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Norman, as Rod wrote, the poor old 'Rocket' was a real slug. In spite of it having a natty double reduction planetary gear in the drive-wheel hub, it was barely able to move itself, and was a great cause of embarassment at a train show at RAF Wildenrath back in 1979. There was some clever engineering there, for sure, but that could not make up for the combination of plastic gas tank, low pressure cylinders and HUGE drivers.... Stopping production was seen as a favour to the poor thing.

As you say, the coaches were, and still are, very fine models, and are sought after to haul behind properly-built 3.5" gauge models. My pal Dzhon here has three of them for sale it you ever feel the need.....
tac
 

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The Japanese company O.S still make this live-steam model, but it is five inch gauge, not 3.5". As you note the tender is all wooden-built, including the water-barrel, which comes as a bundle of teeny planks of wood. If you have ever built a full-size barrel, then you'll know what I'm talking about. If, like, me, barrel-building is not one of your native skills, then a hard time is guaranteed, and it was at that point in the construction that I decided that building it had been the hardest thing I had ever done, for 'fun', in my life up to then. Nailing soup to fog was easy by comparison.

I ran behind one at Susuno, at the multi-gauge track of the Japan Garden Railway Society, a couple of years back. It hauled me on a little car, and I'm near six-foot tall and built like a refrigerator, so they do work.
Take a gentle hint from somebody who knows better now - if you really want one, buy it ready-built. You'll easily recognise the seller - he's the guy with bald patches where he has torn his hair out by the roots in frustration.

tac
 

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Yo Norman - sorry to say that no 3.5" gauge 'Rocket' comes to mind, and I lived in the '80's, too.

Are you remembering a model built in UK or where?

As for the O.S price, well, the $$$ price last year was still less than the £££ price here, so I reckon you're still doing pretty well even at $5,500.

tac
 
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