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'Improving' the Aster Span Can

8138 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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The Aster Spam Can just works - it will pull a heavy load and the only issue I've seen is that the water tank is a touch on the small side. My biggest worry is that something comes loose in the valve gear as this would require a full rebuild to put right...

I wrote a review of my build which is on the Southern Steam web site http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/misc/Bullied-Assembly Review.htm. Since writing the review I've fiddled with the wicks and run time is now about 35 minutes.

Posted By dcplasterer on 05/01/2008 9:22 AM
i don't understand the logic that alcohol is better than butane because it burns silently and thus produces a quiet engine. I have never heard a quiet locomotive under steam. In fact you usually can't hear yourself think when you are up close because of all the hissing, thumping, wirring, etc.. If you are looking to emulate the prototype, the noiser the better!

But not the noise of an F15 will full afterburners.....

To me the real benefit of alcohol is that it mimics the behaviour of the real thing - more draft = stronger fire.
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