All things considered the modifications to the body were straightforward. It all comes apart easily and the plastic seems to work well. The list of things which need to be altered to make a Caledonian version are as follows;
Replace buffers with continental style ones. ( these are from shapeways)
Fit westinghouse pump, smokebox rhs.
Remove safety valve cover, fit ross pop valves.
Square off and slightly reduce chimney height.
Reposition and fit single whistle.
Remove boiler topfeed and pipework.
Remove smokebox door handle, fit handwheel type
Remove smokebox door number plate.
Fit plate type smokebox hinge.
Add lamp irons to cabside and tender rear top.
Add safety chains to bufferbeams.
Add header discharge valve, smokebox lhs.
Add air brake reservoirs under rear footplate.
Add brake pipes.
Add 3 number plates. Cabsides and tender rear.
Add NBL build plate. (I have some, can’t find them atm)
There should also be a piston rod cover on the front of the cylinders, but since it would foul the front wheels I left it off. Jacks are another issue, some of the CR engines seem to have had them, others didn’t so mine hasn’t.
One thing that the rtr manufacturers seem to do very well these days is backhead details. I wish they would sell all the bits as a separate pack for use in other models.
Anyway, a simple paint job followed by a bit of a light weathering to bring out some of the detail. I need to wotk the weathering in a bit when the light is better.
So how does it run? Well the honest answer is acceptably but not wonderfully smooth. It rides hard over some pointwork and the flanges hit the inner tops of the chairs in some places. The fact that I had to limit the sideplay of the front drivers so tightly means that it fishtails a bit on curves. That said it hauls 25 wagons happily and gets round most of the layout without falling off. I am not going to try to turn the wheels down, they are diecast from something a bit soft and I doubt I could do a good job of it.
If this was going to be a mainstay of my loco fleet I would get frames and a full wheel set from agw and build a compensated chassis, I still have the option to do so if I feel I want to run more post war stock. However the point of the exercise was to see what I could do with a 50 quid bargain and I’m happy with the result for the amount I have spent.