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In depth idiot
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Neat work that will improve it significantly. Were you not tempted to cut out the boiler 'skirt' ahead of the splasher? The reduced
profile of the replacement motor and gear set will not intrude nearly as much as the XO4, and the model will jump up another
notch. Dare I ask if you have seen any suitable brake hangers and shoes? That was a difficult improvement to the old chassis
blocks in Mazak, I used to prefer the screw assembled steel frame chassis as easier to drill mounting holes!

(The thought of someone asking much the same money for the L1 as for the announced Rails/Dapol Wainwright D 4-4-0! I should
hope that model will 'reduce expectations'. Only the prettiest 4-4-0 to run in the UK)
 

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In depth idiot
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Woohoo! That's a very major improvement all around, shows want can be done when the 'bones' of the model are good.

Just one question, is the front end a tad high, or is that optical distortion?
 

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In depth idiot
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Deserves the more refined drive you have now installed. The general use of at least two stage spur gear reduction drive trains in current RTR is I feel not as much appreciated as it might be. This was one of the 'secret' elements in better kit built models, that enabled smoother starts and stops and quieter operation: and now it is just 'thrown in' as part of the RTR package. The small incremental risk of a split spur gear, simply by reason of more of them in the mechanism is to my mind a worthwhile trade off for the gain in running refinement. (My advice. Run the RTR model for about 12hrs as early as possible after purchase to reveal any infant mortality, from this and other causes. If something fails and you are back to the retailer within a week, there's no argument over 'replace please', because it broke 'out of the box'.)

Back to the buffed up L1. The coal is very good, the shaping to show that the fireman has begun to draw down the front of the bunker, and the dangerous overspill of it on the rear deck for one of the crew to loose footing while attempting to drag the bag around. I have heard some interesting views from footplate crew about which was the better place when watering, on the stopcock wheel (trad. driver's role) where the glands might well be leaking badly, and water could shower down on you unpredicatably from leaks various; but then again in winter there might be a fire devil and a bit more shelter, and if you slipped and fell the ground was under your feet.

If we ever have shows again... Have this significantly updated L1 running on an exhibition layout, and use a clicker counter to record how many people ask versions of 'I really want one of those/where did you buy that/what make is that?'. You'll probably get a sore finger.
 

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In depth idiot
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QUOTE (SRman @ 21 Oct 2020, 00:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...I still have far too many steam locos with moulded plastic coal loads...
My 'quick, cheap and dirty' method to improve these somewhat, where the construction makes it possible, is to trim whatever moulded in supports are on the underside of the faux coal load. That drops the level somewhat, and a little loose coal can then go on top if wished. (Top marks among the RTR locos I have goes to Hornby's Thompson L1 2-6-4T. Having removed the moulding in the bunker with a view to modification, a false floor was revealed in a well judged position for a little coal to represent a part emptied bunker, or a little more for a near full load.)

QUOTE (SRman @ 21 Oct 2020, 00:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...One observation I made from checking photos and videos was that M7 0-4-4T locos often started off with a full coal load in the bunker, with several more lumps of coal on the cab roof.
That's the signature of some mechanical handling aid in use for coaling. If hand coaled from ground level or a wagon there's little chance some coal gets lifted high enough to go on the cab roof! A common sight on the KX GN mainline district allocation of tank locos in BR operation, all of J50, J52, J94, L1, N1, N2, N7, can be seen on shed with bunkers fully coaled and quite frequently a 'deposit' on the cab roof. Mechanical handling at all the sheds: Cenotaph coal towers at KX Top Shed and Hornsey; Stothert and Pitt tub lifts at KX Bottom Shed, Hatfield and Hitchin.

However, I was firmly corrected when I 'enhanced' my model of an N7 with some coal on the cab roof, seen out on a working turn on the club layout. A former driver was most emphatic that the fireman's duties before going off shed always included trimming the bunker; and leaving coal uselessly on the cab roof where it might just bounce off the driver's bonce while running, was a sure way for the fireman to meet with disfavour on the footplate.
 
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