allow them to be charged in situ or removed when necessary.
A SMALL TOGGLE Trace the wires from the bogie pickups into the tender. This is much easier if the bogies are detached temporarily from the chassis. Now detach these wires from their connectors on the top of the chassis. Label the points where they were attached and the loose ends so restoration would be easier if ever required. Roll up the spare wires and tape them out of the way in a corner.
Drill a hole in the chassis about halfway along at one side and fit a small on-off switch for the battery power supply. A small toggle switch lever protruding below the chassis will be quite unobtrusive. The batteries I used were two 7.2v rechargeable ones as used in model racing cars. These should give up to four hours run time and are attached to the chassis by Velcro strips.
The chassis has a protruding moulding for a loudspeaker in the centre and I ground some of this away to give a flatter surface for the batteries to sit on. Make sure you fit a fuse unit in the battery wiring of the value recommended by the maker of your speed control. I used an inline car type fitting obtainable at any car parts store, though some speed control makers may well supply one.
SMALL STICKY PADS The speed control and radio receiver were mounted with Velcro pads and the aerial was fixed round the inside of the tender top with small sticky pads. Long enough lengths of free wire were left so the tender top could easily be removed from the chassis for maintenance. The wiring is not difficult and is all shown in the accompanying diagram. Only the four-pin plug and socket are involved in supplying power to the motor, the two-pin plug is a connection from the rear axle to trigger a sound unit. If the sockets on your tender are wobbly I can recommend the solution suggested by John Lythgoe in his earlier articles. This worked excellently on my chassis.
Having done all this work and if you then find that your loco runs in the opposite direction to that which you prefer, you have the option to reverse it on the transmitter or by the switch in the loco smokebox. On reassembly your coal load will now just sit in place without any screws, but why not make it look more realistic by gluing on some real coal?
Now stand back and watch all those wheels, cranks and the superb valve gear as your loco glides away with as much rolling stock as you can place behind it. Maybe like me you will be thinking that you might shoehorn a speaker and sound unit into the tender. A shame to waste that other socket isn’t it?
GardenRail Resource Bachmann Europe PLC Moat Way, Barwell, Leicestershire, LE9 8EY Tel: 01455 847097 or contact your usual dealer.
Above left: The circuit board inside the ashpan with the white plug detached from the socket.
Above right: The ashpan bottom removed, with the tools used.
Right: The tender cut away, fuse unit, batteries, and main connector block.
ARDEN G Rail MODS AND FIXES
Feeding a Pannier Feeding a Pannier Vern Gauge stretches an Aster.... Vern Gauge stretches an Aster...
1:32 SCALE G1
Since its first introduction in the early 1990s, Aster’s Pannier tank has become regarded as a popular and powerful small locomotive. It features twin double acting cylinders, a reasonable attention to detail and is finished in a variety of operating liveries. Unlike later Asters, the loco is not exactly to 1:32 scale, but it should be borne in mind that this small prototype is a comparatively early model in the Aster range and the running qualities of this fairly small prototype were probably considered to be more important than absolutely correct scale. In the intervening years the expectations of customers have grown considerably and I suspect that if it were to be produced now there would be a number of manufacturing improvements and greater attention to the accuracy of liveries.
Having owned a number of pannier tanks since moving into Gauge 1, I have found several ways to improve the pleasure of running this little beast. As standard, the engine will run for around 15 minutes on one fill of water. The most obvious improvement therefore was considered to be the addition of an axle pump and associated water-carrying capability to increase the duration of the run. The fitting of a mechanical water-pump would both regulate the speed of the engine by topping up the boiler as the water level reduced and would eliminate the necessity for lineside water stops.
INLINE CLACK VALVE The manufacturer’s method of boiler refreshment is to connect a lineside pump to a screw fitting, located beneath the cab on the left hand main frame. Unfortunately, this process demands considerable digital dexterity, not helped by the connection becoming extremely hot during use. The loco is fitted with a spring-loaded inline clack valve which can be notoriously leaky, with a tendency to issue a combination of steam and boiling water from the pump connection.
Making and fitting of a locomotive-mounted mechanical pump including onboard water was not going to be easy as there is little space and no facility to provide the existing tank’s balance and bypass feeds – never mind functioning water hatches. Fortunately, an electrically-driven pump concealed in a suitable four-wheeled van was much easier and now enables a non-stop run of about 30 minutes, pulling a reasonably heavy train. The water van is easily connected and removed without the burning of delicate fingers.
The mentally demanding part is getting the water into the boiler
Photos by Author
Above: The Aster Pannier, pictured in company with its van/ water tender. Just visible, below the hind-most buffer head, is the feed water hose.
Left: Almost undetectable in use! A close look at the business end of the water connection which is mounted on the Pannier’s side frames.
ARDEN G Rail