Where to find a Shay?

Deciding to model the layout in HOn30, will probably make life a bit more difficult … but what’s life without a couple of challenges. So, where to find a “Class A” Shay in HOn30?
Google was helpful again and after browsing a “few” sites, I found the following options.

Joe Works Shay instruction sheet

The first option would be to find a brass Shay that was made by Sugiyama Models in Japan, which were sold in the eighties and nineties under the “Joe Works” or “Flying Zoo” brand … either as a kit or a ready-to-run model. They however are quite rare, which makes them hard to find and a bit expensive. There was one being auctioned on eBay.com this morning and it was sold for 455 U.S. Dollars. Unfortunately I was the second highest bidder …

As a second option, one could buy a kit made by Keystone Locomotive Works. It an un- powered model that consists of white metal parts. Fortunately there’s also a company called NorthWest Short Line that provides an HOn30 powering kit for it.  The disadvantage however is, that this is a kit of a 20 tons instead of a 13 tons “Class A” Shay.

As a final option, one could try to scratch-build or kitbash a Shay. As scratchbuilding is not my cup of tea, I went looking for kitbashing options and it lead me to a great Hon30 Shay, that was made by a Japanese modeller.

HOn30 kitbash with N-scale Atlas Shay
The model is based on the N scale Shay that was sold by Atlas a couple of years ago and will be released again in 2010. It seems to be using the chassis, frame and boiler of the original N scale model. The oil bunker and cab have been made of styrene by the modeller and several brass detailing parts have been added to complete the model. Below a picture of the final model as it was shown at a narrow gauge show in Japan at the end of 2009.

Completed HOn30 kitbash with N-scale Atlas Shay
OK, it’s not a Mapleton Shay in every detail, but for me it is close enough and I will definitely give it a go … the N scale Shay is on it’s way already …