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Tuning Tips for the Aster 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class


Andrew Pullen, Aster Hobbies (UK) LLP


Customers seem to find these ‘Tips’ useful when it comes to building their Aster kit or running their new Factory built-up model, so here we have some initial thoughts and findings on the Aster 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class. As always we are most interested to hear of your experiences of building your kit and running your model.  


Fuel Tank


The lift out fuel tank must always be installed the right way round. The control valve Part 12-2 must ALWAYS be next to the locomotive. If you install it incorrectly then fuel will run straight on to the track. The tank should always sit down properly on its lugs.

I have found that extending the breather pipe by 5-6 mm by means of a length of plastic tube with its end cut to 45 degrees, lessens the chance of any fuel spillage in the event of a sudden stop. 


Cab Windows


Please check a photograph of your chosen model to determine the colour of the window frames. The outer frame and rain strip were always loco green and the three sliding lights were usually varnished mahogany. Sometimes these were painted green too. 


Blower and Regulator handles

I have found swapping these two handles gives finer control of locomotive speed. Remember always to crack both controls open at the finish of a run to prevent ‘freeze’. 


Many customers have been amazed at the ability of this locomotive to pull a prototypical train at realistic speeds. However, the running of this locomotive heavily “notched up” to almost mid gear is likely to have an adverse effect on valve gear life. My experience indicates 2 or 3 turns back from full forward gear gives a pleasing performance without undue wear. 




There are no particular problems building the kit. The valve gear in Section 3 is a bit fiddly but if you follow the drawings you should be OK.  


Specifically in Section 3 the lower right drawing shows one ‘arm’ outside the frame, this is incorrect.  (see errata illustrations)

Also some screws fit into components from the opposite side from that indicated.  


Be sure to get the orientation of parts 3-4 and 3-10 correct.


I found it necessary to take a fine file to parts 3-5 to allow free running of the die block in the radius link (3-3). I also found it useful to smooth the inner face of Parts 3-1 and 3-6 to get smooth operation. When I was satisfied that all was well and correctly assembled, I used Loctite thread lock to keep all the screws firm since it will be a nightmare later to replace any loose screws without taking the whole thing apart.  


I also put a good dollop of molybdenum grease on all moving parts. 


Boiler. No particular problems here although I would suggest bending straight the pipe for the water gauge blow down so that water discharges directly onto the track. The copper pipe will need to be annealed before bending and fitting.  


- Andrew Pullen, Aster Hobbies (UK) LLP

 Aster Bulleid Errata Illustrations



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