Sunday, March 12, 2006

Craftsman MR/Johnson 0-4-4T kit

Johnson Loco
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
Since I had a spare day off on Friady, I thought I’d crack on with a project I’ve had hanging around for a little while.

I’d been asked to build a Craftsman kit for an ex-LMS Johnson 0-4-4T. The intention is to produce a locomotive as used in the later years of the Somerset & Dorset railway.

Craftsman kits are pretty user friendly. The photo shows about 15 hours fairly concentrated work. The chassis runs and just needs the brake gear painting. The body lacks dome, cab roof & safety valves. Most of the underframe is tab and slot construction, which means it goes together fast and accurately. Because of its origins in the 1980’s something like an XO4 is meant to provide the motive power. I’ve used a DS10 and gearbox which is big, but not as big. Nothing in the way of cab details is provided – which isn’t that obvious but a modern kit would do the job better.

The model is supposed to have a square topped firebox. The kit makes allowance for this in the cab front – but nowhere else. Scratchbuilding the firebox top isn’t too tough but turning the dome supplied into the dome required is less easy. Worse, nothing is provided for safety valves if you are building the modern (!) prototype so a bit more scratchbuilding is needed since I’m not off to a show in the near future where I can source some castings.

So far I’ve enjoyed this as much as any kit from this manufacturer. They go together pretty well and are well suited to the beginner (not this one – weird weight distribution, do the 02 diesel instead) to etched kits.

A word of advice though – if building a part built kit such as this was – watch for superglue. Heat this up with the soldering iron and very pungent mix is released which makes your eyes water !

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