Posts Tagged ‘Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacifics’

With this weekend being a bank holiday, with so far some typical overcast weather (at least it’s not raining yet…), I thought I would provide some light reading based on my trip away, with the 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society last weekend, to some of Yorkshire’s railway attractions where I was able to find a Southern Railway related connection.

A Bulleid coach far from home

It was a pleasant surprise, seeing this excellently restored Bulleid Open Third at the wonderful Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, looking so great and nice to see in the BR Crimson & Cream livery that she carried when first introduced.
Coach number S1469 is a Diagram 2017 Open Third built at Eastleigh between October and December 1950 with the deeper 15″ window vents rather than the 10″ vents fitted to the SR built versions. They were introduced as loose vehicles, i.e. not allocated into a coach set.
Whilst many like to see the preserved Bulleid coaches in green livery, I think she does look very smart in the immaculate Crimson and Cream livery.

A Southern /  Bulleid connection to a BR standard 4MT tank

A trip on the splendidly scenic North Yorkshire Moors Railway saw a a BR Standard 4MT tank at the head of the service in a splendid LNER teak bodied Tourist Open Third.  An SR / Bulleid connection to a BR standard 4MT tank… you might ask?
The design, although based on the LMS Fowler / Fairburn tanks, of these locomotives, introduced from 1951 was completed and the first batch built at Brighton. The design was required to meet the the L1 loading gauge to give them a great route availability (such as working between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells West). They therefore have a continuous curved profile to the tanks and cab sides, (not to be confused with the overall loading gauge), that also matched the curve of the Bulleid locos and stock. There was even a discussion at the time about them being built with Bulleid-Firth-Brown style wheels.

Even the LNER coach has  Bulleid connection as before he left the LNER to become CME of the Southern Railway he had modernised the interiors of such open coaches with the use of the new synthetic leathercloth ‘Rexine’.

We did see some proper traction on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as Maunsell S15 4-6-0 Number 825 was also on services. 825 was built in April 1927 at Eastleigh works near Southampton and along with most of the class was allocated to Feltham. By the time of nationalisation she was based at Exeter Junction before moving to Salisbury in 1951 and remaining there until withdrawn in January 1964. No. 825 is one of three S15 locomotives owned by the Essex Locomotive Society, all of which are stabled at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

What’s in a name…

There are two Merchant Navy Class names plates on display at the National Railway Museum. With the Merchant Navy’s four plates were cast (the centre part disc was enamelled), two for the loco, one presented to the relevant shipping company and one circular part turned into a coffee table and also presented to the shipping company at the time of the official naming ceremonies (I have not yet managed to see any of the coffee tables, I wonder if any any survive and if so do the owners know the significance?)
The first is Channel Packet the first member of the Merchant Navy class loco, that also gave rise to one of the nicknames of the class as being ‘Packets’, this is one of the plates that was ceremonially given to the namesake shipping co. at the time of the loco naming

The Orient Line name plate is from the actual 21c8 loco, you can compare the difference in the wear and tear including the remaining thickness of the raised cast letters to tell the difference. The boiler currently being restored by the 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society, is coincidently the one that was first fitted to 21c8 when built.

The centre enamelled discs usually illustrated the shipping company flag and the plates were handed so that the flag always flew towards the rear of the loco, the only Merchant Navy plate that has a flag that flies forwards is 21c6/35006 Peninsular & Oriental S.N.Co as it’s flag is part of the whole P&O company logo on the enamel plate so could not be flown the other way around on the right hand side so flies forwards.

We didn’t remove any parts honest…

Merchant Navy 35029 Ellerman Lines although preserved is displayed as a sectioned exhibit, originally she was mounted on rollers so that wheels and motion could be rotated to see it in action but she now resides on a section of plain track.
Whilst neatly sectioned and painted to show the inner workings of a steam locomotive I feel the Museum have missed a trick as there are no actual information board to explain the how it works part of the exhibit to visitors. Whilst photographing I did spend time to actually explain how it works to many visitors.

