing correct on the motor gear and an off cut of brass screwed into the to of the bogie with sel tapping sctews to hold the motor in place. Again the motor is wired up for testing.
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You can see here that I am putting the body together, I have used full strength PVA for this, so the clamps are to hold things securely whilst it all dries up. Note again that I have not glued the bogie in place.

Here I have hit one of the do not knows as there are 2 end braces for the corridoor connections, it is not entirely clear in the picture which way up the slightly chamfered end goes. Also the corridor connections have confused me up to know but reading the instructions again and again may have made this a little clearer. A benefit of doing these notes I think, though when I get back to the actual parts I may still be confused!

Those 2 holed little oblongs were included with some of the missing parts sent by NP, Dave‘s suggested use was somewhat confusing.
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Here the fronts are being held in place while the glue dries, some fill and sanding was required to get a nice rounded joint at the end before spraying with Wood Sealer spray. The joining tabs were all attended to with limited amounts of filler to get as smooth a joint as possible, this is the only disadvantage that I can see with tabbed laser cut wood.
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As well as clamps,old weights removed from TL Malletts have come in handy to hold parts in place where clamps would not work on angled joints. You can also see where I have inserted 8ba nuts and bolts to hold the bogie in place. I used long bolts with a nut into the main body flat base so that I just have to undo the nuts at the bottom for bogie removal.
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Here you can see the centre section that swings between the power bogies, nuts and bolts are included in the kit for this purpose. It will be an interesting piece of machinery to move around, I anticipate a flat plate with sides of some sort so that I can load it to the track much like the sundry commercial offerings that are available.
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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It was at this stage having cleaned up all the fill that I decided to spray the 3 main body parts. First I sprayed using BnQ Zinnsser cover stain primer sealer being about the only stuff I could find. Not the best as it tends to tear up quite a bit. But it did show up where extra fill and sanding was required.

I do wonder weather a slop of 50/50 PVA and water may have done the same job as sealing then with an undercoat to show up any blemishes. Any comments on this?

As the Zinsser was white I opted to use this as undercoat for the Rover Arum White to be used at the top and BMW Imola Red 11 for the red below. I first gave an all over spray of Arum which was allowed to dry before masking up.
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It was at this stage that I realised that the door window opening would allow an internal overspray of red. So this was masked up on the inside.
0F820A14-E220-4B5C-83D3-A4E0EA94D1C5.jpeg I then gave the below masking another spray of Imola to seal up the Tamiya Masking tape used at the paint joint, this process reduces bleed through and even stops it if you do it all right. Next Imola Red was sprayed. 2 coats were needed here as there was the White to overspray, possibly an undercoat of Matt Red may have been a better bet but 2 coats got the white nicely covered.
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After a day and night drying the masking tape was removed, a minor disaster as the top layer of home use masking tape has removed some small patches of paint as has the Tamiya as well. There is also a slight bleed through of Red just visible on the left power car. This will be attended to by spraying some of the white into a lid and touching up with a brush, the same will be done for the slight removals of paint elsewhere hopefully giving som indication of age and touch ups to the finished unit as would likely be present on the real thing after some years in service and tree side bashes.

What I should have done was to give longer for the white to dry then use paper up top for masking, sticking this to the Tamiya. But I have only done the same as before that worked fine, difference is this time I am working with wood and used that dratted sealer. A3B3E555-0996-4B14-9B19-8DEF456DF01A.jpeg
To come will be the next stage which is to get to grips with those corridor connections, wiring and internal detail plus roof detail and pans to build. I am hoping that batteries and sound units (2) as this is to have 2 MLS to represent a BiMode sound of Diesel Engine and Tram Sounds. Still lots to do, meanwhile that Swift 16 Railcar above is begging for its Battery make over.
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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They look very nice Jon. In answer to you question about painting -

My method with plywood is to use a cellulose based sanding sealer sprayed on to the substrate. PVA sealer on MDF if no other finishing work is required, as there is no grain to fill. Two coats rubbed back to take away some of the wood grain. Then a light dusting coat of the appropriate colour primer for the envisaged colour coats to show up where any more grain is to be filled, if desired, and areas that need filling, like joins.

