Last updated February 2021
The last 12 months of lockdown have provided plenty of time to finish three more engines:
• An Albion kit of a ‘Gladstone’ class 0-4-2, turned out as no 184 ‘Stroudley’ in umber. The instructions say ‘suitable for OO/EM/P4’, but I have to disagree. The clearances are far too tight to fit the wheels in both loco and tender, necessitating much building and rebuilding to make it work. This is now finished and looking rather handsome.
• A scratchbuilt I2 to sit alongside my I3 (built in 1993) which has been finished as no 13. Having built quite a few kits over the past few years, I think scratchbuilding can sometimes be a lot more straightforward. Apart from anything else, brass requires a great deal of heat to make a decent soldered joint because it transmits heat so well. All of my scratchbuilds use nickel silver which is a real pleasure to work with. I don’t really understand why kit manufacturers use brass for the bodies, but nickel silver for the chassis? I appreciate that n-s is more expensive, but would it make much difference to the cost of the kit?
• A scratchbuilt E4X. Only four E4’s were given the large I2 boiler and reclassified as ‘E4X’. All other reboilerings (including ‘Birchgrove’ on the Bluebell Railway) used the smaller, cheaper I1 boiler. This engine is no 478 ‘Newick’.
The loco index leads to photographs and descriptions of most of my locos. Nearly all of my earlier locos were scratchbuilt for the simple reason that when I started over 40 years ago, there were very few kits of Brighton prototypes, so scratchbuilding was the only alternative. Having now built quite a few kits I think in many respects scratchbuilding is no more difficult than kit building, and it opens the door to building a unique collection of unusual prototypes. (The honourable exception to this is the High Level Model kits which are excellent in every respect - well-designed, and with really good instructions and diagrams).
All the locos have handbuilt chassis, fully compensated, and with split-axle pick-up (with the exception of the HLModels locos, which have scrapers). Many were built originally with open frame motors (mostly Anchoridge D11's and D13's) but most have now been converted to Portescaps or Mashimas, with much improved running.