The attractive Wainwright D class 4-4-0 from Retailer Rails Of Sheffield in partnership with Dapol and Locomotion Models that was announced in October 2019 has now arrived. Hopeful the images within this post will show how well the model looks and perpetuates the elegance.
A total of 51 of these elegant D Class 4-4-0s were built in a number batches between 1901 and 1907 and were built by a range of manufacturers. The first 20 being split between Sharp Stewart and Ashford, the next ten by Dubs & Co, followed by ten split between Stephenson & Co and the Vulcan Foundry, the final eleven being once again built at Ashford. Initial duties included the main express services on all the SECR primary routes. Following grouping and the introduction of newer classes such as the N15s they were transferred to secondary services such as Brighton, Redhill, and Basingstoke stopper services.
The main withdrawal commenced in the early 1950s with the last six being based ay Guildford shed working Redhill – Reading services until 1956. Number 737 was saved for preservation as part of the National Collection and cosmetically restored to SECR livery and condition.
During the 1920s Maunsell rebuilt 21 as the D1 class with a larger Belpaire firebox, superheating, new piston valves a Maunsell style cab. Whilst improving efficiency and performance the rebuilds certainly lost much of the elegance.
Six versions were originally available via Rails of Sheffield
- 4S-027-001 Wainwright D Class SECR Green 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.488 [Now Sold out]
- 4S-027-002 Wainwright D Class Southern Lined Maunsell Olive Green 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.1730 (early style lining)
- 4S-027-003 Wainwright D Class BR Sunshine Black 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.31731
- 4S-027-004 Wainwright D Class BR Lined Black Early Crest 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.31574 [Now Sold out]
- 4S-027-005 Wainwright D Class SECR Grey (Scraped Beading) 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.726
- 4S-027-006 Wainwright D Class Southern Sunshine 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive No.1734
The dimensionally accurate model certainly captures the Wainwright elegance wonderfully well with an excellent detail. It features a five pole motor driving the front driving axle and a the now standard Dapol ‘pinless’ click to couple drawbar that also carries the electrical connections. Electrical pick up is on all tender wheels as well as the locomotive driving wheels. For those using DCC the model has Next-18 Decoder socket mounted on a pull out PCB behind the smokebox door with space for a 15mm x 11mm cube speaker, plus provision for customer to fit a larger bass speaker in tender. The loco also features the current gimmick of a firebox flicker although on DC you would hardly know its there .
The level of detail is wonderful including a good representation of the inside valve gear between the frames, well modelled and decorated cab details even down to the padlocks on the tender tool lockers. Separately applied items include lamp irons, pipe work, handrails and factory fitted brake rodding on both loco and tender. The buffers (once you have fitted the tender buffer back on that often appears to be loose in purchasers boxes) are sprung. The the slightly plasticly coal, is not so much removable as needs something to stop it falling off the model, and the water tank and limited coal space on these engines is modelled underneath it.
An accessory bag supplied with the model includes: cab doors, front guard irons and steam pipes and pipework (incorrectly names as vacuum pipes in the supplied owners manual), along with a ‘tool’ for pulling out the DCC PCB in the smokebox for what Dapol call their ‘Tool-less’ system (begs the question when is a tool not a tool?).
The tooling appears to allow for at least two chimneys. When first introduced they were fitted with tall copper capped chimneys. Circa the1910s they fitted with a shorter larger diameter capuchon chimney, that were then gradually replaced with a plain topped version after Grouping, although 1493 kept the capuchon chimney until withdrawal. With this model in the wartime SR Sunshine black livery it is unlikely to have still been fitted with a capuchon chimney (unless I can find a dated picture). The BR Lined black version also has the same incorrect chimney.
When announced the Engineering Prototype shown included a diecast boiler and smokebox, model 4-4-0s are notoriously difficult to balance, the boiler and smokebox on the production models first appeared to be plastic, with the loco minus tender only weighing 155g, and traction tyres fitted on the front driving wheels. Having now taken the model apart it does seem to still be die cast. The change to fit traction tyres only came to light publicly when the models started to be delivered, so is no different than a Hornby T9 in that respect.
Possibly if a more traditional DDC approach with the socket etc. hidden inside the tender, rather than the smokebox and some of the boiler, more space might have been available for more weight. As a compromise, and to be fair a nice touch, the model has been supplied with a non traction tyre fitted drop in wheelset (along with a tool for undoing the crank pin screws.
It has also been noted that on my model the front traction tyre fitted wheelset has blackened rims whilst the rear drivers are not blackened. This is possibly as a result of the late change to fit traction tyres as the spare wheelset supplied matches the rear driving wheels i.e. no blackened rim. Also supplied are spare traction tyres. The model runs smoothly and quietly on the limited space on Canute Road Quay although I have not been able to test its haulage capacity.
A number of the models have also demonstrated a notable difference in height between the tender and loco running plates. My example is not as noticeable as some. It appears to depend on the fit of the loco body at the rear of the chassis, I am led to believe that all the models have has some form of work carried out on them in the UK to ensure the loco to tender drawbar connects correctly and the rear chassis screw tightness is part of the fix.
The other elephant in the room is the decoration: on my model pictured the Sunshine lettering and number style character height is 3.71mm when they should be a scale 9″ high i.e. 3mm and also the green shading is over weight further emphasising the oversize and immediately detracts to my eye, and I will have to replace them at some stage, some of the metal work has been picked out in bright silver paint, including the coupling hook and randomly part of the smokebox door hinge and will need toning down.
From photos I have seen the SR olive green version, as well as the odd shade of green, has an issue in some areas with registration of the lining and also the number font on the tender not a correct representation of the SR number font, the ‘3’ should be completely curved version and is to heavy weight The RH side tender emblem on BR lined version faces the wrong and also suffers from the number font being too heavy and therefore the over width of the numbers is too wide.
So my D Class will need to get in to the workbench queue to have the chimney corrected and the lettering and numbers replaced along with the toning down of some of the random silver paintwork and generally weathered.
Overall, despite the livery niggles and the slightly disappointing overall weight and the need for traction tyres the Rails Of Sheffield in partnership with Dapol Wainwright D Class 4-4-0 is a lovely model with some great detail and a welcome addition for pre-grouping / SR modellers especially those modelling the Eastern Section and will be a good stable mate for the Bachmann C class, Hattons P Class and the Hornby H class.