Vanguard Models Wf Kitset in S Scale
Around 1983 - and still going
Christchurch Model Supplies was a great shop, especially if you were a kid. My Dad and I were in there once and spotted a Wf loco kitset by Vanguard Models. It looked cool. Who wouldn't want to build one of those? My biggest modelling ambition has always been to scratch-build a locomotive, and it seemed a good place to start.
The Wf is a a basic kit that has so far, over the intervening years (decades), completely beaten me.
The frame was photo-etched brass with slotted pewter blocks to locate the axles. No suspension; she's pretty basic. I quartered the drivers, made up the connecting rods and, as anyone who's built a model steam locomotive expects, it refused to run. I tweaked and twisted, and then started filing out the axle slots. A fatal and impatient mistake, but what can I say? I was a teenager.
I made the boiler, cab and other stuff, but got no further. Every few years I'd pick it up and tinker, but had no idea what to do. Then, a very good modeller told me that the drivers with that kit were faulty and I should get Ww Class drivers. Better tooling, same size. With the filed-out axle blocks it was a bit of a lost cause, but I swapped them out anyway and was able to get it rolling along the rails.
There was no provision in the kit for mounting the open frame motor. I jimmied something up involving pieces of wood, then put it away again.
When my Dad became ill years and years later, I tried to get it finished so he could see it go. I decided to make a new bearing block in brass, epoxied in place. That worked a bit better and he was delighted with the sight of it rolling along a piece of track, by his bedside. It wasn't a great solution though, so I packed it away again.