Cat Tactics

Good work by my cat this morning – only his third day of being allowed outside and he is already showing an admirable grasp of tactics in an encounter with the neighbours’ cat.

Cat tactics diagram

  1. My cat doing reconnaissance in his garden spots…

  2. The neighbours’ cat, sat in its garden.

  3. My cat advances and occupies the high ground on the border of his territory.

  4. After a prolonged staring match, the neighbours’ cat retreats to a hidden position.

  5. My cat uses the dead ground in the next door flats’ car park to flank the neighbours’ garden.

  6. My cat occupies the high ground in a position to observe the retreat route of the neighbours’ cat.

At that point I can only assume that the neighbours’ cat was nowhere to be seen as my cat went off to explore the interesting smells on the lids of the flats’ bins.


Gornsdorf War Memorial

These are located in the church yard.

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Wir wollen sein ein einzig Volk von Brüdern
Wir wollen frei sein wie die Väter waren
Wir wollen trauen auf den höchsten Gott

Featured on this memorial is Stürmer, Albert who was killed at Bixchoote during the battle of Pilkem ridge on the same day that Reginald Clements was fatally wounded around 10km to the South East on the Ypres Salient.

Sturmer, Albert - Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

WWII

Gornsdorf WWII war memorial

Zum Gedenken an unsere 256 gefallen und vermissten 1939-1945


Trumpeter 1/72 T-62 hatches

As I want my T-62 to have the hatches open as if the crew had bailed out the Trumpeter model needed some modification since the commander and drivers hatches are moulded shut as part of the turrent and hull.

As the hatches on the T-55 are the same I used the Revell kit’s hull turrent and hatches as a guide and opened up the T-62.

1/72 T-62 and T-55 hatches


Engine start

With everything assembled, and with TomB engineering’s assistance, it was finally time to see if the engine would start.

The engine was checked over and all the torque settings were confirmed.  For the heads this meant an initial tightening followed by a final tightening when the manifold had been bolted on.

The engine was mounted up to a refurbished gear box I’d acquired earlier, along with a starter motor that was sold-as-seen.  With no clutch between the gearbox input splines and the engine flywheel this mean that the starter motor would be able to turn the engine over without driving the gearbox.  With the wiring loom attached to provide power to the ignition and fuel pump, the coil and HT leads in place to provide juice to the spark plugs and a battery wired up to the starter and earthed to the gearbox it was ready to go.

The initial push of the ignition button was rewarded by a click and whirr from the starter motor, so at least that was good.  The ignition is the same 123 unit fitted to Judith  so the indicator light showed that it was powered and the timing could be set.  However, the fuel pump wasn’t priming.  Once we’d worked it out it was obvious: the loom had no earth – when it’s in the car it has all sorts of earths that make their way back to the gearbox but that was missing here.  One fly lead later and the fuel pump primed and filled the carburettor.

Now we were ready to go again but the battery was now flat from turning over the engine whilst we were trying to diagnose the fuel pump’s missing earth – the starter would click but not whirr.  Running jump cables from Lotte gave us the power we needed and, after a few seconds it caught!  It ran for about 20s before starting to die and I cut the ignition.  Still, that’s pretty impressive given the choke and throttle were set at about half as a guess – some dynamic adjustment of them could probably have kept it alive.

2CV engine, gearbox and wiring loom

All in all I’m very happy with this: I’ve rebuilt an engine and it ran.


Trumpeter T-62 and Revel T-55 in 1/72 scale

To provide a period correct opposing force for my ealrly 70s Chieftain I settled on a T-62.  (Early T-72s would have been entering service but they wouldn’t have been present in numbers but, more to the point, the only T-72 model I could find was an M1 variant that entered service in 1979.)

For this I picked up the Trumpeter T-62.  This is fundamentally a reasonable kit but the image on the box features a lot more detail than is present on the sprues in the box.  As any modeler will know this is a good reason to buy a new kit – in this case the Revell T-55 A/AM which is significantly better detailed than the Trumpeter T-62.  As the T-62 is very similar to the T-55 there a a lot of parts that will translate directly across – from headlights to hatches.  I think that between the two I can make a detailed  T-62 appropriate for the early 70s.

Trumpeter T-62 and Revell T-55A/AM 1/72 scale


Quick pickle cucumber salad

Cucumber salad

Although not really a pickle, by cutting the cucumber slices very thin they quickly absorb the vinegar so this doesn’t need to be made much in advance.

