In my usual scattergun approach to build schedules I am embarking on yet more new territory for me. Considering the contribution made to Britain's economy during the Industrial Revolution, the narrow gauge lines often seem to be overlooked by many. Today, they are slightly twee tourist things, with quaint steam engines, gaily painted and highly polished. A century or more ago, they were tough workhorses, hauling the products of their owners to docks and other larger gauge lines. In a relatively short amount of time, I have begun to learn about and appreciate the smaller gauge lines, for I have been commissioned to build two Festiniog Railway locos. The kits originate from the Wychbury Loco Works, now in the Mercian Models stable. In the box, etched brass upperworks, etched nickel silver chassis, and a mix of cast brass and whitemetal details. From the parts, it is possible to build examples of short and long wheelbase locos that were originally built by the George England works in London in the 1860s - though the finished models, like their full-sized counterparts, will be far removed from the original locos. Running gear is Markits 14mm wheels, and a simple gearbox. They will be built to O-16.5 standards. For this build, I am constructing "Prince" and "Princess", in their rebuilt form as they operated between about 1906 and 1920. They have a 4ft 6in wheelbase, and require some trimming and adjustment of the parts. The kit is capable of producing the 5ft wheelbase locos "Welsh Pony" and "Little Giant" as well. The original locos still exist, though "Princess" is cosmetically restored and doesn't run under power. The client has sourced some period images, and I've found a useful Wiki web site and images on Flickr which will all prove useful. I had planned to build both kits in tandem. However, a slight hiatus occurred when I checked the contents. One kit was bought secondhand, and sadly is missing one of the etch sheets, and some castings. I've been in touch with Trevor Cousens of Mercian, and he will have a body etch and the missing castings for me in a few weeks. Top man. Meanwhile, I dug into the other kit and made a start. The characteristic saddletanks of the later rebuilds are preformed. For the short locos, a slice needs to be removed, marked by a half-etched line, and then the close set rivets can be punched out. I was dubious about being able to maintain a straight line of rivets following the half-etch dimples, so I practiced a bit on the offcut pieces. In the end, think I managed a fairly neat job. The gap at the top is intentional. Joining the sides to the front and back caused a little muttering and singed fingers. By various means I managed to prop and hold the sides in register with the ends so I could spot solder until I was happy. The sides did need some adjustment to flatten the curve a little bit, but it all ended up reasonably square. A flat strip is provided on the etch to be soldered in the bottom of the tank sides to reinforce them and stop them bowing inwards. I elected to use some brass angle from the stock instead. Yes, it does look like nothing's changed, but I've sweated the front overlay on. Handrail knob holes need to be opened up for the centre of the handrail. And a little while later, knobs, grab handles, and rivet strips were all attached. The whistle base is a folded up affair, while the dome and filler lid are cast objects not currently attached. The rivet strips have to be cut to fit around the castings, which is relatively straightforward with care. The brass used for the etches is reminiscent of 4mm scale kits. It is very thin compared to the chunkier material I'm more accustomed to with standard gauge loco kits. I'm not complaining, mind. I simply have to adjust my handling routines accordingly. Tomorrow, I think it will be time to construct the running plate and smokebox. This evening, some more time poring over images for details.