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Nigel Lawton MPD18 MKII Bogey Assembly

I purchased this bogey from Nigel Lawton in the UK.  Although his web site offers a number of different products, this link points to the page for his MPD-18 MKIII bogey.  It was designed to power two products by Meridian Models.  It appears as though these products are no longer available so Nigel is selling the drive to whoever can use one.

I’m very impressed with this bogey.  It has roller bearings for the Layshaft and brass bearing for the drive wheels.  I haven’t found a host for this bogey unmodified, but I will.  It is just a matter of time.  This is an image of the parts that come in the package.  As soon as this drive is complete, assuming it runs as well as I think it will, I will order one or two more.  Those bogeys will be kit bashed to deal with issues with motor height and wheelbase in a couple of models I want to build.  But I wanted to get an ‘as issued’ drive under my belt first.


I matched the parts to the parts list in the supplied instructions and they were all there.  I’ll talk about the parts as I use them.  Note that these are really small parts, even the motor which is 8mm x 16mm.

I used two sets of instructions in assembling this bogey.  The first set was Nigel’s instructions in the form of a color PDF.  The instructions that ship with the unit are black and white.  I also jumped to the Meridian Models site from Nigel MPD18 MKII page.  Once there I located the page for the drive.  The instructions for the MKIII drive were never posted.  But there are instructions for the MKI drive which is similar.  The parts are nearly identical but the photo etching is different.  These instructions are a bit more detailed than Nigel’s and they cleared up some questions I had about Nigel’s instructions.

Here is Nigel’s MPD18 V3.1 etching.


The second assembly from the bottom is layshaft bracket.  I rocked a exact knife blade across the two connection points to separate this part from the etching.  Then I used a riffler file to remove the rest of the connection and smooth the edge.


There are two score lines 20% and 80% into this part.  I bent along the score lines.  Then I bent along the score along the top 1/4 and bottom 1/4 of the part.  When finished, I had this.


I then pulled together the rest of the parts for this assembly.


At right bottom are the two roller bearings.  Above and to the left are two Tenshodo worm gears.  To the left of the worm gears is Nigel’s 5mm pulley And just above other parts is the 1.5mm diameter layshaft which is 30mm long.

Before I put together the layshaft assembly, I wanted to deal with something that was nagging me in Nigel’s instructions relating to ‘clipping the layshaft assembly in place in the chassis.  So I removes the chases from the etching and folded along the score lines, ending up with this.


Note that there is a V cut 1/3 of the way in from the left.  There is also a notch in the vertical part of the chassis.  Aha!!! So I test fit the layshaft bracket in these notches.


You can see the tabs sticking out at the end of the vertical part of the chassis and the V notch.  Once the layshaft assembly is complete, these will be bent over.

Assembling the Layshaft is the next step in their sequence.  A few months ago I picked up  MicroMark Press-It along with some accessories.  I decided to practice on the wheels first, removing the non-insulated wheel from the shaft.


So I set up the Press-it as shown above.  One wheel went on each side of the notch with the insulated wheel up.  I pressed on the axel with the tool with a 1.5 mm shaft.  The wheel popped right off the shaft.  Cool.  I repeated that step on the other wheel.  Cool again.

I still didn’t have the nerve to take on the Layshaft.  So I decided to press the 1.5mm to 2mm adapter bushing into one of the wheel gears.  I placed it on the end of a tapered modeling tweezers and pushed it into the bushing.  It went most of the way in.  I finished the job with the Press-it with a flat tool inserted in the end.  Why are there no pictures?  I thought I’d take the pictures on the second gear.  But before I could insert it, the bushing took flight on my floor.  I’m still looking.  Worse case I’ll need to order another.

Strawberry Fields Consists

This garden railroad is will be made up of a simple loop and some sidings.  There may be a passing siding.  A major focal point will be logging.  There will be a logging area, a lumber yard and a furniture factory.  There sill be a depot and freight shed.  Other related buildings will be present.

There needs to be a staging area holding trains entering or leaving the outside world.  The staging area will be covered in a way that is similar to the train shed that once served on the dock in Sausalito for the North Pacific Coast.


It will need to be sufficiently wide to handle six consists.  Consists will be limited to the length occupied by four Bachmann passenger cars.

