Saturday, 22 February 2014

Achilles Report No48: Plodding Along...

Hi guys. Today I spent the afternoon plodding on with poor old "Achilles" who is still in bits all over the place. The engine has taken a back step behind a few other tasks that I've had on but she is still very much on course. There is always something to do at the moment and what with home life, work, college, the railway and "Achilles" its all just biting a bit at the moment but I'm sure everything will fall into place soon. So, on this sunny afternoon I was pottering around still degreasing and stripping other black-liveried parts. These included the running plates which support the tanks, the cab steps and the lubricator. The lead running boards were also stripped again after having a slight reaction with the primer that was initially applied. The smokebox door received its first coat of smokebox black today, and this will be allowed to dry before being sanded, repainted, dried, sanded and repainted a third time prior to completion. The initial coat tends to show up air bubbles and thin patches but this is to be expected on the first coat. I hope to begin painting the smokebox in a week or two as well. Perhaps "Achilles" is going to demand some nights in the week too, ay?!...
"The Stripping Area"
Whilst the smokebox door was drying and the paint stripper was curing on the various bits & pieces, I decided to rustle up some masking for the smokebox. The smokebox is now very much sanded down and so I didn't really want to get too much 'standard' paint onto it. By 'standard' paint I mean car paint. Naturally car paint is high quality and hard wearing, but on a smokebox the temperatures encountered can be a little too much for it sometimes. Therefore the smokebox black: perhaps lower quality but certainly more prone to taking higher temperatures: is applied instead. However, for the front step on the locomotive, in order for the running boards to match it, matt black spray paint was the order of the day. The locomotive was duly masked and the result would have without a doubt won the "Worst Ever Effort At Masking A Smokebox Award", with honours! However, though it looked completely disgraceful in every sense of the word, the masking held firm and would do the job...which is all I required of it. The front plate was then dusted off and the heaters set to full blast in order to aid the drying process of the primer...
"What A Mess"
Two coats of primer were applied to the front step (which in fairness doesn't get anywhere near as hot as the smokebox does). Between coats the primer was sanded back in order to keep the surface flat. After the second coat the step was sanded very lightly in order to remove any 'humped' areas in the paint, which can be common if you over-spray. All of this painting is certainly a learning curve for me! With the second coat of primer sanded and dusted, the first layer of matt black was sprayed on...
"Matt Black Front Step"
When the matt black dries it will be sanded down a little to bring it flat (if necessary anyway). Following this it will probably receive a second coat just to be on the safe side. By then the running boards should be about ready to paint as well and when the engine goes back together she will have matt black running boards all of the way around, including the front step. The smokebox and chimney will, for obvious reasons, receive a couple of coats of smokebox black in order to keep their strength against the heat levels encountered during steamings. Elsewhere the rest of the locomotive is currently completely stripped and being prepared for undercoat. The engine will emmerge in a slightly lighter (more friendly I think) shade of blue with red lining. A new whistle turret has arrived and been prepared for fitment by Eddie, whilst I am currently waiting on some bronze bar so that I can make four new trunnion bearings for the expansion links. The links will then be re-riveted and both piston glands repacked prior to the engine being rebuilt. The engine will hopefully emerge in mid to late April with the latest resteam planned for the first Saturday in May. We will see. Best Regards, Sam...

2 comments:

Petensue said...

Hi Sam Great blog as usual and to hear you are now learning to become a paint sprayer. On the question of paint for the smoke box is it feasible to use exhaust manifold high temperature paint?
Looking forward to seeing a smart gleaming Achilles being steam ready for the new season.
Regards
Pete W

Sam Brandist said...

Thanks Peter. The smokebox may benefit from a coat of exhaust black in spray form so as to give the correct finish - watch this space! Best Regards, Sam...