Thursday, September 21, 2017

How I bashed an LGB Otto into a sort of Black Hawthorn 0-4-0ST


It all started when one of my former customers at RC Trains sent me an LGB Otto loco for conversion to battery power and radio control. He was in the process of modifying it into a half-cab loco and had reached the stage where he had cut down the cab. After completing the conversion I test ran the loco and was captivated by its appearance.

I just happened to have a tatty old LGB Otto sitting on the shelf which I had bought secondhand a few months previously and so, rather than using it for spares as had been my original intention, I decided it could form the basis for a half cab conversion of my own.



LGB Ottos are fairly easy to dismantle.  The screws holding them together are all readily apparent and accessible and so dismantling is a fairly logical and straightforward process. 

As the cab was my primary focus for this initial bash, I started there. The four screws holding the cab to the motor block were removed ......

..... and, though not essential,  the steps were also removed by unscrewing the screws holding them in place.

The cab was then eased off .....

...... revealing the rear of the motor block and the firebox.

The screws holding the mount for the front coupling were then removed .....

........ and the mounting plate and coupling eased off........

....... thus making the screws holding the boiler to the motor block more easily accessible.  These two screws were then removed.

The boiler was removed and the plug connecting the lighting circuitry to the pickup connectors removed.

The screws holding the wiring solder tags were undone .........

....... and then the tags snipped off to allow the wires to be able to slip through the various cavities.

The bulb and its holder were then pulled out from the pedestal on the firebox.

The two screws holding the weight in place were then removed and the weight taken out.

The two screws holding the fittings to the top of the boiler were removed........

......allowing the dome .........

..... and the sandbox (?) to be removed from the top of the boiler.

The nut holding the chimney in place was then unscrewed .......

....... and the chimney lifted out.

The bell was carefully eased out - it was just a push-fit.

The bunker was prised off the back of the cab, .......

....... another push-fit.

The loco was now ready to be hacked about.

Bash 1

As can be implied from the title of this section, I had intended originally to carry out a relatively quick and easy transformation,  by cutting off the top half of the cab but, as we shall see, I changed my mind. If you are following in my footsteps, you could save yourself a lot of additional work and skip from the end of this section to the description of dismantling the motor block and installing the electrics.

A line was carefully scribed around the cab at the height of the water tanks.

A razor saw was then deployed to carry out this piece of surgery.

The water tank fillers were prised off during this process to allow the saw to cut the front of the cab level with the tops of the tanks.

The cab was thus severed. You may notice that I cut the rear of the cab so it was 5mm taller than the rest of the cab as some of the photos of real half-cab locos seemed to indicate they were designed in this way.

I then test-fitted the cab to the rest of the body. Although it looked OK, I wasn't entirely convinced by its appearance.

Positioning a dome (from the cap of a bottle of sun cream) failed to persuade me of the loco's authenticity,  and so I looked around for some examples of real locos to provide me with inspiration.

In the meantime,  I decided to dismantle the motor block.

Dismantling the motor block

Just like the bodywork, the screws holding the motor block together are readily apparent. The two large screws and four smaller screws on the base of the block were removed.

Once the baseplate had been set aside, the inner workings were revealed.

As they were no longer needed and they increase friction, the pick-up skates were lifted out from their housings.

Similarly, the brass contact strips were also removed.

The contact wires were prised out ........

...... leaving the axles clear.

The wheels and axles were then lifted out.

This allowed the wheel brushes to be eased out. Some needed to be persuaded to move with a small flat bladed screwdriver.

The screws holding the slide bars in place were removed .....

...... as were those holding the brake gear in place.

The two screws holding the top plate on the motor block were unscrewed ......

....... allowing the plate to be removed ........

.... and the motor to be lifted out.

The contact wires for the motor terminals were also eased out and put to one side, as they would be needed again later.

Finally, the screws holding the cylinders in place were removed to release the cylinders.

I then scrubbed the motor block mouldings in hot water with some dishwasher fluid to remove deposits of grease and oil as the motor block would be painted black later on. This stage is not necessary if you are intending to leave the block red, or your version of the Otto motor block is already black.

