Before I go to a model railway exhibition, I like to empty out my stock box a little. Melbridge Dock has been around for many years and for most of that time I've been building locos for it. This has resulted in more locos than the display box can house and certainly more than we need to actually run the model.
One of the models normally left behind is the Sentinel Y3 shunter. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact it's quite a nice model. But we have to make decisions and the loco runs on a Tenshodo SPUD and so it doesn't run quite as well as some of the other models. However, while pre-show testing the layout, I ran the Y3. You know what ? It works pretty well - so into the box it went.
Anyway, at the show the loco did some real work. In fact it proved quite popular with the crowd who asked where the model originated from. The answer to this was simple - it's a Crownline etched brass kit built many years ago. As far as I know the thing isn't even available any more.
But - on the next door stand, there is a display case full of pre-production models from Dapol. In this case there is the pre-production model of the ModelRail Sentinel shunter. I know Dave who is responsible for the case and arrange to have a go with it.
And it is lovely. The mechanism runs as well as anything I've ever built. There's no problem over the hand built trackwork. It even looks pretty good.
OK, so the sides are a bit plainer than my model but then it's not the final version. The roof and chimney is very nicely done. The body is full of mechanicals but a driver in the doorway will cover most of this. The kit version does look better in this respect, in fact it's a bit empty !
Out of deference to the fact I'd only borrowed it I resisted the urge to remove the couplings and stick something Spratt & Winkle on the end. It was tempting though.
Of course the problem with this model is that once it comes out, you won't be able to move for the things. Every OO branch line will have passenger trains pulled by them. They will be hauling trains that the prototype could only dream of - especially considering it's rather low top speed.
And that means that my model will return to the stockbox. I don't like to run anything that you can get RTR. People have paid to see something different. The same reason that the Pug doesn't come out to play. Never mind, I'm still proud of my model and enjoyed building it.