I’m sure it doesn’t need it’s crank axle really… with 35011 General Steam Navigation needing a new crank axle it would be nice to swap this now static exhibit with a plain axle to help get 21c11 / 35011 back in steam but I think the museum staff would have noticed if I tried to borrow it… The tender would be handy too…

Duck à le bleu…

The Bulleid connection to the well known steam speed record holder LNER A4 pacific 4468 ‘Mallard’ is his work with the French firm Bugatti on behalf of Sir Nigel Gresley, Bulleid spoke fluent French, after his spell working early in his career for the French Westinghouse Company as a test engineer. Initially he was investigating their ‘The Flying Hamburger’ that  was a high-speed diesel twin-coach railcar introduced in 1932 that was used for express passenger services between Berlin and Hamburg.
Developed using wind-tunnels, the train could travel the 178 miles between the two station in 138 minutes, at an average of 77mph.
This was considered to be an expensive option but led to Bugatti assisting Bulleid and Gresley with the A4 front styling and overall streamlining.
Mallard was also a visitor to the Southern Region a couple of times the first being for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange trails, where she failed at Salisbury with a hot middle big end, and again later in the 1960s on rail tour duty.

Doesn’t need a key… (sorry Stanier…)

The sole surviving austerity good looking* / ugly* (*delete as per your view) Bulleid Q1 class No. C1 built in 1942 has been an exhibit within the National Railway Museum since 2004 before which she had been restored and running on the Bluebell Railway. It is my understanding that she is not on the list for possible restorations to working order in the future.
When the class were first introduced under wartime austerity conditions in 1942 William Stanier was reported to have said “Where do you put the key” in response to the look of the loco.

I hope you enjoyed the read and the SR connections.

Read Full Post »

Two major steps forward for the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society (GSNLRS), that aims to restore the Merchant Navy locomotive 21c11 / 35011 to her original as built condition complete with air smooth casing and Bulleid’s unique chain driven valve gear, were announced at last weeks Annual General Meeting.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a Trustee of the Society and Board member of the locomotive owning Community Interest Company.

Firstly, following the removal of the trailing truck from the frames in October 2020 and months of preparatory work by their hard working volunteers, that the restoration contract for the trailing truck has been awarded after a tender process to North Norfolk Railway Engineering.

The unique in preservation fabricated trailing truck

Located at Weybourne Engineering works, North Norfolk Railway Engineering presented a strong bid for the work, with a high level of engineering detail, that respects the historical merit of the unique in preservation fabricated Merchant Navy trailing truck.
Originally fitted to a series 3 Merchant Navy, 35011’s fabricated trailing truck is the last survivor of its kind. Lighter than the cast truck fitted to the other preserved Merchant Navy locomotives, longer than a Light Pacific’s truck, the GSNLRS are having this unique piece of Bulleid locomotive design restored to mainline standard, a crucial step towards GSNLRS’s vision of an original Merchant Navy with original air smoothed casing and Bulleid’s patented chain driven valve gear.

Funding for the Trailing Truck restoration has been via the GSNLRS Trailing Truck Transformers Fund Club and ‘Lots’ being available for purchase to join the club. Membership of our Trailing Truck Transformer Fund Club is still available, for details click here.

The second announcement is with respect to the crank axle,

Since 1966, 35011 has been without it’s central crank axle as it was swapped with a plain axle following withdrawal for the crank axle to be used on classmate 35026. Alongside the missing valve gear, this has been the driving force behind the decision to return to original design condition, due to the cost of replacement to either design being similar.

The FEA on the original Crank Axle design shows failure as per the failure on 35020 in 1953.

FEA of the balanced crank axle design as fitted to 35011 in 1954 with grade A4T steel showing no failure.

After many years of behind-the-scenes research in the Bulleid Pacific Locomotive Association collection & National Archive in Kew, and recent detailed Finite Element Analysis conducted at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Professor Karl Dearn, has demonstrated that A4T steel is of a suitable grade for the correct balanced crank axle design for 35011 in original design condition.
This means the GSNLRS can proceed to final design of the central axle & balancing of the motion, and the order placement for the steel in the coming months and moving the project further forwards to a functioning original Merchant Navy once more.
More information on the University of Birmingham FEA Project can be read here.

