My attempt to ensure I remain the number one son in law!
As both a Christmas present and as a thank you for all the work which my Mother in Law's partner has been doing on our house, this is seemed ideal. His layout is Cornish with china clay workings, 8702 was a St Blazey engine, and matched the Bachmann varient of the 57xx, so seemed to be an ideal choice.
It's a detailed Bachmann 57XX - the model itself is very good. The tooling for the body dates back to Mainline days, although Bachmann have updated the tools to allow for different cab variants to be produced around the main moulding. The shape and proportions are very good indeed. Only the chunky handrails date the body, and even these aren't too bad.
The work centred around new handrails, which do make a huge difference. This combined with thinning the visible edges of the cab really take the body to the next level. Mainly Trains' etch for the rear windows was very useful and improved the rear of the cab no end with very little effort. I removed the moulded coal which allowed me to use the cast eight within the bunker as the base for the replacement coal. I also thinned the edges of the bunker as much as I could to help the appearance. New lamp irons all round complemented the handrails and along with new Gibson couplings and buffers, with larger MJT heads, the result is much better than out of the box. I also added RT Models' rather nice etch for the sandbox operating linkage, and moved the sandbox lids back to their correct position. I used Gibson 'shoulderless' handrail knobs and 0,45mm wire for smoke box door handles. Gibson include them in the s/box dart sets, so the real cost in the main turning. If you can save the circular boss on the smoke door when you remove any handles, this works really well.
The chassis had its brake rods replaced with new parts cut from 10 thou brass sheet, with Plastikard bolt detail but this concluded the detailing. A few changes result is a huge change to the finesse of the model. The 247 Development numberplates finished the repainting and the model was weathered using photos of locos working in the St Blazey and Fowey area using techniques stolen from various other modellers, mainly Martyn Welch and Tim Shackleton.
I hope the result is pleasing - it's certainly gone to a good home. This is only the third loco I've completed this year for various reasons and it's been a very satisfying and enjoyable project which I hope has enthused me for a bit more modelling in 2015.