Much frothing has taken place over the past few weeks regarding 02’s of the steam engine variety, I’ve not seen one yet, though Warley show beckons and I may catch up with one there. With the Warley show coming up and Manchester the week after I wanted to add something different to Shelfies roster. I’m quite happy using good RTR equipment but as shelfie is pretty much ‘made by me’ it’ll be nice to add a loco in the same vein.
A while ago I wanted to refresh my loco building skills and had got into stock a few etched kits from the easy end of the spectrum. In that bunch of kits was the Craftsman 02 Diesel shunter. It is a basic kit, and accurate. With the march of time, today it’s worth looking at contemporary motors and gearboxes, rather than trying to find Romford gears and an Anchoridge DS10 motor. To this end I’ve gone for a High Level double reduction gear tower, and Mashima motor, on test it runs very smoothly.
The kit due to it’s vintage has a few challenges in it, it’s not a shake the box model and it falls out made up. The bonnet is pre-formed the rest is up to you. In a strangely nerdy way there’s something quite cool seeing the assemblies form a three dimensional shape from flat etches, particularly knowing you’ve fixed and fettled them to get there. The instructions are pretty good, in their day very good compared to some others, that’s why at MRM we often suggested this very kit as a starting point. You knew that if the customer took their time, they’d end up with a nice model, tons of experience, and a huge amount of satisfaction.
One of the things I’m looking forward to is painting the model, again its been a while since I’ve painted brass. I’ll post how I get on later in the build. As you get to know your way round the model you can see where you can make life easier, the instructions assume the model superstructure will be one module, for painting I can envisage the bonnet and cab as one unit separate from the footplate, and I think I’m likely to make a few modifications to do that. That’s the beauty of a kit like this you can make these sorts of changes, which at the end of the day make life easier.
There is sometimes a mystique that etched kits are really difficult, some are, due to complexity, poor design and in some cases both! This however isn’t one of them. What it is, is a really good simple and accurate kit that can teach, or in my case refresh loco building skills at a reasonable cost. Phil Parker has commented that he hopes a ready to run model of this engine doesn’t come out, as it will effectively remove one of the best etched brass starter kits from the market very quickly, and I can see his point of view.