A few years ago, Hachette Partworks produced a "Build the Flying Scotsman" series. Each issue came with parts and instructions to allow the purchaser to build the famous locomotive in O gauge. I've spoken to several people who built the model and although there were some slight niggles (over-hard valve gear being difficult to bend for example), they seem reasonably pleased with their models.

Presumably the series sold well as a second version has appeared on the news stands. This time the object is to build a 7mm scale model of "Mallard".

The kit has been produced in conjunction with famous and well respected manufacturer DJH. The project started nearly 2 years ago but has only just been published.

Issue 1 contains the etched parts for the locomotive cab along with a pair of washout plugs cast in a whitemetal (pewter?) along with photographic step-by-step instructions for assembly. As the kit is aimed at beginners, the assumption is that superglue will be used so the brass is lacquered. If, like your editor, you decide to solder the parts, the coating needs to be sanded or burnished away. You'll also need a gas torch as there's a lot of metal to heat up. To be honest, superglue would have been quicker and easier!

Part 2 of the series will include the firebox and valances. Part 3 the boiler and handrails. All are cast metal. That's quite a lot of loco in 3 parts.

The model will be complete in 125 issue - total price £864.75

As a comparison, the DJH A3 in the same scale will cost you £540 plus wheels. Both models will need motor and gears.

As well as the parts and instructions, there is a magazine which covers the steam speed record, early uses of steam, classic locomotives (Flying Scotsman) and the Trans-Siberian Railway.

More details can be found at: www.buildthemallard.com