Thursday, August 14, 2014

Canopus: Fouled by the Guards

While I'm still working on all the detailed fittings for the main body of Canopus I've now also made a start on the chassis. Currently I've soldered the six bearings for the main wheels in place and folded the chassis so I can test fit the wheels. While this was nice and straightforward it has highlighted one problem with the kit.

Most steam locomotives were fitted with guard irons, metal protrusions in front of the wheels, which are designed to knock away small objects from the top of the rail surface which, I guess, helped to prevent derailments. The guard irons on Canopus are easy to see in the photo taken when in use by the RAF. In that photo they appear to end just below the level of the wheel axles, but this isn't the case on the kit.

As you can see the guard irons are unbelievably long and end well below rail level. Fortunately as they are part of the frames on the kit (rather than inline with the rail) they will allow the chassis to sit flat on the track. The problem is that I want to be able to run the loco on a layout where there will be a section of the track set into a road surface at which point the guard irons would be below the level of the road. Clearly this is a mistake in the kit so I'll have to file them back to a more appropriate length. On the plus side the chassis seems to sit perfectly flat on the rail and a piece of glass and the wheels turn freely which suggests I got the bearings in straight (although I did file down the flanges slightly as the clearances were a little tight).


  1. The gaurd irons bend inwards (two bends) to line up with the railhead. Bending them will also shorten them. See the head on photo in your first post.
    I have a side-on drawing of Canopus (but no end view) which I can copy and send your way if of use. Strangely it doesn't show any gaurd irons on the rear of the loco.

    1. Oh yeah, if I'd read further on in the instructions it does say to bend them. What's weird is there are no half etch lines to help, but there are on the rear ones, which are much smaller.

      If you have a drawing you could send me that would be great, as currently I just have those two photos which are good, but don't show everything.

  2. I see you are sorted. Guard Irons run inside the rails but they will need a double bend to look perfect.