Friday, September 17, 2021

Tiger - my first home-built garden railway locomotive

Tiger wasn't my first scratchbuilt locomotive, that was a OO gauge Hunslet, but he is the first garden railway locomotive I built from scratch. At the time we had a Mamod steamer, but it was pretty uncontrollable, and I felt a battery electric loco would be a better idea. Of course, in the 1980s, my funds for this sort of thing were incredibly limited. 

What emerged from my workbench, isn't the most realistic in the world. The design is pragmatic. Square edges because that's what's easiest to cut in 2mm Plastikard. Side skirts because I needed to hide the wheels. Even I knew they weren't realistic. 

Underneath, the chassis is a rectangle of square brass tube soldered up, from which dangle running gear made from Coopercraft 16mm parts. Handily, these were available as a reasonably priced pack, but no loco ever ran on curly-spoked wheels. 

Power is a cheap motor driving a single axle through some Proops (remember them?) pound pack gears. 3 AA batteries provide the go, and a DPDT switch the control. To say the model runs slowly would be to underestimate it's lack of forward progress. Plenty of power though, you just better be not in a hurry. 

The body detail owes a lot to old plastic kit cars. While the model might not be fast, it's powered (apparently) by a honking great V8 engine. I have no idea why its mounted back to font, and I didn't really understand which bits were engine and which gearbox. 

Crew is an Action Jack figure with a paper overall to hide the joints in his lets, and some Milliput hair. The headlight is a Playmobil cup with the handle cut off and wires added. I suspect the lens comes from the spares box - I never threw bits away. 

Tiger hasn't run for a while, although he still works. I suppose Marjorie Kondo would declutter him to the bin, but I prefer he sits on the bookshelves behind me when I'm on Zoom calls. We all have to start somewhere, and shouldn't forget that modellers develop, they aren't born.



Steve said...

This is great, don't let Kondo anywhere near it !

Paul B. said...

The WW1 Dick Kerr petrol electric locos ran on curly spoke wheels. Which is annoying should you wish to model one.

As for Tiger - its good to keep an early example of your work around, if only to show how far we've come.