Vulcan Beam Engine
The current project is the Vulcan Beam Engine from AJ Reeves, designed by Edgar T Westbury. This is what I call a ‘pretty’ little engine and the all Gunmetal Casting set lends itself to making this a real ‘showpiece’.
The story so far
I ordered the casting set by telephone and was pleasantly surprised when three days later they arrived, all be it three castings short which were noted on the invoice and marked as to follow free of charge. I did wonder how many companies would have waited until they could send the whole set to save on postage? On the downside there were a couple of castings which were damaged or flawed, one being a sink hole in the beam casting which wouldn’t have been able to be machined out, and the other what looked like a hacksaw cut on one of the side frames. The other problem was they charged me VAT on the purchase which we don’t pay in Jersey. Another phone call to AJ Reeves and this was resolved by refunding the VAT, and directions to send the offending castings back and they would be replaced. Within a week the replacements arrived and the day after that the rest of the castings were delivered. I have to say that the service and customer relations this company showed were second to none, many thanks AJ Reeves!
To the kit itself. The drawings are printed on a single A1 sheet and are dimensioned in imperial, to me this isn’t a problem as I generally redraw most of the parts before machining (subject for a later blog). The Gunmetal castings are a different story, generally being quite rough and ‘crusty’ and whoever does the fettling at the foundry makes the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like a brain surgeon, it was almost like a little child who couldn’t colour between the lines!! Dimension wise the castings are quite close to the bone and on a couple of occasions had to be machined slightly undersize to get rid of the marks.
I’m not going to go too much in the preparation of the castings, I’ll talk more in a later blog, but my approach is to get all the castings to fit together with minimal machining, also to get rid of the rough exterior to achieve a good paint finish. How many beautifully machined models have been spoilt by the paintwork almost being an afterthought by the builder, it does take effort but it’s well worth it.
I’ll wrap this part of the build up for now and in Part 2 I’ll have some photographs to show where I’m at now, from then on I can describe the build in ‘real time’