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Member postings for Jim Nic

Here is a list of all the postings Jim Nic has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
23/08/2017 16:14:22

It's a Revell colour SM 350 which is more of a slate/blue colour than it appears in the photos. It has a semi matt finish and I applied it using a cheapish Badger 200 airbrush over rattle can primer.

I find that to my eye semi matte or satin finishes give a more scale like appearance than full gloss. I recently visited the London Museum of Water and Steam and although most of their engines are gloss painted, from a few metres back the gloss reduces to a more semi matt appearance. Having said that, I know Jason uses gloss on a lot of his true scale models and they look fantastic and I did my version of his Jowitt engine in gloss and that looks good too.


23/08/2017 12:49:13

Jason got it in one.

It was done just to be different and I preferred the look with the exhaust piped away. It also gave me more room on the valve chest side to fix the banding for the lagging.

I tend to do things differently from engine designs just to put my own stamp on them and in some cases make the models look a little less "modelly" to my eye. I started this when I built John "Bogstandard" Moore's Paddleduck engine from his build log where he showed what was possible by making 2 very different looking models while keeping the same basic shape and important dimensions.



Edited By Jim Nic on 23/08/2017 12:50:21

23/08/2017 10:29:00


You will soon be making the valve rod guide. There are a couple of ways to do this, you could make a 2 piece guide as Stew originally did and either be super accurate or leave the mounting holes loose for wiggleability or fabricate a 1 piece guide as I did. Either way, to help locate the hole in the guide I made a dummy piston valve and shortened operating rod from a piece of silver steel and formed a pointed end on the top of the rod; when hardened this became a centre pop. I assembled the valve chest with the dummy valve and the guide in place and was able accurately to mark the guide from underneath with the pointed rod. (Unfortunately the photo of the dummy rod I had was lost when my computer died a couple of months ago, I now have double backups of everything I've taken since that day. Bolted horses and stable doors spring to mind!)

Vertical cross valve guide 1

Vertical cross valve guide 2

Hopefully this pearl of wisdom gets to you before you've made the part and helps in some way.


Thread: Redundant 5 speed pillar drill
17/08/2017 09:46:53

I recently purchased from e-bay just such a drill which was honestly described as not very good and I got cheaply. I got it because I wanted to do some engine turning for my current project and did not want to get grinding paste on my mill/drill. When I got it home I cleaned it up, adjusted the belt tension and quill guide screw to remove some of the play and put it aside. In the few weeks it's been put aside I have used it regularly for woodwork and other less important jobs to save disturbing set ups on the mill. I've yet to use it for the purpose for which it was bought and it has now been transferred from "aside" in the garage to the corner of the workshop.

Long story short, don't be too hasty to get rid of it and if it really is not wanted put it on e-bay and get yourself the cash for something you do want.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
13/08/2017 11:46:43

Hi George

Here I come with advice a bit late again. I am still using carbon impregnated string as a seal medium so I use ordinary twist drills for stuffing boxes and leave the conical seat at the bottom of the hole after tapping and then the flat on the end of the gland follower tends to compress the string on to the shaft. Counterbores or such are not then necessary. Small O rings are the modern method I understand, so a flat bottomed hole will work just fine or just leave the drilled seat.


Thread: Helping dad vertical engine
12/08/2017 19:40:17

A good looking pair of engines Chris with some nice touches in the cylinder banding. yes


Thread: Up the garden path to new lathe
12/08/2017 19:30:13

There is a non flying Defiant at the RAF Museum, Cosford.

I hope that Rik's lathe is better at it's job than the aircraft, which was not at all good and didn't stay in first line use for long before being re-roled as a night fighter.


Edited By Jim Nic on 12/08/2017 19:35:56

Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
11/08/2017 12:03:31

Vertical Cross coming along nicely George.

As I remember Stew's design calls for the piston valve hole to be made all the way through the valve chest and a plug to be inserted to seal the bottom. I found I was able to drill and ream to within a couple of mm of the bottom and the valve still had room to operate and I avoided the need for a plug and the potential for an air (or steam) leak.


Thread: Split dies
06/08/2017 13:56:28


I have a set of cheap dies bought when I started model engineering and they are tapered both sides so when I need to get up to a shoulder I take the die to my bench grinder and adjust the profile of the non printed side. Simples.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
06/08/2017 13:49:42

Hi George

As I recall I drilled the cylinder and steam chest to drawing and luckily got it right. I do have a DRO on my mill/drill which makes that a better option for me than spotting through and picking up the marks. This part actually allows a little inaccuracy especially if you clad the cylinder devil

Also I normally make clearance holes a tad big, normally 0.1mm, to give a bit of wriggleability. As Stew Hart (not Hall, he was the giggling fool off "It's a Knockout " from the telly wasn't he?) says "A little bit of clearance never got in the road."


Thread: Whats this mini-lathe
01/08/2017 20:26:40

It says at the top of the write up "Interesting hand made modellers lathe."

I'm guessing the "hand made" refers to the lathe and not the modeller. wink


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
29/07/2017 14:11:32

That Otto Langen top plate looks to be a fair old chunk of steel Jason, did it warp at all when you thinned it down?


28/07/2017 11:42:43

They look nice George, pity the bottom one won't be seen. sad


24/07/2017 12:18:39


Yes the crankshaft shape is for cosmetic reasons (as are most of the "modifications" on my engines) and to fully use up the piece of steel I made it from. I don't think the mass of the extension is enough to affect the balance particularly at the low speed the engine runs at.

The colour of the photo is a strange result from my cheap happysnapper digital camera in artificial lighting, the model is painted in a dark blue slate grey kind of a colour which came from Revell model paints, number SM350. I can't recall where I got it, probably from a toy/model shop locally.


24/07/2017 09:36:32

George. My flywheel is indeed fabricated, not exactly as Stew Hart designed but similar and it worked out well. It was an interesting thing to have done and I've used the method for 3 others since.

Thanks for the comment Hopper. The engine is the Vertical Cross Single designed by Stewart Hart in 2013 as part of his "Dads and Lads" series. The plans are freely available, I downloaded them from Model Engine Maker site. Big picture, albeit with a strange colour bias, below.

vertical cross single 1.jpg


23/07/2017 20:54:55

Nice result George.

On my version of this engine I stood the top plate on edge against an angle plate and cut around all the edges with a 5mm slot drill to make it look a little less slabby.



23/07/2017 14:06:57

Making slow progress on the Stew Hart Popcorn engine. Here are a couple of pictures of the first trial assembly of the major bits.

Next up is the valve operating mechanism after which I can get it running with a temporary air supply and then on to the air manifold with it's throttle valve, governor and whistle.

first assembly 3.jpg

first assembly 2.jpg

Thread: What Did You Do Today (2017)
19/07/2017 10:13:01

An impressive range of skills Martin!


08/07/2017 21:26:44

It seems that electrical matters are the subject of the moment. My day went to pot at around lunchtime when my computer gave up the ghost with a blank screen and a strong smell of expensively overheated electronics. crying 2

I spent the rest of the day resurrecting a very slow 17 year old laptop so that I could get on t'internetty, which rules our lives these days, and make this post.


Thread: Cheddar Valley Steam - is there a problem?
04/07/2017 20:20:33

The Small Claims division of the County Court is indeed easy to bring a case in. However getting judgement in your favour, whether by default or by the weight of your case, doesn't mean a thing if the defendant doesn't settle. You still have to fight for your money and the costs you have incurred on top, the only difference being you have a County Court Judgement on your side.

I would suggest that if you are considering the legal route you warn CVS what you intend before you actually spend the £35.00 in the hope that he will understand the potential implications and engage with you.


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