News that Heljan are to produce a RTR Class 07 shunter has delighted the Interweb but makes me a little sad. I've enjoyed quite a long history with this attractive prototype and this announcement changes everything.
As mentioned in the past on this blog, my first etched brass kit was a cheap Blackpool toastrack tram. Encouraged by this, I was on the look out for a locomotive to have a go at. I had a DJH whitemetal kit 02 under my belt and so Dave Elbourne at the model railway club sold me a part completed Craftsman 07 kit.
It was a bargain as he'd done the hard work making an operating chassis. Even the lubricator linkage worked. All I had to do was build the body.
Craftsman kits are good basic products and this was no different. Front and rear bonnets were pre-formed and after some careful work, I ended up with a model I was very proud of. It ran for many miles on Melbridge Dock and Dave's Scotland Street Yard. Then it was stolen from the back of a van along with all the other rolling stock in the late 90s.
It's replacement is powered by a Porterscap motor - real Rolls-Royce power and stupidly expensive. Since I was spending the insurance money, I was determined that if I was going to have to build the model again, it was going to be an upgrade.
More recently, for my Modelling British Rail Diesels bookazine, I took the opportunity to build the excellent Silver Fox resin kit. Basically a body to fit a Bachmann 03 chassis, with a little detailing, the results are very impressive. It's a simple enough job and I always felt that the kit should have sold in huge numbers. After all, people were always saying they wanted one.
Now of course, no-one will want either kit. Worse, the 07 joins the ranks of locos I don't run because you can have the same thing RTR. I have a trip out with the Dock next month and I bet every time my 07 appears, someone will witter on about the Heljan version and some of them will be feeling superior because I was stupid enough to build a kit and they were smart enough to sit and wait for someone to do the work for them.
On the other hand, if I was that clever, I'd have missed a lot of fun over the years building things.