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Posts Tagged ‘original Merchant Navy’

This week saw the first of the new Hornby ‘Original’ Merchant Navy Pacifics hitting  the retailers, see my Talking Stock #35 post here for more details and also the full size ‘Rebuilt’ Merchant Navy Pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. steaming in public service for the first time in 2017 on the  Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) for the week of services allied with the Cheltenham Races Festival. With this in mind I thought it was time that firstly I finished my model of 35006 in her as preserved guise (being a shareholder), and also that I mentioned the Rebuilt Merchant Navy Pacifics on this blog, although they are of course out of my usual 1946-49 modelling period.

Rebuilding the Merchant Navy’s

21C6 in original condition on Fisherton Sarum

Although in general the Merchant Navy class as introduced were a success, proving to be powerful and very free steaming, one of the outcomes of the less than scientifically carried out Locomotive Exchange trails in 1948 and further performance and efficiency tests carried out at the Rugby Stationary Test Plant between March 1952 and January 1952, showed them to be costing a lot in: coal, water, oil and secondly maintenance when compared to other classes. These costs along with issues of leakage of oil from the enclosed motion oil baths and the reliability and accuracy of the steam reverser / cut off setting led to the Southern Region looking at options to improve the engines.  The option chosen as opposed to trying to overcome the individual issues was to rebuild the engines with more ‘standard parts’.

Rebuilt 35006 in the sunshine at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway.

The task was given, in 1954, to R.G. Jarvis of the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer’s Department at Brighton, his new design replaced the encased oil bath and chain driven valve gear with three sets of  more traditional Walschaerts valve gear, new style piston heads and rods, regulator and a screw-link type reverser. The ashpan and grate were also replaced and included hopper bottom doors and front and rear dampers. A new fabricated smokebox, superheater header and steam pipes were also fitted.
The frames, outside cylinders, boilers were retained along with the: Bullied-Firth-Brown wheels (although now needing balance weights to be fitted), axleboxes, the efficient ‘clasp’ locomotive brakes and the ‘Stones’ steam generator for electric lighting both for the engine headsignals and in cab lighting. The same tenders were utilised, albeit with the side raves cut down to ease water filling access and reverse running view. The drawbar between the loco and tender however was replaced.

Reflecting on  superb standard of external finish on 35006.

Externally the ‘Air Smoothed’ casing was removed giving the look common to the recently introduced BR standard classes, although the characteristic oval shaped smokebox door was kept. Sanding, from replacement sandboxes, was also added to the leading driving axle, whilst rearward application was incorporated to the middle driving axle and new mechanical lubricators were accessibly mounted on the running plate alongside the boiler.
In 1955 the British Railways Board gave authority for fifteen of the class to be modified and authority for rebuilding the remainder swiftly followed. In February 1956 Eastleigh works released 35018 British India Line in its newly modified form (35018 as the prototype rebuild remained unique to the rest of the class as the front sandbox filler position and injector pipework differed), by October 1959 all the class had been rebuilt.
Performance of the rebuilt engines was indeed successful, solving most of the maintenance issues, although one drawback was that they put greater loads on the track, than the largely self balanced originals, as a result of increased hammerblow, caused by the balance weights required for the Walschaerts valve gear.

My model of rebuilt 35006 as preserved

The release by Hornby in the year 2000 of the rebuilt Merchant Navy locomotive heralded a new generation of model steam locomotives by Hornby and was a step change of standard of models reactive to competition in the market place and gave us a new super detail standard featuring blackened finish handrails and wheels with etched brass valve gear, detailed cab interior, and a five pole motor housed and driving within the locomotive itself. Over the years a number of the class have been released with a few modifications to the tooling along the way, although as yet none of the first series engines as rebuilt have been released as the 5000 gallon style tenders they were paired with have not been tooled.

My model of 35006 in as preserved condition

As 35006 in preservation has been paired to a brand new built larger 5100 style tender I have used a Hornby R1038 35012 United States Lines (split from a train pack) locomotive as the basis for my model.
Firstly I removed the cabside number numbers via my usual method of soaking the Hornby printing in enamel thinners and rubbing off with a cotton bud and replacing with HMRS Pressfix decals.

