This is a special kit as it was presented to me, as a surprise, by the registrar when I got married. My wife got a ring and I got a La Meuse kit to make our vows on. She isn’t stupid…
The kit is from Neil Sayer Models and is of the 1938 La Meuse 2−6−0 used on the sugar beat narrow gauge railways in northern France. There are two remaining preserved locomotives of this class. I have seen and ridden behind the one at the Musée des Transports de Pithiviers — well worth a visit if your just South of Paris.
I built the chassis between 2011 and 2012 — we have moved house between so that my excuse for not cracking on with it. The kit uses a donor chassis from the Farish 08 and so the only really difficult part of building this is the motion. I must admit I did struggle a bit with this but some expert help from Neil Sayer sorted that out — Neil is a fellow GDNGRS member which is handy!
So I have just had a couple of weeks of work after a small operation on my nose and decided that I needed to crack on with the body construction. The parts for the body are superbly detailed and go together well — especially if your skills include soldering brass etches onto white-metal. Mine are not up to scratch yet but I have mastered sweat soldering so the half-etched skin over the subframe went on well. I spent some time researching pictures and video for the locomotive online and discovered that there is a coal hopper on the top of the left tank so built one of those out of styrene.
Also, I noted there were additional handles under the roof for clambering up on top of the tanks but the Pithiviers La Meuse does not have a footstep on side of the tank.
To finish off with I undercoated with U-POL Acid #8 grey prime, available from larger Halfords, which is a superb etching primer that is thin enough to keep detail. I will leave it at least several days for the primer to harden off before applying the first top coat of black. After that, there will be some difficult masking for the final peacock blue panels. To finish off I have had nameplates made up by Narrow Planet for its special name — Peacocks.