Second thoughts

As indicated above, I was not entirely convinced by the appearance of the cut down cab and so consulted some of the books of narrow gauge railways in my library to find some photos of half cab locos for inspiration. I was really taken by the photos of two diminutive three foot gauge Black Hawthorn 0-4-0 saddle tank locos in Ivo Peter's OPC book on narrow gauge railways (The Narrow Gauge Charm of Yesteryear: A Pictorial Tribute; Peters, I; OPC; 1976 -Plates 89, 90, 99, 101, 106, 107, 108). After searching the internet for drawings of these locos, I was delighted to discover that one of them; Kettering Furnaces No.3; was preserved in Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum, which is only just over an hour's drive away, and so a fact finding expedition was organised.

Kettering Furnaces No.3

Kettering Furnaces No. 3 is in very good condition and displayed in such a way that it was easy for me to take a series of photos of the loco and its fixtures and fittings.

On reflection, I could have taken measurements of key dimensions but, as my model was not going to be a scale representation,  I felt at the time that it was unnecessary.

From previous experience,  I realised that photos of details such as the pipework ........

....... and the firebox backhead fittings would be especially helpful during construction and so many of the 75 photos featured these items.

Armed with this information,  I felt quite confident I would be able to modify Otto to give a reasonably good representation of this distinctive locomotive.

Bash 2

When tackling a bash such as this, I find that one of the most important decisions is working out where to start. I don't always get it right first time and so I have learnt that there will inevitably be occasions when something has to be undone to allow the next stage to be completed. Hopefully, if you are intending to follow in my footsteps,  you will be able to avoid these blind alleys and shortcut the construction process. I will try to flag up clearly where these diversions occur with NOTE: comments..

Repositioning the tanks / aka bunkers

Notable differences between the Bash1 version and Kettering Furnaces No.3 (KF3) were the saddle tank, the consequent position of the bunkers and the size of the footplate. To remedy this, the first job was to reposition the side tanks and convert them into bunkers. Although I had actually fixed the tanks in place with screws, I removed them and marked out where Otto's footplate needed to be shortened (as can be seen), just ahead of the cavity for the rear wheels.

This section of the footplate was removed with a razor saw.

Because the tanks were now going to be further back, the cab sides needed to be shortened. A line 15mm back from the original opening was scored and another line level with the base of the doorway was scored horizontally.

A razor saw was then used to cut along these lines.

NOTE: Later on, the bottom section of each tank was completely removed by extending the horizontal cut to the front of the tank. This was required to accommodate the running plate.

The mouldings on the sides of the firebox were smoothed off with a coarse file ......

...... thus enabling the tanks to be fixed in place.

As indicated above, the tanks were affixed with a couple of self-tapping screws.

Later, some Deluxe Plastic Magic solvent was trickled into the gap between the tanks and the firebox to reinforce the bond, but at this stage I wanted the flexibility of being able to dismantle if necessary.

The saddle tank

Now the tanks were more or less in the correct position, I decided to tackle the saddle tank. As the dimensions of the Otto boiler were not the same as that of KF3, I mocked up a series of cardboard templates with slight variations in their dimensions until I found one which looked about right.

I eventually opted for a tank with these dimensions: the ends started off as 60mm x 40mm rectangles and then shaped with radii of 44mm for the upper surface of the tank and 24mm for the inside curve, with its centre at 7mm from base. The ends were cut from 1.5mm thick plasticard.

The sides were 85mm x 23mm and the top of the tank was 85mm x 90mm. The side pieces were cut from 1.5mm thick plasticard and the top was cut from 1mm thick plasticard.

The sides and ends were glued with solvent.

In the meantime, the top was wrapped around an empty beer can, being fixed in place with cable ties. The can was immersed in boiling water and left for ten minutes. It was then removed and the cable ties snipped off.

The top was made deliberately oversized .......

.... because it's difficult to stop the edges from becoming corrugated.

One edge was sliced off around 10mm in from the edge to give a clean, non-wrinkled edge.

The tank top was then test fitted and the other edge marked against the sides of the tank. The excess was then sliced off to fit.