A front 3/4 view of 35006 based on the Hornby Rebuilt Merchant Navy with detailing parts and etched plates from RT Models and Fox Transfers

New nameplates and smokebox door number plates were fitted along with an extched 72B Salisbury shedcode plate on the smokebox in the slightly higher position than usual, level with the lower smokebox  hinge, on 35006 which was a charactoristic of her when in service. All the plates were obtained from Fox Transfers.
I replaced the front steps as supplied by Hornby by the more robust lost wax cast versions, along with a set of the cylinder drain pipes to complete the front end look, obtained through RT Models, from his excellent Albert Goodall range.
As I am modelling 35006 in her preserved condition I want to to also represent her superb external paintwork finish with a reflective and classic oily rag polished hue and have therefore given the model a coat of Kleer floor polish to give a such a finish to the paintwork (and also seal in the decals).

More details of 35006 and the locomotive Society can be found on my dedicated page here.  Also it is worth mentioning the 35011 The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that was formed last year with the intention of not only restoring 35011 back to working order but doing so back in original air smoothed condition condition complete with Bulleid’s oil bath encased valve gear incorporating chain drive elements to fill the gap in preserved examples left by the entire class having been rebuilt.

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Last weekend I was attending the Festival of British Railway Modelling held at Doncaster racecourse organised by Warners the publishers of BRM Magazine, and spent the weekend as part of the operating crew of the High Wycombe and District MRS large ’00’ layout Hinton Parva.

Hinton Parva keeps the crowds at the Doncaster Show entertained

Hinton Parva keeps the crowds at the Doncaster Show entertained

Hinton Parva represents a very busy junction station on a Joint Midland/Eastern north-south line. The “Branch” purports to be a cross-country line bringing Southern and Western trains from the south-west. As well as the usual “mainline” movements, there is a goods yard constantly shuffling wagons for the pick up goods trains, and a motive Power Depot which has to receive, service, prepare and dispatch locos for the stopping branch express trains, all of which require a loco change. We operate a varied, late 1950s,  steam/early diesel schedule with a wide range of stock from modern detailed RTR and a large sprinkling of quality kit and scratch built locos and coaches.

A view from the other end of the 32' long Hinton Parva, different day different crowd

A view from the other end of the 32′ long Hinton Parva, different day different crowd

Not many layouts feature two Garratts  (one an LMS and the other the sole LNER machine) hauling 60 wagon trains or an ex LNER W1 or 10001,10201,10800 and prototype diesels / gas turbines. The loco roster for an exhibition is nearly 50 locos, and they all make a running appearance.
Another unusual feature is the working semaphore signals, 37 working arms at the last count. Apart from the aesthetic value of the signals, they also provide drivers with their only means of indications of what they are supposed to do, truly prototypical.
The layout is large at 32ft x 12ft, and maximum use is made of this size to provide a running spectacle for the viewers. The complete sequence takes some 50 to 60 minutes and involves about 90 mainline movements, trains in, trains running through, trains starting.

21C3 'Royal Mail' making an appearance on Hinton Parva

21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ making an appearance on Hinton Parva and easily handled an 8 car Pullman rake

Hornby, have increased the number of shows they are having a presence at this year and I took the opportunity to run and photograph on Hinton Parva, courtesy of Hornby, one of the first of the product batch their new original style Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’. This is an advance version with the main production batch due to arrive at retailers during March.

21C3 rests on shed on Hinton Parva

21C3 rests on shed on Hinton Parva

These locomotives have a 5 pole motor with flywheel and plenty of adhesion weight and hauled an 8 coach rake of Hornby, Pullman cars with plenty of power in reserve.  It should be noted that in the pictures to the left she has been taken straight out of the box and the detailing pack containing front steps and cylinder drain cocks etc have not been fitted. I am also pleased to confirm that the lettering shading has been corrected from the livery sample to be black as it should be.

