Beetlecrushers and Bulldogs

One of the key locomotives in the project is the Caledonian 498 class dock tank.
Introduced in 1912 and used in places where tight curvature existed such as docks and industrial locations, these engines could be seen at locations such as Polmadie, Greenock Ladyburn and Grangemouth.
The last examples were withdrawn in 1962, replaced by diesels which in many cases were out of service only half a dozen years later due to industrial decline and changing operational methods.

The basis for this model is the rather nice Caley coaches kit; a collection of well crafted etchings and lost wax castings.


Opening the box, you can see for yourself. It’s not the youngest etched kit on the market but it’s still very well regarded.


This will be the first etched loco I have built and will as a result provide me with some new challenges about which I’m ever so slightly apprehensive. The first of these will be shaping the side tanks to correct profile; no half etched guides on the inside so you’re on your own with that task.
I’m fairly well versed with assembling the drive units now and the Mashima/High Level combo isn’t going to cost me any sleep.

Beyond that, my plans for the running gear become more ambitious as I intend this engine to be equipped with continuous springy beam (CSB) suspension and plunger pick-ups.
This is all going to be a challenge for me which I’ll admit is a little scary, but I believe the superior running generated by these refinements more than justifies the efforts.
I’ll be using High Level hornblocks and alignment jig to make sure all is correct in the set up but this will require a fair bit of thought first time I suspect. If all goes well, this configuration will become standard for any future kit builds of mine.


I’ll post individual entries as work commences and progresses.


5 responses to “Beetlecrushers and Bulldogs”

  1. Good luck nothing like building an etched kit to cut your teeth on.

    1. Thanks. Looking forward to it!

  2. Go on yersel my son…. If you need any help let me know.
    Dave F

  3. Thanks Dave. I might well be on the phone once or twice! 😉

  4. Well, like the Irishman on being asked the way to Tipperary- “Shure, I wouldn’t be starting from here’ This Beetlecrusher kit was a source of contention in our household when I built mine. My wife said she never knew you could use the same swear word as a noun, a verb, and an adjective!

    I got it together eventually but the chassis had several problems as it became clear that no one had ever built a trial etch. The slidebar support bracket if fitted when the instructions said so would have brought the job to an early conclusion. I had to substantially modify it to get the con rod past it to the crosshead.

    IIRC this was Jim’s only kit done by Rod Neep and after that I did all his loco kits except the Balernp tank.

    Probably the best kits to start on a career of etched loco building are Alan Gibsons though even his have problems connected with the pewter castings (I think the pattern maker forgot about shrinkage).

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