Tag Archives: Backwoods Miniatures

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Fowler 0-6-0DM (Backwoods Miniatures) Chassis Test

For a very long time now I have been mulling over the build of this tiny little narrow gauge diesel shunter. I think I asked for it on my birthday in my teens and it likely sat in storage for about 10 years before I ever plucked up the courage to attempt to build it. Even that was probably 10 years ago, but anyway… here we are!

My first attempt at building the body required the punching of rivets into the partly formed rivet moulds in the nickel silver etched sheet, which stopped me from working on this model for most of those 10-something years. I eventually plucked up the courage to have a go and I used a small steel rivet punch (that looks like a large needle) and a small hammer. Unfortunately, I thoroughly wrecked the bonnet of the model, created badly matched rivets and made the model look like it had been in some kind of accident with a heard of cows.

I kindly asked the proprietor of Backwoods Miniatures if I could trouble him for a fresh set of etches, which I required for around about £30. I then bought myself a proper miniature rivet punch to avoid such things ever happening again.

I also put together the chassis and gearbox and I think it was one of the first ones that I ever built. Returning to the model after a 12-month break (maybe longer), I decided to have a good look at how well the model is running before I take the plunge and start fitting outside frame coupling rods.

My tests have shown that the pick-up arrangement seems to work fine. I remember modifying it slightly so that it didn’t put too much adverse friction on the free running wheels. The model sits on the rear axle in the smaller of the two bonnets and does seem to struggle to gain traction often with the driving axle spinning with no discernable movement.

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Fowler 0-6-0DM Diesel Shunter (Backwoods Miniatures)

Weighting it down correctly seems to be the potential key to success, but I am mindful that all of the wheels will be very reliant on the coupling rods forcing them into motion from the lone driving axle. Luckily for me, it may be possible to make the coupling rods a bit more robust by soldering two sets together (as I have two sheets of parts). This also means I have a couple of chances to get it right without wrecking the coupling rods.

I have practiced with putting two weights on top of each bonnet to see what the ideal balance of weight is to achieve smooth running across all axles, but it does seem to escape me somewhat. I wondered whether the body was rocking on the axles, but I have checked and it seems fine (although, the gearbox rocks a little when in motion). So far the best arrangement involves dropping the weight into the cab (as I am starting to suspect that the patchy stop-start running is something to do with the middle axle.

I have tested all the pick-ups and it seems to work very well with its live-chassis arrangement, but it does need a fair amount of power (between 50 and 80 on my Gaugemaster controller) to get it moving.

Although it would be nice to see it running better, I think it can only be improved by taking the risk and fitting the outside frame coupling rods and seeing how the model copes with having all the wheels connected to the motion. When will I do this? Who knows, it still seems a bit scary. 😉

Grasslands Out!

Five Shunter Challenge Pt11: Where did I get to? (aka forgetting progress)

A few years ago I decided to attempt building a number of my locomotive kits in tandem, as a means to improving my abilities at each stage of the build; normally I spend years labouring over one locomotive and then completely forget any of the lessons learned along the way.

And so started my ‘five shunter challenge’ where I plan to build five shunter kits and do a bit of explaining along the way. Unfortunately, a few life crises destroyed my momentum and both this challenge (and the blog in general) have not moved very far in recent years.

Today I decided to revisit my kit boxes and look through the blog posts, so I could try and work out exactly where I got to.

My original plan was to get each of the chassis completed (including gearboxes etc.) and then move onto building all of the bodies. Although, I really fancy building something that isn’t a chassis right now, I still think this method probably makes the most sense.

Here are some notes on progress for each of the locos:
x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

The BR02 chassis is complete and the body is also very close to completion (it is a small number of well moulded white metal blocks). I do need to do a bit of work sanding the nose down smooth as there are still a few flash lines. The original motor and gearbox were replaced by a High Level Kits Slimliner gearbox, but I am yet to start assembly of the gearbox. I may have to make some adjustments to the chassis block to allow it to fit, and I’m hoping that the amount of research I did a few years ago hold up and that the motor will fit inside the bonnet. If I build the gear box up, then this loco leaps in front of the kits and will be almost complete and probably move to paint shop.

One of the buffers broke off, which is a bit annoying, but I can glue or solder it back on again. The chain links that came with the kit also look dire, so I will replace those.

Sentinel post war 100HP 0-4-0VBTRT Models

The Sentinel chassis and gear box is complete, other than fitting a white metal ash pan beneath the chassis, which I didn’t do as it doesn’t quite fit, and I wanted to fit the body first. I am itching to fold up the frames, but I am going to try and hold back for now. Annoyingly, a few very fine bits of etched details have been bent out of shape while I played with the etched frames (that will teach you not to fiddle with things, Tom), but I have unbent the damaged bits for the moment.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

The Ruston 88DS has a completed chassis and gear box and is also ready for the frame build. Both this kit and the sentinel have the same super small gearbox.

For some reason I seem to have removed the inner plastic wheels from the tyres, and I can’t remember why.

11001Judith Edge

The Bulleid super shunter chassis is built and the rear compensation is fixed on, but I seem to have had some troubles with the middle balance beams, which are no longer attached to the frames. I may have opted for removing them when I took the axles out of the chassis. This loco also has a High Level Kits slimline chassis to be fitted, and I have started building the motor harness, but never got around to fitting the gears; I assume this was the last thing I did on the challenge many moons ago.

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DEJudith Edge

The Hawthorn Leslie lags behind, and is still just two side frames. I did consider putting the frames together, but it seems a bit daunting after being away from the hobby for so long.


I’ve bought myself another sentinel shunter, which is based on the same chassis block as the sentinel in the x5 Shunter Challenge (also from RT Models).

This sentinel was in the news not too long ago, as it is the former Fry’s Chocolate factory shunter, which was missing for many years and found in a shed! I’ve always liked this little thing, so I’m looking forward to building this one up soon.

I also have a little OO9 Fowler shunter from Backwoods Models, which I have been making for years and has progressed very well. I am bit apprehensive about the next stage of the build, as I assume I need to tackle the rather complex outside frame coupling arrangement. I have quite a few little narrow gauge locos to build, including a few more little diesel shunters (maybe I should start a ‘x5 OO9 loco challenge too’.

There is also my Class 13 shunter to finish off too.

So many models, so little time.

Grasslands out.