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Rocket - Stephenson's Steam Locomotive (1829)


  • Kit Manufacturer: Minicraft Model (U.S.A)
  • Major Material: Plastic
  • Model Specifications: 1:26 Scale
  • Work Experience: Except the display board, which is scratch built from a piece of scrap wood of my woodworking project, this is a whole plastic kit. As a skill level 2 kit, there are not many parts to assemble. The weathering and metallic effects were achieved by air brushing, washing and dry brushing. I have also used a pen knife to scratch the surface of the boiler, water tank, and the tender to simulate wood grain.

Historical Notes: George Stephenson, his son Robert and Henry Rooth were the three men who created the Rocket, won the Rainhill trials and established Stephenson's company as the foremost builder of railway locomotives in England.

In 1829, the Liverpool & Manchester Railway offered a prize of 550 Pounds Sterling to the company or individual who could build a locomotive that would weigh less than six tons and could pull a load of 20 tons at a rate of ten miles per hour. Of the five engines entered in the October 1829 trials, only the Rocket completed the course, exceeded all the requirements and performed without incident. For this achievement, the L & M bought the Rocket from Stephenson and soon thereafter ordered four more for their passenger service between Liverpool and Manchester, thus providing the first rail passenger service in the world.

Probably designed on the floor of the workshop, the Rocket's specifications were and still are open to debate. Fifty years later, when the Rastrick notes were discovered, many of the dimensions and details of the design provided the basis for construction of a replica engine. It is from this full-sized replica at the Science Museum in South Kensington that this model kit has been engineered. Shortly after the trials, the steeply angled cylinders were lowered to an eight degree pitch, resulting in improved crew comfort and a much smooth ride. It has been written that the Rainhill Trials version rode like a horse because of the hammer-like blows from the twin cylinders which were directly coupled with the driving wheels. (From Minicraft Model)


| Right Back View |   | Left Front View |   | Left Side View |   | Right Side View |   | Boiler Closeup View |   | Engine Closeup View |

Recommended References:

  1. The Stephensons' Rocket: A History of a Pioneering Locomotive
  2. Train: Discover the Story of Railways - from the Early Days of Steam to the Sophisticated High-speed Trains of Today
  3. Early Pioneers (The World's Greatest Railways)

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