Yesterday my new Beyer Garratt arrived. These engines were the largest steamers to ever run on British metals, and what a beast it is too. The Beyer Garratt is essentially two steam engines operating across a single (yet very substantial) boiler. This particular model was commissioned by Hattons of Liverpool and built by Heljan.
I have planned to build a Garratt kit for a long time, but I always knew that I would have to be well versed in putting together the chassis components if I was to ever get a good build from a Garratt kit. Lucky for me, Heljan have saved me a lot of hassle.
The Garratt is now officially the most awkward model to handle that I own. It has lots of detailed and fragile parts and it is very awkward to find a suitable place to grip onto it with your fingers when taking it off the track or moving it into a display case. I eventually placed it on a display base so I could move it around a bit easier.
There has been some discussion about build quality on this model, and I can see where such concerns from, but they don’t cause me significant concern. There are a few marks and stains on the rather plastic-looking body, but this will be resolved when I weather the loco. A piece of plastic had also come free beneath the rotating coal bunker, but this just needs a dab of glue to fix it back in place. I think the cab is also a bit loose, but I can glue that easy enough.
What is really impressive is the motors and chassis. Just like my Heljan diesels, this loco is a quiet and powerful loco. All I have managed to do so far is run it on the rolling road, but I will soon be putting it through some haulage trials.
This British Rail Green diesel shunter belongs to my dad. He bought it from the Bachmann discount stand at Warley 2012. The motor seems to stall from time to time and I suggested I would have a look at it. Now 12 months have almost past, I think it is best I take a look.
I remember that the coupling rod appeared to be slightly bent on one of the rear cranks, so I suspected it could be an issue relating to the coupling rods jarring. After a quick run on the rolling road I whipped the body off.
The trickiest thing to do is to slide up the NEM couplings without breaking off the backing. The body screws are located beneath them. I have some special screw drivers designed to work with hexagonal bolts, which are very useful for removing coupling rods from RTR locos. Unfortunately, the pin that fixes in the crank at the back of the model isn’t hexagonal and won’t unscrew. Instead I removed the crank along with the coupling rod and used my ‘hold and fold’ tool to flatten the coupling rod back out. Stalling still seemed to be an issue, so I added a very thin washer beneath the crank to see if that would reduce the play in this area. In addition, I stretched out the pick-ups to increase contact with the wheels. As a final step I swapped around the front and rear axles and screwed the coupling rods back on.
I then set the shunter off at full speed on the rolling road, to see if this would remove any burrs that might be causing issues.
There have been no signs of stalling since. It was quite simple to create the stalling effect before the modifications, so maybe, just maybe I have sorted it out.