One of the things about working on magazines for model engineers is that most attention goes to looking for things that are new or unusual. So sometimes we are guilty of taking for granted all those things that are just brilliant and have been successful for decades - the Atom Minor of Westbury, LBSC’s Pansy, Len Mason’s Minnie, and many more, including Jack Buckler’s Sweet Pea.

Its rare not to see a Sweet Pea at the major exhibitions. The reasons are obvious. Locos don’t come much simpler than this.

The Bagnall style narrow gauge locomotive was originally written up in Engineering Miniature and is now available from TEE as a book: Build Your Own Steam Locomotive by Jack Buckler.

One of the reasons we suggest locos with marine boilers for beginners is because they are the easiest to build (as in Toby the simplest loco around). Sweet Pea has a marine boiler and while its valve gear is not simple as Toby’s slip eccentric gear, it is to the Hackworth design and should not present problems. However, being of narrow gauge profile it is a large engine in 5in. gauge weighing around 140lb is standard form. The nicely finished example here, Lady Beryl by Derek Darnell, pictured at the Guildford Rally 2011, is fitted with two trailing wheels and some neat bodywork including a squared saddle water tank.

As can be seen from the photo the backhead is simplicity itself with enough room to avoid cluttering. These engines are simple to build (at least simpler than most) and are good goers, one won the annual IMLEC efficiency trial in the recent past.

Variations are available in 0-6-0, 3 1/2in gauge, and 7 1/4in. gauge. All classics!