Another view of 21C3 on Hinton Parva

Another view of 21C3 on Hinton Parva

As I advised in my Talking Stock #35 post back in December about the imminent Hornby Merchant Navy releases R3435 No. 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ is in the condition between when introduced in September 1941; with the ‘widows peak’ style front end without smoke deflectors but with the opening around the chimney and the slot in the front face above the smokebox; and when she was painted in wartime black livery in May 1943.

R3422 Adams radial number 3125 in SR wartime black livery

R3422 Adams radial number 3125 in SR wartime black livery

The next batch of ex London & South Western 0415 class Adams radial tanks have now arrived with the retailers including R3422 number 3125 in SR wartime black with ‘Sunshine’ lettering. this means that for once to suit my modelling period I do not have to repaint and/or renumber an RTR Southern release (although I do have an R3334 ex 30582 with Drummond boiler ready to become 3520 also on SR black with Sunshine lettering as she ran between March 1945 and March 1948).

Another view of R3422 number 3125

Another view of R3422 number 3125

Number 3125 is in the condition she ran between October 1944 when she regained an Adams boiler and March 1949 when she was repainted in British Railways lined black livery. The other recent Hornby, Adams radial release is R3423 as number 30583 also with a an Adams boiler in British Railways lined black with late crest that she gained in early 1959.

H Class smokebox door number plates from 247 developments

H Class smokebox door number plates from 247 Developments

Also now available for Southern Region modellers wishing to enhance or renumber the H Class tanks being released by Hornby later this year are etched smoke box door number plates from 247 Developments.

A cruel enlargement of the H class smokebox door number plate

A cruel enlargement of the H class smokebox door number plate

Recently under the new ownership of Brian Mosby, an excellent modeller himself whom I have known for some time, 247 Developments has produced the full range of H Class numbers (except 31264 and 31312 which never gained the BR number!) The etching is of a high standard and will be welcome addition to the 247 Developments range for any Southern Region modeller.

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As promised in my recent  Warley 2016 update post  this post is about the first four original Air Smoothed Bulleid Merchant Navy pacifics being released by Hornby due in the first quarter 2017. The main purpose of this post is to advise the exact condition and dates applicable to all these four versions which I hope will assist those wishing to purchase the correct version for their time period or those potentially wanting to renumber to other members of the class. General details of the 3 distinct Series of Merchant Navy pacifics can be found on my talking Stock #1 post here along with some additional information on the initial liveries and tenders for the some of the Series Three Merchant Navy pacifics on my Talking Stock # 24 post here.

Hornby livery samples of 21C1 and 21C3 together

Hornby livery samples of 21C1 and 21C3 together

So far as you can see below Hornby are releasing two Series One versions in early 1941 and 1941 to 1943 condition respectfully and two Series Three versions in early 1950’s condition. It is assumed that other style Series One, Three and hopefully Series Two versions and liveries will follow in subsequent years.

The details of the initial four releases of these models due are as follows:

21C1 'Channel Packet' as modelled by Hornby in very early condition.

21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ as modelled by Hornby in very early condition. Note this does not have the supplied detail pack added yet, such as cylinder drain pipes and steps etc.

R3434 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ only represents her very early condition from when first introduced in February 1941 and May 1941. She has the original front end design known as ‘Widows peak’ without smoke deflectors, the area around the chimney filled as first designed and the sliding chimney cover, that was supposedly to be used to cover the opening. The Smokebox door ‘Southerm’ roundel is the inverted  horseshoe (later changed to a full circle with addition of the engine build date due to complaints that such an inverted horseshoe was a sign of bad luck). She also is fitted with the cast gunmetal number and ‘Southern’ plates that she carried until renumbering to 35001 in September 1949 and has the front number plate position being on the sloping section. when not in steam. It should also be noted in this condition she had silver coloured cab window frames and only had front steps fixed to the front right buffer when looking at the front rather then both sides.
By May 1941 step cut outs  were added to the sloping face and the lamp irons and electric lamps moved to just above the vertical face on the front hence also the relocation of the cast number plate to the vertical face.
It should be noted that whilst number 21C2 also carried the gunmetal style number and ‘Southern’ plates until renumbering in January 1950, she did not have the same chimney and cover arrangement as 21C1, as a greater opening was present around the chimney.

