Kit building advice

Have any questions or tips and advice on how to build those bits that don't come ready made.
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Michaelaface
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:51 am

Kit building advice

Postby Michaelaface » Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:59 am

I want to get in to building my own locos from kits

can anyone recommend a kit for me that fits the following criteria
- isn't too difficult to build
- doesn't cost loads (most of the ones I've seen seem to be hugely expensive)
- isn't an 0-4-0 diesel shunter (while I understand why these make good starting points, they'd be absolutely no use to me on a layout and don't hold any interest for me anyway)
- preferably a MR/ER steam loco that lasted to BR days (although big fan of the interesting pregrouping designs)

atm I'm considering something like craftsman Johnson 1p, although I read it's now a fairly dated kit, but the examples I've seen built look pretty good
http://www.craftsmanmodels.co.uk/cat.pdf

as for skills required, I'm not sure what's needed, but I feel I am becoming fairly proficient with soldering from building my own track from copperclad strips and finding it actually works!

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stuartp
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Re: Kit building advice

Postby stuartp » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:23 am

The difficult bit of a steam loco is getting the chassis set up and working reliably, the rest is essentially cosmetic*. Given that, Comet do a Jinty chassis for £20 which can be built rigid or sprung and will give you something relatively cheap to practice on. If it works, stick a Bachmann body on it (Ebay), if not, you've not wasted a whole kit. If you're feeling more adventurous High Level do an all singing and dancing Jinty chassis for £42. High level kits look complex but the design is very clever with lots of self-jigging, and the one I built ran first time. (It remains the only kit built chassis I've ever done which ran first time). In both cases you have to source motor wheels and gears separately but that's usually the case.

*(In the sense that if it's slightly out of kilter it just looks wrong, rather than stopping the thing working altogether).
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

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Zunnan
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Location: On the cusp of spaghetti...B23

Re: Kit building advice

Postby Zunnan » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:50 pm

It is often said that the best kits to begin with are the most simple, an 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 being ideal. The Craftsman 1P is a good enough place to start, it has a simple chassis without the added complexities of outside cylinders and its a reasonable enough cost too coming in at around £100 for the kit plus motor, gearbox and wheels. The only thing which goes against it is that 0-4-4 tanks can be difficult to get the balancing right, they're naturally back end heavy which can affect their reliable running and there is limited space to get a good amount of weight far enough forwards. Gearbox on the rear driver axle mounted so that the motor sits back inside the firebox with a solid roll of lead in the smokebox and boiler is about the best I've seen.

I'd actually side with doing one of the High Level Kits industrials first, their reputation is among the very best for first time builders as they're extremely well designed with good clear instructions. The Craftsman kits do build into very nice models, but they are getting on a bit and some prior experience would certainly end in a much better model in the long run. Something like the HLK 14inch RSH or 18inch Barclay would be my choice as they're pretty much universal in where they could be found, and a good many lasted in service well after BR had withdrawn mainline steam.

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Michaelaface
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Re: Kit building advice

Postby Michaelaface » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:01 am

building a chassis is a good shout! as I have a few potential bodyshells already that could work with
had intended to give that a try for my lima J50 as apparently a 57xx chassis is a very close match, but then hornby announced one which would probably be better than my efforts

the thing that puts me off is the ones on the comet site are all for fairly commonly modeled locos, one of the reasons I want to start building my own is to get away from that

as for industrial locos that 18 inch barclay looks good! and as far as I can tell that kit includes everything needed to complete the kit (I find some of these sites a bit vague on what you're getting sometimes) which seems quite rare

will have to have a longer think on all of this though as both really bring the price for a first kit a bit too high (even though these are the most affordable ones as far as I've seen)


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