East Sussex Finescale

Redhill 1938

Locomotives for a layout in 4mm



Building Redhill in 4mm takes time and room. However, ESF member Ian Sneyd is well on the way towards completion of his P4 layout and with most of the track built and laid attention is now turning towards the locomotives.


1279 H-tank

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Ians first attempt at an H tank was number 1005 for his layout of Oxted; 1279 being built for Redhill. Ian reports that the SE Finecast is an excellent kit and a joy to build and will give no-one any problems unless like me with 1005 they are an inexperienced newbie building in P4.

The kit comes with a sprung, otherwise rigid, rear bogie; an arrangement that works surprisingly well. Ians first effort used Gibson sprung hornblocks but he found this was a disaster as it was impossible to set up and so was consigned to the dustbin of history (literally).

Ians second effort used twin springy beams (0.9 mm steel wire, not to be confused with CSBs) as promoted by Ted Scannel of the Scalefour Society which is perfect for an 0-4-4. Pickup is off all 4 axles and the DCC chip in 1279 sits vertically in the rear bunker.

1005 used a Mashima 1420 with a Branchlines multibox; a combination that fits easily but  is somewhat underpowered. It will take a Roxey birdcage set (and probably the Bachmann similar if and when they appear) provide the layout is flat and curves are easy. However, for Redhill Ian wanted a more prototypical load for 1279 (the H tanks being good powerful locomotives) so fitted a 1424. While it's a bit cosy now for the crew it's not really noticeable even peering in closely.

While Ian was building 1279 he gave 1005 a refit, so it now has a full set of pipework on the steam reverser.


1595 J-tank

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The Wainwright J class is from a Chivers kit long since withdrawn and even then well beyond it's mould-by date. It makes up into a nice locomotive with a lot of work and a raid on the SEF parts bin or Branchlines stock. Easy to make chassis with conventional flexichas with fixed rear axle and Mashima 1424 with B/L multibox and flywheel.

In 1938 number 1595 it was based at Ashford so would have been a Redhill visitor on locals from that direction.

This was Ians first loco to have a Digitrax DH136 chip but he has yet to see if there's any difference over the DH135.


1783 L1-class

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L1 number 1783 was actually built for the layout of Oxted and is an old Triang-Hornby body on a stretched SE Finecast E-class chassis. The tender comes from the SE Finecast Q kit.

The body is an excellent representation of the real thing though albeit a little undersized. In this respect it should definitely not be stood alongside an oversized DJH L-class.

The main work is obviously the removal of all the handrails (etc) plus the moulding under the boiler that hides the heavy and powerful original chassis. The front buffer beam also needs alterations, though this wasn't done on 1783. Redhill now has its own L1 (1786) which has a few such refinements. All the necessary parts are standard Wainwright /SR and are available from the SEF parts bin.

In both cases the excellent SE Finecast E chassis was used, cutting the frames vertically and inserting a 2 mm filling piece and then making new twin beams. As the plastic body weighs, essentially, nothing in order to get traction the motor is in the tender and drives a NorthYard gearbox on the rear driven axle by means of a carden shaft. This enables loco weight to be brought up to 270 gms.

The original 1783 has a Mashima 1424 with flywheel but the chassis proved able to take more and 1786 has a 1624 and flywheel. Again, 1783 had pickup on the drivers and all tender axles but this proved to be an unnecessary complication and 1786 has pickup on the tender only.

The SEF model of what became a very standard SR tender is a very old model and needs a fair bit work. There is no tender chassis at all in the kit. Here the chassis uses Bill Bedford sprung W-irons suitably modified for tender wheels, so that it runs on pinpoints, not internal bearings. Pickups are brass wire fixed stylus-style from above. Motor and all electrics including DCC chip sit on the chassis which is easily removable.


2076 I3-tank

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This photo shows Oxted's Marsh I3 2076 but Redhill recently built number 2075 looks identical. However, there are a lot of differences underneath.

Both locomotives are from the SE Finecast kit which is not one of their best (to be polite it is an old Wills body), but does have an excellent modern chassis which should give no-one any problems provided the track is perfectly flat and perfectly straight.

The body needs a fair amount of fettling (as it's a very old kit) and very easy to get the ride height, buffer heights and cab proportions /heights all wrong.

The chassis has a very effective twin beam suspension which gives no problems. The front bogie benefits from some judicious filing to give some side play and in P4 (and probably EM) will need some compensation. 2076 has a Masokits fully sprung (both vertically and laterally) bogie kit which works superbly but for 2075 Ian deemed the considerable extra effort and expense not worthwhile and went for the usual rocking rear axle and simple wire side control spring.

The rear of the frames really do need to be narrowed to accommodate the radial axle. Indeed by a surprising large amount even to accommodate 4' radius curves. Ian used the 00 frame spacer at the rear, so about 5 mm
narrower and even then put thin styrene on the frames where the swinging radial wheels flanges might touch the frames.

In both cases the radial axle is 1/8" brass tube with 2 mm bearing with the clearance holes in the frames made considerably larger. On 2076 Ian used two pieces of brass wire as the springs plus another (thinner) as the radial
pivot. It works but it's difficult to set up and needs too frequent adjustment.

Number 2075 uses a Smiths coupling hook spring soldered to the top centre of the radial axle tube with a keeper (brass tube) on the chassis to stop it getting displaced; this is much easier and more effective.

Both have Mashima 1624 motors and flywheels. Electrical pickup is easy on the drivers with those huge tanks hiding anything you might wish to do; not so easy on the radial axle and (from experience with a very similar I1X) probably unnecessary


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