This model was built from the London Road Models kit. It was the first etched kit that I ever constructed and was built in about 1995. Consequently I can remember very little about any problems I had in building it. However, I am at present building another example of the same kit, so recent problems are fresh in my mind.

The first was with the smokebox front. Before this can be fitted the firebox end of the boiler has to be formed in accordance with the instructions. The inner smokebox wrapper has then to be fitted. The boiler must then be located onto the footplate and the smokebox end of it adjusted vertically so that the footplate and the boiler top are parallel. The smokebox front can then be offered up and it will be found that the lower flair for the smokebox outer wrapper is too high. If the flair is lowered, by means of a careful bit of filing, when you come to form the outer wrapper you should find that it actually fits!

The second problem is with the boiler tube. There is no mention in the instructions that a large chunk of the bottom of it has to be cut away to clear the motor and wheels. Once the boiler is fitted the area to be removed can be marked out from underneath. How you cut it out is up to you, but go carefully. I removed too much and had an awful job replacing it.

The third problem is with the location of the cylinders. I believe they are too far back by between one and one and a half millimetres. Correcting this would be so difficult that I have chosen to ignore it.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I eventually ended up with a satisfactory model of a stunning looking locomotive. It even appeared on the front cover of 'Railway Modeller' in September 2003.

A few years ago I was exhibiting my layout at a 'Crewe Works Open Weekend' when a spectator leaned over and said "I am so pleased to see a model of 'Queen Empress' running. I have never seen one run before. My great-grandfather was the Erecting Shop Foreman in this works who built it". Such moments are precious.

The model is powered by an LH21 motor driving two gearboxes.

It weighs 260grms and exerts a pull of 37grms.

Side view of "Queen Empress"

Her insides

The next 'Greater Britain' under construction in July 2008

 As the caption in Railway Modeller put it: " 'Queen Empress' in all her glory".

  Courtesy Railway Modeller

Click on picture to enlarge

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