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Building Flying Scotsman


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Hi all

Had some nice comments and emails on my model of 4472 and I thought some might like to see how it came to be. As I said elsewhere I started it 10 years ago and I was fairly new to model building of any kind. I have done a few kits in my ill spent youth but since retirement 20 years ago I took up scratch building of racing cars from my era and later some half hull boats ... several of which are sprinkled around BM forums.

As with all hobbies one's skills (should) improve with time and with each project and I am no exception there. My nemesis against moving forward in the hobby has been that every time I look at something I made a few years ago I take apart because "I can do it much better now". This is my long winded excuse for why I've taken so long to complete 4472 .. and it's not done yet. Mind you, I've shelved her for years at a time when I took on other models so, nowhere near 10 years of solid effort there.

Nevertheless, I started building the entire loco in Renshape, a material I have ready access to and it's made specifically for the pattern-making industry ... prototyping if you like. Things were moving along swimmingly and progress was quick but I soon came to see that thin components were too brittle and were getting damaged in handling.



I was in a big department store one day and came across a wall rack with many samples of Arborite and Formica to help your missus decide what colour of counter top she wants you to install. A light went on in my head as I handled a few of them and I thought ... "Blimey these are tough, flat, uniform and best of all FREE! and just perfect for 4472's cab and tender!". My wife went into a dither about what colours she wanted and the salesman just kept loading her up with samples.

That helped 4472 along and those new components were fabricated from the booty ... no pics of the replacement tender I'm afraid but you'll get the idea.


Eventually I came to another epiphany when I inherited some brass sheets of various thicknesses and off we went on another set of revisions.

The front end was sawn off and over time a whole new brass replacement appeared. Naturally, this didn't all take place at one time as thought I'll just replace this and this with brass ... more steps backward.


As you can see there are aluminium components beginning to appear as well as I branched into the new field of metallurgy. I should mention that I don't have a proper lathe just a machine with a faceplate and a 3 jaw chuck bolted to it. My machining is done by hand, resting on a tool rest and holding a cheap Chinese wood carving chisel. Most of my aluminium is salvaged from old computer hard drives that have a lovely solid cast body that is nice and "soft" as alloys go.

The buffers were turned from an old, aluminium Exacto blade handle.

Wheels ... these were tricky. I studied many pictures of wheels and eventually drew a pattern for myself and fabricated a single, perfect (well, sort of) driver. I made a silicon mould and cast a set of 6. A similar process was followed for all bogie and tender wheels.


I made a master 22932772100_b58a972472_q.jpg for the spring set for each tender wheel (much smaller than shown here)

and cast 8 of them too ...


While I'm at it here is one of the large spring sets for under the cab ... 2 are needed. Springs are strips of brass soldered together. The rest is a mish mash of pieces epoxied together. Rivets are straight pins raided from the missus' sewing supplies.


From there I moved on to replacing the entire "chassis" of 4472 with some heavy brass plate to provide more rigidity and give me a solid platform to mount the wheels and motion ... more steps in the wrong direction.


At about this time I had finished my second set of drivers and all components in brass ... having made the originals in WOOD!!


I didn't care for the brass here so naturally I started all over in aluminum which I hacksawed from a piece of strapping. Much filing and use of various Dremel tools provided me with a set I was happy with.


The depressing part about it is that I now had to repeat the process and make every piece for the other side.

All this metal work had an unexpected problem ... 4472 was getting too heavy for its cast wheels and they began to sag!!

This set me off looking for some aluminium pipe that I could machine down to make a metal wheel rim for strength ... and I found some!

I hacksawed slivers off the pipe and machined each rim down to size then I inserted this rim into the silicon mould and poured fresh urethane into the mould to create a new set of spokes which also adhered themselves to the "tyre". Worked a charm.


Well, things were pretty much sorted now and I could keep going in the right direction. 4472 got painted and striped ... and then a year later all the clear coat began to crackle (my own fault) and I had to strip it right down and refinish ... giant steps backwards.

Eventually it was back to where I started, the tender is painted, stones of a suitable size glued in and painted to resemble coal. Many detailed pieces fabricated and installed ... oiling systems, handrails, lanterns etc.

Now I'm working on a display stand and have cut and glued down sleepers and attached some ancient track I got at a model show but looks the right scale.

One day soon she might actually be finished ... if I don't decide to remake some pieces I'm worried about.

I hope some of you find this useful, helpful, educational? whatever.

I'll be happy to answer any questions you have here or offline.

Frank Smart


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