I could have fixed the saddle tank in place at this stage, but decided to leave it as a loose fit until I had sorted out the rest of the build.

The smokebox support

The Otto loco has a prominent curved flare to the smokebox supports, certainly very different to the fairly insignificant support on KF3. Rather than removing the support entirely,  I decided to reduce its width. The seatings for the fixing screws are moulded into the support and I didn'want to lose them, and so I scored a couple of lines just outside where these mouldings were located.

The razor-saw was used to remove the excess .....

..... leaving the screw mouldings intact.

Later on in the build, the sawn off sides of the support were blanked off with a couple of suitably-sized rectangles of 1mm thick plasticard (see below).

The running plate

Apart from the saddle tank and spectacle plate, the other significant difference between the Otto and KF3 is the running plate, which is non existent on the Otto. To accommodate the running plate, the vertical mouldings on the ends of the slide bars needed to be lopped off.

They were trimmed down as close to the screw mounts as possible.

The various fittings and mouldings on the sides of the boiler were removed, either by easing them off ......

...... and/or by judicious use of the razor-saw.

In addition, 5mm was removed from the various protrusions on the lower edge of the boiler.

A piece of card (from a cereal packet) 105mm x 201mm was cut out and then marked-up and shaped to fit over the motor block moulding. It was constantly test-fitted and tweaked until it fitted the block as snugly as possible.

The card was then used as a template to transfer the dimensions to a piece of 2mm thick plasticard.

The boiler was then loose-fitted and the running plate and boiler moulding trimmed until everything fitted neatly.

To compensate for a slight variation in the height between the footplate and the supports for the cylinders, a couple of 2mm thick packing pieces of plasticard were cut and glued to the footplate as shown in the photo.

NOTE: The front sections of the footplate which were excised earlier could have remained in place.

The box-like mouldings on the uppermost surface of the cylinder supports were smoothed off with a razor-saw and file.

The running plate was loose-fitted and checked. After a few final tweaks with a file, it was fixed in place using Deluxe Plastic Magic solvent applied wherever the running plate touched the motor block moulding. LGB plastic has a different composition to styrene and so normal styrene solvents don't work on it. I have found Plastic Magic to be one of the few solvents which can bond styrene plasticard to LGB plastics.

As can be seen, the modified slide bars now sit comfortably beneath the running plate.

I felt that she was now beginning to take shape with a passing resemblance to KF3.

 Buffer beams and running board valance

The 4mm wide valance was cut from 1.5mm thick plasticard to fit beneath the running plate. An additional 8mm wide triangular flare was shaped at each end.

The front buffer beam was cut from 1.5mm thick plasticard; 24mm deep and 105mm wide, with 15mm radius quadrants removed from the lower corners. The coupling mounting was removed from the original moulding with a razor-saw and glued in the centre of the buffer beam, just above the cut-out for the LGB coupling. Cambrian Models rivet heads were added to the buffer beam and to the running plate above it.

A piece of 1.5mm thick plasticard, 36mm wide and 95mm long was cut and fixed to the rear of the cab ( NOTE: I had decided to remove 5mm from each side of the rear of the cab to accommodate the handrails). Cambrian Models rivet heads were glued to the buffer beam in a similar pattern to those on KF3..

The bunkers 

Now the running plate had been fixed in place, the side tanks needed to be modified and turned into coal bunkers. The bottom of the tanks were removed in line with the bottom edge of the cab doorway. On reflection, the bunkers could have been left at their full height as those on my model look a bit stunted.

The top of each tank ........

..... was cut away with a slitting disk mounted in my mini drill.

The rough edges were smoothed off with a flat needle file .....

.... and the bunkers were then fixed in place either side of the firebox,  using the screws which were used earlier.

Adding weight

At this juncture, I decided to add some weight. I realised that I would be unable to replace the original lead weight as the space it occupied in the boiler would be needed for the batteries and electrics. Using a roll of lead flashing which I had bought from a builders' merchants some time ago, I marked out some strips 80mm wide.

These strips were cut off the roll using tin snips and were then trimmed to fit inside the saddle tank.

