Jim Barnett's

1/4" scale Climax Locomotive

From the builder...

Climax locomotives were geared locomotives built for the logging industry. This model is based on the plans and detailed drawings presented by Kozo Hiraoka in his book entitled Building the Climax. Kozo's model is an operational live steam model built at ¾"=1'. I scaled that down to a ¼"=1' static model.

My primary goal was to become proficient with a Sherline lathe and mill, so I just jumped in. The model required hundreds of individual parts, most machined from brass. Numerous jigs and a few custom tools were necessary. The water tank, firebox, boiler and smokebox were made by shaping and soldering sheet stock around wooden forms. The wooden forms remain in the model. The model is held together by hundreds of Scale Hardware bolts and nuts ranging from 0-80 to 0.5 mm. The hardware was invaluable in that complex assemblies like the engines and trucks were taken apart and reassembled numerous times as new pieces were made and fitted. Every part was finished with lacquer before final assembly.

The project spanned two years, working ~10 hours per week. If someone wants to learn miniature machining and metal work, I strongly recommend building one of Kozo's locomotives (he wrote books detailing three additional locomotives). You won't have to worry about researching the subject or incomplete information - you can focus exclusively on building.