These two announcements are major steps forward for the General Steam Navigation Restoration Society, for more information on how you can help support  the project click

 

 

Read Full Post »

Yesterday. Saturday 17th July saw the annual 35006 Locomotive Preservation Society members and shareholders day, that took place after 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S.N.Co. had been in service hauling public services on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway.

35006 basks in the sunshine on display in the car park

35006 attracts other forms of transport

35006 shunts across to the stock for the evening run

Dan and Aaron our young crew for the evening

Running round at the wonderful recreated Broadway station

With over 160 members, shareholders and invited guests (that included some of the team working on fellow Merchant Navy Pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation that us currently being restored uniquely to original air smoothed condition complete with Bulleid’s chain driven valve gear) board, many enjoying picnics, we had the entire wonderfully scenic Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway to ourselves. 35006 hauled a complete round trip from Toddington – Cheltenham Racecourse – Broadway – Toddington, with its splendid views of the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills, in the warm evening sunshine.

Before the evening run 35006 was nicely positioned, in the hot sunshine, on display in the car park (the line usually used for the loading on and off low loaders) to allow members and shareholders alike up close and all round access to the locomotive before the evening run.
After last years event was cancelled due to Covid-19 it was great to see 35006 up close again and putting in such a fine performance ably driven and fired by the young crew of Dan driving (he was firing on the last members and shareholders day in 2019, so great to see him progressing up the ranks) and Aaron on the shovel. With the run finishing back at Toddington at 9.30 in the evening, and their work to dispose 35006 safely back on shed still to do, their time and dedication is much appreciated by all.
All in all a great day catching up with many friends, the loco herself, the footplate crew and the great team behind the 35006 Locomotive Company Ltd. at their AGM earlier in the day.  For more details on how to join and get involved with 35006 click here. 

Read Full Post »

As I hinted in my Workbench Witterings #10 Forward dating @Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy 21c7 to 1947 condition post here, I also intended to do the same with my  R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model. 

21c3 Royal Mail in May 1947 condition with freshly fitted standard smoke deflectors

21c3 in bits following an attack of a razor saw

21c3 Royal Mail

21c3 and 21c7 together what I call the posh chocolate shot

Like the latest Hornby model of 21c7 the previously released model R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ and without smoke deflectors. 21c3 was introduced in September 1941 in malachite green livery but repainted in plain black as a wartime measure in May 1943. Changes to the smoke deflection stated in September 1944 when she was fitted with the top cowl and short flared deflectors. 21c3 was repainted malachite green in November 1945 and was subsequently fitted with standard length and style of smoke detectors in May 1947. She stayed in this condition until June 1948 when she was renumbered 35003 and British Railways in SR style sunshine lettering.

I have therefore took the razor to hand and modelled 21c3 in her May 1947 condition just after she received freshly painted new standard deflectors, complete with the baton along the top for mounting the Devon Belle wing plates as a per a photograph of her that I have in my collection.
Like my 21c7 conversion I have used etched smoke deflectors, electric lamps and a replacement smoke box dart from the excellent Albert Goodall range supplied by my friends at RT Models. The replacement lamp irons are simply staples cut to length and I have replaced the flat printed nameplates and smokebox door roundel with etched versions from Fox Transfers.

I have followed the same steps as per my Workbench Witterings #10 post here so will not repeat the stage by stage details. Who knows when we might see this version from Hornby, as I said in the #10 post once you get over the brave step of putting a razor saw to a brand new model the modification is reasonably quick and easy to complete.

 

 

Read Full Post »

As per my review, here, of the Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy R3717 21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth in SR wartime black, the model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ without smoke deflectors. 21c7 was one of the first batch of ten Merchant Navy pacifics, she was introduced in June 1942 in malachite green livery but was quickly repainted in plain black as a wartime measure. 21c7 remained in this condition until August 1944 when she gained the more familiar cowl above the smokebox and also received short flared smoke deflectors. She gained the to become standard length and style of smoke detectors whilst still in black in June 1947.

The forward dating complete, 21c7 in 1947 condition.

The model and new components ready to start the conversion.

The top brackets are soldered to the etched deflectors

The first cuts are the bravest… and the front fairing edges bevelled.

