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O Gauge live steam?


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Looking into the coming year, I’ve now acquired a considerable quantity of O gauge coarse-scale track. Having seen the Hornby OO Gauge live steam display, and the 16mm scale live steam at Peterborough last year, I’m much tempted to have a go, with a view to mainly using it outdoors, but possibly a portable exhibition piece.

 

From what I can see, the choice is mostly Mamod, which I know from the past; BL moguls, best left to those who know about them; leaky old Bowman 4-4-0s requiring considerable TLC, and a sharp financial step to Roundhouse 

 

I’m open to suggestions, thoughts and comments on this. 

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I have been looking at this myself. The temptation is to simply regauge a Hornby live steamer to O gauge, but this does not look to be as easy as it sounds. The easiest route seems to be to butcher a MSS kit, the boiler capacity is only 120cc which isn't too much to heat. There are solid state heater pads heater pads which look promising, but are expensive.

 

I will follow this thread with interest.

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6 hours ago, rockershovel said:

Looking into the coming year, I’ve now acquired a considerable quantity of O gauge coarse-scale track. Having seen the Hornby OO Gauge live steam display, and the 16mm scale live steam at Peterborough last year, I’m much tempted to have a go, with a view to mainly using it outdoors, but possibly a portable exhibition piece.

 

From what I can see, the choice is mostly Mamod, which I know from the past; BL moguls, best left to those who know about them; leaky old Bowman 4-4-0s requiring considerable TLC, and a sharp financial step to Roundhouse 

 

I’m open to suggestions, thoughts and comments on this. 

Bowmans can be good, it’s really luck as to which one you get. I bought a very nice (didn’t know it at the time, looked a bit of a wreck) one, which still had the vital lubrication foam on the pistons in place. That’s the main thing that can go wrong,  apart from safety valve springs rusting away. I was never able to run mine though, as I was gifted my Bassett Lowke Mogul soon after I bought it, and I eventually sold the Bowman to cover the rebuild costs of the Mogul. 
 

If I were you, I’d try to hunt around and find an older German (Bing, Schoenner, Carette) oscillating cylinder 0-4-0, and see how you like it, then you can think about upgrading to something like a BL Mogul or Enterprise. The engine below is a Bing one that was on The Station Masters Rooms, might still be.

 

Douglas

 

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Edited by Florence Locomotive Works
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If you aren't fussy about the scale, don't mind either 0 or 16mm/ft, and want something that is exceedingly well built, and will do exactly what its meant to do without restoration, tinkering, or hassle, and will outlast you: Roundhouse.

 

The Roundhouse Basic Series locos are light-years better than the Mamodesque MSS locos, but, naturally, they cost a lot more, c£675 vs c£250. I always say to people that if they are about to buy an MSS, they will be happier in a years time if they do without a loco for the whole of that time, while saving-up the difference (£8.17/week), then buy a Roundhouse one.

 

I've had a Roundhouse 'Billy' for c20 years, and although it gets very little use these days due to my 0 gauge obsession, when it does come out to play it is utterly reliable.

 

Accucraft also make entry-level freelance locos which are very well respected - I just happen to like the slightly over-engineered, slightly simplified Britishness of the basic Roundhouse ones.

 

Running old 0 gauge locos seems to me to be a different hobby, all about the joy of tinkering, and coaxing performance out of very basic machinery.

 

Depends what you are after.

 

 

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I’d looked at the Roundhouse Billy, because I know someone who has one. It’s a very nice thing and rather appeals to me, being a “proper” loco rather than a toy. 

 

You are right about old machinery being a separate interest. 

Edited by rockershovel
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One advantage of the Roundhouse locos is that you can save money by getting them as a kit. The kits come as separate packages for the chassis, boiler, etc. so you can spread the cost of buying one further. I particularly like the ones with simplified Walschaerts valve gear.

 

If you do consider a portable layout, have a look at the 16mm Society's Modular Group. They have some useful resources.

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Can strongly recommend the Roundhouse kits. I sold a few locos to fund a Katie in order to get a tick on the bucket list. It was a very straightforward and educational build, the hardest part being finding the factory using the postcode. Being a resident of God's own county I wasn't paying postage. Seriously, the factory visit was most worthwhile and is recommended.

The simplified Walschearts is the way to go as it allows radio control of the reversing gear. Be warned, these are hot, heavy and very powerful so not to be used on loose set track on the dining room floor. We ended up building a green house measuring 17x9' with 42" radius curves to give Kayti a continuous run. The daughters quickly dubbed the new structure Kayti's Palace and the name stuck.

This year I have added the Australian Slomo device which is every bit as good as the advert claims. Building the kit means that my total spend, including Slomo and radio gear is just about the same as an off the shelf loco from the factory. It has also helped me understand at last the workings of steam engine valve operation.

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