Thursday, 17 November 2011

British Bulldog

The postman this morning thrust two parcels into my expectant hand. The first was a Static Grass Applicator from Finescale Model Railways. It's exactly like the one I've been meaning to make for nearly a year now. I bought a £3 high-voltage insect swatter and a metal tea-strainer for the purpose. The swatter was so effective as a swatter that it was retained for that purpose and another one purchased. This was immediately requisitioned as the "upstairs swatter", so I bought a third, which went to the summer-house ..... Eventually I reserved one for grass-making. But there's always something better to do than designing and building a tool so that it will work reliably, when you know that you won't need until some time in the future. So when someone comes along who has a proven design in quantity production at a reasonable price, I am more than happy to part with a few pounds and take one off his hands. And we have a spare swatter and a smart new tea-strainer into the bargain.

The second parcel was even more exciting; my Bachmann 3F 0-6-0 had arrived from Hattons. It was soon on the test track and "running in" on the rollers. And it was a dry, sunny day, so as the trackwork on my indoor layout currently has more rails in ink than in nickel-silver, I cleared a section of garden track and fired up the controller.

Bachmann's new Midland 3F 0-6-0.

The 3F ambles up the 1 in 50 past the quarry.

The excellent cab detail is visible in this view.
And as well as looking beautiful, it runs beautifully too! I also like the infinitely variable tender-spacing adjustment (though care is needed dressing the cables under the tender to avoid them jamming the wheels) and the working fall plate. Bachmann have also moved level with Hornby in the quality of the dummy screw coupling in the accessory bag. The only thing missing is the option of a Whitaker tablet catcher on the tender (though even on the S&D only a few if the class were fitted with them). No doubt it will appear in the future, with a suitable running number.

As usual, I'll enjoy the model for a few weeks in its current ex-works condition (at least until I'm reasonably confident it won't need to go back under warranty), then it will be given a characteristic coat of grime and coupled to a suitable train of equally grimy wagons.

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