The new cowl is trial fitted in place.

The deflectors are curved to the correct shape prior to painting.

The new front face is complete

The finished 21c7, now awaits some weathering.

Another view of the finished 21c7

As my usual modelling period is between 1946 and 1949 I have forward dated 21c7 to the condition she was just before being outshopped in malachite green at the end of June 1947. This requires the fitting of the cowl above the smokebox, in place of the ‘widows peak’, the fitting of standard smoke deflectors, with electric lamps attached. The middle position lamp irons were also moved to the smokebox door once smoke deflectors were fitted.

For this relatively simple forward dating process I have used the following items: etched smoke deflectors, electric lamps and a replacement smoke box dart from the excellent Albert Goodall range supplied by my friends at RT Models. The replacement lamp irons are simply staples cut to length and I have replaced the flat printed nameplates and smokebox door roundel with etched versions from Fox Transfers.
The Hornby nameplates come off quite easily, they are held in place by three small lugs, one in the centre and one towards each end of the arms. I slide a sharp knife underneath from one side to the other to lift the plates. I then ensure any remaining lug was carefully cut flush to the side. I affix the etched plates using a very small amount of superglue applied with a cocktail stick (some people prefer to use a small amount of varnish instead of glue).

The first step was to fold up and solder the brackets just below the top inside edge of the etched brass deflectors. The deflectors were then bent to both their correct vertical shape and also the curve at the bottom edge to match the existing fairing. I then used the deflectors to mark the position of the horizontal cut required in the existing front fairing. An Albert Goodall electric lamp was glued on the inside front edge of each deflector lining up with bottom of the two rivets on the outside of the deflector. I then used Halfords spray cans to first prime using etched primer before top coats of satin black.

Next I took a deep breath and using a razor saw, cut horizontally,  along the previously marked lines, the fairing back to the smoke box face and then vertically downwards level with the smokebox front, this removes both the ‘widows peak and the sides to meet the horizontal cuts. I also removed the Hornby printed roundel and the smokebox door dart. The sides of the slot in front of the chimney was also filed to match the rest of the opening. With all cuts cleaned up with a fine file, I also bevelled the remaining front fairings to give them a thinner edge appearance.

The Albert Goodall cast white metal cowl was filed to suit the slot in front of the chimney and glued into place using superglue. I drilled holes in the smokebox door for the two lamp irons and the replacement door dart. The finish painted deflectors were glued into place with the top brackets affixed to the top edge of the flat top gutter strip.

The Hornby model as supplied has an all over slightly matt finish, in reality the flat top, cab room and middle section of the tender cab roof were matt, whilst the sides were more of a satin finish and the front cowl also tended to be satin. I repainted the top and the smokebox front and door matt black. Before applying the etched nameplates and roundel I masked the matt areas and sprayed the sides of the model with Halfords satin lacquer. Once the nameplates and roundel were fitted the final tasks were to fit the new Albert Goodall smokebox door dart and the Hornby supplied cylinder drain cocks.

Once you get over the brave step of putting a razor saw to a brand new model the modification is reasonably quick and easy to complete. I will at some stage do the same to my malachite green R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model!

Read Full Post »

Arriving hot on the heels of Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific R3632 35024 East Asiatic Company in BR Lined express blue, see my review here, is R3717 21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth in SR wartime black as announced as part of the Hornby 2019 range announcements.

R3717 21C7 looks imposing in SR Wartime Black

21c7 was one of the first batch of ten Merchant Navy pacifics, she was introduced in June 1942 in malachite green livery but was quickly repainted in plain black as a wartime measure. Hornby have produced her in a similar early condition to the previous R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model released in malachite green back in 2017, see my review here.  The body captures the shape and curves of the original well, with ‘widows peak’ cowl above the smokebox and no smoke deflectors. The extensive suite of tooling by Hornby for the Merchant Navy pacific range includes the correct 5000 gallon tender, as fitted to the first ten Merchants, complete with its air smoothed curves to the front of the coal space and roof over the footplate.

