Thursday, February 14, 2013

Building a Brass and Whitemetal Loco


As noted previously, I have been encouraged to share my soldering knowledge via this blog. I will be assembling a DJH Kit of a New South Wales Government Railway's 35class.

The kit comprises everything we need apart from solder, flux, paint, decals and brass numbers.

So what do we need to build a loco? Firstly and most importantly, we need the patience to ensure that at each step we are assembling the kit correctly, with the right solder and flux and of course that the model is as accurate as we are capable of making it. There are hundreds of photos available of the 35 class and it is worth perusing as many as you can collect. An accurate, cleanly assembled, well running model is a joy to behold and I still feel pride every time I finish one.

The products and techniques that I use have been tried and trued during the assembly of well over a hundred locos for myself and friends. They are not the only products and techniques, they are simply what I have found to work each and every time.


You will need a temperature controlled soldering iron. I use a Dick Smith T-2200. These are no longer available at the stores but you may be able to acquire one on line. I noticed that a tools link on the ARKits website has them available. I have no idea about numbers. I use the largest tip available for the iron for good heat transfer. Jaycar have a suitable Solder Station. TS1390. Buy the TS1394 tip with it.

An assortment of files will be needed. I have a lot of jeweler's files as well as a couple of single cut Mill Bastard files.

Various knives, scalpel and or Exacto types are ideal. We will cover the specific types I use as we go along.

Drill bits are essential. Packs of assorted drill bits in 0.1mm steps are readily available. A 1/8 inch is also required. Buy spares of 0.5mm as you will break a few. A couple of pin chucks are handy, at least for the smaller drills. Try and track down a little bee's wax to lubricate your drill bits.

Something for cleaning the whitemetal is essential. I use a suede shoe brush, hard to find now, however, AMRA NSW were able to source some after I conducted a work shop in their rooms. A glass fibre pencil is also very handy, but extreme care should be exercised with it. 

My Dremel is something I just cannot cope with out. I built a few locos before I bought one but found the investment well worth it. DON'T PUT SMALL DRILL BITS IN THE DREMEL. You will fry them. 

Solder and Flux.

I once stated at a work shop that I had quite a range of fluxes and solders that I used. I have now reduced the range to only a few. I use BGM flux and their solder or Carr's 70 for whitemetal. I use LACO Regular Soldering Flux for brass to brass and for tinning brass before joining to whitemetal parts. Carr's 145 does the majority of my brass soldering. Sometimes I will use a little Carr's 188 or 179, but rarely.

How and where will be discussed as we travel along.

My next post will show, yes with pictures, how I assemble the locomotive chassis. come back regularly and check on my progress. If you have a specific question regarding this build or indeed another, I can be contacted through the Facebook Group Soldering Techniques, Murrumbidgee Mail, or through this blog.