Gauge 1 James: Early Progress
What do you do when Lionel’s G-scale James model has irritated you since your earliest, childhood rivetcounting days? Scratchbuild one – prototypical to the TV model – years later. This is the one that “started the ball rolling.”
At the time, virtually nothing was available about the original Gauge 1 models, so this one turned out somewhat too wide and about 1/2″ too long in comparison to the original from the show. But as of 2016, it’s still unfinished (face, siderods, buffers), so we’ll see what the future has in store for it.
These photos are archives from the original Sodor Scratchbuilding website from 2008. Loco’s construction is styrene with a PVC boiler.
09/15/2008: Styrene purchased, model started:
09/16: Cutting down the PVC boiler/wheel clearance:
August 16-18: Splasher work:
08/19: Drilling the PVC boiler for a smoke unit (smoke unit never materialized):
08/21 – Side skirts:
08/25 – Smokestack out of a sharpie pen (you can see all my other “experiments” below the buffer beam):
09/12: Tests with a donor Bachmann Big Hauler prove unsuccessful – driver diameter is far too big for the model.
09/23: Dome has been found in the “shape” of a promotional ball point pen:
10/06: It looks as if Aristo-Craft Rogers drive wheels will take care of the problem:
Also an updated drivetrain build photo and video. Nothing more in a while – ran out of glue, and still need to get the remaining two axles from Aristo (this was when they were still in business):
11/06: It only took a month and a half, but Aristo finally came through with the parts. Granted, everything was just as I requested, and the prices were exceedingly reasonable. Came out quite well, if I do say so myself:
Rear axle is given free X-axis play, which allows the mechanism to run over tight curves with relative ease. Front axle has the play taken up by washers to eliminate any “Edward Effect:”
Had to cut out some more plastic around James’ cab to fit the chassis with the weight fitted to the frame, but it fits well:
11/11: As much as I don’t care for it, I had to settle for the Big Hauler lead wheel for the meantime. Nothing else fits except for the correct Marklin part, which is, needless to say, half unobtanium, and the other half overpriced if I made the effort to get one.
12/04: Bondo and primer:
12/06: Fun with Squadron putty:
Sharp eyes will note a servo sitting in the tray behind him for the eye mechanism. I only purchased one today – figured I would use one to fashion the mounting brackets around before mounting the other.
Some post-Squadron photos below. Came out quite decent, but there are a few spots I still have my doubts about.
This primer coat came out rougher then the others. Doesn’t seem as if this paint is receptive to colder evening weather:
12/17: Red enamel applied (Dupli-Color Engine Enamel Ford Red #DE1605. Grey areas remain the same primer as earlier. Scotch tape used for masking.
Futaba transmitter for eye mechanism. Hitec HS-55 servo next to it.
12/21: Black enamel applied (Dupli-Color Engine Enamel Gloss Black #DE1613. Edges masked with Scotch tape, 2″ blue masking tape to seal the rest off.
12/22: Pinstriping job. 3M automotive pinstriping sold under the PROSTRIPE brand at Pep Boys Automotive. Approximately the same stuff as used on the show. Later, I found that there are some Chinese suppliers that have actual reflective gold tape, as the original model had around the cab windows.
12/28: James gets a “respectable” (for those who remember Gordon and the Famous Visitor) brass dome. Masked with Scotch tape as well, compass cutter used to cut the circular slice out of the tape (upside down). Plasti-Kote Universal Gold #223.
12/28: Clearcoat day. Plasti-Kote Engine Enamel Clear #229
1/12/2009: A trip for styrene and glue yielded the necessary materials required to start work on the tender. Tender wheelset and journal boxes are next. Tender weights will come stock out of an Aristo FA-1.
2/20: Experimenting with R/C control arrangements inside the body shell:
2/25: Revised arrangement with AAA battery holder: