Cast locomotive kits generally provide the quickest root
to producing a steam locomotive, and the better ones, such as the ex
GEM 48XX/58XX kit produced by 3SMR and illustrated below, can be made into
reasonable models. 3SMR also market a high quality Brynkits chassis
kit which can be used with this model.
The main body components for the 48XX/58XX kit. The parts
are reasonably accurate, except for small footplate "skirts" underneath
the boiler, which also has its base missing. The skirts are easily
removed, and the underside of the boiler made good with a bit of copper
water pipe, or similar. There are a few minor bits of flash which need
to be removed.
Although the castings are quite neat, the cast-on handrails betray
the kit's age. However, with a bit of care, these can easily be removed
and replaced by wire, as shown here. Other cast-on details such as whistles
can also be replaced.
A basic chassis lash up will enable you to check clearances. Here
the Brynkits chassis has been bent up, and the bushes, Society finescale
wheels, High Level Roadrunner gearbox frame, and Mashima 1220 motor have
been dropped in. This model is intended for 14.2mm gauge; for 12mm
you'd need to use, say, the Slimliner gearbox and 1020 motor available
from Finney & Smith, and wheels of your choice. It was found
that just a little carving of the footplate was needed, to increase
the width of the gap for the motor, and later on a bit taken out of
the base of the cab front, to clear the top of the motor.
The assembled chassis, which features a compensated rear axle.
You can easily alter such chasses to your own ideas. One
here, to further improve suspension, was to file the front bearings to
give a small amount of vertical movement and spring the axle using phosphor
bronze wires; these were later removed because the top-bearing pickups
used gave enough springing. Another was to use 0.7mm nickel silver
rod to attach the brakes, rather than the brass rod cum spacers provided.
Also the brakes were positioned further from the wheels, to allow the
wheels to be freely added or removed. The nut on the middle cross piece
is for bolting on the pickups, which were made removable for ease of adjustment.
The body assembled and awaiting tidying up. Apart from the
handrails, extra detail includes whistles (Bruce Hoyle), steampipes (modified
4mm Branchlines coach), coupling hooks (Worsley Works wagon), and front
lamp irons (4mm nickel silver wire).
End on view of the motor and gearbox, with axle and final gear
loosely in place. The axle bearings provided with the gearbox have
been replaced with Branchlines shallow "straw hat" ones, so that the
gearbox fits comfortably between the frames. One of the original
bearings will be reused inside the gearbox as shown, to limit sideplay,
in preference to the High Level recommendations.
The chassis mainly complete and capable of being tested.
Pickups are phosphor bronze wire soldered to a bit of copper clad
sleepering, suitably gapped and with a hole drilled in the middle, and
then bolted to the chassis. Sandboxes need adding, and balance
weights to the wheels.
Almost complete. Needs sandboxes, glazing and coal, and
awaits final testing, then fixing of the coupling rods. Transfers
are from the Society's PC Methfix range; number plates are the Society's
Martin Finney number plate kit.