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GP Models LNER J63

LNER J63 - a bit of background


The Great Central Railway's (GCR) Class 5A (LNER J63) locomotives were built by Robinson. They Were based on Pollitts earlier (LNER J62) Saddle tank design but replaced the saddle tanks with side tanks. The original J62 frames, cylinders, wheels, and motion were kept, but the cab and running plate were wider.

Originally the class was 6 locomotives built in 1906 and a seventh was added in 1914. The first two were built with condensing gear intended to work at station pilots at Liverpool. more information on these and the earlier J62 locomotives can be found here. I managed to gather quite a bit of information and photos on the class, some of which was kindly supplied by a friend Mike Cole who had built one of these kits previously. Armed with a good photo of 5061 taken in 1924 I elected to scratch build the additional condensing gear that isn't included in the kit.

The Basic Chassis


Buoyed up by the success of the tram engine and as a treat to myself for getting the A3 valve gear running (and while I plucked up the courage to take it apart again) 

I decided I needed another "quick'ish" win so I got out my GP Models J63 Tank engine kit. 

This is a complete kit, etched in nickel silver which comes complete with wheels, Motor and gear box. 

Some time ago when I first mentioned that I fancied one Mike Cole very kindly sent me a lot of additional information which I re-read before starting.

This is where I have got to so far in 3 evenings work - all is still held together by the slot and tabs with just a couple of the frame spacers soldered at one side.

LNER J63 Build Page 2

The Valve Gear - simpler than Walchearts!


Progress has been made. The chassis now has it cylinders and sandboxes. The springs have had their outlayers attached so they now have quite a bit of beef about them.

The most fiddly bit of all which Mike does mention in his guild review is the soldering together of the 8 tiny pieces that make up each cross head. 

What I did find once I had got over this bit was that although the instructions referred to 1.5x1mm nickel for the slide bars and 2mm brass rod for the piston rods there was no rod at all included with my kit. 

An email to Garth had me the rod for the slide bars by return of post - very comendable service. I had some 2mm nickel rod in stock so I elected to use that for the piston rods. 

Mike had supplied me with an annotated copy of the insturctions in with the other information that he sent so I didn't have to workout how long the piston rods were supposed to be (25mm). 

What I struggled with at this point was how to get a 2mm piston rod through the 1mm hole that is etched in the cross head. I consulted Mike who recalled gently opening his out with a rat tailed file. I had a go at this but when I had started to split one of the end plates I chickened out. Instead I put one of the 2mm nickel rods in my dremmel and applied a file to turn it down. This required each one to have a different turned spiggot, one at 1mm and one a bit bigger to suit the hole that I had enlarged.

That's where I got to last night and I was waiting for the bar for the slide bars which arrived today so hopefully tomorrow I can get the slidebars cut to length and put it all together.

I have also opened up the holes in the chassis for the supplied plunger pickup (slaters) and soldered the tabs and wire so that Once  get the motion sorted I should be in a position to try it running.

LNER J63 Build Page 2

Motion up and running


Next I managed to get the motion up and running.

The brakes in the kit are very clever in the way that they are jigged to fit together. There are 3 layers that you fit together while still attached to the outer etch. My apologies for the poor photos but they are all I have.

Once they are all lined up clamp and solder them, cut off the tags, clean them up and you are on with the next.

Here are a couple of videos of the motion in action.....

LNER J63 Build Page 2