Several layers were trimmed and fitted until the tank was more or less full. The strips were then glued in place with Bostik clear adhesive taking care not to be over enthusiastic with the glue as I know from past experience that it attacks the plasticard.

A series of small rectangles of lead flashing were trimmed from the roll .....

..... to fit inside the bunkers. Although they were a tight fit, some Bostik was squeezed in to hold them in place.

The front coupling mount was cut to fit behind the buffer beam and then refitted with its two screws. Small offcuts of lead flashing were then forced underneath it to counterbalance the weights in the bunkers. Similarly,  offcuts of lead were glued into the front of the smokebox.

The spectacle plate

I decided to make the spectacle plate from brass sheet rather than plasticard as I felt plastic would be too susceptible to damage.  My locos tend to be roughly treated, especially when young visitors come round play trains. A rectangle of 1.2mm thick brass was cut out, 60mm wide and 100mm tall. The centres for the 13mm diameter spectacles were marked 55mm down from the top and 17.5mm from the edge.  The  radius of each indent was 17.5mm, using the same centres as the spectacles. This resulted in the lower section narrowing to 36mm wide. The 'roof' of the cab was created by folding the sheet 35mm from the top.

Once the spectacles and the curves had been drilled and filed, the lower section was shortened to 75mm below the fold and roughly curved to mach the circumference of the firebox,.

Some 2.5mm half-round soft brass wire was purchased from eBay.

This was cut and shaped to follow the curved edges of the spectacle plate.

The edges of the plate were tinned with solder using my 50W soldering iron. I would have preferred to have used my 75W iron but it decided to pack-up just when I needed it most. The 50W iron was only just sufficiently powerful to do the job - it would have been a lot easier with a higher rated iron!

The wires were similarly tinned and soldered to the plate by clamping them together and applying heat from the bit of the iron. As the iron was under powered, the finish was not as neat as I would have liked, but the wire was at least affixed.

After filing, the work tidied up satisfactorily.

A slot was cut in the top of the firebox with a slitting disc, powered by my mini drill, just in front of the valve cluster.  At the same time, the column which supported the cab light was removed.

The spectacle plate was slotted in.

NOTE: After applying the primer and doing a test run, I realised I had shortened the spectacle plate too much and so lengthened it by soldering an additional 8mm to the bottom of the plate.

Spectacle rings

To create the outer spectacle rings, some 2mm diameter brass wire was wrapped around the barrel of a marker pen .....

..... and one loop snipped off.

The circumference was adjusted with snips until it matched that of the spectacle ......

...... before being soldered into place.

Once both rings were fixed in place, the excess solder was filed off and the rings filed until their upper surfaces were flat.

For the 'inside' rings, two M8 washers with an outside diameter of 16mm had their inside diameters filed out to 13mm.

Rather than soldering, these rings were superglued in place - I was concerned that the heat needed to solder these rings in place would de-solder the outer rings.

Spectacle Plate Struts

 Two lengths of 2mm OD brass tube were cut 150mm in length.

Two 120mm lengths of 1.5mm diameter rod were inserted into the tubes ....

.... and one end was bent slightly, 8mm from the end.

The other ends were similarly bent and flattened 14m, from the ends

The flattened ends were soldered to the roof of the 'cab' (and yes, a more powerful soldering iron would have done a much neater job!) ......

....... and the excess solder filed off.

Two 7mm x 4mm rectangles of 1mm thick plasticard were cut and a 2mm diameter hole drilled in the centre of each.

Cambrian Models' nut and bolt heads were glued either side of the holes .....

.... and the plates glued to the rear top edge of the saddle tank, 20mm either side of the centre line.

The 2mm diameter holes were drilled through into the tank and the ends of the struts inserted.


At this stage, I decided to install the electrics.  After all, if the loco didn't work properly,  there was no point in continuing with the build. A 6.5mm and a 8mm hole were drilled in the sides of the boiler moulding just forward of the firebox.

A 2.1mm DC power socket was fitted into the 8mm hole ......

...... and a single pole two way switch was fixed into the 6.5mm diameter hole.