A further view of Hornby livery sample of 21C3

Hornby  21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ in 1941 condition. Note this also does not have the supplied detail pack added yet.

R3435 No. 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ is as introduced in September 1941 condition again with the ‘widows peak’ style front end without smoke deflectors but with the opening around the chimney and the slot in the front face above the smokebox. She was painted in wartime black livery in May 1943 and gained the front end modification in September 1944. Numbers 21C3 to 10 of the first series of 10 differed from the rest as the side casing was made from Limpet board material to reduce wight and are identifiable by the overlapping seam running horizontally along the side, the position of middle yellow line when in malachite green livery was adjusted to run along the top of this seam.

Of the remaining 7 series one versions they received wartime black livery followed by the front end modifications as follows:
21C4 ‘Cunard White Star’ – to black July 1943, front end modification January 1944.
21C5 ‘Canadian Pacific’ – to black March 1942, front end modification March 1944.
21C6 ‘Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co’ – to black May 1942, front end modification April 1944.
21C7 ‘Aberdeen Commonwealth’ – introduced in black June 1942, front end modification August 1944.
21C8 ‘Orient Line’  – introduced in black June 1942, front end modification June 1943.
21C9 ‘Shaw Savill’  – introduced in black June 1942, front end modification June 1943.
21C10 ‘Blue Star’  – introduced in black July 1942, front end modification April 1943.

This gives some options for renaming 21C3 into other members of the class and simply repainting into unlined wartime black if you model prior to August 1944.

A computer rendered image of 35028 'Clan Line' as being released by Hornby

A computer rendered image of R3436 35028 ‘Clan Line’

R3436 No. 35028 ‘Clan Line from the Third series of number 35021 to 35030 (being introduced post 1948 they never carried the Southern 21Cx numbers), is being released in BR Brunswick Green with early crest. She will be modelled without the fairings between the front of the cylinders and the buffer beam and with safety valves in the forward position representing the condition she ran in between June 1953 and December 1954 when the safety vales were resited to just in front of the fire box.

A computor rendered image of R3382TTS 35023 'Holland Afrika Line' spot the differences between this and 35028

A computer rendered image of R3382TTS 35023 ‘Holland Afrika Line’ spot the differences between this and 35028

R3382TTS No. 35023 Holland-Afrika Line’ is also being released in BR Brunswick Green, early crest and will come fitted with Hornby’s DCC TTS Sound. She will have the fairings between the front of the cylinders and the buffer beam and with safety valves in the forward position representing the condition she ran in between gaining Brunswick green in March 1952 and the fairings being removed in  May 1953.

Details of all ten series three versions, to assist with any potential renumbering without repainting are as follows:
35021 ‘New Zealand Line’ – to Brunswick Green, from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in August 1953 and safety vales resited in October 1954.
35022 ‘Holland America Line’ –  to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in May 1953 and safety vales resited in June 1956.
35023 ‘Holland-Afrika Line’ – to Brunswick Green from malachite green in February 1952, lost fairings in May 1953 and safety vales resited in October 1954.
35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in May 1954 and safety vales resited in November 1952.
35025 ‘Brocklebank Line’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in February 1955 and safety vales were not resited until rebuilding in December 1956
35026 ‘Lamport & Holt Line’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in January 1954 and safety vales resited in January 1955.
35027 ‘Port Line’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in November 1953 and safety vales resited in November 1954.
35028 ‘Clan Line’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in June 1953 and safety vales resited in December 1954.
35029 ‘Ellerman Lines’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in July 1952 and safety vales resited in December 1954.
35030 ‘Elder-Dempster Lines’ – to Brunswick Green from blue in February 1952, lost fairings in May 1953 and safety vales resited in October 1954.

