This was the first 'real 08’ that I bought years ago in York and it’s covered a fair few miles since, although it still runs perfectly. It actually took me a while to get round to the detailing and weathering, the work being covered in my first book for Crowood Press, Detailing & Modifying RTR Locomotives, Volume 1.
With issues of Model Rail issue 161 fresh on newsagents’ shelves, here’s a selection of images leftover from my article on the humble Class 08 shunter. This proved to be an enjoyable Masterclass feature to put together, with a number of different takes on the ‘Improve a ‘Gronk’’ theme, including adding DCC to a non-DCC-ready model.
Regular readers of this Blog may recall a number of previous posts on this subject, with a few installments covering progress on my NCB-branded 08, plus a few other BR machines. I really can’t get enough of these little shunters and can remember buying a secondhand Hornby model (the ancient one with the Tri-ang chassis) when I was a kid. With much perseverance, I got it running pretty smoothly and the bodyshell went through a number of livery changes, from BR blue, to Railfreight grey and then 3-tone sub-sector grey. Then, as I recall, it went back to blue, with Red Star branding. It was in this guise that it chugged off into the model scrapyard after Bachmann introduced their far superior version a couple of years before I started at Model Rail.
I was living in a rented house in East Yorkshire at the time and the landlord had built the basics of a loft layout before he vacated the property, so it was just a matter of laying a circuit of track on his baseboards. To celebrate, I treated myself to an ‘08’ from the NRM’s shop (my staff discount used to come in handy!) plus a handful of coal wagons and I’d sit happily at my workbench in the attic for hours with this little engine pootling round and round at crawling pace. Happy days!
Bufferbeams can be improved with a few extra touches, such as a coupling guard, piping between the twin air tanks and cross beam linking the front steps. Nice blobs of grease on the bufferheads help, too. This is done with an airbrush – see my latest book Airbrushing for Railway Modellers, for details.
This black number is one of my favorites. It’s one of Model Rail’s recent limited edition Bachmann models, depicting D3052 in plain black but with wasp warning stripes at both ends. Only a handful of ‘Gronks’ gained the yellow and black ends while still in black, so it makes for an interesting sight on a 1970s-era layout.