Three tabbed 18650 lithium ion batteries were bundled together with cable ties, two batteries facing one way and the other reversed.

The pack was wired-up in series, with four colour coded trailing wires attached to each junction and leads from a four pin JST socket also attached to each junction. The JST socket will be used for balance charging and the trailing wires to connect the pack to a 3S li-ion battery protection board.

After connecting the protection board, the pack was wrapped (though not tightly to allow for venting if necessary) in insulation tape to help prevent accidental short circuits and squeezed into the front section of the boiler moulding.

The output wiring from the protection board was then wired to the switch and charge socket and from there to a Deltang / RC Trains Rx 65b receiver and a MyLocoSound Universal steam soundcard.

The soundcard was then wired up to an 8 ohm encapsulated speaker .....

..... which in turn was mounted in a plasticard box.

Two 5mm flickering LEDs from battery powered tea lights were then wired in parallel and inserted into the base of the speaker box. The speaker box was then positioned behind the firebox door  which was later modified to be openable (see below).

The motor block was reassembled and the motor connected to the output from the Rx65 with LGB push-fit connectors.

[Awaiting circuit diagram]

The half-completed loco was then given a few test runs to ensure all was working as intended.

Fixtures and fittings

Once I was satisfied that all was well, I turned my attention to titivating the loco with various fixtures and fittings.


My photos of KF3 revealed the the front half of the bunkers also housed the rear sand boxes and so two 15mm x 23mm rectangles of 1.5mm thick plasticard were cut out. In one corner of each around 6mm from each edge, a 2mm hole was drilled.

A 5mm length of 2mm plasticard rod rod was inserted into the hole and glued in place with solvent.

Two 18mm x 3.5mm pieces of 1mm thick plasticard were cut out, and a 2mm hole drilled near one end. Actually, I drilled the holes in a large sheet of plasticard first and the cut out the two rectangles - it's much easier that way!

The two actuating arms were shaped with a file ......

...... and then mounted on the 2mm diameter rods.

The ends of a couple of cheap biros were sliced off ......

...... and glued alongside the arms.

The sandbox tops were then glued into the front of each bunker with Plastic Magic solvent, and a piece of 1mm thick plasticard shaped to provide a divider between the sandbox and the bunker.

Some chunks of crushed coal were glued into the top of the bunker, a 1mm diameter hole was dilled in the end of the actuating lever and a piece of 0.8mm diameter brass rod was bent into shape to act as a linkage. The end of the linkage was supported by a small piece of brass strip pushed into the plastic rear of the bunker with the heat from a soldering iron. A 1mm dia hole drilled in brass strip for the linkage.

The sandbox top and actuating levers were painted with matt black acrylic paint (actually ordinary black acrylic to which some talcum powder had been added).


I had tried using the original Otto chimney but it was far too chunky (see video above) and, after rummaging in my pen drawer, the cap from a felt tip pen was found to be a much more appropiate diameter (12mm, tapering to 10mm). This was cut to a length of 45mm. To make the cap for the chimney, a 3mm x 36.5mm length of 1mm thick brass strip was cut .....

.... together with a 38mm length of 2mm brass rod (one of the coils from the spectacle rings above).

The wire was wrapped around the strip ........

...... and soldered into place.

The cap was then filed into a triangular cross section ........

..... and slipped over the end of the chimney.

The hole in the top of the smokebox was opened out with a 10mm drill bit .....

..... and the chimney glued into place, making sure it was vertical. Squadron White Putty was then liberally smeared around the base ........

..... and shaped with a half round needle file and fine emery papers when the filler had dried. (NOTE: More smoothing and shaping was carried out after this photo).

Tank filler

Two discs of 1mm thick plasticard, 16mm diameter and 18mm diameter,  were cut. A 6mm diameter hole was drilled in the centre of the larger disc. A 4mm tall piece of plastic biro barrel was also cut.

The larger diameter disc was glued to the centre of the top of the saddle tank and six Cambrian Models rivet heads glued around its circumference.

