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W & L 0-6-0 Locos The Earl/Countess

Kit by Kevin Trim, Dorset Models

It must be two years ago that I first saw the beginnings of Kevin's proposed model kit at Small & Delightful in Shepton Mallet. He had a register where you could "Express an interest" which I duly did.

Successive shows at Shepton and Swanley (ExpoNG) showed progress and it was obvious that the kit was going to live up to expectations. By October 2008, a finished example was available to see at ExpoNG and it was indeed a beautiful model of, it must be said, a beautiful prototype. At that time a little more work was needed to address problems which had become apparent during the test build and release was anticipated in very early 2009.

Sure enough, I received notification in the post that the kit was ready. I checked the price and, of course, being both two years later and just after Xmas, I couldn't afford it! So, equally naturally as many fellow modellers will appreciate, I bought it anyway. I collected it at Shepton in February, and here I am, starting to write about it on the following day. BUT, do not expect lightning progress - I have several projects on the go and I am a slow modeller.

A photograph of The Earl - No 822 in its plain BR black guise - this is how I will probably model it.

Welshpool & Llanfair 0-6-0 Loco, No 822, The Earl

Initial impressions

To describe these as positive would be an understatement. The kit was in a sturdy cardboard box and accompanied by a CD with pictures of the model, model construction and the prototypes. Inside the box, components were suitably bagged and/or wrapped.

It is possible to build either locomotive in almost any of its guises - original, as modified by the GW and as now running plus, of course, the intervening BR years.

The etches and castings were, in all cases, some of the cleanest I have ever seen. Even in advance it is apparent that fettling is likely to be far less than is often the case with kits. Unusual and pleasing "extras" seldom seen in such kits were nameplates etc for both the prototype locos, "stick-on" gauge dials for the highly detailed cab, squared axle ends to assist in quartering the external cranks, an etched combined back to back and wheel centring (on the extended axle) gauge and even a bag of model coal for the bunker.

There was a comprehensive instruction sheet backed up by many photographs. These were of generally high quality and even the worst were at least acceptable. Having initially read the instructions through without reference to the actual etches/castings they seemed to be extremely clear. Only one section left me slightly befuddled and it is too early to criticise this as reference to the relevant parts might make it suitable clear - and, of course, I am thick anyway!

There are one or two minor errors remaining on the etches, but these are documented in the instructions together with clear guidance on how to resolve them - which also seems to be very simple to deal with.

The valve gear etc seems a little complex (but usually is, anyway!) but Kevin does offer to do this for a small fee if you chicken out. I may take advantage of this but it is early days yet.

In summary, this initially appears to be one of best kits in terms of both materials and documentation that I have ever come across.


Don't hold your breath. As I say, many other projects in hand and with Spring finally on the way, my modelling time is going to be even more limited than ever for the next few months. I WILL post more here as I tackle it, but by the time I have completed it, other, and better, modellers will already have built theirs, run it in and had to give it several services!