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Beginners new build questions

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Tomasz Osakowicz26/09/2018 12:16:21
10 forum posts
3 photos

First of all hello to all forum members.

I'm new to the hobby with only little experience so far but after successfully completed few stationery engines i would like to try building a steam locomotive. I was searching for answer which loco would suit me the best and i think 3 1/2 gauge Juliet would be my choice. I could run it in my back garden and castings are cheap enough so even if i make major mistake while machining, replacing a casting with a new one won't hurt as much as it would with 5 inch gauge. I also decide to go for Baker's valve and yes I know Stephenson's would be much simpler but I just love the look of all moving parts on the outside, so Baker's it is

I would appreciate if some of the members could share opinions and give a bit of advice maybe.

First question would be: where to buy drawings from?

Blackgates and Reeves drawings are both 7 sheets where GLR Kennions only 6 and only half a price of the first two? Why is that? Am I missing something? Would let say Reeves drawings be more detailed than GLR?

Other thing is where to source castings from? What is your experience about service from different suppliers? Will castings from one be better quality then the others?

And finally is there any book describing building a Juliet? I know about ME articles from 1947 and i'm lucky to own some of them but there's lot of referring to previous builds like "machine part as described for Lassie" or "do something as per Lassie notes" and obviously it would be easier to buy one book than collecting dozen of magazines.

It's going to be a long time project as i can only spare few hours a week, but certainly any advice from forum members will speed up a build so any comments much appreciated.


Neil Wyatt26/09/2018 13:31:22
16935 forum posts
690 photos
76 articles

I think the extra sheet is an alternative boiler.

I think the series of Juliet was pretty light on build instructions, you may do better to buy a copy of Shop, Shed and Road top cover the bits he left out.

There are several online build logs.


Tomasz Osakowicz26/09/2018 20:20:40
10 forum posts
3 photos
Thanks for your reply Neil. I didn't know there's alternative boiler for this loco. And I will look for a copy of the book you mentioned. Cheers
Bob Youldon26/09/2018 21:16:15
183 forum posts
20 photos

Hello Tomasz,

Welcome to the forum; I think the GLR drawings are re-drawn, old man Kennion had some sort of trading agreement with the designer LBSC and the others sorce their drawings via the copyright holder Sarick?, look down the adverts to the right if these posts for a link. I have drawings for another of his designs from both Kennions and the then providers and I have to say Kennion's are much clearer. Juliet although a freelance it's a "beginners" engine and I built one with Baker gear many years ago as my first project, There are web sites out there with the whole serial describing the construction (the words and music as LBSC called them). There are loads of Juliets built over the years and they all go well. For a slightly more up market design based on a full sized prototype then I'd suggest Rob Roy, most of the suppliers can supply the castings and materials and again there have been hundreds built; there is a book detailing the construction of the locomotive available and they all go well, a good fun engine. What I would suggest if you have'nt already done so is join your local club or one in your area, generally shed loads of help, assistance, ideas etc.



Neil Wyatt26/09/2018 21:18:34
16935 forum posts
690 photos
76 articles
Posted by Tomasz Osakowicz on 26/09/2018 20:20:40:
Thanks for your reply Neil. I didn't know there's alternative boiler for this loco. And I will look for a copy of the book you mentioned. Cheers

The book is useful if you have LBSCs build articles, as he tends to come to a part and say 'as I have described so many times before in these pages...'

Tomasz Osakowicz26/09/2018 21:55:59
10 forum posts
3 photos
Bob thanks for comment on drawings. Rob Roy would be my second choice but I was worried that 0-6-0 chassis wouldn't take a sharp curves (my garden is about 26 feet wide) not sure what is minimum radius for 3 1/2 but Juliet will manage that.
Good tip with joining club. There is actually one nearby and I really should visit them one day. I know they do a public running every Sunday so maybe pop in and have a word with members.

Cheers for all replies and if someone could comment on quality of castings from different suppliers that would be great.
Simon Collier26/09/2018 22:05:24
305 forum posts
52 photos

Good choice, Juliet. Have a look for the build series online as I downloaded it from somewhere a couple of years ago. The book for Tich might be helpful too if you can pick up a copy.

Fowlers Fury26/09/2018 22:19:24
328 forum posts
73 photos

Tomasz, you ask "Other thing is where to source castings from? What is your experience about service from different suppliers? Will castings from one be better quality then the others?"

From (bitter) experience - yes - castings from different suppliers can be of very different quality. The bad ones can be the result of shoddy pattern making, poor foundry work or both. I would suggest if at all possible you either visit the suppliers and look closely & compare their castings before purchase or as Bob suggests, join a MES and seek relevant advice.

"Same" loco castings do vary in advertised price and the cheaper ones may not match the more expensive ones in terms of machinability or machining allowances. In the past, I have bought cheap and came to regret it.
You may spend hours carefully machining a cylinder block only to discover a sizeable hole. OK, you can normally get a free replacement but no compensation for the many hours wasted.
Bad foundry practice can lead to such holes, chilled spots in cast iron or porous non-ferrous castings. The last one is a real **** because usually you don't find out until you've finished the loco.

Bob Perkins27/09/2018 07:04:09
246 forum posts
59 photos


You can download the ME articles from here


Jan B27/09/2018 07:07:20
22 forum posts
10 photos

Welkome to the forum Tomasz.

If you google, John-Tom Engine and Model Plans, you can download building instructions copied from articles written by LBSC in Model Engineer. As always you have to check for faults in drawings. I had to make new buffer beams and crankpin was to long. Best is to redraw in Cad, and check that everything fits before starting machining. I have not bought any castings, machined cylinders, wheels and so on from solid material.

My track has curvradius of 3 meters and my TICH easily copes with that and I think my Juliet also will.


Tomasz Osakowicz27/09/2018 08:49:50
10 forum posts
3 photos
Thanks everyone for these useful informations. I have found plans before on John-tom website and also manage to find few Model Engineer issues with Juliet articles on Ebay.
Jan I didn't realise that drawings can have faults. Obviously errors always happens but I thought these would be corrected by now after so many years.
And hats off for building loco without castings, that would probably take me ages As a first project I'll try simplify by buying laser cut frames and all the castings. There will be a lot of filing anyway with Bakers valve gear
Fowlers Fury27/09/2018 09:29:17
328 forum posts
73 photos

" I didn't realise that drawings can have faults. Obviously errors always happens but I thought these would be corrected by now after so many years."

If only that were the case !
A commendable thread was begun on Model Engineers Clearing House a few years ago where builders could post errors they'd found. If you've not already done so, use the search box for Juliet or whatever:-


Tomasz Osakowicz27/09/2018 21:31:03
10 forum posts
3 photos
Cheers, will definitely look into this.
Well i guess it's time to start shopping for castings Hopefully soon I'll be able to show start of the new locomotive. Thanks to all !

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