Sunday, 3 July 2011

The ones that got away... No. 3: Class 30 Atlantic

So we've had an abandoned 'Badger' and half-baked 'Pioneer', but the third loco in this series is different in a number of ways.  Firstly, I actually still have the bits (although finding them proved fun), and secondly should it ever get finished in this form, it will be a static model.

It is perhaps the holy grail of miniature railway modelling to achieve a model of a Bassett-Lowke 'Atlantic', certainly the person who produces an early style 'Little Giant' of Class 10 outline, to scale, will be worthy of much more than a shrubbery. There are design features across all three of the Bassett-Lowke Atlantic designs that make locating a ready-to-run chassis a potential problem, that is before you consider the issue of there being no ready to run N gauge Atlantics!  The driving wheelbase is very tight, and perhaps almost impossible to scale.

So my attempt was to be a static model in the style of Kitmaster, based around the undergubbins of a Del-Prado 'Flying Scotsman' model:

As can be seen, several years ago I got as far as rebuilding the chassis as an Atlantic and shaping up a running plate. Andrew Blackwell had suggested using parts from Dapol Drewery Shunter wheels as splashers which I duly did, before giving up on the model as other priorities took over.  The shape is certainly there...

The Del-Prado tender chassis was re-shaped to look like two bogies rather than the 4 fixed axles of the A3, and at this stage things faltered as I couldn't decide which way to go next, did I go for a fictitious name, or model 'Synolda' or 'Count Louis'?  Then I hankered after 'Count Louis' with the later, longer tender and things ground to a halt, not before I had wondered about one of the Sutton Miniature Railway locos, then couldn't decide between them either!

One person who has proved more decisive is Tim Ellis, a member of the NGRM Online forum.  Tim has taken on the completion of a loco started some years ago by another member of the forum based around a Minitrix pacific chassis.  I seem to recall that I had some correspondence with the original builder over the choice of chassis and even which N-Brass fittings to use for the chimney, dome, buffers etc based on my experience.  Tim has finished the loco off as 'Count Louis' and it has won much praise for it's appearance (as has all of Tim's work):

(C) Tim Ellis

Tim's entire workbench thread can be found here, with the Atlantic build starting on page 11 (my apologies for non-forum members, but trust me, it is an incentive to join!).  Tim has promised me an extra special picture of the loco on his O9 micro layout but he is a busy chap...

So what hope is there for the rest of us?  Well, I do have a Minitrix chassis courtesy of Andrew Blackwell, and one day an Atlantic may be built on it following Tim's lead.  However, like a bolt out of the blue, there is a remote possibility of a commercial model of a Class 30.  Roger Chivers, of Chivers Finelines fame, has recently posed the possibility of a kit to build one of these delightful machines here.  If you would be interested in the model, please do respond to the forum thread and make yourself known - with no commitment to buy at this stage.

Us O9 modellers live in interesting times!