THINKING BIG IN ‘O’ gauge can be difficult. Few of us really have the space to build a big mainline layout-you really need 16ft x 10ft as a minimum as we have shown with our test track. However, small locomotives mean that you don’t need as much space as that and Dapol’s new Sentinel four-wheel vertical boiler tank engine (4wVBT) could just be the perfect starting point for anyone looking to upscale to ‘O’ gauge.
The Sentinel 4wVBTs were built in the 1920s with the LNER taking delivery of several batches between 1925 and 1931 to different designs. These included the ‘Y1’ and ‘Y3’ classes which were differentiated by the latter featuring double gears from the centre engine. They were designed for shunting use and their mechanism took its inspiration from Sentinel’s steam road lorries and was quite unlike a conventional steam locomotive.