The small manufacturer of Ready To Run locomotive 00 Works announced back in May 2017 their intention to produce a batch of ex LSWR Drummond 4-4-0 D15s A number of the versions have now arrived from 00 Works, although as with many of their releases I have not personally ordered one myself (I already have a couple of kit built examples, that can be seen here in my Talking Stock #17 post along with some further details on the prototype) I am indebted to friend and fellow Southern modeller Tony Teague for once again providing his photographs and comments below.
This release follows on from a number of Southern locomotive produced by the ’00’ Works in the past such as: N15, 700, C, E4, I3 and 0415 Adams Radial classes (although of course some of these have now all been subsequently been announced or produced by the major manufacturers). The level of detail of these models has steadily improved over time, although is still not as high as we see from the likes of Hornby and Bachmann, or from if built carefully from kits. No other ready to run D15 exists although kits have been available in the past from BEC and PDK
Tony advised: Having just taken delivery of the new 00 Works D15 loco in Southern olive green, I am pleased to say that it was extremely well packed, has a lot of weight above the driving wheels and captures the essence of Drummond’s original locomotive. As with 00 Works’ previous Southern loco (the I3 tank) the model has some interior cab detail, and wire handrails, whilst the lined olive livery is very well executed, however, this is a “limited run” RTR loco and at £280 it is not cheap; on this basis there are a number of niggles, some of which could perhaps have easily been resolved.
The moulded coal in the bunker does not look good and is not easily removable, so it will need some real coal to cover it; if real coal is not supplied, then my personal preference would be for the tender to be modelled empty. A tension lock coupling was fitted to the front of the loco and this was easily removed, although no alternative was supplied. Although the coupling rods are blackened, the wheel rims are not and look too shiny, there is no rivet detail around the boiler (which is prominent on the prototype), and although the top and bottom lamp irons are fitted, the two central ones (which should be on either side of the smoke box) are not represented; finally, brake hangars and blocks are modelled but there is no brake rigging.
Tony continued; On my particular model, the fixed loco to tender coupling was holding the front tender wheels off the track – which was easily adjusted, whilst the red cabside oval plates did not have the loco number within them.
The model is fitted with a coreless motor which is new for 00 Works, and whilst it appears powerful it seems noisier than other recent release from the mainstream manufacturers, however, my biggest problem arose from the way in which the loco is wired. It has pickups on one side of the loco and on the opposite side of the tender only – so of 14 available wheels (including the front bogie) the loco only picks up from 5 – a single wire connects the loco and tender (see picture). I spoke to Roderick Bruce at 00 Works and he described the way in which the loco was wired as “the American standard”; he also pointed out that his previous tender locos have been wired the same way.
I have since remedied this by fitting additional pick-ups to the opposite side of the loco, however, the conversation did cause me to look at my other 00 Works locos and perhaps unsurprisingly, I had noted 3 of them as being “poor runners” that I had yet to attend to. I have since fitted additional pick-ups to each and this has resolved all of the running issues, however, this does make me wonder whether it is reasonable these days to provide so few pick-ups – particularly on a 4-4-0 loco!
Once the wiring was remedied, I put the loco onto a test train consisting of 8 x Hornby Pullmans and it was able to pull away on the flat – albeit with some wheel-slip – and make good speed; once run in it may perhaps do better.
Overall I am now happy with the loco, but it needed some tweaking to get to this point. Given that there is no mainstream RTR model of the D15 available, the 00 Works model remains a good choice, because the kit-built option will cost at least double – unless you are going to build the kit yourself. Nevertheless I think it would be fair to say that there is “room for improvement”!
From my own view of the images Tony supplied and those I have seen elsewhere an area that has slightly let down the finish of the 00 Works releases in the past has been the highly visible carrier film to decals especially the numbers, although Tony’s example in SR Olive Greens looks OK I have seen that this issue still exists on their numbered releases, especially the lined BR versions.
Despite these small issues the model from 00 Works fills a niche gap in the RTR market and a with little additional detail makes a fine model. Thanks again for Tony for his pictures and comments on this model.