As stated above I hope that this information is of use for any readers wanting to either understand the relevant time period for the condition of each of the four Hornby releases and or assists with choosing possible candidates for renumbering and naming, so get pre-ordering now, you will not be disappointed by the model, not long to wait for them to arrive now!

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It has been a while since Fisherton Sarum last made an appearance at an exhibition, back in March at the London Festival of Railway Modelling in fact. With the Summer (if it can be called a summer this year) now over the exhibition circuit is back in full swing and sees Fisherton Sarum at two shows in three weeks. It also sees the first time that we will have operated the layout at a show with the Control Panel located at the front corner of the layout, that should make interaction with the audience easier, although possibly more distracting from a operating perspective, but should be fun.

A line up of Bullleid Pacifics on shed at Fisherton Sarum

A line up of Bullleid Pacifics on shed at Fisherton Sarum

The first show is this coming weekend 26th / 27th September  and is the Worthing MRC annual exhibition being held at the Durrington High School, Worthing, BN13 1LA It is always nice to be exhibition back in the heart Southern Railway territory, even if it is more the,  ex London Brighton and South Coast, Central section than the, ex London and South Western, Western Section upon which Fisherton Sarum is based, but hey Southern is Southern right? It is also a pleasure to be attending this show as the Worthing MRC club president, Dave Kent, is a friend and past member of the High Wycombe & District MRS

Cleaners aptly at work on the side of Bullied West Country Class 21C102 'Salisbury'. There wooden steps / platform is being put to good use.

Cleaners aptly at work on the side of Bullied West Country Class 21C102 ‘Salisbury’. There wooden steps / platform is being put to good use.

The second outing is two weeks later 10th / 11th October 2015 at the Great Electric Train Show organised by the Hornby Magazine at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon  This is the third year that Hornby Magazine have organised this show which already has a reputation for being a quality show with a great line line up of layouts and traders, with the added bonus of visitors also being able to wonder around the Heritage Motor museum as well.

A nice unusual feature of Loughborough Road is the working traverser at the end of the platforms.

A nice unusual feature of Loughborough Road is the working traverser at the end of the platforms.

Just to add to the buses analogy of three coming along at once, I am also at The Folkestone, Hythe & District MRC exhibition in between the two shows above on the 3rd /4th October assisting fellow High Wycombe and District MRS members Alan and Simon Paley with their delightful Pre-Grouping Midland and London North Western Railway layout Loughborough Road.

Alan and Simon will also be assisting me with Fisherton Sarum’s two appearances so it is a pleasure to be able to return the favour.

If you are able to come along to any of the above three shows please say hello it’s always good to meet you.

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There are many reasons why I choose to take Fisherton Sarum on the road a few times a year this include: the enjoyment of exhibiting something I have built, having fun operating the layout with my family and friends and to meet a wide range of fellow modellers; many of whom have a common interest in all things Southern, and it is great that they take the time to show an interest in what I have done.
There are of course downsides, some of which include: having to load and unload the layout / vehicle twice for each show (although even at a total of 20′ long Fisherton Sarum was designed specifically to fit into the back of Ford Mondeo estate car!), the loss of a few days of vacation, the travelling (often hitting the Friday rush hour) and the inevitable damage that can occur both to the layout and rolling stock.

With a couple of exhibitions on the horizon later this month (Worthing MRC) and October (Hornby Magazine Great Electric Train Show), as I have previously posted I have been able to up Fisherton Sarum at the clubrooms of the High Wycombe and District MRS.

A Bulleid Merchant navy pacifics have been cleaned, oiled, front foot steps and drain pipes replaced / added. A Light Pacific 34011 in experimental apple green livery also sneaks in the shot

A few Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics have been cleaned and detailed  A Light Pacific 34011 also sneaks in the shot

In addition to a few changes and repairs to the layout itself I have been taking the time to check every item of rolling and carry out some routine maintenance, running repairs and getting round to adding a few extra bits of detail here and there. Yes, although I only usually take part of my overall fleet to a show it still amounts to nearly 80 locomotives, 20 or so coaches and 50 plus wagons!

