In general I'm not a forum person, the one exception to this is Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling Online (usually just abbreviated as NGRM) where I'm now a frequent visitor and poster. In the past they have held modelling challenges and they have decided it is time for another one, specifically to scratch build a locomotive. There is a full description and set of rules on the forum (you have to be a member to read them I'm afraid), but the motivation is
This challenge has been created to promote scratch building using various tools and materials. Over the years I have seen some very interesting locomotives scratch built using the very basic of hand tools in plastic, brass, and complete mix of other materials. You don't have to be a professional model maker to take part, all you need is patience and basic hand tools. Entrants are asked to respect the spirit of the competition when taking part.To try and interest as many people as possible there are three different levels:
- Level 1: scratch built body on a ready to run chassis.
- Level 2: scratch built body on a modified ready to run chassis (e.g. Farish 08 with added cylinders, valve gear etc.)
- Level 3: scratch built body and chassis.
I've never scratch built a loco before, and certainly never a chassis, but personally it wouldn't be a challenge if I didn't go all in at level 3! Having decided to enter though I had no idea quite what I was going to try and build but, not surprising given the locos I've been designing and building recently, I thought I'd look for something small and quirky.
Fortunately the UK has it's fair share of both small and quirky locos so I didn't have to look very hard to find something and here it is (photo from Wikipedia).
This is one of two locos (this one is Bee the other is Ant) that were built in 2004 for the Great Laxey Mine Railway on the Isle of Man. They are replicas of the original locos used at the mine which were unfortunately scrapped in the 1930s.
It should be clear from even just a quick glance at the photo, that this loco is both small and quirky. Having managed to find a set of drawings (thanks Rob) that appeared in the April 1991 issue of 009 News, I know just how small it is. According to the drawings it's just 4' 9" from rail to chimney top, but more interestingly the track gauge is just 19", which is really very narrow.
As yet I haven't decided what scale to build a model of this loco in. I had wondered about using a standard track gauge (9mm, 14mm, 16.5mm etc.) and then picking a scale to match, but if I want to be able to put the loco with any scenic stuff or figures etc. then using a standard scale and hand building track to match probably makes more sense. My current thinking is possibly to go up yet another scale from my usual modelling to 16mm to the foot scale, which will still give a tiny loco; just 76mm from rail to chimney top. I need to make a few more measurements before making a final decision though.