NOTE: After the saddle tank had been glued to the boiler, a 4.5mm diameter hole had been drilled through the centre of the tank and an M4 bolt had been passed through and a nut screwed on to ensure the tanks was securely held in place. I tend to pick up my locos by their tanks and so this part can be vulnerable to damage.

The biro barrel tube was then glued on top and the smaller disc glued on top of that. A couple of small pieces of 1mm thick plasticard were then glued on to represent the hinge and the catch and a piece of 0.8mm brass rod shaped into a handle and glued in place.

Firebox door

As indicated earlier, in the electrics section, the speaker for the soundcard was positioned in the smokebox behind the smokebox door. To enable the sound to escape, I decided to model the smokebox door half open.

A series of 1mm diameter holes was drilled around the perimeter of the smokebox door, its hinge and catch.

These holes were then linked together by wiggling the drill bit in each of the holes until the door could be removed.

A blanking plate for the cavity left in the smokebox was cut from 1.5mm black plasticard.

An oval hole was then cut into the centre of the blanking piece ......

.... before it was glued into cavity in the firebox.

Squadron White Putty was then applied to any gaps and the backhead was smoothed with files and emery papers.

The back of the firebox door was then filed by rubbing it on coarse sandpaper to reduce its thickness.

1mm holes were drilled vertically down through the hinge and a piece of 0.8mm diameter brass rod threaded through.

A couple of 1mm diameter holes were drilled into the backhead for the hinge wire ......

.... thus enabling the door to hinge open and closed.

Safety valve

A 10mm diameter disc of 1mm thick brass was cut ........

..... and two 12.5mm long pieces of 3mm OD brass tube were cut plus a couple of 5mm pieces of 4.5mm OD tube threaded over one end.

A 3mm diameter hole was drilled into the centre of the disc.......

..... to take a 15mm long self tapping black screw.

A 35mm long piece of 1mm brass strip, 3mm wide was cut with a slight curve. This was soldered to the top of the tubes, which in turn were soldered to the disc.

The base of the original Otto chimney moulding was trimmed off, 12mm in length. This was then inverted and glued on top of the firebox between the saddle tank and the slot for the spectacle plate.

The self tapping screw was shortened and superglued into the hole in the disc, then the disc and its assembly was superglued to the top of the inverted chimney moulding. White Putty was then smeared around the base of the moulding and sanded smooth to act as the fillet between the valve mount and the firebox.

Water level gauge

Normally, the water gauges in my loco builds lack detail as they are tucked away inside the cab and hence out of direct sight. However, as this loco was going to have an open cab, I felt it needed to be better detailed. I was wondering how to create the glass box which is central to the gauge when I noticed the clear lid of a pack of cocktail sticks sitting on my workbench.  I usually have cocktail sticks to hand as they are useful for applying small quantities of superglue.

Two corners of the lid were removed, 8mm x 8mm wide and roughly 20mm long.

These pieces were then trimmed to 10mm lengths, mitred with a file and glued together to make a clear cuboid, 8mm x 8mm x 10mm.

Two pieces of 12mm square brass strip were cut and 1.5mm diameter holes drilled into the centre of each.

These pieces were then superglued to each end of the cuboid.

The 1.5mm dia holes were linked by drilling through from one end to the other and a 20mm piece of 1.5mm brass rod passed through.  A brass nut and two pieces of 4mm OD tube were drilled and threaded on to the rod. Two 1mm holes were drilled through the rod and some 0.8mm brass rod threaded through and bent to represent the valve handles.

The gauge was then glued on to the backhead with a short length of copper wire connecting its lower end to the backhead.

Pressure gauge

In the past, I have used whitemetal castings of pressure gauges (from Garden Railway Specialists) and painted them with brass paint but as this gauge would be highly visible, I bought a well detailed brass casting from a trader at the Llanfair Garden Railway Show.

[Awaiting Photo]

To represent the dial, I found the photo of a real pressure gauge on the internet and copied and pasted the image into a MS Word document. Using Word's image resizing tools, I created three slightly different sized images approximating to the dial on the brass casting.

The image which was the right size was then trimmed and glued into the gauge casting. In hindsight, I should have edited the image so the gauge was reading something other than zero!

