outside frames in 009
Since the early days of 009, outside frames
have posed problems for the modeller. To this day, most 009 model
locomotives seen on layouts are based on proprietary inside frame chassis,
the owners having developed selective blindness to the situation.
So, many narrow gauge locos do indeed have
inside frames.... the Talyllyn locos, the 4-6-0 ex WD Baldwin and
Hunslet and the Fairlies and England engines of the Festiniog. After that, one gets
pressed to think of other examples except industrial engines. The fact is that
a huge number of NG locos had
I cannot understand why a modeller would go
to great lengths to detail a loco body and line it and then just stick it
on a Minitrix chassis.
Some kits are now produced with outside
frames. The best known are those produced by Backwoods. The chassis are
very hard to build and even harder to repair. One chassis is an exception
and that is the one used for the Darjeeling C class. This however relies
on a tender motor with universal jointed shaft and traction is next to
useless. If the chassis would be used under a tank engine body
with motor over the wheels, the situation would be far better.
a Lynton and Barnstaple Manning Wardle chassis by Backwoods
The C class Darj chassis. Fit a motor on the chassis under a tank engine
and this will work!
Victors made an HO Sandy
River. The chassis is superb, easy to build and has given excellent
service on County Gate. Sadly, they have not yet got around to supplying
just the chassis. Victors have ceased trading. Hopefully the kit will become available again
but so far nothing. The chassis is an easy build although noisy in
operation continues to slog on faultlessly.
Meridian a Baldwin gas mechanical.
This is an excellent kit. It can be difficult to order from this outfit,
outside frame chassis
The first suitable outside frames loco for
009 was the dreaded Roco. One has to buy the entire loco which will knock
you back nearly £100. The cylinders and valve gear are well modelled.
However....... after a short period of service, the chassis self destruct
and the Mashima motor develops such a rough spot that the loco will almost
throw itself onto its side. A wonderful chassis for about 12 hours
a cut down Roco chassis
The useful part is the valve gear and
cylinders. These can be ordered separately Roco dealers. The
parts list can be found
this link (page1) and
this link for page 2. Part number
116295. This is the fastest way to get valve gear! This is for a single
cross head slide. Alternatively, one can order the valve gear for the
HOe Roco Mikado. PDF file can be found
cylinder valve gear set is No. 122875.
Fortunately, other manufacturers have come
to the rescue.
This is a new range made in Scotland and
will include 4 and 6 coupled outside frame chassis. They are excellent in
design and drive on all wheels, thus reducing strain on rods. One has to
be patient with Neville as he is a one man band! When more readily
available, these chassis will make the basis of many wonderful locos. The
wheels are very small rather sadly. The chassis shown below has a wheelbase about half
way between 'Russell' and the L&B Manning Wardles. As yet, their
outside frame chassis is not fully developed and is not yet available.
There is still no sign that this chassis will
reach availability and delivery problems still seem to be the order of
N Drive six coupled chassis
This is an excellent chassis and easy to
modify. It is a tad wide, however for some prototypes. The price is not
bad too at about £50. For those who model the Lynton and Barnstaple and
prefer a different chassis to the Backwoods kit, the wheelbase is almost
correct and the Backwoods chassis can be easily modified to drop on to it.
This is a project we have successfully undertaken. After some running, I
do have to say however, that the plated wheels of this chassis are prone
to slipping on grades.
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
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
The chassis has undergone several
modifications on later offerings and just gets better and better.
I have even managed to modify it to be eight
kits for the Grafar
The first kit produced for mounting on this
chassis was by Bernard Taylor of TP Models. It is a 'what could have been'
model of a narrow gauge Armstrong Whitworth diesel electric loco. The
quality of etching is superb and two of these kits were the basis of our
articulated River Avill.
unfinished prototype - photo Mick Thornton
This is the second kit
supplier who produced a decent kit to go with this chassis. The valve gear
Hopefully, the valve gear etching will also eventually be available
independently. While Victors is no more, one hopes that kits will be
re-introduced. The etched valve gear for this engine is superb but sadly
this kit is no longer available.