Some 4-6-0s mainly N15s have received some maintenance

Some 4-6-0s mainly N15s have received some maintenance

The maintenance and running repairs I have been carrying out includes, where applicable:  wheel cleaning, light oiling, pick up adjustments, touching up paint work and repairs to any structural damage

I have also taken the opportunity to complete a few detailing jobs either for the first time or sometimes re-affixing some of the small detail items that have got knocked off either during transportation or handling at previous shows, including: fitting cylinder drain pipes, front steps, brake rodding and headsignal discs or lamps.

My Bullied Light Pacific fleet have also received attention.

My Bullied Light Pacific fleet have also received attention.

Having the layout set up and operational, something I can not do at home, makes these tasks easier and enables each locomotive to be run to ensure all is well, and being at the High Wycombe and District MRS, for which I am most grateful,  also means I have access to their workshop and test track if prolonged running is required which makes this workbench work quicker and easier. So far about 50 of the fleet have been checked over so just a few more to go over the next couple of weeks!

If you are able to attend either  of the two exhibitions come up that Fisherton Sarum is attending, please make sure you say hello, as I said earlier meeting fellow modellers and or other Southern Railway fans is very much a part of the reason behind exhibiting that I enjoy.

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Today’s post is an update / catch up on the status of a few Southern Railway / Region related models that are in progress with a number of the Ready to Run manufacturers / commissioners from N to 0 gauge.

Kernow Model Centre

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been assisting the Kernow Model Centre with their Southern related commissions and I pleased to be able to report progress on a number of fronts.

Livery sample of the Kernwo Models O2 K2105 in SR post war black livery as No. 225

Latest livery sample of the Kernow Models Centre O2 K2105 in SR post war black livery as No. 225

Firstly: livery samples of the mainland version of the Adams O2 have now been received, a number of corrections made and already second livery samples returned in the last week or so. Once all the variations are finally signed off then production can start, along with the Isle of Wight versions that were fully signed off a while ago now. Further information on the Kernow model Centre O2’s can be found here.

ex LSWR Gate Stock parts hot of of the injection moulding machines, can you guess what each part is?

ex LSWR Gate Stock parts hot off of the injection moulding machines, can you guess what each part is?

Secondly: It had been kept reasonably quiet, that the although the CADs for the ex LSWR Gate Stock Pull Push sets were previously signed off, tooling has actually commenced and The Kernow Model Centre have now received photographs of the first off components from the tooling. These now require assembly and shipping to the UK for inspection. Further information on the Kernow Model Centre ex LSWR Gate Stock can be found here.

Lastly for now: I can also advise that work is also progressing in the background with updates and corrections to the CADs for the ex LSWR Dia 1541 10T road vans, first announced last September. So watch this space for further news.

Bachmann

The Bachmann livery sample for the SR PLV

The Bachmann livery sample for the SR PLV

The first livery samples for the Bachmann  four wheel luggage vans PLV/PMV and CCT’s first announced in March 2012  have now been received and all can be seen here on the Bachmann website. They are producing the following:
39-525 Southern PLV Passenger Luggage Van Southern Railway Green
39-526 Ex-Southern PMV Parcels & Miscellaneous Van BR Crimson
39-527 Ex-Southern PMV Parcels & Miscellaneous Van BR Green
39-528 Ex-Southern CCT Covered Carriage Truck BR Blue – Weathered

Graham Farish

The first of the original Merchant Navy Pacific models that I reviewed in my post here have now actually started to appear with the retailers.

Graham Farish N Class No. 31844

Graham Farish N Class No. 31844

The N Class Mogul 2-6-0 first announced in March 2013 is now on its way,  with the review samples having been received by the model media so they should start to appear with retailers during July and August. Just like the Merchant Navy, I can vouch for the fact that it is an impressive looking model, especially for its size, and continues the increase in levels of detail for N Gauge Ready to Run models. A video of these models, but sadly not actually running, can be viewed on their website here.
The following four initial variations are being produced:
372-930 No. 868 in SR Olive Green
372-931 No. 31844 in BR Black Early Emblem
372-932 No. 31811 in BR Black Late Crest
372-933 No. 810 in SECR Grey

The livery samples for the Bogie Van B model have been signed off and the expected delivery of the of these models is currently due the end of August / September.

