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Another Fowler diesel


Phil Parker

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It's often suggested that as soon as you build a kit for a model, someone will bring out a ready to run example almost immediately. This happened to me with the Fowler diesel shunter last year. There I was innocently browsing the NG Trains stand and I spotted a notice bearing the picture of a loco that looked very similar to one in my unfinished kit stash.

 

PhilsFowler.jpg

 

The story began over 15 years ago. At my local model railway club, a few of the members decided that while none of us felt up to building an O gauge layout single-handed, we were all enthusiastic enough to each build a few wagons and a loco. Bringing these together we'd have enough stock for a modest layout which could be built in the clubrooms.

 

Soon afterwards I found myself in Tennents Trains looking at some kits on the shelf. The Fowler had always appealed to my love of industrial locomotives and since the layout was to be a brewery, a model would be ideal. After spreading the parts out over the counter, I decided the Eric Underhill kit looked like it was within my capabilities and so I splashed out on what was at that point, the most expensive loco kit I'd ever bought. Even in those days, complete with motor, wheels and gears, the bill was over a hundred quid.

 

Anyway, progress was initially quite quick. I soon had the chassis up and running thanks to some lovely solid metal connecting rods that were far superior than the etched versions I knew from OO kits. The major parts of the whitemetal body were soldered together and the loco started to look really nice.

 

At this point, things ground to a halt. The layout had fallen into abeyance – it was later rescued by a new team and is still part of the club collection – and I had moved on to producing motive power for one of my own layouts.

 

The Fowler lay in the bottom of the stockbox for a few years until I found myself building a suitable layout for it. I had a look through the remaining castings and fixed a few more in place. Progress occurred in fits and starts around other projects. Then I saw the sign telling everyone a RTR model was on its way.

 

Luckily, Ixion had chosen to model the GWR prototype. I had considered this one but chickened out when I looked at the lining, a skill that eludes me. My plan was to build the LMS version cloaked in a much more friendly plain black livery.

 

This required a few changes to the model. The donkey engine moved from one side of the bonnet to the other. The supplied version was the wrong size too so I scratch built a replacement.

 

Despite my efforts, Ixion still beat me, finishing their version before I had completed mine. I'll admit I was impressed and if I hadn't owned a half-built kit, I'd probably have snapped one up. A few months later, my version was complete, running, but unpainted. I claimed it was a special “Silver Jubilee” livery if anyone asked.

 

Now the model is finished. I'm pleased with it. The RTR version has sold well, Howard has even taken the BRM review sample and produced an even more complicated paint job than it originally sported. My model now resides in a display case – I sold the layout it should have run on. One day I will have to build another.

 

(If you are interested in reading a more detailed write-up on building this loco, I posted details on my blog)

 

HowardsFowler.jpg

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