Building Molly Ann

An adventure in model engineering by a complete beginner

The Molly Ann Project


Welcome to my model locomotive build project.

This site will record the build story from placing the order to first steaming along with a few distractions!

I really valued other build blogs when I was researching a suitable model for me to attempt so hope this will be of use to others.


So how did I come to embark on this project?

I was very keen on the idea of owning and operating a model steam engine. I knew enough about the operation of the real thing, at least in theory; but what would it be like to build and steam one for real?

I did some Googling and it was pretty clear that the expert opinion was:

1 – don’t be hasty; and,

2- join a Model Engineering Society to find out more about model steam.

I took this advice to heart and did some more research looking at second hand options or built ready-to-run locos at first. I also joined my local MES (Sutton Coldfield) who have been very welcoming. From what I was able to gather, buying second hand is a fairly high risk option, especially if you don’t really know what to look for and a ready to run loco began to appear a bit like cheating! However, I don’t have any experience or access to machine tools like lathes and milling machines so felt that the classic kit of castings was out of the question.

I then read this site (Ride on Railways) and the headline “DO NOT BUY SECOND HAND if you can afford a Polly Kit” struck home. I had already been to the Polly Site but this headline and hearing how well regarded they were made my mind up. I called Polly and they said they would be happy to come in specially on a Saturday morning to meet me to show me the two models I was interested in – Molly Ann and the O&K 0-4-0. Once I saw them together and had a long chat with Lucy and Andy (daughter and father) my mind was made up on Molly Ann, the most recent addition to their range.


So even in the early stages of this project, I had made some new friends at Polly and at Sutton Coldfield MES. I am sure I will need the support of both while I am building.

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