I've always liked the shape of the Guinness loco's, but I needed to simplify the shape for a space model for the moment.
Now my caricature was originally codenamed Murphy (for the record I don't really like either brew but was content to do the Dublin tour in order to see the loco). But, once I'd got into the Lewin-builds-a-loco idea, I realised that in a different life I could have been the apprentice on the project. My grandfather was a pattern-maker at Marshall's in Gainsborough. Grandmother always said "carpenter", but pattern-maker he was: I have one immaculately turned segmented bowl and two of his saws, prized possessions. I can imagine Lewin going back to someone very like granddad in the morning and saying “errm, well…” and Pop just sighing and getting his sketchpad out.
Lewin's engines for Laxey were "Ant" and &Bee" and my Springfield On9 loco was codenamed "Cho" so "Pop" feels right. I'll save the name "Murphy" for a proper go at a Guinness engine: this is most definitely going to be something Lewin might have cobbled together.
I started by undoing the paper wrapper I made for the chassis to celebrate the first run on the test track and began to build it again, final size. Basically I was solving the construction problems as I went along, trying to remember as I did so that this was going to be a space model, not a "real" piece of rolling stock. However, I decided to make it in two parts, knowing that the upper-works would be rough and ready and that I might want to build something better as an interim, my experience being that space models tend to hang around for a long time: computing is not the only place where you eventually end up shipping the prototype.
I roughed the dimensions by looking around the bazaars for Gn15 loco's where the catalogue stated dimensions, and ended up with nine feet long by three foot six wide, so I built a chassis wrapper that size to enclose my ex-Bachman (I think) chassis from the bits box. That was the easy bit.
I decided that the distinctive side tanks would house tank fillers at the front and space for coal at the back, a la Ant and Bee. The height of the tanks was decided because they came up to paunch-level on one of the 1:22.5 figures I had, but my first attempt at the tanks was a write-off because when I mounted everything up they looked shorter than they had on the paper wrapper. However, I was only an hour into the project so I left it. In the morning, before looking at it I knew I had to rebuild it, so I just adjusted the dimensions, cut some new pieces and threw the old one away. This is a charicature and I had to see it before I could decide if it was "right" or not.
The result, with the new longer side-tanks, looks to me more like a WWI armoured simplex that's had an argument with a very low bridge. My wife, however, kindly commented that "it looks a lot like the picture", so maybe I'm just too close to appreciate it. It dos at least have a certain charm so I might vaguely detail it (funnel, boiler, that sort of detail), if I can find something like a Dapol Pug kit. In any case I've learned a lot in only two hours and using about a quid's worth of balsa.
The first point is in terms of buildings. Although I knew from an intellectual standpoint how big 105mm by 42mm actually is and could calculate the clearances, I needed to see it to understand it. To look convincing, the additional engine shed I've planned for the far end of the layout needed to be waaay bigger. This will certainly have a knock on effect on the central structure, the retort house, but I'm wondering now about the scenic break cum loading position at the left hand side of the layout. This is mainly because I can't work out what type of building it should be.
Secondly, to make the stock look good, it seems to me that construction techniques matter more than they do in something like On9. Even for a space model, the order of assembly of the superstructure mattered a lot and whereas in the smaller scales it's usually a question of working out how to fit the gubbins in at all, in Gn15 there's more need to work out an efficient way of structuring it.
Thirdly and most important, though, I've regained my enthusiasm for this type of modelling mostly because, although everyone in the community takes it seriously, they also want to have some fun. As a result I may even finish this project.