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S302

Aust-N-Rail has announced a ready-to-run S Class loco due for release in 2009, though you can expect the economic downturn to push this out. The VR livery is a little bit tricky to paint on bulldog noses so getting one RTR sounds like a really good idea. My Pete Boorman kit is now planned to be painted as S302 in V/Line Passenger livery, in it's latest appearance without decals. S302 VLP decals are available in HO scale. Once I've worked out a way to shrink them to half size, I'll put them on.

Model construction notes:

Components

Body Pete Boormanís Workshop makes S class polyurethane bodies (try Pallas Hobbies). It's a one piece moulded body, with extra pieces for the pilot and rear chassis/coupler mount, designed to fit a Life Like SD7 chassis.
Decals VR decals available (try Pallas Hobbies - $10 a set, you can do 3 locos). There are no decals in other liveries specifically for S class locos. For V/Line, you can use decals that come with some of the wagon kits.
Mechanism Lifelike SD7s are most commonly used. These arenít the best mechs on the market but quite adequate, excellent value and relatively easy to adapt. Youíll have to order one from America or keep an eye on E-bay. Cost - $35-50 or thereabouts, depending where you get them. Atlas SD7s are certainly better mechs but will set you back around $100. I expect there will be some extra work to fit the pilots as these were designed for Lifelike SD7s.
Couplers Standard Microtrains 1015.

Degree of Difficulty

Assembly A bit of fiddling to alter the SD7 mech. but not too hard. The bits fit together pretty easily after that.
Painting V/Line orange/grey livery is easier to paint than VR blue/gold because masking is all straight edges so quite easy. Painting the bulldog nose in VR livery is a little more challenging.