Dapol

Dapol cad of the 4mm ex LSWR style lattice post working signal

Dapol cad of the 4mm ex LSWR style lattice post working signal

Dapol have via their Facebook page here (you do not have to be a member to access the page) Dapol have released CAD images of  the planned 4mm working signals in both SR Rail built and also ex LSWR  lattice post styles. [Edit:] Dapol have also advised 2mm version of these signals are planned.

At the start of last month they also announced a delay to the O Gauge Terrier due to the the level of electromagnetic emissions. A slight modification is now required to the production which will result in delay in the shipment of the initial SR green and LBSC versions towards the end of July, however the BR and Bodiam variants are now due to be delivered three to four weeks later.

I have also been informed that the CAD work on the first variants of  the N Gauge Schools class first announced in July 2012 have been completed, I had already provided some corrections and information to Dapol for these a while back so it is good to hear that they are progressing, but no news as yet when tooling might actually commence.

[Edit:] I have also been reminded that BR green liveried versions of the N gauge Maunsell coaches are due out next month and that Dapol have also now committed to bringing out a brake composite and four compartment brake third by Quarter 4 2015 and these are currently at CAD/CAM stage. This will make possible several prototypical set formations.

Hornby

[Further Edit 12/06/15] Hornby have today released a video via their Engine Shed blog post here from their development team that shows the first running sample of the Adams Radial. Keen eyes should also check out the coaches that the sample is hauling as I think the cat might have been let out of the bag on some other appropriate items  they have planned for release in 2016, that I was previously made aware of, but I wont say anymore until more formal information is released…so watch this space…

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Graham Farish first announced that they would be producing brand new tooled Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics in N gauge back in March 2012. For any N gauge Southern Region modellers I can wholeheartedly say it has been very much been worth the wait. I am fortunate, even as a 4mm modeller, to have obtained one of these models to review before they hit the retailers’ shelves over the next few weeks.

35023 as straight out of the box

35023 as straight out of the box, note the loco to tender gap and permanently fixed drawbar (Image courtesy and copyright  A York)

The four models being initially produced by Graham Farish all represent members of the final third series of ten engines that entered traffic between September 1948 and April 1949 under the auspices of the newly formed British Railways, some three years since the introduction of the final members of the second series. They were numbered from new 35021 to 35030.

Another view of 35023 as out of the box before fitting the detailing pack (image courtesy and copyright A York)

Another view of 35023 as out of the box before fitting the detailing pack (image courtesy and copyright A York)

Further details of the three different series of the Merchant Navy class can be found on my very first ‘Talking Stock’ post here with illustrations based on my 4mm scale kit built examples. In brief; the third series differed from the first twenty members class, whilst although maintaining the more angular body shape from the second series, they had the wedge shape cab from new with three side windows and as a weight save measure had a  fabricated (instead of cast) trailing truck.

The other side of 35023 as out of the box, note the cranked connecting rod (image courtesy and copyright A York)

The other side of 35023 as out of the box, note the cranked connecting rod (image courtesy and copyright A York)

They were also eventually paired with larger 6000 gallon tenders on an asymmetrical wheelbase of 7’4” + 7’0” (rather than the previous 5000 and 5,100 gallon tenders of the first two batches with 6’6” + 6’6” wheelbase). Although it should also be noted that when initially introduced due to a number of the 6000 gallon tenders, being built at Brighton, not being initially available 35021, 35022 and 35024 were paired with 5,500 gallon battle of Britain tenders whilst 35026 and 35027 were paired with 4,500 gallon  West Country class tenders. Their eventual 6000 gallon tenders were available within a couple of months. My own 4mm model of 35022 paired with its temporary 5000 gallon light pacific tender can be seen here.