RT Models produce a white metal kit for a Harrogate Gas Works
Drewry 6w diesel (works no.2262 of 1949). It looks tidy enough. The cab
is cut down as was normal for this line.
The superb RT Peckett
Robert also produces frets for valve gear and even has a casting
available for the keeper plate.
Backwoods kit with
Backwoods chassis with a Grafar hiding
see how here. The motor must be moved into the cab area. click on image to
rebuilt chassis for our Mallet 'River Brue'
Another newcomer is an H0e model of an
outside frame diesel. It is offered
for sale at a little under £70. Reports are that it is a superb runner.
Without a doubt the best
chassis of the possibilities comes from this very expensive but
At around $244 USD, the
Bemo HOe Diesel Loco Class VL3 looks extremely overpriced until you look
at the quality of engineering. Every wheel is driven by decent gears and
the whole thing is just 'right'. I have seen two Leek and Manifold tank
engines based on these chassis and extremely desirable they are too.
The Bemo chassis installed into a
Backwoods kit. This loco is 'Exe' on our Bratton Fleming layout and runs
A new contender is a chassis supplied by
Parkside Dundas for the Penrhyn main line locos. This is a wonderful
new development. Supply is again very limited and several months waiting
list is the order of the day.
photo by Mick Thornton
A most exciting development has been
announced from Minitrains. Outside frames which can no doubt be modified
including the crank shapes. It is due for release spring 2014. The valve
gear leaves much to be desired as it stands.
Another exciting development is the
announcement that this company is to offer replicas of the L&B Manning
Wardle. Preproduction photos show an excellent model with slightly
simplified Joy gear. A must for all L&B fans I should say when it
Narrow gauge locos with outside frames are a
bit like sausage dogs and it is almost impossible to see their wheels. For
the most part then, I worry little about spokes and such like.
From time to time these have been made
available but seem scarce these days. They are quite easy to make yourself
however. Firstly, discs of thin brass or nickel silver have to be made.
Once you have your discs, solder your axle
extensions into the disc. Make sure that the joint is very well made. I
use a jig to make sure that the axles are accurately fitted.
Now trim of the axles to the length required
leaving the rear flush with the disc. Now the cranks can be fabricated
quite easily using 1.5mm thick brass. Solder stock together and file the
block to the shape required.
The cranks must then be accurately drilled on
a good drill stand to give a good fit for the axles and crank pins. I
favour using 14 BA screws for the pins and tap the holes and screw them
in. They are then soldered and the head sanded off.
The discs with their axle extensions must now
be fitted to the wheel sets. Here, a jig has to be turned to make sure
that they are accurately aligned. This is a tool which will continue to
serve as long as you use the same wheels for other projects.
It is now time to fit the cranks. Remember,
cranks are always fitted at 90 degrees to each other. You can buy
proper quartering tools and frankly I think they are worthwhile. If you
have one, attach the cranks using Loctite 603. This glue will give you
time to fiddle around until the quartering is perfect. Once satisfied,
leave for 24 hours to set.
If you do not have a quartering tool you must
fit the wheel sets to your chassis. Attach the cranks using Loctite 603
and add the coupling rods temporarily. You have to time to fiddle around
with the quartering until the wheels and rods turn with no tight spots. It
is a good idea to have the coupling rods drilled for a clearance fit to
the 14BA pins. The holes can be opened out later. Leave untouched for 24
Make sure that the cranks are all equally
spaced from the discs.
The outside frames can be then added as they
are slotted. They can be made of Plasticard or metal.
You now have an outside from loco. The first
one I made this way was my K1 Garratt in 1972 and it is running well to
It is sometimes possible to have wheel sets
provided with extended axles. This is the case, for instance, with the
Bullant chassis. Such sets are also available from Romfords. If you are
modifying a commercial chassis, this option is not usually available to
you. This method is better of course, if you can do it.
You can buy push on cranks from Victors Scale
Models and Meridian (Meridian use this method for their Baldwin gas
mechanical). These are very good provided that your axles or axle
extensions are of the correct diameter. They can be firmly attached with
A Victors chassis with
push on cranks