  • 10 cm of cucumber sliced as thin as you can
  • pinch of celery salt
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of coriander powder
  • glug of white wine vinegar

Combine the ingredients in the serving bowl, mix thoroughly and leave to stand.


Airfix Chieftain turret

The turret is one of the distinctive visual features on the Chieftain and on the kit I’ve got the front top surface wasn’t particularly good, especially along the join.  Quite a few layers of filler followed by smoothing were needed to get a smooth profile.

Airfix Chieftain turret

There were a few other bits of filling required, the tops of the smoke grenade dischargers and the seam round the top plate being the most obvious.

By modern standards this was quite a bit of work for a plastic kit but it’s 40 years old and the tooling is nearly 50 years old so I’m not going to complain, in fact it adds to the satisfaction of making an old kit and having to deal with the problems of a modeller at the time when this was a state-of-the art kit.


Replacing a Citroen C1 exhaust

On my way down to York in the C1 I pulled into the excellent Mainsgill Farm Shop for some provisions. As I made my way across the car park there was a rattle from the back.  A quick visual inspection revealed the cause – the exhaust hanger on the back box had snapped and it was resting on the rear beam.

C1 back box with broken hanger

Whilst it was still attached when I left home, it had presumably managed some distance before I had noticed. It wasn’t dragging, and it wasn’t leaking so I figured it would make it the rest of the way to York.

Before heading home, TomB engineering fashioned me a temporary exhaust hanger that was more than adequate to get me back.

Jury rigged C1 exhaust hanger

The culprit was pretty easy to identify – the hanger was heavily corroded and the 10 years of vibrations had caused it to neck to breaking point.

Ncked C1 exhust hanger

The following weekend I took a trip to TMS motor spares to pick up a new back box.  Getting the old back box off proved somewhat challenging – first I had to cut off what was left of the old exhaust clamp as the bolts were more rust than metal.  Then it came to separating the joint with the centre pipe.

C1 exhaust pipe joint

This did not want to budge – despite persuasion with a full tang screwdriver and a mallet.  As it had gone bad I had to cut it off. 

However, I was expecting this to be a butt joint – as on the 2CV – but, once I’d finished cutting, I realised it had been a socket joint…

C1 exhaust joint after cutting

So, at this point I knew I was now going to need a new centre section even if I didn’t want to fully admit it to myself yet –  especially given it was now Saturday afternoon meaning I wouldn’t be able to get a new pipe until Monday morning.

Still, I could still remove the old centre section in preparation.  Fortunately the two spring loaded bolts that went into the cat exit flange weren’t too badly corroded and were only a two swear rating to free up.  Being the same age as the rear section, the centre section was, unsurprisingly, similarly heavy with surface rust even if it wasn’t holed. 

However, once it was off the car and I could have a good look at it I found that the front exhaust hanger was in much the same state as the rear – heavily necked and not far off failing.

Necked C1 exhaust hanger

So it turned out to be fortunate that I’d cut through the wrong bit as it now meant that I was going to be replacing it before it failed and whilst I had everything apart anyway.  If it had failed in a few weeks time and I’d had to spend another weekend under the car swearing at the exhaust I would have blamed past me for not having done the job right in the first place.

There was still one major obstacle to overcome – getting the oxygen sensor out.

C1 exhaust section with oxygen sensor

The Book of Lies™ says “The oxygen sensors are delicate and may not work if dropped or knocked, if the power supply is disrupted, or if any cleaning materials are used on them.”  I translated that to mean: “Dose it in penetrating fluid, apply blow torch until cherry red, clamp with mole grips and beat with a hammer.”

C1 oxygen sensor removal kit

The only alteration I made to that was to substitute the mole grips for a correctly sized 22m spanner.  With the aid of +2 gloves of power and full application of my not inconsiderable body weight, after a few heat cycles it came free and I went backwards, fortunately my landing was cushioned by my not inconsiderable derrière.  A four swear rating for this job.

Reassembly was the reverse of removal – but without a blowtorch and an angle grinder.  Joking aside, everything went back together remarkably easily – the only point of note is there’s a gasket made of compressed wire wool in the joint between the cat and the centre section.

With the exhaust fitted and everything tightened up nicely I turned on the engine to check for leaks – all good!

New C1 exhaust

I was concerned that I might have damaged the oxygen sensor when spraying Super Crack Ultra on the cherry red mounting but the ECU seemed happy.

No fault codes

After a short shakedown it was still holding together so I went for a longer run to get everything fully up to temperature – there were some funky hot metal smells which would have been worrying if I hadn’t just replaced the exhaust but everything held up fine.

Job jobbed.