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I have just started on one of the first kits that were shipped in. These definitely qualify as “craftsman kits” with the lack of directions. The drawings are nice but could use some additional information. I’m glad I’ve had 35+ Aster kits under my belt before I tackled this kit. I must admit being surprised that some parts were pre-assembled like the boiler shell, tender trucks and even the couplers/pockets. Another surprise is the decreasing sizes of fasteners. Where the vast majority of screws used in Aster kits were M2, this Accucraft kit has moved on to smaller screws with M1.7 and M1.4 making up most of the screws used on my kit so far. While this size reduction makes the fasteners less obtrusive, these are a bit more difficult to handle and you really need one of the high quality Phillips screwdrivers that Aster provided in their later kits. The small size has to make the screws more prone to breakage although I have yet to break one. Possibly I have avoided that fate by chasing out the threaded holes especially for the M1.7 and M1.4 screws. Assembling the tender tank alone employs over 50 of these screws, so chasing threads is an important task in the kit building process.

On account of a parts problem, I have been forced to jump instruction sections in order to keep building. So I now have the tender and the boiler completed while the chassis is about 60% done. Can’t wait to get it to the air test on my test stand.

So far I have enjoyed the build, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action on the rails. Til next time….

Ross Schlabach
 
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