16mm Projects

"Betty" by Tony Wright

Many years ago I ordered Finescale Engineering 'Betty.' Sadly the order book list was long, production was slow, and eventually fizzled out. Secondhand Betty's very occasionally appear on the market but at exorbitant prices.

Betty was the only locomotive to work the Trevor Granite Quarry on the North Coast of the Llyn Penisula where quarried granite was brought down to the coast and shipped from a quay.

When Accucraft announced a 16mm Large Quarry Hunslet would be produced one was ordered. On arrival I was highly impressed with its performance and its few deficiencies were easily rectified.

The light bulb moment came when Statfold Barn produced its excellent Quarry Hunslet book which contained a side and front view general arrangement drawings of Betty. A quick check of dimensions revealed Betty's vital statistics varied very slighty from the Large Quarry. Good enough for me; the project was on.

Betty's principal difference is that she is cabbed, but the LQH is open cabbed and this presented a few issues with operating the loco. The roof would need to be removable to reach the gas filler but the roof on Betty is supported by handrail extensions from the cab backsheet. The cab side sheets and back panel were removed for the loco. A new cab was fabricated from nickel silver sheet with milled angle riveted and soldered to form the corners.

This was mounted onto the footplate using the existing mounting holes. The cab back sheet was similarly fabricated using 1.8mm TIG stainless welding rods as handrails these protrude through the cab roof. To support these when the roof is removed two corner brackets were soldered to the cantrail of the cab.

These are not visible when the roof is on. The roof is a simple rectangle with rain gutters folded on the edge. A dummy whistle was turned up and bolted to the roof.

The safety valve needs modification to allow it to vent above the roof as per the prototype. The Accucraft valve is shrouded by a Salter valve replica. Steam vents through the two stand up pipes and a hole drilled in the bonnet. I removed the Salter arm and spring, this opened up the restriction in the stand up pipes allowing the hole in the bonnet to be blanked off. Two brass tubes which are a tight fit were slid over the stand ups and soldered to a bracket which is bolted to the cab front. Steam venting from the safety valves is now ejected above the roof.

Betty amongst all the Quarry Hunslets was unique in having four saddle tank mounted sand pots. These were made from K&S tube and sections and soldered directly to the saddle tank.

After a point I came to the conclusion a new tank was easier and one was made. The linkages back to to the cab were again made up from K&S sections, the long operating rods were beefed up by using D -section which was more rigid than plain flat section.

The other significant feature is the lefthanded side crosshead driven boiler water feed pump; a feature of early Hunslets. The Statfold book didn't have much detail of Betty's pump but it had a clear photo of the one fitted to Lilla; good enough for me to copy.

Again this was a fabrication made up from brass sections and copper wire soldered together. I didn't copy the crosshead piston rod drive, but may do this later on. The water valve and its control rod were again made up from brass sections and stainless TIG welding rod.

The enormous toolbox is a feature on the front lefthand footplate. The first one I made to scale looked ridiculous, another cut down one was made and looked much better. Simply made from wood it sits on a spigot bolted on the footboard.

The Statfold book gives a description of the livery and lining, however I couldn't reconcile this with the few photos of Betty. I sprayed her in Darlington NER green and instantly took a dislike to it, so I turned her out in one of my house liveries of Brooklands Green, orange lining and black border.

A final touch was fitting a driver. One from Modeltown was selected because his leaning posture fitted well into the cab. A new long M2 screw was fitted inverted into the lefthand cab step with its thread upwards and a matching hole drilled in the drivers foot.

Operating Betty is marginally harder than before. A long gas nozzle is needed to reach the filler, after removing the roof. The regulator is reasonably accessible unlike the reverser which is usually set and not adjusted during a run.

August 2023


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