The Initial four versions being produced by Graham Farish are as follows:

  • 372-310, No. 35024 “East Asiatic Company” in British Railways Express passenger blue the livery she carried between October 1950 and June 1951.
  • 372-311, No. 35023 “Holland-Afrika Line” in BR Brunswick Green with early emblem livery as she carried between February 1952 and her rebuilding in February 1957. 35023 was one of only three members of the class not to carry the BR Blue livery (along with 35011 and 35014)
  • 372-312, No. 35028. “Clan Line” in BR Brunswick Green with late crest, the only Merchant Navy to gain the late crest in original form.  She carried this livery between August 1958 and being the last of the class to be rebuilt in October 1959
  • 372-313, No. 35021. “New Zealand Line” in lined Malachite Green livery with “British Railways” lettering in Yellow Gill Sans which represents her condition between receiving her correct 6000 gallon tender in November 1948 and being repainted in BR Blue in November 1950.

During the periods represented by the liveries above 35028 was allocated to Stewarts Lane and for a few months before rebuilding Nine Elms, whilst the other three were all Exmouth Junction allocated locomotives.

35023 with the front steps, coupling hook and cylinder drain pipes added

35023 with the front steps, coupling hook and cylinder drain pipes added

The models have captured the characteristic look of these engines extremely well,  and the level of detail really shows how much N gauge Ready To Run models have substantially improved over the last few years. This model in my opinion lifts the bar for N Gauge models even higher.
The exceptional detail includes: the front and rear lamp irons, with the three above the front beam separately applied in combination with the electric lamps, whilst the rest of the irons and lamps on and above the smoke box door and tender rear are moulded, fine ‘Bullied clasp type’ break gear including the external rodding, the rear tender ladders and a good representaion of the  cab backhead. The very fine smoke deflectors appear to be separately applied etched brass fitments,  although even the tender raves that are moulded also appear impressively thin. The removable coal load is cast metal to add some additional weight to the tender.

My first impression out of the box was that the gap between the locomotive and tender is slightly too large and that the connecting rod is quite obviously cranked part way along its length to enable the model to navigate 9” radius curves. The only other such compromise I thought Graham Farish had made was the omission of the front steps and cylinder drain pipes; however these are amazingly included within the accessory detail pack, for modellers with more generous curves, to fit (the drain pipes would benefit from a touch of copper paint). The detailing pack also includes: cab doors, an engine head signal disc (which will actually fit over the front buffer beam lamp irons), an alternative front bogie block (for those not wishing to fit a front coupling, although no coupling was included with my model), a front coupling hook complete with a representation of a screw coupling and steam / vacuum pipes for the front buffer beam! I would point out that the front steps are handed and my detail pack contained two of the same hand! It has only been in the last few years that such additional details have been included with 4mm scale RTR models (although I you think they are difficult to fit in 4mm you should try these!).

Running straight of the box was exceptionally smooth with pick ups also included on the tender wheels, which appear to be split axles running in bushes, with electrical transfer carried to the locomotive via the permanently fixed draw bar.

A test run for 35023 on the lovely 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill (picture courtesy and copyright J Clifford)

A test run for 35023 on the lovely 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill (picture courtesy and copyright J Clifford)

Its first run was in fact on Jerry Clifford’s exceptional 2mm finescale layout Tucking Mill, and she even managed to negotiate, albeit by bumping over them, the 2mm finescale points (which of course in reality, being made to N Gauge standards, the model is not designed to do!) I have not yet been able to give her a full run with a full rake of coaches but I have no fear that she will not perform exceptionally well. They would certainly look good in front of a rake of the latest Graham Farish Bullied that arrived last year or once once released in BR(s) livery the Dapol Maunsell coaches .

I can only say that this is an exceptional model and I repeat my opinion that it lifts the N Gauge RTR standards bar even higher, well done Graham Farish. I certainly believe this excellent model, will prove popular, and with any luck might in the future lead to some of the earlier Merchant Navy series and variations being tooled.

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