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'Improving' the Aster Span Can

8132 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  tacfoley
Mornin' All - First of all, let me say that the comment in this post was not generated by me, but by a member of another forum based over here in UK.

After bad-mouthing Aster products in general for a couple of years, he or she has finally taken the plunge and bought the Aster Bulleid light pacific to build.

I have already spoken to Mr Pullen about the contents of this post, and have heard his most sensible response, and caused it to be posted on the other forum via a second party, but since there are a lot of you in the USA who have also built this model, I would be very interested to hear your comments on his/her proposal/ideas, with a view to helping him/her to get it right, or to put him/her right.

Here is the meat of the quote -

'I am about to begin building an Aster Spam Can Pacific. It is unfortunate that such a highly detailed model is plagued by 19th century technology, OVS himself would be horrified.

The archaic meths burners will go but I am left with the silly hand pump in the tender for water top up. Now there is an axle pump when running, but an R/C controlled electric pump makes an obvious solution. The question is should I simply make this a motor and crank arrangement or has anyone any experience of a high revs turbine pump in minature[sic]?

A mate in the States has built a steam one for his Niagra[sic] class 71/4" very succesfully and it is a bit of a long shot but someone may have had a go in the smaller scales that would deliver at 60psi.'

So - Is he/she trying to solve a problem that does not exist? AFAIAA the loco is a proven winner with its current method of firing configuration, and IMO trying to out-guess Aster in the re-design of one of their most successful and fast-selling models to date seems to be pointless to me. The comment 'plagued by 19th century technology' seems a trifle out of place, too, but then I have only one Aster loco to judge by it, a similarly-fired BR01, and that works perfectly, even in driving rain and a howling gale.
Bleeve it or don't, I AM actually trying to help him/her, so your comments or ideas would be much appreciated.


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As the person who commissioned the Bulleid Pacific (SpamCan) from Aster, then a few (biased) words from me may be timely.
First of all the SpamCan is probably the best of all the UK outline Asters. It can pull a heavy load or a light load without complaint. The excellent boiler design and multiple jet blastpipe ensure plenty of steam when required. Robert (Zephyra) is right that the tender water capacity is small but it should be easy to add an extra water tank to a car behind the tender if desired.
I enjoyed very much Steve S‘s remarks about possible enhancements and I can tell Steve that I do get this sort of nonsense from time-wasters who have no real intention of buying or doing anything.
My advice to anyone new to Aster and live steam is to build the model by the book, take it to a track where people who understand these models hang out, relax and enjoy! Building and running your very own live steam locomotive is one of the joys of life. Fitting a solar powered turbine water pump will be an irrelevance when the magic of live steam takes over.
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