Sometime soon, hopefully around the 20th, the first variation of the Kernow Model Centre Adams O2 class 0-4-4t should land at Southampton dockside following its journey from China (obviously it will then take a short while to actually get the shipment to the Kernow Model Centre). This initial version to land is their K2105 as mainland version number 255 in Southern Railway black with Bulleid style sunshine lettering, which just by chance is ideal for my own modelling period. The expected arrival dates of the other variations can be read on the Kernow Model Centre website here. I have been fortunate to have received one of the models that has been sent in advance by air freight for magazine reviews etc.
The O2 class of 60 0-4-4 tank locomotives were introduced in 1889 and despite their size proved powerful and were a development of the T1 class. They were originally intended to replace the ageing Beattie tanks. They ended up generally on branch line use across the ex LSWR network although of course off the mainland the class is most associated with their use on the Isle of Wight railways. Some mainland versions like the Kernow Model Centre number 225 example were fitted with the Southern Railway air control pull-push equipment (although it was later removed from 225 in early BR days).
As regular readers will know I have been involved from the outset providing assistance to the Kernow Model Centre with these models so it would be unfair of me to offer a full detailed critical review as this might be seen by some as being a conflict of interest so I will let you make your own mind up from the photographs here or trade press reviews which are hitting the shelves about now.
I will however detail some of the features of the model. Below the running plate it has a cast metal chassis, a coreless motor with gears driving both main axles (the coupling rods are therefore technically cosmetic), electrical pick up is off all wheels including the pony truck and the chassis also has moulded details such as brake gear, rodding (which might be seen by some as being slightly overscale) and guard irons etc. DCC provision has been made simple; the smokebox door is held in place with two small magnets with the 6 pin DCC socket located behind, making fitting a DCC chip a quick job without having to remove the body at all. Under the removable coal load in the bunker is both space and wiring, already in place, for a small cube sound speaker if required.
My version ran sweetly straight out of the box across all speeds and is capable of hauling at least 6 or 7 coaches with ease.
The body which is tooled for a number of variations has a fully detailed cab (the roof being removable for easy access to add crew), some might say that the cab side sheeting and roof edge is of a slight overscale thickness, but this slight compromise will ensure durability. Both the front and rear spectacles are flush glazed. The handrails with the exception of those either side of the cab doors are separately applied items. The buffers are plastic mouldings and are not sprung.
This version being pull-push fitted has the Westinghouse pump (noting it is a smaller size pump than that fitted to the Isle of Wight version for air braking) air tank and associated pipework.
Whilst all the Isle of Wight versions had cab doors fitted not all the mainland versions were so fitted (although as a slight tooling compromise all the models will have), most of the pull-push fitted versions did have them so 225 is correct in this respect.
There is a moulded representation of the copper pipe that was fixed directly to the cab rear plating above the rear spectacles that was drilled with holes to act as a sprinkler allowing crew to dampen down the coal in the bunker to keep the dust down.
A detail pack is provided with each model that includes: buffer beam pipework (including the air control pipes), three link couplings, engine head signal discs and an etched fire irons pack.
Although a simple livery being unlined the ‘Sunshine’ lettering has been nicely applied with the correct slight difference between the lettering and the numerals. She is in ex-works condition hence the bright pipework, steel colour banding around the Westinghouse pump body and also around the cab side cut out, my example will certainly be weathered in due course.
I hope that those whom have ordered these models will feel it has been worth the wait, I certainly think she looks the part. As hinted at above the model looks good paired with the forthcoming ex LSWR Gate Stock Pull Push sets also being produced by the Kernow Model Centre, more details are available here (note that there are a number of corrections still to be made to these Engineering Prototypes, and the driving coach and trailer car illustrated above are from a mix of two sets).