An Nn3 Model of the Class A “Shay” – Part 1

The “Shay”s are the American locomotives I like most and also one of my all-time favourite steam engines. Soon after learning that one such locomotive was once used on my homeland’s narrow gauge lines, I dreamt about building a small logging layout. With ‘2mm to a foot’ being my scale of choice, I started looking for a kit to build. It wasn’t difficult to find and settle for the “Showcase Miniatures” offering. Compared to the usual bras or N/S kits this is an expensive one and having it delivered to the UK left a rather large hole in my wallet.

The kit comprises of parts cast in pewter (some sort of white-metal) while some details are etched brass. The recommended method of putting it together is by using cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. I tried in the past to use “Super Glue” to build brass or white-metal kits but I always failed: immediately or very soon after joining two parts together they came off. I am very comfortable soldering so I started experimenting with low-melt solder (70°C) and some scrap metal (the sprue holding together the parts of the kit). Setting the temperature controlled soldering iron at 140°C gave the best results so I began to build the kit according to the instructions supplied.

I started with the frames and the drive shaft for the rear truck assembly which will replace the retaining plate of the Searails PowerMAX! motorized truck:

The rear truck frames and overlay; four components are soldered together in this small part.

This was followed by the two-cylinder engine (the etched brass crank shafts are located at the bottom):

The two cylinder Shay engine

Two cab versions are supplied in the kit. The prototype I model had a cabin made of wood.

The cabin.

And the boiler:

The boiler.