Thursday, 1 November 2018

16 mm Scale Loco For Nystrup Gravel

Well, it's only a heap of parts that will eventually become a 16 mm scale locomotive. And you could argue that it isn't even a loco, as it is a Lister Rail Truck, not a smart locomotive with cab and proper superstructure. The small Lister locos have been favorites of mine since I saw pictures of the type in the first British books about industrial railways I laid hands on as a teenanger. I never managed to model a Lister in 1:35. Now it's going to happen in 16 mm scale.

Parts for my Lister model. Delivered by I. P. Engineering. Workbench cleaned in advance of the new project. On your marks, ready, go!
The Lister loco was born out of the Lister auto truck, a small one wheeled motor unit designed to be coupled to a variety of trailer units. In 1928 the first Lister Rail Trucks left the Dursley Works factory to serve narrow gauge industrial railways with a need for an ultra light locomotive. Most trains on Nystrup Gravel's railway were too heavy for the Lister, but for light shunting duties at the gravel works in Nystrup and an occasional light permanent way train the loco was sufficient. I have never seen a picture of Nystrup Gravel's Lister, but old workers report it to be a mid-thirties model R. When the Lister arrived at Nystrup is not known, but it was most likely bought second hand after 1945. Searching for images of R-models I found Arnoud Bongaards' images on Flickr of the Lister in the collection of Decauville Smalspoor Museum in the Netherlands.
A preserved Lister type R from the Netherlands. I immediately became inspired to model this particular Lister with luxuriously driver's facilities as I can use the wooden box to hide my loco's RC equipment. Photo: Arnoud Bongaards.

A view showing the full package of extras for that unique comfortable driver's experience. The loco is Lister L873/1928 preserved by the Decauville Spoorweg Museum, Nederland. Photo: Arnoud Bongaards.

The I. P. Engineering's Lister is a simple kit. Casting quality is acceptable, but many details are rather soft. Some boltheads look more like rivets. On the other hand the kit isn't expensive and I think the balance between price and quality is pretty fine. It may also be unfair to expect the same level of detailing on a loco that is meant to live on a garden line to a loco that spends every day inside on a layout. The loco is powered by a very simple mechanism designed for battery power. It seems that other modellers have managed to build models that move from the parts so I'm optimistic. I will be fitting the model with battery power and RC equipment. Something that will no doubt stretch my abilities to the limit!
To allow use on both 32 mm and 45 mm gauge (and to fit a standard AA battery) the kit is designed wider than Listers built for 600 mm gauge. As I use 32 mm gauge and will not be using AA batteries, I could narrow the frame by 7 mm to something a bit more prototypcal for a 600 mm. Lister. According to drawings in Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review the frame's new width of 55 mm is still a few milimetres too wide, but with the supplied wheels the width can't be reduced further.
No sooner than a kit arrives, I start cutting bits off it! The kit's excessive width is reduced with a junior hacksaw. All other parts mounted across the frames are reduced in length too.

Current status on the Lister. Frames glued with AC and two component epoxy. I will be adding more parts in the coming weeks while I source parts for power and RC installations.
Once I get the model's running tested and the wiring designed, I will add extra parts to the kit. Most will probably be imitations of bolts and nuts. With my decision to abandon 1:35 scale I look forward to finishing my first locomotive in the new scale.

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