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This is an Alexander Models kit of a J25 locomotive, recently completed by Dave. You can't buy a RTR model of one of these, so if you want one, get one of Dave Alexander's kits.

As usual with Dave's kits, there is an etched nickle silver chassis, the body components are cast white metal, and there is a range of brass detailing parts. All the modeller has to provide is a suitable motor and gears, as well as wheels of choice. Construction was mainly soldered with super glue used for fixing the handrail knobs and crank pin washers.

Building a Johnson Road Sweeper


A while back, Andrew decided that he wanted a vehicle with a bit of a difference for his OO & N layouts, i.e. one of those which can occasionally be seen crawling around our roads/streets, collecting up leaves, crisp packets, McDonalds wrappers, and other rubbish, namely a road sweeper. Unfortunately however, while such vehicles are currently available in this country (courtesy of one or two German manufacturers), there are no British producers of such vehicles, at least not in OO & N Gauge. Andrew’s solution therefore was to kit-bash his own, and for his OO Gauge version, he utilized a Langley Models white metal Ford D lorry kit to construct a Johnston sweeper of the type which were once operational in the Sunderland area circa 1970s (Andrew actually has a Dinky model version of one of these). His original model featured a flashing amber light/LED, having been built solely for use on his Houghton Lane Yard layout, he then decided he wanted to “improve the brand”, and thus came up with a “Mk2” version, the construction of which is described below.

The first task was relatively straightforward, i.e. construction of the chassis/cab as per the instructions, although in order to keep the model in scale with it’s real-life counterpart, it was necessary to shorten the chassis by 5mm, the two separate sections were then superglued together. The chassis, cab interior details (seats, driving wheels etc.) and wheels were painted matt black, the wheel trim gloss black, while the cab inner/out was painted gloss yellow. Then came the tricky part, the rear body, which in effect is comparable to a squashed semi-circle. This is a balsa/card shell, painstakingly constructed to include such features as inspection covers, vents etc., and once the basic shape was achieved, it was then filled, sanded and given a coat of “primer” (matt grey), before being given several coats of gloss yellow. Finally came the more 'fun' part, i.e. small details such as brushes, pipes etc. The channel brushes on either side were carefully carved from balsa and card, while the horizontal brush was formed from a section of yellow pipe cleaner. The two vacuum pipes were made from electrical wire/carefully carved pieces of balsa, while the overhead pipe was also formed from electrical wire in conjunction with pieces of card. Various other fittings i.e. exhausts, hydraulic pipes etc. were formed from wire, square plastic section, card etc., all of these painted using appropriate colours, while a small orange LED forms the rear flashing light (although unlike on Andrew’s earlier model, this light is non-flashing).

All-in-all then, Andrew thinks that he has come up with an interesting vehicle, something a little bit out of the ordinary, but one which he feels will add a difference to his OO layouts. The sweeper took about a month to construct, was relatively cheap overall (approximately £30), and will hopefully inspire other modellers to try something similar.

Building an Alexander Models J77

j77 components

Here is the kit of parts for a J77 locomotive by Alexander Models of North Shields, which Dave is starting to build.

The etched chassis is to the left of the picture. The boiler components are next to it and include a rolled brass boiler with cast white metal smokebox. The white metal body components are to the bottom centre and right of the picture.

A high quality lost wax brass casting (bottom left) contains detailing parts such as vacuum pipes, whistles, safety valves, clack valves etc.

The motor (a DS10) and wheels are not included in the kit.

The Chassis

j77 chassis

The chassis was built first. There's a good reason for this, for you need to know how it will fit into the locomotive body, especially the motor and gears. The side frames, and the two front and rear tab-and-slot rectangular spacers have to be all soldered together. Unlike earlier Alexander kits, there are no screws and brass spacers to assist. Temporarily fitting the Romford Axles helped to hold everything in the right place.

Three etched frame stretchers are next added, followed by the lower spacers. All of these are tab and slot. Test fit the motor and mount as early as possible - we're using a 40:1 Romford gear set, so frame spacer No.9 had to be omitted, as it sits directly below the centre axle and gets in the way of the pinion. There isn't a motor mount on the etch, but Dave Alexander provides an excellent cast brass mount which only needs a small amount of reaming out to enable the front bearing of the DS10 to fit. The wheels and motor will be added when the chassis has been painted. One further modification is that the upper front brake cross shaft passes directly below the front chassis mounting bolt hole. The shaft was cut in the middle, and folded back onto the side frames, then soldered on.

J77 Body

Construction of the body underway. This assembly was built completely by soldering, which is the best way to proceed if you have a temperature controlled iron. You could use epoxy, but then you have to sit around waiting for it to set. The 70 degree solder cools quickly, and if you make a mistake, a pan of boiling water will allow you to start again. The brass boiler etch is supplied partly rolled, but needs finishing, and will have to be annealed before completion of the rolling. The boiler supplied with this kit needed some material removing where it joined at the bottom, as it has to be a tight fit around the white metal former (shown below).


The lip at the front of the casting fits into the rear of the smokebox to assemble the two components.

Visit the site in another few days to see more progress.

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