LNER #3401 – Bantam Cock
On March 2, 2013 I purchased this 3-1/2″ gauge, 3/4″-scale model of a British Gresley 2-6-2 V4 numbered 3401. This is my first locomotive in this scale. It is kind of nice to be able to just pick it up and move it around when needed. I am a little apprehensive about the even smaller scale of the nuts and bolts but only time will tell if becomes a problem. The only real issue I have found so far is that most of the nuts and bolts are of the “British Association” (BA) standard. For some of them, neither an SAE or metric wrench fits correctly. I am in the process of locating the proper set of wrenches to deal with this.
I don’t have a lot of history on the locomotive. The wife of the late modeler is selling off most of his models some years after his passing. She lives in the states now but both are British so I can only assume that he got his start in England some time ago. All of his models, no matter the gauge, are of British origin. I am told the model was cosmetically overhauled and repainted in the not too distant past. It looks pretty good although there is some evidence of some rough handling at some time. The boiler jacket and tender have no dents and only minor scratches. The locomotive cab evidently took a shot at some point and got twisted a bit. The bolts that hold it down have been broken on the right side floorboard. It should be relatively easy to fix.
Fixes Made (03/25/2013)
The last two train nights have been spent working on some minor fixes. I think I have all the steam/air leaks corrected now. The lubricator was a bit problematic. It kept getting stuck at one point in its rotation. A new spring for one of the pawls and an adjustment to the stroke length has gotten it working correctly. I removed the cab and reshaped it to remove the twist and reinstalled it. It looks correct now. The loco runs on air pretty well but still needs a little shim work to the driver journal boxes. The middle driver journals are worn which allows the center axle to oscillate. This, in turn, causes the side rods to bind a little at certain points in the rotation. I will tackle this next. Once that is done I will do a hydro test and start working on building a fire in it for further testing.
First Steam Up! (03/29/2013)
After completing a hydro test of the boiler, we decided to fire it up and see it run. It didn’t take long at all to get the coal burning well and get a full head of steam. The little loco ran really well. There were a few minor leaks in the axle pump plumbing that will need to be addressed. The injector picked up without any trouble which I thought was quite a amazing. The lubricator worked well and made quite a mess of things.(LOL) I was great to see it run. I have posted some video of the event on my YouTube site. The link to it is below.