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Discussion Starter #1
The kit finally arrived. It was shipped direct from China with a routing that illustrates the complexity of modern supply chains (Wuhu - Shanghai - Tokyo - Boston - Memphis - San Francisco)

This will be the first time I have built a kit from the new Aster/Accucraft combo so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Amusing to see that the it is described as 'Parts made in Japan, assembled in China" - it's a kit! Also interesting to see no mention of Aster on the box.

Reports to follow.

(Love the new forum - just drag/drop images - we've reached the 21st century!)

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Robert,
You mention Aster, but I don't believe that this locomotive has anything to do with them.
It's between Accucraft UK, and Accucraft.
Unless you know something different.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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I'm pretty sure this is from the Aster/Accucraft partnership that made news some months ago.

Accucraft never had Japanese parts before.

Just to be helpful, here's note of it on a Canadian dealer:

In fact you will find this exact locomotive on the linked page.

Greg
 

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Robert,
You mention Aster, but I don't believe that this locomotive has anything to do with them.
It's between Accucraft UK, and Accucraft.
Unless you know something different.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
This loco is built using design and construction techniques from the Aster side of the Joint Venture to ensure ease of kit assembly and to provide a better overall product. This has been ongoing with the Accucraft UK models since the Talyllyn Railway #2 "Dolgoch" was released and has continued with the B1 and Sabrina/Talgarth models, as well as Tallylyn #1.

For all intents and purposes, Aster and Accucraft are now the same brand. As such, they are combining resources to produce better quality low-medium cost models under the Accucraft marque (using aster tech and principles, hence the kit!) as well as continuing to provide the higher end (design, detail, etc) and technically advanced premium models under the Aster marque.

Hope this helps clarify a bit? This was all spelled out plain as day about a year ago. Here's a link: Future of Aster-Accucraft
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got started this evening. General impression is OK so far. Impressed by the piston valves which seem well engineered. Less impressed by the eccentric that drives the valves - it is built from brass so I suspect will wear fairly quickly. I just started on the cylinders - don't like the o-rings - much preferred the rulon rings that Aster usually used. Everything fits well and the packaging is good with parts presented Aster style in numbered plastic bags that match the pages of the drawings.

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So, can someone explain the valve gear please.
It is obviously not slip eccentric as we have the third 'control' valve.
So does the middle valve in effect switch between inside and outside admission to control direction, or something like that?
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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David,

It is piston valve reversing. The eccentric is solely there to provide the valve throw. The middle valve is indeed the admission reverser which allows forward and reverse without altering the eccentric events.

Robert,

The Eccentric straps have bronze inserts that will slow the wear you fear. Accucraft has been using this design across quite a few locos over the years and the wear takes time to accumulate. You can stem the wear by flushing the straps out with a cleaner (WD 40, etc) and reoiling it at regular intervals with a good pin and bearing oil (SAE 20w or higher).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I made some progress. Air test went surprisingly well given how stiff the cylinders feel. Runs strongly at 20 psi in both directions. Assembled the boiler and connected the boiler to the frame. Struggled with the weakest point so far of the kit - tiny hex headed M1.6 screws that are made from brass and then treated or painted to look like steel. Threading these into holes in mild steel components is a recipe for a sheared screw. I've cleared the threaded holes using a M1.6 tap but they are still very tight and prone to shear. Using steel for these screws would have added less than $1 to the cost of the kit and, of course, it is very hard to find anything to replace them with.

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Discussion Starter #10
All finished. This was the first kit I had built since the Aster/Accucraft 'merger' so I was a little nervous about what I would find. In the event, it worked out well - clear drawing, clear instructions and generally high quality. In terms of build complexity if an Aster 241P was a 10 and Aster Lion was a 1, this was a 4. I liked the piston valve gear, dislike the filler for the butane tank which is oddly set up such that you can't use a classic 'korean' butane tank without some sort of adaptor. The front bogie reminds me of the one on the Aster Mallard and I think I need to add weight as it derails very easily.

She was very stiff at first, but after a couple of 20 minute runs, she is now pulls enthusiastically. I just need some more Southern region coaches......


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