Christmas has come a few days early here at
Folwell Towers with the completion of the latest project; a 3½" gauge Tich
as designed by the late Curly Lawrence, aka LBSC, as was serialised in Model
Engineer magazine in 1947. This is the large boiler variant with
slip-eccentric valve gear. Boiler water feed is via an axle pump and hand
pump only. LBSC describes this model as a 'contractors industrial tank
locomotive' but I decided to give it a fictitious Southern Railway identity.
I say fictitious but I suspect it may have been the number of a T9 4-4-0.
Construction of this model was commenced by my father way back in 1971. He
got as far as making the frames, horns and buffer-beam assembly before
realising that model engineering was not for him and the project was
abandoned. It languished under his bench for several decades until it came
into my possession, whereupon it languished under mine! I worked on it
sporadically, in between other projects, and eventually construction was
completed. When steaming it up at home it soon became obvious that the
regulator valve wouldn't fully seal, being one of the 'disc in a tube'
variety. Try as I might I just couldn't get it to close-off fully resulting
in the wheels spinning round when they shouldn't! This is one negative
aspect of slip-eccentric valve-gear viz no reverser therefore no mid-gear.
So, after the Simplicity roller was completed I decided to strip Tich down
and replace the errant regulator with a simple screw-down type. The original
copper exhaust/blast-pipe assembly was rather fragile and so this too was
discarded and a much stronger one fabricated from stainless steel. Once
satisfied with the mods, Tich was treated to a coat of paint resulting in
what can be seen here. You may have noticed, Tich has been named 'Job Done'
and now, after the passing of half a century, - it finally is!
I rather like these models which date
back to the early days of our hobby as for me, being a traditionalist, it's
what model engineering is about. Although not the most powerful of
locomotives it should have sufficient puff to haul my slightly overweight
carcass around the track. I have to say that I'm rather pleased with this
diminutive loco, so much so that I'm seriously considering changing my name
by deed-poll to Ivor Littlun. (No jokes please).