I have mentioned the chassis produced by Mike before, both the ones he does under his own name and the ones he produces for Avalon Line in 9mm gauge, up until now that is. Earlier this week I took delivery of the first 16.5mm gauge one for Avalon that has been designed to go under one of the kits and I have also completed fitting one under a Sidelines Ant loco, so time to give these a plug.
Here is a photo of a couple of his chassis, on the left the new one for Avalon and on the right, one from Mike's own range, the M4, from which it was developed.
I guess I had better ask US readers to leave now, with the exchange rate the way it is, they are likely to have heart failure
. These chassis are made to order and assembled by Mike himself, as such the prices are higher than you would expect to pay for mass produced items, but the quality is superb. The new Avalon one complete with a fitting kit for the Avalon loco's will retail at £42.50, while the one from Mikes range sells for £35.95 and comes as shown in the photo above, plus some nickel silver mountings for use as a pivoting bogie. This one has a catalogue number M4 and can be supplied in gauges from 12mm through to 18mm at no extra cost. In addition, as they are made to order, the postion of the flywheel can be altered to suit your needs, or a flywheel can be fitted at each end, I believe also at no extra cost. A SAE to Mike will bring a copy of his illustrated catalogue showing the differnt mechanism he produces, send to:-
Mike Chinery Engineering Services
Pennant, Upper Downing Road
Flintshire CH8 9AJ
or if you would like to speak to him to discuss your needs he can be contacted on 01745 560442 (evenings only).
OK, onto fitting one of these into a Sidelines Ant loco. This was even easier than I could have expected. The length of the chassis fits perfectly between the buffer beams of the kit, could almost have been made for it. As will be obvious from the photo's above though, it is not going to sit under the floor of the loco in the way that a Tenshodo it was designed to go on does. It is a simple matter though to enlarge the aperture in the baseplate of the loco body, to fit over the chassis. Unfortunately I didnt photograph this at the time, so will need to do another to add pics here later. The only other modification needed was to add a couple of packing pieces of styrene underneath the loco at each end to hold the body at the right level, that is all there was to it. These pics show how snugly it fits in place.
The eagle eyed may notice that the wheels do not line up exactly with the axle boxes. The wheelbase of the chassis is 25.5mm wheras the kit is designed to take a 24.5mm Tenshodo, but this is really not noticeable when the loco is on the track as so little of the wheels are visable. You cant really see the wheels at all from most angles, see what I mean:
I am absolutely amazed at the performance of this loco, the double reduction gearing of the chassis gives superb control. Having tried several different controllers, from a old Hammant and Morgan, or one from an old Hornby trainset, through to my usual Kent Panel controls one, the control is fantastic. There is a fair amount of lead added inside the body, which gives great pickup, even over dead frog points. I have yet to try it on a long run, that will need to wait for now, but I cant see there will be any problems. This is now the best running loco on my roster
. OK, thats about it for any that have stayed awake to reach this part, if anybody want more details, ask away.