Firstly, thanks to everyone for their kind words about this project. As some of you *may* have picked up, I have had one or two niggles about this model, mostly due to my determination to actually get it as close to prototype as possible! There is also an issue with lack of strength in the cab footplate that would need to be addressed if I go any further, I don't really want to be taking the drawbar pull through bits that won't hold up!
Sadly, to those who suggested extending the axles for outside frames and cranks, this is not a possibility with this chassis as the wheels are stubs on a plastic centre 'axle' containing the gears. Even if longer axles were a possibility, I would doubt my ability to actually set up cranks and quartering etc
For the spectacles around the cab windows I will explain all! I started by marking and pilot drilling the approx centre point of the window. I then increased the size of the drilled hole to the largest bit I could fit in a hand vice. This wasn't big enough so I then resorted to a paper punch.... but I digress.
I then cut 1mm rings of an appropriate size Plastruct tube. I made sure that one face was flat, the other is not quite so critical. I then used liquid styrene cement to fix these into place in the exact position of the brass rings on the prototype. They need to be left to set solid. Usually my impatience would have me attack them half an hour later, but luckily it was bed time!
The next day I carefully carved out the hole to the inner edge of the ring of tube, finishing it off using a small rat tail file to get exactly into the shape of the tube. I then carefully filed down the face of the tube to approx 10-15 thou thick from the cab front. Hey presto, instant spectacle plates!
If there is one element of this loco I am really proud of that is it, and worth the effort to develop the technique. Unfortunately I cannot easily apply it retrospectively, it would look good on my tram engine.....
We shall see if it goes any further. I might leave it for now, go and do something else and come back to it after Christmas. Looking at the photos in the fresh light of day has made me realise that the bodged cab sides won't do the job, even with plenty of filler, and the bunker profile is slightly off. I usually end up taking 6 months on a 'prototypical' scratchbuild, so who knows, maybe at Burton the finished item may make an appearance?