I see the following consists:

  • A log train running from the logging area to the sawmill.
  • A freight train taking lumber from the sawmill to the lumber yard.
  • A passenger train serving the area.  It could be a mixed train.
  • A general freight train serving the area.

In addition, the following consists will serve as kids consists:

  • Lionel Polar Express consist
  • Bachmann freight consist

The following battery cars will be supported.  The staging area will also serve as a charging station.

  • Lumber load – This car will have a lumber load that conceals the electronics.  It will be a Bachmann flat with a lumber load.  It will be rugged enough that it can serve both as an adult and a kids battery car.
  • Logging skidder – This battery car will lead the log train consist.  Using a bachmann flat as a base, its load will consist of a logging skidded and a crane mounted on a platform.
  • Passenger car – This will be a Bachmann Combine converted to a battery car.  It will serve both a passenger consist and a mixed train consist.

Baldwin 0-4-2T Switcher

A number of related posts show a 2-8-0 Consolidation, a 2-8-2 Mikado, a 2-4-4-2T  Logging Mallet, a 2-6-6-2T, and a 0-6-0 Switcher being built by bashing Roundhouse 2-8-0 Consolidation and 3 in 1 kits.  With this much slashing and bashing, there are going to be parts left over.  So why not use them to bash something.  A 0-4-2T switcher immediately comes to mind.  So here is a Baldwin prototype.


Here are its specifications.



So lets start scrounging for parts.  In building the 2-6-6-2T Mallet, two kits were used – an outside frame 2-8-0 and a 3 in 1 kit.  The two frames were cut as follows.  The right side of this cut went into the 2-6-6-2T Mallet.  What if we used the left side for the Porter frame along with …





2-6-6-2T Frame 1

The part cut off from the second frame.  The left portion was used in the 2-6-6-2T.  the right portion of the second frame could be joined with the left portion of the first frame to create a frame for the 0-4-2T.

2-6-6-2T Frame 2

The boiler-tank-cab-bunker from the 3 in 1 kit was use in building the Mallet.  that’s the top portion of the next image.  The boiler and cab from the 2-8-0 were surplus (bottom portion).


Of course, the boiler would need to be shortened (chop – chop) and a bunker placed on the back of the cab.  And a saddle tank would need to be constructed.  A set of cylinders was surplus from the bash along with a set of piston rods and associated gear.  Side rods would need to be fabricated,  Of course this is an outside frame loco – a bit of a stretch.  “But boss, the parts were just laying around …”  The North Pacific Coast had a machine shop and the expertise to do this.

It would be a fair amount of work, but there would be no parts to buy – except for the motor, gearbox, sound board, and detail parts.  The whole engine could be done for $175.  Let’s park this project and see what happens.



X-8-X Kits Drive Line

This shows the drive line components that are in the three kits.  These are the drivers.  There are four pair in the bag.  There is another four pair loose. There is another three pair loose.  Finally, there are four pair unassembled at the bottom of the photo.  The unassembled drivers all have flanges and are from the 3 in 1 kit.  That is more than enough to assemble three kits.



The following is a photo of trucks and pilots.


At the top are three sets of tender trucks including the set on the tender.  The bag also has drive line components including gears.  At the bottom are an assembled lead truck and an assembled trailing truck.  In addition there are two pair of wheels, each for a lead truck.  There is also a plastic truck that came with the 3 in 1 kit.


This is the parts set that came with the 3 in 1 kit.  There are four driver axles and a lead truck axle.  There is also a smoke box cover for the boiler.  The brass parts are for the crossheads.


The above photo compares the NWSL can motor 1630D-9 (below) to the Sagami open frame motor (above) that comes with the powered units.  NWSL indicates that the open frame is a quality motor.  But neutral is exposed all across the frame, making it difficult to isolate for DCC.  The NWSL is insulated.  NWSL indicates the can motor may not fit.  But it is smaller in most dimensions than the open frame, included the space needed to run one flywheel.  I’m going to attempt to use the 1630D-9 with both the 2-8-0 and the 2-8-2 builds.

I do have two NWSL 1220D-9s on order just in case the larger motor doesn’t fit.  Because these motors are so small (less than 0.8″ long) I may be able to use two in the Mallet, one powering each driver unit.

