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  1. Dear AFOL trainheads, After almost six months of designing work, another five months of construction, countless bursts of temper, and being relieved of a small fortune, I am very proud to present my latest locomotive MOC. This time, it’s a 2-10-2T narrow gauge (760 mm) steam locomotive, class 600.76, of the Bulgarian State Railways (Balgarski darzhavni zheleznitsi, BDŽ). Basically an enlarged version of the German DRG Baureihe 99.73, the first five locomotives of the class were built in 1940 by BMAG (formerly L. Schwartzkopff) in Berlin for hauling all kinds of trains on the mountainous Rhodope railway from Septemvri to Dobrinishte. Delivering about 850 hp, the engines were extraordinarily powerful by the time’s standards for single-frame narrow gauge locomotives. They were so successful that the BDŽ were keen to acquire more, but after the Bulgarian Tsardom had turned into a communist republic at the end of WW II, it became almost impossible to buy industrial goods from German manufacturers. Thus another 10 engines were delivered in 1949 by Fablok in Chrzanów, Poland. These Polish-built locomotives were technically identical to the original Schwartzkopff ones, but could easily be distinguished from the first series by the combined steam/sand dome casing and the odd-looking smoke deflectors, which seem quite ridiculous on an engine with a top speed of no more than 45 km/h! From 1966 on, after new diesel locomotives had arrived at Septemvri, all class 600.76 locomotives were relocated to Cherven Bryag in northern Bulgaria. Several have survived until today, albeit most of them in desperate condition. One engine – No. 609.76, however, is in operational state (now stationed in Septemvri again) and regularly used for excursion trains. My model portrays a locomotive from the second series as it ran in the late 1960s, some years after the whole class had been equipped with compressed-air brake and supplementary oil firing. As opposed to the drawing, it therefore has a shortened right side tank (to make room for the air compressor), air reservoirs below the rear tank and an extended coal/oil bunker. The model is in accurate 1:22.5 scale except for the track gauge, which according to G-scale standard is always 45 mm regardless of the prototype’s actual value (as mentioned before, class 600.76 has 760 mm, or 33.8 mm in 1:22.5). Therefore, it matches LGB garden railway track and rolling stock. Dimensions and height of the coupling bars are designed in a way that they work with LGB link-and-pin couplers. Three PF L-motors working on the central driving axle are responsible for propulsion, with the other drivers (BBB XL) being coupled by the side rods, just as in the real thing. One BuWizz brick allows to remote-control running direction as well as speed, and serves as a power supply for the lights (separately switchable front/rear headlights, combined cab & running gear lights). The LED equipment was purchased from Brickstuff; valve gear parts and main rods were supplied by zephyr1934. The running gear layout proved to be quite a challenge. The leading and trailing axle are of the Bissell type and can swing out by 9°. Of the driving axles, the second and third one are blind, while the fourth one is slidable laterally by +/- ½ stud. With this configuration, the engine is running stably on straight track, yet also able to negotiate LGB R3 curves and switches (1195 mm radius). The model consists of more than 3200 parts and weighs about 2.2 kg. Enough said – enjoy the pictures! Some views of the engine frame. For reasons of stability, I had to fill the prototypic cutouts with trans-clear plates and bricks. You can see the steam inlet pipes running to the cylinders on the outside, as well as the exhaust pipes inside the frame, leading steam to the exhaust nozzle in the smokebox. Underneath, the brake rigging is also reproduced: The leading/trailing trucks. The tongue connecting the truck to the main frame is free from load, which means that it could be kept prototypically thin; the engine weight is supported by the axle bearings via the 4x4 tile on top. Fully detailed cab interior, including a tiltable ”Marcotty“ type firebox door and functional folding seats: Complete smokebox interior as well. The exhaust nozzle, spark arrestor, smoke stack bottom, boiler tube openings and superheater tubes are visible: Plenty of water in the side tanks: Some boiler details, among others showing the generator hidden behind the smoke deflectors: The combined oil/coal bunker can be removed to give access to the power button and the charging socket: The three magnetic switches for the lights are hidden in the rear toolbox: Posing in front of a historic BDŽ crest: The cab lettering: The lights: Some matching, albeit non-purist decoration (1:24 GAZ M20 Pobeda by Yatming, 1:22 [sic!] VAZ/Lada 2106 by Avtoprom)… A short video, showing the valve gear in motion. Note that unlike many conventional model locomotives, the valve stem is really pushed back and forth. A video of the engine pulling an LGB G-scale train will follow as soon as possible. As always, you can download the lxf file here. Also, more and much larger pictures can be found in my Bricksafe folder. Finally, I’d like to say special thanks to Sergio Monai, who with his fruitful feedback and proposals kept me stimulated to achieve the best possible result! Comments are of course most appreciated – thanks for stopping by! Best regards, Sven