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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ran my Aster Krauss today and I am reminded what a tiny little Jewel it really is. In this small package you have everything you want in a live steam engine with not only an easy access regulator and Johnson bar but also a full length water glass with a blow down button for accurate reading, a discreet finger operated manual water pump, an axle pump with adjustable by-pass and a water tank. All this in a loco you can easily hold in one hand. Many bigger locomotives don't have axle pumps or proper sight glass with blow down and many tank loco's don't even carry their own water so for Aster to fit all this in such a small locomotive is a masterpiece in functional miniaturisation.
It does require your full attention and skill to run it as with only around 88cc of water in the boiler and small cylinders it can be difficult to get it to run sedately and without running out of water in the boiler as it boils it fast when less than half full. Using the finger pump and adjusting the axle pump by-pass when needed keeps the water up and the magnificent miniature outside Stephenson's valve gear means you can notch back the timing just like the real thing, and it's fascinating to watch. At first I didn't like running this engine as it's not a set-and-forget type of runner but now it tests my skills and I find very rewarding to drive properly.
I have modified this one cosmetically from the original Aster model of the Japanese "Iyo" a 2' 6" gauge Krauss to be the same as a Krauss (builders Number 4087) that ran here in Australia in the Mt Lyell Mines as their number 6 so the buffer beams and funnel are different. I also removed the two gas tanks as one was in the cab ( rather ugly) so I now have just one bigger one under the cab floor.
Although hundreds of similar engines were made by Krauss and shipped around the world I thought they would be more popular as you don't see many of these models outside of Japan.
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Not many live steam Loco's you can hold in one hand.


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Cab controls with water tank and finger pump on LH side and finger push blow down valve on sight glass on the right.


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Axle pump with by pass control wheel on rear buffer beam (upper RH of screen)

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On my own steaming today so only still camera shots, one day when I have company I'll video it as it's fascinating to watch the valve gear in operation. Hope you all enjoyed this little review of one of my engines and little Jewel in Aster's crown?
Russell
 

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Hello Russell,
Thank you for this review. It is one of the least known ASTER locomotives, but your pictures and description show what a nice engine it is.
Regards
Fred
 

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Hi Russell, I have always admired your modifications to the Krauss. Mine is still on the to-do siding, hopefuully attended to soon.
Regards,
Mike Bickford
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Mike, pity we can't meet at the now cancelled GSSU but maybe next year and do get onto modifying that Krauss it's a great loco but needs 100% attention when running it, not a loco for a group steam up where you send it on it's way and start talking steam to others.
Russell
 

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A video of my Aster Krauss, with R/C. I removed the worthless top tank. The gas tank is in the trailing car with R/C equipment.
Runs very good
The video shows my Millie first followed by the Krauss with iPhone camera car.
The modifications were shown in "Steam in the Garden" issue no 124, Nov/Dec 2012.

Gerald Pierce


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Very Nice Ger, with that cab mounted gas tank gone there can be room for a servo and as you found that makes it easier to control speed. I didn't want to have a wagon attached for R/C gear or extra water or gas so I just use 'finger' control but R/C is a good idea. As you say in your video the Aster Krauss are very smooth runners and will go around sharp radius curves with ease.
Russell
 
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