Puffing Billy in 0n30

Puffing Billy, or more accurately the Victoria State Railways 2’6″ gauge railway in Australia of which The Puffing Billy Railway is the preserved section.

The iconic loco’s that are the mainstay of this line are the Na Class 2-6-2s. The original engines were built by Baldwin in America but all the operable ones are made in Australia virtual copies with the usual developments over time.

I think there are 6 of the original 17 built still in existence. Five are or have been in service in the preserved era [6A, 7A, 8A, 12A & 14A] with 3A unrestored and apparently the closest to the original spec. The Baldwins [1&2] don’t survive.

You’d think these iconic locos would be a dead cert for being modelled but it took until 2014 for that to happen [apart from some very expensive brass examples] in 0n30.  Separately, in the UK modelling scene and in the American 0n30 ranges there has been a gap in the range of a largish tank loco. You’d think that what is basically a Baldwin the American modellers would lap it up but sales to the USA were disappointing.

So in 2014 Haskell Co introduced their model of the Na Class 2-6-2 in 0n30. Produced in China for a Taiwan company and sold mainly in Australia it was a bit convoluted to say the least.

Here at EDM Models we imported them directly from Taiwan and initially they sold well.

 

They have a decent spec with pick up on all the drivers, a flywheel fitted motor, DCC socket (with provision for sound) and working directional headlights.

The included provision is for a speaker in the bunker but I don’t like engines where its the wrong end that goes chuff so I do it differently with a large keep alive in the bunker and speakers in the front end, Proper Na sounds are available for an ESU DCC chip from me via Australia.

Five livery versions were produced.

  • Apple Green
  • Canadian Red
  • Black with Red Trim
  • Plain Black with the original Chimney
  • Plain Black with the modern Chimney

A year or so later Haskell produced a model of the NQR bogie open wagon. This was sold in packs of three with ten different packs covering different numbers and livery variants.

This might have seemed like an illogical choice of something to go with the Na class loco’s but there was method in their madness.  From a prototype angle the NQR was a general purpose wagon but so general purpose they got rebuilt into all sorts of special purpose vehicles and even rebuilt as carriages.

From a model manufacturing point of view they were a shrewd move. Haskell, aiming to set up production in Taiwan, picked an easy first model for the  new production facility whilst at the same time making many parts that are common to the more complicated examples of rolling stock.

This may bear fruit next year with plans afoot and CAD work started for an NBH passenger car.

 

So, are these still available and why haven’t I got them in stock?

Like many things its complicated. On the one hand you might expect a limited run from 2014 to be long sold out. On another the shipping and currency transfer arrangements to/from Taiwan were fraught with complication and that was before the current Covid induced complications. On the stock holding front the minimum order was twelve locos which ties up a lot of money which you then have to shoot off into the ether wondering if its going to get there as you listen to any number of disclaimers from the banks and intermediaries explaining that if it vanishes its not their fault.

Once you could get over the twitchiness of launching money into the unknown it was fine whilst a batch of twelve sold quickly so earning the outlay back in a relatively timely manner. Once the initial demand was satisfied though the batches of twelve started to sit on the shelf tying up money and only selling slowly.

Once this had happened a couple of times we let our stock run out and didn’t even move their existence to our new website and sort of assumed that they would have sold out. Our last arrived in 2017.

Fast forward to 2021. Haskell are talking about the NBH coach on Facebook. Three enquiries come in asking if the Na is still available. A conversation with Kieran Haskell about something else all together reveals that all the Na’s are still in stock with him as are some of the NQR wagons.

A cunning plan was needed.

As it has been awhile since new Na’s locos and NQR wagons have been available the cunning plan is to do a one off import of these.

The minimums for shipping and the scary currency transfer issues remain and are, if anything, made worse by Covid19 as the reduction in passenger flights out of Taiwan is reducing the cargo space for parcels.

Now I can’t afford to do this as a speculative deal as it comes on top of other committed financial developments for the business but I can do it with your help.

Simply it goes like this: –

  • You pre-order and pay for your Na class loco on my website here 
  • You pre-order and pay for your NQR Wagons on my website here 
  • I will put the money in a segregated account and keep it separate until
  • a) we get enough orders to go ahead or,
  • b) we call it off and you get all your money back

If we get above the minimums for to be viable by enough then we’ll upgrade the shipping to ensure they get here promptly. I may also add a very small number for direct sale but they will be at a higher price than the pre-order price. My target is to have them here for mid October.

The Iffy Ones

When you look at the website you will see that the NABE, Black with original chimney and NABM, black with the modern chimney are offered at a lower price because there is a minor moulding defect. I was sent with and without photos and I still had to ask Kieren to point out what I was looking for.

You see that ledge, or angle bracket, that the arrow is pointing at?  On the right hand tank of the plain black engines the mould hasn’t filled totally.

 

 

 

Looking at the prototype it seems to serve little purpose other than to be a ledge to rest the number plate on whilst you bolt it in place but its actually part of a precarious stepping route to the water fillers which goes side rods, running plate, works plate.

Would you have noticed if I hadn’t told you?

 

 

Anyway that’s the deal and the cunning plan lets see if it gets anywhere.

Links to Ordering Here

 

 

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