Thursday, November 27, 2014

Brass buffers bad

BrassBuffersOne surprise inside the box'o'bits that contained my Adams Radial kit was this set of natty brass buffers.

Ready made and nicely sprung, they are just what we keep being told that modellers want to find at the ends of all their rolling stock.

I've no idea how old they are but I have a feeling they might be contemporary with the kit so over 40 years.

Sadly, there is a bit of a problem here. They are ALL brass.

While brass housings are fine and perfectly normal, brass heads and shanks aren't. What they are is the wrong colour because they are the wrong metal. What we need here is steel.

Sadly, this means the whole lot is going to have to be painted and then fixed solid so the paint doesn't rub off when the buffers are compressed. Pity, as they are quite nice.

The sharp eyed will have spotted the vacuum pipe has been fitted and that instead of running up the face of the buffer beam, it emerges from behind it. Just as it does in the photos I found of the real loco. Not sure how common this is but I'm pleased to have modelled it and will now boast every time someone looks at the model.


Mark said...

Why not try chemically blackening them instead of painting. That way you might be able to keep the spring motion.

Paul B. said...

Rather than paint the heads I wonder of its possible to tin the shanks with a thin layer of solder then chemically blacken the buffing face?

Phil Parker said...

Solder - That's an interesting possibility but I'd have to take ther things apart and the weird old design relies on crimped ends on the shanks which I don't think I could un-crimp. If only they were Slaters-style nuts!

Chemical blackening would change the colour but not to one I want, the chanks should be steel.

However, if I'm honest (and I'd get drummed out of the finescale world for saying it) I'm not fussed about working buffers. In use they won't see any action as I'm not planning to use 3-links. I appreciate the fine turnings giving a finesse that it's hard to get with whitemetal though.

Chris Thomas said...

Like Paul and Mark I would go with the chemical blackening approach. You mention that you want the shanks to be 'steel' by which I presume you mean brightish metal. Modern hydraulic buffers do have a very bright and thick shank, but older sprung buffers of the sort fitted to steam locomotives usually have just a dull metal shank (Unless they have been bulled up for a special working, of course...).

Phil Parker said...

Interesting point. I always think of the shanks being bright steel. Maybe all the steam trains I get on have been buffed up especially because of my presence?

Anyway, too late now, as you'll see tomorrow...