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'Improving' the Aster Span Can

8134 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 person who has the Spam Can, has done a major rebuild of a kit Regner 2-8-0 Compound that was not working properly. They also fitted R/C to said engine . It would appear they have the skills to do what ever they want to the Spam Can ! I had suggested a BF Industries electric pump and WLDS unit to them for what it was worth.

Charles M SA#74
Ah, not quite. The person HAD a major rebuild of a kit Regner 2-8-0 compound carried out for them.

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.

You are indeed correct sir. I re-read the posts on the Regner from the beginning and the builder was responsible for making it run. It would appear the builder may be called upon to render assistance again .

Charles M SA# 74
To All who responded - Gentlemen - many thanks for taking the time and effort to put your thoughts and ideas on this thread, it really is much appreciated.

I'll pass on the words of wisdom to the relevant person, one way or another, but I am sure in my own mind that he'll make a complete cod's head of the thing, and end up with a very expensive set of parts in a box somewhere.
My own views on this subject are very easy to understand - if Aster chose to build this model as an alcohol burner, then is is very good reason for making such a decision.

There are very few people around who could successfully convert a proven-design alcohol burner to a gas burner, and I'm pretty certain that the original poster isn't one of them.

Again - thanks.

Posted By astrayelmgod on 05/01/2008 8:50 PM
TAC --
It just occurred to me that this engine may be available at a substantial discount at some time in the future. Possibly with parts missing, or possibly with everything still in the original packaging. Hard to tell. In any case, keep an eye out, and you may be able to pick up a bargain.

Tee hee.

Sadly, it's a British locomotive, and I wouldn't know what to do with it. Certainly I've got nothing to run it with. :)

My own view on the subject is that this loco does not actually exist, except in the mind's eye of the detractor. ;)


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