I use a skim filler on any light fills and grain, or filler primer it there is no fine engraved detail to retain. Two pack filler on anything too deep for the skim filler to be effective. As the wood has been sealed it should be ok to wet/dry flat back, but don't go through the sealer. Make sure any residues from flatting back processes are removed completely, or you will end up with a crinckle finish when you overcoat. Then a couple of good coats of primer before colour coating. Flatting back again if you feel up to it.

When masking always burnish the edge of the tape with a cocktail stick or similar, and make sure you get the tape down into any crevises and shut lines. After applying a second colour either remove masking shortly after painting, careful not to touch the new paint when peeling away the tape, or if leaving for while for paint to cure use a fresh straight scalpel blade (Swan Morton 10a or similar) and steel ruler to score a line at the join/tape edge, then lift, peeling the tape almost flat back on itself. The longer the tape is down the stronger the adhesive bond will be risking lifting the previous paint coat it will have bonded to. Proper masking tape should always have low tack adhesive properties for this reason. Max
 
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
20,902
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
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They look very nice Jon. In answer to you question about painting -

My method with plywood is to use a cellulose based sanding sealer sprayed on to the substrate. PVA sealer on MDF if no other finishing work is required, as there is no grain to fill. Two coats rubbed back to take away some of the wood grain. Then a light dusting coat of the appropriate colour primer for the envisaged colour coats to show up where any more grain is to be filled, if desired, and areas that need filling, like joins.

I use a skim filler on any light fills and grain, or filler primer it there is no fine engraved detail to retain. Two pack filler on anything too deep for the skim filler to be effective. As the wood has been sealed it should be ok to wet/dry flat back, but don't go through the sealer. Make sure any residues from flatting back processes are removed completely, or you will end up with a crinckle finish when you overcoat. Then a couple of good coats of primer before colour coating. Flatting back again if you feel up to it.

When masking always burnish the edge of the tape with a cocktail stick or similar, and make sure you get the tape down into any crevises and shut lines. After applying a second colour either remove masking shortly after painting, careful not to touch the new paint when peeling away the tape, or if leaving for while for paint to cure use a fresh straight scalpel blade (Swan Morton 10a or similar) and steel ruler to score a line at the join/tape edge, then lift, peeling the tape almost flat back on itself. The longer the tape is down the stronger the adhesive bond will be risking lifting the previous paint coat it will have bonded to. Proper masking tape should always have low tack adhesive properties for this reason. Max
Thanks for your detail reply Max, have not said but the kit is ply so your cellulose solution would have been the one for this build.
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
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Nice work so far JD....
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
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I have not yet managed to suss out the corridoor connections so in frustration I have made up a test rig using 2 My Loco Sound cards for this what will in effect be like a Combino. I had spoken to Steve at Fosworks who confirmed that he put 2 MLS units in Garretts and they sounded great so the installation of 2 cards will work. Here is the YT Testing of the installation, quite simple in effect only jumper wires (RIGHT HAND SIDE CONNECTIONS) needed from the Battery (red and black) and the Motor (yellow and blue) from the MLS to the second card. For sounds (LEFT HAND SIDE CONNECTIONS) I have elected to use Buzzer (red) and Horn (white) on the Tram Card plus Engine Start/Stop (black) on the diesel card.

It all seams to work quite well but for adjustments to the MLS using the TV remote one has to have only one of the cards connected to the Cobra otherwise both cards would be revised which may not be what you would want, though this would work fine in a Garrett. If you use the TV remote to call sounds then both cards respond which can be interesting to say the least.

 

Neil Robinson

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24 Oct 2009
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It all seams to work quite well but for adjustments to the MLS using the TV remote one has to have only one of the cards connected to the Cobra otherwise both cards would be revised which may not be what you would want, though this would work fine in a Garrett. If you use the TV remote to call sounds then both cards respond which can be interesting to say the le
Apparently, once under way, the two Garratt power units synchronise with each other so only one sound card would be needed.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Apparently, once under way, the two Garratt power units synchronise with each other so only one sound card would be needed.
Not really as you would still get 8 beats per resolution admittedly almost imperceptible once at speed but the sound on start up or slow speed would be just right.