Re: [HOsteam] Bowser kits

Wayne Long


I have built a Bowser light Pacific kit and a 4-8-2 mechanism. While this does not make me an expert on Bowser steam, I feel I should make a few comments.

First, as has been said, the technology is old. However, the mechanisms are substantial. It is unfortunate to me that the drivers are not sprung. If you follow carefully the instructions and have no bind in the mechanism, these locomotives are good pullers. I have installed one of the third party motor assemblies and it is an improvement over the earlier open motor and gearing.

Second, the boiler/cab castings leave a good deal to be desired. They are castings that are too rough in places. At least Bowser pre-drills the holes for the detail parts. Every one of their locomotive boilers needs to be detailed, and this is done with detail kits from Bowser containing many brass lost wax castings. You can end up with a credible looking steam locomotive even though it might not confirm to prototype drawings.

Third, the tenders, like the boilers are cast zamac and the detail is not up to plastic level. The tender trucks are cast metal with brass wheels. Electrical pick-up is through one side of the tender trucks and the opposite side drivers. This has presented problems on DC track going from block to block. It is a big problem to solve if you want pick-up from all of the drivers, like on plastic steam. For DCC, you would have to isolate the motor from the frame, requiring a jumper wire from the frame to one of the motor brushes.

Wayne Long

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