7mm:1ft - 0 Gauge Railway Modelling.

Manufactured by: Just Like The Real Thing
Not available at present but may resurface in due course.
I rate this kit as: 4-2-4

Just One Version of this 'Heinz 57' of Engines.               pdf version

painted, side view


This is another Mitchell 517 the first was built as No: 848 circa 1930's, which can be viewed here 517-No: 848.  One of several in the pipeline.  Building this kit is very straight forward, all the parts fit perfectly and the instructions are good.


No: 848 was the first engine I built in 7mm, a good start for beginners.  Anyone with some experience of etched brass construction should be able to make a good job of it, given a little time and care; it is not a quick build. 


photo of the real 517The kit will build a host of varieties of this long lived and much rebuilt class.  However, it cannot cater for all the variations of this 'Heinz 57' engine and some versions will require some scratch building.


It was originally to have matched a photograph I have of No: 517 at Birmingham Snow Hill in about 1905.  However, the side tanks looked as though they would need considerable work to modify them and I don't want to have to take the tanks off again so it will instead be 1475, for which I also have a picture at Snow Hill, in about 1895; to be finished in Wolverhampton livery.  It will be one of three early 517's.  As you may have guessed, this project has altered somewhat since the original start.  I have since discovered from Malcolm Mitchell that the tank side sheets were bolted on the original tank sides.  Thanks to the drawing he supplied, fabricating them for the next one I build will be relatively easy.  (June 2013, thanks to Doug Gordon, I now have a couple of sets of exquisite etches to produce these, and other variations.)

The Body

Part complete view of body & footplate.Here the body and footplate are largely constructed but a few modifications were made.  The tool boxes are removable, which was done by fitting a floor to each box with an 8BA bolt fitted in the centre.  They are then bolted in place on the tank top; the dome and safety valve are also fitted using 6BA bolts.    Back to Top


The cab - what there is of it - is not yet fixed.  Better to leave until last as it makes fitting things like the rear sand boxes simpler.  The buffers, heavily modified, came from a Scorpio saddle tank kit.


Side view partly completed.The bunker currently contains the sound chip (ZTC).  The speaker for the sound is located in the smoke box, directly under the chimney.  So far, the build has taken exactly the course mapped out in the instructions.


The Frames & Chassis

The chassis is compensated and built exactly as described in the instructions.  I consider them virtually chassis 2foolproof.   The DCC setup has been thoroughly tested.


I usually turn up my own wheels (AGH) but in this case they are a set that were offered to me at a price I could not resist.


January 2010, it's about time I got some work done on this engine.  Two years in a box seems not to have caused any problems and it was amazingly clean too.  The ZTC gear was stripped out and put in a safe place though I shall probably look around for a different chip that will fit in the tanks and use the existing one in a larger engine.  There is an Armstrong Goods lurking in a cupboard along with lots of other stuff.    Back to Top


wing plateOne thing it needs though is a wing plate fitted to the smoke box.  This meant removing the damper cover.  The plate was made from 0.5mm nickel silver sheet.  Rather than punch up the bolt heads on either side, I used instead some minute brass domed bolt heads bought from Scale Hardware long ago.  It simply meant drilling four 0.5mm holes in the appropriate place, threading them through (a little like threading a needle) and solder from behind and file flush.  I cut slots for the tabs of the damper cover too.


bunkerThe control gear for the front sand boxes would have better been fitted before the boxes, must remember for the next one. A start had been made on the bunker until I realized I was working from the wrong photograph!  The new side sheets were made in nickel silver by utilizing one of those provided in the kit to use as a master and then sorting out rivets appropriately.

body detail 2abody detail 1The front steps were somewhat flimsy I thought and so strengthened them with 1mm square strip from behind.  The rear steps are designed to be double thickness and so did not need it.


The tool boxes are removable as mentioned so that Dennis will have an easier time painting and lining, Wolverhampton style. Now the correct style of bunker has been fitted, together with some of Laurie Griffin's fine body detail 3castings too; the coupling hook is soldered solid front and back.  The couplings will be added after painting.    Back to Top


In 1900, the GWR used spiked lamps so two brackets need to be fixed to the footplate.  Much perusal of photographs suggests that their actual position varied so these were set by eye, making sure that the lamps would fit without fouling one another.   The only big job now is the backhead.  Once that is completed there will not be a great deal left to do.


