Sign my

Fairlie Merddin Emrys

7.5 Detailing: bottom side


As said the area of the manifold is a beast on both sides. I worked on the bottom side for quite some time trying to get it right but in the end I decided to simplify things without fussing too much about 100% accuracy.

[273-275] There are a lot of pipes running to and from the manifold. The instinct is to fix the manifold in place and then start fitting pipes, but you will soon discover that you can't get the pipes in place or you forgot to drill that one hole. So I kept the manifold removable so I could work on it separately and then fit the result

Naaa, a tad too long.

(sorry I couldn't resist fooling around)

I soon discovered that there are essentially two sorts of pipes, those that run in a beeline from the manifold into the cab (usually they are actually valve rods) and those that twist and turn to get to the manifold (the real steam pipes). More or less intuitively I attached the straight pipes to the manifold and I let the curvy pipes spring from the cab.

Straight pipes are attached directly to the manifold so they slide into the holes of the cab's front sheet when the manifold is moved into place.

Curved pipes are attached in the cab and bent to attach to the manifold once that is moved into place

The manifold gradually becomes an intricate part with four pipes going out to the cab and four coming in from the cab.

This is the end result. I forgot to manoeuvre the vertical pipe from the cab into its hole before taking the photo, but that was quickly corrected when I soldered it in place.


Handwheels are placed [271]

Greedy board

Greedy board was made and put into place.


The speed dial is soldered into place [268]
The vacuum gauges are prepared. They are both sanded (400 and 800) smooth and then polished. The left one is already done en the right one is the original as supplied for the sake of the photo before being treated as well.

Holes of 0.3 mm are drilled and 0.3 mm wires of sufficient length are inserted and soldered. Note that the two gauges are different. The one with two pipes is the bottom end gauge (the other one goes at the top end).


As the gauges will be left brass coloured I will have a hard time masking them when they are in the cab during the painting process. So I will store them for now and glue them in place AFTER painting.

Ejector pipe and other

The ejector exhaust pipe is soldered to the bottom end smoke box [221]

A small pipe is added on the opposite side of the smokebox. Like on the top end smokebox this pipe is not described in the manual but it is clearly visible on the photos of the fireman's side. I guess it is also an exhaust pipe of some sort. The pipe is added with the same procedure I described for the top end smokebox


The handrails on all four tanks are made [208-210]
As they are to remain blank, I have not soldered them. I stored them for now and once the loco has been painted I will them in place.

They look impressive though, I can't wait to see them back on the painted loco.

The front handrail [211-220] was made following the same procedure as described for the top end smokebox.


The toolbox is placed [279], this one with its tell tale exhaust pipe running through it.

Brake pipe

Following the same procedure as with the top end I made a second brake pipe [288-289], which is mirrored relative to the first one. Note that both brake pipes are on the driver's side of the loco, hence the mirroring.

Ashpans and balance boxes


Strictly the ashpans and balance boxes do not belong to the bottom end, or should I now say Caernarfon end, of the locomotive. They belong any side you wish, but as they are under the locomotive I could not resist the pun of treating this subject as part of the bottom end :-)

This is how the parts for the big ashpan come out the etch. The etches speak for themselves. The three parts with the fold line on top all have a fold line on the other side as well. Bend them accordingly taking note however that the fold on the short end of the covers needs to be bent to about 45 degrees and not all the way. The other fold is bent to just a little less than 90 degrees. These vertical sides help locate the ashpan in the firebox. The fit is tight so that it is a challenge to fit the
ashpans in the firebox. By skewing them a little, fitting of the ashpans is much easier, they help guiding the ashpan into place anyway because only the fit at the bottom end really matters, and the vertical sides are out of sight after final assembly anyway.

A short building spree soon results in two ashpan assemblies. Nothing difficult here.


I realised this was the last big part I was going to solder on this kit. This thought made me a bit melancholic. Boy, have I enjoyed building this kit!

I didn't like the supplied dampers of the ashpans: too thick. so I cut myself a strip of 0.25 mm brass and cut that to the appropriate lengths.

Merddin's ashpans in the fully open position, June 2017.

I wanted the dampers in the half open position because that is the usual position when the locomotive is running. I took a piece of 0.5 mm brass wire and Blu-tacked it into place, positioned the damper and soldered the top side
Done! Much better

When attention turned to mounting the ashpans a problem occurred to me that had been lurking there for ages. When inserting the boiler, many moons ago, I failed to check with the cab front sheets if it really sat on the correct height. I simply assumed it was because it could not go any further. Later I found a gap between the cab front sheets and the boiler. I managed to hide the gaps but did not give the incorrect position of the boiler another thought. Problem solved, or so I thought

But now the ashpans needed mounting I found that the firebox was of course also too low by the same amount of the gap I found on the top of the boiler. Correcting this would mean an almost complete disassembly of the locomotive so that was a no go.

<= The ashpans can not sit straight because the firebox is a bit too low
So I did the only reasonable thing to do: I filed away the offending sides of the firebox
When trial fitting the ashpans one of the four nuts that were soldered inside the centre bottom gave way. Bolting the ashpans as intended was now out of the question so I simply soldered them into position with 140C solder. I used the remaining three bolts to determine the correct position and then removed them. Note that the large ashpan goes on the top side!
With the corrected firebox the ashpans sit flat.

I opened up the holes of the balance boxes only to discover that the holes were off, by almost 1.5 mm. Too much for comfort. Now I could set out for a lot of work to get the holes in the right position or simply adopt the same course of action as with the ashpans: solder with 140C solder. I snipped off the spigots ...
...and scribed a line over the centre of the holes. I soldered the balance box aligning it on the scribed line and positioning it in the middle by judgment of eye.
The end result is quite presentable