Tich's pedigree

Last updated 18th March 2011


Introducing Tich and the designer

Length 16" ( 41 cm ) Width 7" ( 18 cm ) Height 10" ( 25 cm )
Many years ago, the magazine ' Model Enginer ' published ,over a period of some years, a series of articles by a writer using the pen name LBSC ( Taken from that of the London, Brigton and South Coast railway ! ) He described his writing as ' The words and music ' These articles and others, all of which have been published in plan and book form have introduced thousands of us to model locomotive construction. These books are readily available from...............................

Tich was one of dozens of designs by LBSC still being built in amateurs workshops worldwide.

LBSC was a quiet, lonely man who came from a poor family and who was thus used to improvisation, his articles included practical tips and advice such that the veriest beginner with a small lathe and some basic metalworking tools could complete a full working model steam locomotive !

As a concrete specialist, with a permanent workshop, a good quality lathe by Myford, a drill press and newly purchased milling machine, with experience gained building a number of stationary engines, Tich seemed to present a great project to get me in to locomotives.( See comments below )


' Twenty year refit ' under way


The construction process

A first reading of the book and some hours spent with the drawings set the scene for materials purchase and ensuring that I had the necessary small tools and light equipment.

I guess that after the frames the first components that many builders construct is the saddle, then probably the smokebox and chimney, here is my first effort at locomotive construction

Installing the axle driven pump was a fiddley job, as was much of the installation work, not rocket science however !


The pump installed, it is great to make ones first sprung buffers, whatever the scale! Quite a lot of work in each though.


Space is at a premium below footplate level here is the brake yoke and the connections to the individual brakes


Tich's fooplate, excuse the ash, you see it with the rear plate which has to be removed for firing. The stokehole door is extremely small in this scale however a ' reformed ' spoon works fine.

I will include more images in the hope that they will assist future builders this will require a search in the archives. There will be many more builders and not just on 3 1/2" gauge, I have spotted 5"gauge versions in various spots around the web, and there may be larger.

I work slowly and intermittently and 400 hours of enjoyable workshop time some 20 years ago resulted in the emergence of my first real live steam locomotive. It ran fine on compressed air. As with all my models having once steamed them I clean and polish them for display. Tich remains unpainted as the brass and stainless steel looks well. One day he will have a coat of the varnish used by makers of musical instruments.


The results, a personal view

I have to admit that initially things were not easy ! There were new processes to be learned. Having constructed several stationary engines, the basics were there, but now silver soldering and brazing had to be added to the ' repertoire', also machining techniques which vary, from metal to metalsuch as cutter speeds and the like.

Some parts were made and remade ( There are still some pieces that I would re-remake if time were not now so valuable ) I learned a great deal from LBSC's writing and from the interest that developed in engineering practice.

* I still take pride in my early product but believe that, asked to advise a newcomer to the hobby on choice of model, I would suggest a scale model rather than the generic model of an early 0-4-0 that Tich really is. The same lessons willll be learned but they will finish up ( probably after many more hours workshop time ) with a more desirable end product.

The choice of project has to be be based upon the equipment available in the workshop. As work proceeds further tools, drills, taps, dies etc.,can be purchased as the work demands. Good tools are always a good investment and properly cared for their value will beat the inflated costs as the years go by.

*An Email from Steve White has confirmed thoughts I hadwhen I completed ' Tich ' as my beginners model. He writes:-

I agree wholeheartedly about the choice of Tich as a project, it took 38 years to finish mine - I started at 16 ! Now Tich is finished, he/she? was finished early this year, the chassis was run on air and the valves set, the boiler was hydraulically tested and then steamed using a blowlamp in the firebox, all was well. I made a log during the time leading up to completion detailing the trials, tribulations, house moves, frustrations etc. At completion I looked at it and thought that in the same amount of time with probably less problems I could have been looking at a "Black five" or a "Jinty".

Apart from the small size of some of the components, at the final fitting stage the whole loco was a giant puzzle requiring a fixed order of assembly so that access could be gained to all the parts. Many times the whole thing had to be almost dissassembled to fit one part and then start again! I am also sure that another Tich could be made from the contents of the scrapbox! ……..all credit to Curly though. I remember seeing on a web site the number of sets of Tich castings that have been sold over the years, they ran into tens of thousands. Where are they all?

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