Talking Stock #1 Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics

This is the first in hopefully a series of posts looking at the various items of rolling stock that have and operate on Fisherton Sarum. Over time the intent is that the series will include locomotives, coaching stock and wagons.

First up are Bulleid’s masterpieces the Merchant Navy class in original ‘Air Smoothed’ condition. I am not going to get into discussion about the success or otherwise of the design as plenty has been published elsewhere, but to cover some of the models that I have built / can be seen running on Fisherton Sarum.  All of the Merchant Navy models you see here have been built from, the now discontinued, Millholme Kits and using a few additional castings by the late great Albert Goodall (See my update post about his castings here).

The first of the class 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ was introduced in February 1941. Being under war time conditions the class was even promoted for justification reasons as a mixed traffic locomotives! The whole of the class were named after then famous shipping lines.  The original style of “air smoothed” (rather than streamlined) casing is shown in the picture here of a model,  by Stan Chandler, of 21C1 in as built conditions, so in reality a little early for my usual modeling period on Fisherton Sarum (but she does occasionally make an appearance). Soon after introduction it was apparent that a better form of smoke deflection was required to improved the drivers view, already restricted enough by the casing, and after various trials changes were made and the more familiar style of smoke deflectors were fitted by 1944/5.

In contrast to the model of 21C1 in original condition, 21C6 represents the period that I model i.e. 1946 to 1949, still with original style cab, standard smoke deflectors and all other fairings in place. 21C6 being one of the first series MN’s had the sweep to the cab front, distinctive curved fairings in front of the cylinders and the side casing made from limpet board, hence the prominent rib horizontally along the middle of the side. She is paired with an original style 5000 gallon tender. She has been finished using Railmatch post war malachite green, lining and decals from the HMRS and nameplates from Fox Transfers. I have also fitted a Fox Transfers Atlantic Coast Express headboard for good measure.

The second series 21C11 to 19 were introduced between December 1944 and June 1945 this series such as my example of 21C14 had detail difference from the first 10 with changes made to the shape of the casing including; a flat front to the cab and a more angled and slightly higher bottom body side edge, exposing more of the driving wheels and was coupled to a revised larger 5100 gallon tender.  She is seen here complete with the Devon Belle headboard and wing plates from Fox Transfers (although I have some doubt over the correct size of their wing plates as they seem slightly too small to me.

The third series introduced shortly after Nationalisation in 1948 and 1949  were numbered in the New British railways numbering sequence from new, 35021-35030 and had modified V shaped cab from new (that was also being retro fitted to all members of the class to give improved driver forward visibility), were even more angular in the bodyside around the driving wheels and were paired with an even larger 6000 gallon tender. 35023 is pictured left while 35021 is currently still on my workbench. My model of 35026 in the later Brunswick Green livery can often be seen running on the High Wycombe and District MRS’s layout Hinton Parva.

Further information about the real Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics can be found on the excellent SeMG website here. 

Another reason for choosing 21C6 as the basis for my model is that was one of the few members of the class to be allocated to one shed only throughout here life which was in her case Salisbury, which is of course the inspiration for Fisherton Sarum. I am also a member of the of the 35006 Locomotive society who are very close to getting her back to working order and further information about the society can be found here or clicking on the menu bar above.

18 thoughts on “Talking Stock #1 Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics

  1. 21C6 looks great , a set of Gibson wheels would make it superb , one question Graham, what motor have you fitted ?

    1. Hi Alan

      Thanks for your comments. 21C6 is an early chassis with brass overlays on the wheels looks ok from a distance rather than the cruel close up pictures. My other MNs have Markits wheels. This one has an old open frame 5 pole motor possibly an ECW but I usually buid with a Portescap. Hopefully 21C7 will be off the workbench soon in Black livery for a change followed by 35021 in Malachite.

  2. Your prompt reply was appreciated Graham, my Millholme MN is 21C5 in wartime black running on Gibson wheels and an Airfix MRRC1001 motor,whilst 21C11 awaits building, to be finished in Malachite.

  3. So if an rtr version is going to appear, the tooling for the variations is going to have to be pretty clever to cover all the variations. I suspect the earlier type would be favourite due to the potential livery variations.

    1. Indeed the tooling will have to be pretty clever toile the most of the variations. A part of me hopes they do not appear RTR as I still have more on re workbench to add to my fleet! A black version is the next to appear.

  4. Reblogged this on Loco Yard and commented:
    Good evening, I saw this brilliant post by Graham Muz on the 35011 page this afternoon and was surprised to see its never been seen on LocoYard. Graham has an amazing collection of original Bulleids with 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co’ standing out for me

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