By Keith Skillicorn and Derek Wiggins
Robin Gosling was one of the very first producers of models for 16mm modellers, starting in the late ’70s. He only produced the GVT tram, the Festiniog ‘The Prince’ in early side tank and tender form, and a Mills class chassis for you to add your own bodywork. Robin’s engineering was not in question, but the lack of detailed bodywork was, we understand as a result of building down to a price. The fact that so many of these models survive, running as well as when they were new, is testimony to the quality of materials and workmanship and design, and to this day they are much sought after. Tony Sant of Finescale Engineering took over the theme when Robin stopped, making his own version of the GVT with revised mechanics and a much more detailed body, and these are equally cherished.
It should be noted that many of the current Regner models follow this idea of single cylinder and flywheel, and the quality of their running endorses how much Robin got his sums right in those early days!
The GVT has a lift-off body, surprisingly heavy, which is secured by sprung central buffers, making access to everything simple. The meths tank and three wick burner are held in by sliding clips, and generally steam is raised before the body is replaced. The model does not have a pressure gauge. It has a single oscillating cylinder geared to an external flywheel, with dead-leg lubricator, which accounts for the deep exhaust beat and legendary slow running.
The model is 0-4-0 as opposed to the original, with an extended wheelbase and directional change by a lever in the cab. The axles are linked by bevel gears, making for exceptional traction, although the loco that Graham Lamb originally named ‘Phurcombe Hall’ has a Mamod type of band drive and is thought to have been Robin’s prototype. Boiler duration is around an hour, provided you top up the meths after raising steam and halfway through the run. Other than that, they can be ignored and watched from a distance, and are very capable of hauling long heavy trains.
In view of the basic nature of the bodywork, some owners have detailed their models, and two examples are included in the photos for comparison. They do not represent the original locos at any given period.
Keith Skillicorn and Derek Wiggins