Workshop – Lil Critter re-build

In order to provide some Australian type industrial motive power for the SC&MR I've chosen to modify the Aristocraft, "lil critter" loco. The chassis will be retained with all its motor, gearbox and wheel assemblies remining untouched. The skirts will be lifted to reveal the nice spring detail behind. The "bonnet" extended, the cabin extended and given a wider, flatter roof. The buffer plates will be beefed up and the steps extended out to suit. A rougher, industrial painit job will provide a suitable industrial feel with the end result hopefully close to the style of QLD cane railway locos or similar.

Like all good make-over shows, a before shot to make the changes clearer.

Cab is still a bit rough but should tidy up well. Bonnet extension is still in its early stages. I like the spring detail on the chassis so will replace the skirts after shortening them by more than half.

Still to do – Finish bonnet extension, bend and glue cabin roof and back to fit neatly, extend steps outwards, complete floor pan to extend to front buffer, replace shortened skirts, small detailing, paint and re-assembly.

Couplers will be left off until a final solution for the whole SC&MR is developed. Until then, the patented CH coupling system will be used on this loco and other rolling stock.
(CH – cup hook)

Steps have been fabricated and attached to the buffer plates. This allows for a more complete look at how things will come together. Slow progress, but lots of fun!
Roughly assembled, but not permanently attached, the new loco awaits its paint job. The cabin got a quick coating to make sure all inside sufaces got a grey colour. There are now several main components which will be painted prior to assembly. Only very minor detailing should be needed following the assembly, if all goes to plan!
The exhaust and air filter boxes were fun to make. Partly copper sheet rolled to shape and some brass tube bent to suit. My soldering skills are slowly developing. My glueing needs attention next, if the angle of the exhaust is an indication! The extension of the bonnet worked more effectively than anticipated. The builders filler files and sands back very neatly to plug the gap.
And here the finished piece in larger pics, with the first test run successful. The overall visual is pleasing although there are some details I'd like to fix, given the chance. For a first major surgery project I think is was successful in capturing the concept of an Australian pattern industrial loco.
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