Back in 2012 we stumbled over a funny little kit from I.P. Engineering; a battery powered Fowler inspection railcar. In this article I will give a quick summary, with pictures taken during the building process and a short video at the end.

This is what we found when we opened the box:

The content of the kit

When the frame was glued together, it was given two coats of primer with some light sanding in between, and three thin coats of black. The driver's cabin is left untreated in the assembly instructions, but we wanted a gray finish:

Frame and cabin mounted

Then the roof support and benches were assembled and mounted. The parts were painted with thinned red/brown paint, with several layers of clear varnish on top. The battery boxes will go inside the benches; one on each side. On the first picture below, the test fitting of the white metal parts for the engine cover had just begun. Some sanding and adjusting was needed to get a good fit, before the engine cover assembly was spray painted in a bright red color:

Fitting white metal parts

Engine cover painted

The roof posed a small challenge, as it consisted of a flat piece of veneer which had to be bent into shape. We solved this by moistening the veneer thoroughly before it was taped securely to a round storage box of suitable size overnight. When we removed the tape the next day, the roof had dried in almost perfect shape, and only minor adjustments were needed. For roofing felt we used strips of 240 grit sandpaper, and the cab got a light weathering as a final touch:

Finished model 1

Finished model 2

The wiring is very simple. The two battery boxes are connected in series, with an on/off switch and another switch for changing direction, and that’s all. The electric motor is mounted on the underside of the frame, with a nylon screw directly engaging a nylon gear on the front axle. A small piece of double sided tape was provided as the motor mount, but this proved much too flexible, and was replaced with a small piece of veneer glued in place.

The first test run was very poor, with the railcar moving along in a very “jerky” manner. After some adjusting of the axles and better fastening of the axle brass bearings it ran much better, as the following video clearly shows:


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