Tuesday, June 06, 2017

16mm scale Ruston


With my new role at Garden Rail in mind, I need a 32mm gauge railway. And for that I need some 32mm gauge rolling stock.

Fortunatly, I happen to have some in a plastic box in the shed. With trepidation, I opened it up and unearthed the first loco.

Eccles (named after a cat) is a Saltford Models kit. Powered by a 6V motor with batteries in the engine bay.

Eccles side view

Amazingly, after over 10 years in a box, in an unheated shed, the little locois in pretty good conditions. Those who don't remember the Saltford range won't know that basically what you got in the "kit" was a pile of whitemetal castings and plans for parts to be cut out of 2mm thick plastic sheet. 

These were then assembled, motor etc added followed by castings. It was cheap and low-tech and great fun. Your locos were a bit home-spun and only as good as your modelling ability but they were from an era of home building that still exists in many ways in the 16mm (or SM32 as Peco would call it) scale community. 

Sadly, Saltford kits are no more and if you want to pick one up on eBay, you'll pay a fair bit for it IF you can find anything to buy. I'll admit I'd love to do more. The nearest successor would be IP Engineering, and even they make it easy by supplying the parts ready cut!

The sharp eyed will notive that the driver is modelled on Ford Prefect from the 1980s BBC TV adaption of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I think he's a modified "Action Jack" but it's so long ago I can't remember. 

Refurbishment took no more than running some solvent into a couple of joints. I oiled the axles and gears, twiddled the 4 AA batteries up front and the loco roared into life. Now I need a railway....

Saltford Models also make 009 kits, Paul has been working on one here. Now, if anyone has the GGR Polar Bear kit they don't want, just let me know!


Huw Griffiths said...

"Eccles" … named after a cat - as opposed to a place in Greater Manchester - or even a local delicacy?

OK, Phil, I believe you, even if I'm half expecting your "critter" to acquire companions, with names like "Banbury", "Chorley", "Blackburn", "Chelsea" and "Bakewell".

Perhaps there might even be a bulldozer conversion called "Caterpillar" (actually not quite as mad as it might sound, as one US salt production facility did indeed have some Caterpillar dozers converted into shunting locos - and a large scale model build found its way onto SE Lounge).

Phil Parker said...

The cat was named after the character in the Goon show.

Ben Bucki said...

I have a very faint memory of seeing this model before, maybe in an old 1990's BRM? I can rememer an article about a group setting up a mock garden railway in a shopping centre for some event, and this looks like the loco in the pic (the image left an impression and the long-held ambition for a garden railway!)

Phil Parker said...

Ben - Excellent memory! Yes, this loco did appear in that old issue of BRM in a piece about 1-day layouts I built in our local shopping centre to promote our exhibition.