Monday, March 11, 2013

Catching cows

CowcatherFor legal reasons, steam engines are required to have their motion hidden away when running on street tramways. Personally, I think it's Heath and Safety gone mad and we'd never have suffered this sort of thing in the 1950's - erm, except we did.

Anyway, at the ends of the engine, we find some cow catchers. These are one of those bits on a model locomotive that can only be produced by etching or some very fiddly scratchbuilding. On this loco, they are found on the etch in three parts.

First, there is a U-shaped hoop made up of a U and strip of brass. The later is bent up around a small screwdriver (to prom the curve) and soldered to the U. It's supplied over-long, handy as you don't have to be too precise with the bends.

The U is then soldered to the half-etched end of the cowcatcher. This is bent up and then the instructions explain how to form the final part. I ignored these and just soldered the top edge of the cowcatcher to the buffer beam, bent it out and then twisted the U-shaped base back. This seems to work OK. I'd hoped to make the things up as separate items for attachment later but this wasn't to be. Didn't seem to matter though as they are surprisingly strong.


Iain Robinson said...

This is looking very tight and is coming on well. I always feel vaguely guilty when I look at the manufacturers instructions and then decide to go my own way, so I am glad to see that I'm not the only one who does this!

I've always wondered at the idea that exposed motion would "frighten the horses" and had to be covered up. The victorians didn't generally seem to give a toss about animal welfare...or perhaps it's to guard against collateral damage when the horse runs amok, perplexed by the complexity of Walschaerts valvegear.

Phil Parker said...

Either the rules were invented by model maker who thought "It willmake building one of those a lot easier if we cover up the waggly bits" or the Victorians were concerned that the sight a naked con-rod would give the ladies and attack of the vapours.

Iain Robinson said...

Definitely the! They covered up piano legs, after all...which makes the modelling of 4mm scale pianos mercifully a little easier.