The gauge was then glued on to the spectacle plate and a piece of copper wire bent to link it to the safety valve pedestal.

Whistle and pipework

A turned brass whistle was purchased from Roundhouse Engineering and mounted on three pieces of 4.5mm OD brass tube soldered into a cluster.

A 20mm long piece of 2mm brass rod was cut, with a short length of 3.5mm OD tube threaded on one end through which a 1mm dia hole had been drilled and a short piece of 0.8mm threaded through to make the whistle actuating arm.

The whistle assembly was then mounted on the side of the safety valve pedestal and a piece of brass wire bent to link from the assembly to the space between the firebox and the bunker.

The whistle actuating arm was primed and painted red. A 2mm dia hole was drilled through the spectacle plate directly behind the whistle mounting and the arm passed through and superglued.

A length of copper wire was bent to link the opposite side of the safety valve pedestal to the space between the firebox and the bunker. A short piece of 3.5mm OD brass tube was slipped over the upper end and a valve created from a small brass washer and a piece of brass rod.

The copper wire for the pipework was extracted from some twin and earth mains cable .......

.... which had been stripped of its outer ........

..... and inner insulation.

In addition to the pipework shown above, the other most prominent pipework was that running just below the sides of the saddle tank.

Two 95mm lengths of copper wire were cut and a couple of pieces of 3.5mm OD brass tube threaded on and fixed with superglue in the centre of each piece. The wire was then bent as shown in the photos and fixed in place.

[Awaiting photos of pipework]


Lines were drawn along the top of the saddle tank, 12mm from each edge and 2.5mm diameter holes were drilled 7.5mm from each end.

Whitemetal handrail knobs (from Garden Railway Specialists) were then inserted in the holes .......

 ..... and 85mm lengths of 1.5mm brass rod inserted.

NOTE: To ensure the holes in the handrail knobs are correctly aligned with each other, I have found it's advisable to loosely fit the knobs and thread the rod through them. Then ease one knob out and apply superglue and re-insert it, then repeat the process with the other knob.

For the cab handrails, two 40mm lengths of 1.5mm brass rod were cut and 7.5mm at each were bent through 90 degrees. Two 1.5mm washers were slotted over each end.....

... before the handrails were inserted into holes drilled in the cab sides, being fixed in place with superglue.

Regulator, reverser and brake

A 25mm length of 1mm thick brass strip, 4mm wide, was cut and a 1.5mm hole drilled near one end and a 2mm hole drilled near the other end. A piece of 1.5mm dia rod was soldered into the 1.5mm hole and a piece of 2mm dia tube soldered into the other hole.

The regulator was then tidied up with a file, including rounding the ends and giving the arm a slight taper.

After priming and painting, the regulator arm was then fixed in place on the backhead in place of the original Otto regulator arm.

For the reverser linkage, two 50mm x 4mm pieces of 1mm thick brass were cut and the one end of each given a double bend.

The two pieces were then soldered together ......

...... and a 1mm hole drilled through the cranked end.

A 4mm x 20mm piece of 1.5mm thick brass with a 1mm hole near one end was then cut out.

A round headed brass pin was passed through the holes .........

... snipped and bent over to create a pivot.

The linkage was then primed and painted red, before being superglued in place on the lower left side of the boiler.

[Awaiting photo]

Smokebox door handle

Two 1mm diameter holes were drilled near the end of a piece of 2mm OD brass tube ......

..... and two short lengths of 0.8mm diameter brass rod inserted .....

..... and soldered.

The excess solder was filed clean and the tube shortened to 12mm.

The handle was then inserted into the hole in the centre of the smokebox door, superglued and painted black.

[Awaiting photo]

Footplate steps

I toyed with the idea of making the steps from brass as I had done previously, but decided I might as well use Otto's.

Because the cab door was now further back, the steps had to be altered to fit.

A 12mm square section was removed from the rear corner of each step .........

...... and then the steps screwed into place beneath the cab doorways.


After the loco had received its final coat of primer, lines were pencilled in on the sides of the bunker to coincide with the panels behind. Cambrian Models rivet heads were then glued on with solvent every 4mm.