There are some springs to be fitted behind the splashers, handrails and a few little bits of detailing; which turned out to be rather more time consuming than expected (what a surprise!).

The Backhead

backhead 2The backhead proved to be 'interesting'.  Here is a shot of the basic unit with all its bits fitted and then another picture of it mocked up with the cab to shew the dials as backhead 1well.  The cab needed a proper back fitting so that the backhead can be fitted with a sliver of Blue-Tack, which is how I generally fit them.

chassis 1

Here the chassis is near completion (the DCC kit will be added much later after painting and some testing) and only requires some restraint fitting for the ABC motor/gearbox.   The motor is temporary until I find a smaller one that will fit the other way round and not foul the cab thus leaving room for the speaker in the smokebox.  I pinched the original unit for another project!    Back to Top


paint readypaint ready 2paint ready 4Now ready for the paint shop, fopaint ready 3r which the handrails will be removed.  They are in two separate sections and join inside the knob on the smokebox.  The only things missing aside from a crew at present are some long fire irons to go with the bucket hanging on the back.  There is, unfortunately, no room on the footplate to fit a jack, which would have been bolted down, but not all these engines carried them anyway in 1900.    Back to Top


 running on the rolling roadThis picture is of her running-in on the rolling road under DC as the DCC equipment has not yet been refitted.  




Three final pictures now it's back from Dennis's paint shop and a few little extras added, like the fire irons, bucket and lamps, nicely painted by Ian Hopkins who did a tiny bit of weathering to make it look like it works for a living.

side viewfront - painted













The various rear - paintedcans are fixed with tiny pieces of Blu-tack.  I almost put a number on the buffer beam but checked and found they came in much later.  Must get another lens for the camera, this one tends to distort the view.


This then is an excellent kit that builds well, all the parts fit as they should and it is easy to modify to produce different varieties.

Highly recommended for the beginner with a few etched wagons under his or her belt.




Fitting DCC - October 2012

ballastIt is time I put the DCC equipment back in this engine.  However, on the advice of Barry Sumsion I invested in a South West Digital sound chip.  A vast difference to the original ZTC chips I used years ago; very much smaller and with an optional harness to make it pluggable, therefore easier to dismantle, when necessary.


While the body and chassis were separated I took the opportunity to add some ballast in the side tanks and the top of the boiler/firebox.  In all I managed to squeeze in about seven and half ounces; the whole engine now weighs in at about one and half pounds and since it is well balanced, should give it reasonable haulage power.  There is enough room left to hold the motor, DCC chip and harness.  The speaker will be inside the smokebox.

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harnessHere the harness has had the wires trimmed and the orange and grey wires soldered to the motor leads and the black and red wires soldered to the pick-up wires, which puts the chip between the motor and wheels.  All the other wires are coiled up and taped to the motor body. 

chipHere is the SWD sound chip with the speaker removed in readiness for a new, larger one, being fitted.   Since it not now possible to fit a bulb to flicker in the firebox, the relevant wire has been coiled and taped-up.  The sounds loaded are for a 57xx pannier, which is probably as close as we can get to a 517.  I also invested in a SPROG II some years ago so programming it to do what I want it to do should be fairly straight forward.

speaker 1speaker 2speaker 3













The new speaker, which is larger that the first one, will fit nicely inside the speaker 4smokebox but first I filled the sound box with some padding, soldered on the leads and fitted the speaker in the sound box.













Here the chips and speaker are fitted ready to test prior to fitting into the body.

test instal





Then the whole lot was jury rigged to the chassis to test it out on a piece of track.  It all worked fine.

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So, back to the workbench to fit it all into the body.


instal 3

instal 2








Here you can see how the speaker slides into the smokebox, followed by the chip being blu-tacked into place.  The harness was blu-tacked into the tank behind the drivers and then the chassis fitted and bolted in place.


Here is a link to a short video of it running, I now need to learn how to drive it properly!



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