Layout Room Floor

My objectives in installing a finished floor for the payout room are:

  1. Provide some cushion over standing on concrete.
  2. Allow a chair with rollers to roll across the floor.
  3. Ability to dry flow if it gets wet through evaporation or shop vac.
  4. Ease of installation.

One product that caught my eye is made for garage floors.  It is the RaceDeck Freeflow.  It is available for around $3 per square foot.

RaceDeck FreeFlow


The tiles snap together using loops.  Installation is as simple as (1) place the tile, (2) step on the tile to snap into place.  It is available in a variety of colors so interesting patterns can be designed.


Layout Helix

This will be a two level layout.  Her is the calculation I ran to help design the helix that will allow trains to move between levels.

Helix Calculator

Track radius is 22″ which takes the diameter of the ring to 48″.  Rings are 4″ apart vertically.  Grade is 2.65%.  4.5 rings (18 segments) will allow trains to exit 18″ higher than they enter.  Segments are 6″ wide.  I should be able to cut from one 4’x8′ piece of plywood.  Cuts would generally look like this although there will be less of them.

Segment cutting layout

This is the helix design that makes the most sense to me.  It is attractive and allows crawl under to the center of the helix to deal with disrailed trains..  It could also be enclosed.  Trains would enter at 32″ (lower deck) and exit at 50″ (upper deck).  Helex would be located outside the train room wall.  Helex would be reversed from this photo.


Magnesite Mill Crusher

Prototype Research


The above photo of the Magnsite mill that includes an updated crusher.  It is on the far right side of this image. The following photo is a cropped blown up version of that image.



It is lamely the framework for the crusher contained a Blake Crusher as shown in the following photo.  Ore was fed into the top, crushed with the crushed ore coming out the bottom.




While it would be possible to scratch build this crusher, another alternative would be to bash a coaling tower kit.  Campbell Scale Models has a coaling tower that has the same feel as the crusher at the mill.

Campbell Coaling Tower

The hoist and the top portion of the coaling tower would n red to be removed in modeling the crusher.

NPC Line – Cazadero

Cazadero was the northern end of the line for the North Pacific Coast Railroad.  Here is the track plan as of 1916, well after the Northwestern Pacific had taken over.

Cazadero Plan

This drawing shows the yards in Cazadero.

End of the Line for the North Pacific Coast Railroad Cazadero

End of the Line for the North Pacific Coast Railroad Cazadero

This is a shot of the gallows turntable being used to turn an engine at Cazadero.

Cazadero Turntable

This shot shows a train about to leave the station in Cazadero.

Cazadero StationThis is a station drawing.

Cazadero Depot Drawing

This is another station photograph showing the tracks leading into the station.

Cazadero Depot 1914


This drawing is of Ingrams Hotel in Cazadero which burned in 1902.  It is likely to be the hotel shown on the earlier yard drawing.

Ingram's Hotel Cazadero

Ingram’s Hotel Cazadero

Modeling Interest

As the end of the line for the NPC, Cazadero is crucial.  In addition the Magnesite RR interchanged just to the south and Elim, the site of the Austin Creek Tragedy is within a mile.


Sturgeons #1 – Design Considerations

The following is a list of what I’d like to accomplish with this project.

  • Begin with the BAGRS concept.  The concept is proven and there are plenty of opportunities to deviate from (bash) the original design.  While kits were available for a while, they don’t appear to be currently available.  That means this is really a scratch built locomotive.
  • Upgrade the power.  I see an upgraded boiler and steam engine.   I want to be able to pull decent sized consists.
  • Upgrade the wheel arrangement.  I see this as a 0-2-4T rather than the 0-2-2 in the BAGRS design.  The addition of a four wheel truck at the rear will allow the engine to better negotiate turns.
  • Power more than one axle.  After all, this is a live steam engine that will regularly deposit oil on the rails.  Ideally, all three axels would receive power.
  • Modify the scale.  While the BAGRS model is a 1:20.3 (3 foot narrow gauge model), it makes more sense to me to convert to 7/8 scale (2 foot narrow gauge).
  • Create a unique look that fits in with NPC history and the terrain in which it operates.
  • Learn how to use a mini-lathe and a mini-mill in this project.  The output doesn’t need to be NASA quality.  I just needs to look OK and work.  After all, this is a backwoods engine.  The prototype would have been cobbled together.

In the rest of this post, I’ll discuss how these objectives were met.