Similarly,  the covers on the smokebox supports were given rivets at 3mm centres.

Rivets and bolt heads were fixed to the firebox backhead, using the photos of KF3 as a guide for their positions.


As suggested above, painting took place at different intervals during the build process. For example, the rivet detail was added after the final coat of primer had been applied. This was to allow the first applications of primer to be rubbed down without having to manoeuvre the emery paper in between each rivet. Details such as the pipework were added after the final top coat, but before the final coats of varnish had been applied.

The wheels and chassis were painted first, after the motor block had been disassembled and scrubbed clean.

The surfaces of the steel treads and the axles and gears were masked with masking tape .....

.... before the wheels were given a couple of coats of Halfords grey primer.

Once the primer had dried (24 hours), the wheels were given a couple of coats of Halfords satin black.

After the running boards, valances and front buffer beam had been added to the main motor block mounting,  the chassis was given a couple of coats of Halfords grey primer.

Allowing fifteen minutes between coats, ........

..... the two coats were applied while the chassis was upside down as well as the right way up, to ensure an even coverage.

Once the primer had set (after 24 hours), the chassis was given a couple of coats of Halfords satin black.

The body was also given s couple of coats of Halfords grey primer.

24 hours after the first two coats,  the primer was rubbed smooth with fine emery paper. This is when I usually discover dints and imperfections in the finish. These were filled with Squadron White Putty and smoothed down with various grades of emery before the final two coats of primer are applied.

NOTE: With some models I find that I need to fill, rub down and prime several times before I am happy with the finish.

After the rivets have been applied, the firebox, footplate, smokebox and chimney were masked and the body was given a couple of coats of Halfords Rover Brooklands Green.

Sometimes the top coat also needs to be rubbed down and re-applied, but the finish looked acceptable on this model.

After the final coat had fully set, the pipework was added and the paintwork was lightly rubbed down with some very fine emery. A couple of light coats of Halfords gloss lacquer was then applied.

The smokebox, chimney, firebox and footplate were brush painted with a couple of coats of semi matt black acrylic (ie acrylic gloss to which a small amount of talcum powder had been added).

Inevitably, there were places where the final coat needed touching up (eg where the masking tape has obscured some of the finish). I did this with a small, good quality paintbrush.


She still needs to have nameplates and works plates. These have been ordered from Narrow Planet.

As the Otto boiler and firebox are broader than KF3's, there is no space between the bunkers and the sides of the firebox in which to fit the reverser lever. As yet, this lever and the brake standard have not been fitted. I am still trying to decide where they will be best positioned.

I have not included all the pipework. For example, the mechanical oilers and their associated pipework on the left side of the running plate have been omitted. I might add them at a later date, but for now I feel I have detailed her as much as I want.

I am pleased with how the cab has turned out. The whitemetal driver is a Perfect People model. He could undergo some minor surgery so his hand rests on the regulator.

NOTE: I replaced the spectacle plate struts with similar ones made from solid 2mm brass rod as thr tubular struts proved to be vey flimsy, particularly where they were soldered to the cab roof.

The rear cab handrails were bent up from 1.5mm dia brass rod and inserted into holes drilled on the inside of the rear cab plate.

Whilst more detailing could be done, for now, Burwardsley, as she will be named, has entered service and seems quite happy to potter around in the Copper Mine sidings and take ore trains to and from the mine and the interchange sidings at Beeston Market. I am very pleased with her controllability, as slow running and shunting are attributes which I value on my railway.

I am pleased with how this bash has turned out. Although I had originslly intended that this would be a quick and easy modification, it turned out to be a lot more complex than I had planned. On reflection, it might have been easier (and more accurate) to have scratch built the body rather than making several compromises to make use of the Otto body. However, it was interesting to work through each problem as it arose and also to gain experience of bashing a well known model into something more UK based. Maybe, someone out there may want to follow in my footsteps.  Hopefully, I have provided sufficient information to enable you to avoid some of the dead ends I encountered and maybe you will be able to improve upon my humble efforts.