Building the Kitson Meyer


The Meyer design was reworked by Kitson who moved the bogies apart sufficiently to allow for a conventional firebox and grate to fit between them. As such, they were one of the most successful articulated designs in the world. A freelance Kitson Meyer was developed using many of the features of the Leek and Manifold tank engines, that I so much admire.

the design is getting close to looking right. There is a great deal of the Leek and Manifold tank in the design!

this is the same design with Grafar 08 chassis

this is a photo mock-up of the engine
This build is one of my typical freelance jobs. Mostly I worked from the photo mock-up that I made and very few measurements were actually taken. In a way, like the Mallets, it has been more of a loco sculpture than anything else but for me, I find it easier to get the proportions looking right this way.
The loco was built with the most basic of equipment: a Dremel, 25 watt soldering iron and some hand tools and of course the wife's best kitchen scissors.
The fixed dimensions were the Bachmann class 08 bogies, the side windows and spectacle plates left over from Backwoods Manning Wardle kits and the rest more or less fell into place on its own.
The first job was to graft the Roco valve gear and cylinders onto the Bachmann class 08 chassis. The rear part of each chassis was removed. Normally, the Roco valve gear stands higher than the platform of the 08 chassis.

The 'comfortable' position for the valve gear
In this case, it could not be allowed otherwise the loco would look like it was on stilts. Some butchery was needed including the shortening of the expansion links so that the whole lot did not protrude higher that the chassis footplate. In the end, with a lot of fiddling, it all worked freely.
The main frame which supports the boiler and cab was then soldered up. This was an 'Isection purchased from Eileen's Emporium. I always work on a sheet of glass in order to make sure everything goes together perfectly flat.
click on image to enlarge
Due to the variations and evolutions of the L&B Manning Wardles, quite a few etchings are never used. I selected the cab etching for the locos as originally built and cut the window sections out.  These were butt soldered to nickel silver off cuts from coach kits and the whole cut to the correct shape. The main feature of this loco are the curved tank tops and waisted cab. This was achieved by soldering a thick brass wire to the cab and then soldering the tanks on the opposite side of the rod. This done of a sheet of glass results in a perfect job.
For the time being, I left the rod crossing the cab entrance in order to keep the whole thing in shape.

the finished result
The window frames were added followed by the spectacle plates (brass surrounds soldered in first) and the whole assembly soldered up. Take care to ensure that it it all squared up.

the assembly is then soldered to the frame - click on image to enlarge
The smoke box and boiler top was made simply by heating the metal sheet and wrapping it around a former.

smokebox and boiler rolled and fitted - click on image to enlarge

the tank tops are then added

generator fitted along with tool boxes - click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge
The two bogies have to be insulated from one another as they will be of opposite polarity. The brass saddles which fit over the motors, (with the pivot over the centre driver) are coated with epoxy and when dry, the saddles are epoxied onto the motors, ensuring that the rubbing plates are perfectly flat. The front bogie (left) is left more free moving by placing a thin washer between the rubbing plates. The rear, however. is stabilised much more with wide running plates to prevent the loco rolling.

click on image to enlarge
The chassis is fitted into the body using two locating pins and an extended screw to make assembly easy. The firebox will be built up from the visible 'wings'.

click on image to enlarge
This is the loco which is now ready for painting. The handrails will be fitted later. One of the tough jobs was the drilling of handrail knob holes through the thick brass rod that forms the tank top curve. The result was much larger holes than I wished. This was cured by refilling the holes with solder and then drilling the right size.

click on image to enlarge
This is the size comparison with our Mallets and Garratt.

I have experienced several loose wheels. This is what I suggest:

On initial stripdown, degrease axles and wheels and run into the wheel boss, a small quantity of Locktight 603 and leave overnight. This should prevent these stupidities.

Several phosphor bronze are often on in contact with the wheels....check for this..

Positioning of the Roco cylinders. Remove motor. Use 5 minute epoxy to attach and have the return crank already fitted into the rear crank. There is then a short window of opportunity to ensure that there is free movement of the gear.

Once the cylinders are fastened, push the chassis along to check for any binding between the coupling rod and the slide bar support bracket. Only then replace the motor but glue this in position as well, as the extra weight of the valve gear can cause the motor to 'jump' and strip the gears.

After looking at the loco for a few hours, I have changed a few things. The safety valves (which came from a Langley 'Lyn' dome) looked crude so they were replaced with a scratch built version. As indeed was done with a number of these locos which suffered from loading gauge issues, the footplate floor has been 'underslung' to the bottom of the support frame and the hand rails extended down lower than originally planned. Finally, the front vacuum pipe has been transferred to the bogie and rails placed on the pilot in a similar manner to many Mallets. Several Kitson Meyers carried them and it must have been far easier to work in the smokebox.
Finally, I have turned a proper whistle using brass rod in my Dremel.

click on image to enlarge
After the fitting of the sandboxes, made of thick Plasticard, The body was placed in the ultrasonic cleaner with a tiny touch of soda to neutralise the flux, followed by a clean rinse. Once dry, the body was sprayed with etch primer.
At this point we had some chip issues but thanks to Andy of DCC Supplies, the problem was quickly resolved. The handrails have been temporarily fitted and very shortly, it will be off for finishing and lining.
The loco has been lined and weathered in a first class fashion by Robert Kaczmarczyk who is available for custom projects. It has now joined the fleet and I must say, runs most smoothly despite a slight 'waddle'.
This locomotive has covered quite a mileage and has waddled all the way. I suspected an out of round wheelset but this was not the case. It would appear that the high pivot point needed to create the Kitson Meyer configuration causes the valve gear loading to be magnified. Another modeller has made an excellent similar model and it also waddles! Case is proven.

The lovely model built by Phil Mortimer in the USA.
The problem has been solved by stabilizing the wheels using plastic strip attached to the outside frame with epoxy glue. The moulded hornblocks are first trimmed off. This has much mitigated the problem.