Rear 3/4 view of 21C7 the excellent cab details can be seen

21c7 remained in this condition until August 1944 when she gained the more familiar cowl above the smokebox and also received short flared smoke deflectors. She gained the to become standard length and style of smoke detectors whilst still in black in June 1947. Prior to full rebuilding in May 1958 she received the modified wedge shaped cab , losing the curved swept cab front, in March 1950. She carried malachite green from June 1947, BR Blue from March 1950 then BR Green from December 1952. She was finally withdrawn in her rebuilt form in July 1967 due to a broken cylinder.

21c7 captures the original style front end well

I wont repeat all of my past reviews, as the mechanics of the model are the same as the other original Merchant Navys in the range with a 5-pole motor and a large flywheel, with pickups on all driving wheels and the tender giving impressive performance all round. The outstanding high level of detail especially within cab is present as we have come to expect with Hornby’s other Merchants. Also as with the previous releases the brake rodding and front steps come pre fitted, whilst a standard accessory pack contains buffer beam pipes, front coupling and two sets of cylinder drain pipework. The additional set of drain pipes are supplied, in addition to the standard accessory pack, to allow for the lower fairing in front of the cylinders on this version.

The flat nameplate will be replaced by an etched plate. The correct slightly larger ‘C’ within the number shows the attention to detail.

As with other Merchant Navys in the range the front edge of the body side, due to the limitations of the tooling for a mass production model, are perhaps slightly too thick I may well look to bevel these from the inside edge slightly to deceive the eye in the area. The decoration whilst simple is very well applied with the SR Sunshine lettering and its green shading lifting the mood against the black sides. The ‘C’ of the loco number is correctly slightly larger than the numbers. The nameplates although separately applied are printed and therefore flat looking and I will be replacing these with etched plates from Fox Transfers. The front electric lamps and lamp irons above the buffer beam have like all the versions released a slight backward lean to them. The electric lamps are in reality are hung from the underside of the swan neck style lamp iron and also had electric conduit attached. However, on the model the lamp is attached via a perpendicular lug on their back into holes on the sloping front casing.  Like I did on 35024 I will probably replaced these three lamp irons with etched brass versions so they are stronger and correctly face forwards. The lamps are correctly black (the lamp casing were black painted brass on the front and body livery colour painted steal casings on the tender). Each lamp has a silver blob to represent the lens, however in reality these lens appear more gloss black unless the lamp is actually lit.

Front end options. Early short flared deflectors left, standard length right

I also intend to forward the date the front end of mine to add the later standard cowl above the smokebox box, but I am still deciding which version of the smoke deflectors to fit; either the early short flared type or the what was to become standard style and length. The latter is a slightly easier conversion as can be seen in the image to the left. Once I have decided it will become the topic of a future post.

Despite the few points above the model even in its plain black livery captures the imposing look of this early condition Merchant Navy Pacific is a welcome addition to the Hornby range that also see the release this year in BR Green of R3649 3502 ‘Ellerman Lines’, R3716 35022 ‘Holland America Line’ and R386135017 ‘Belgian Marine’.

Read Full Post »

A brand new quarterly ‘bookazine’ from Warners called ‘Smoke & Steam’ is published on 30th April.  It features some of the most famous – and not so famous – routes, featuring locomotive legends. With in-depth articles, including a few Southern related, explaining some of the most important moments of Britain’s railway history from a variety of eras and regions, accompanied by rare or never-before printed photography.

The contents include:

  • Following the Flagman – Dover’s seafront railway – Paul Isles
  • Forgotten Railways – The Peak District mainline – Graham Nicholas
  • Iconic stations: Exploring Salisbury – Graham Muspratt
  • Travelling in style: The Cornish Riviera Express – Adrian Vaughan
  • Mallard: A Pictorial Journey – Tony Wright
  • Semaphore Signalling – Why the GWR was different – Mike Romans
  • There’s only one Edinburgh Waverley – Ian Lamb
  • Restoring an SR Merchant Navy – Graham Muspratt
  • Goods locomotives of Buckingham – Tony Gee
  • Moving Into BR – the GWR becomes the Western Region  – Mike Romans
  • Modelling coal and how to weather a locomotive – Phil Parker

Available digitally or on high-quality paper, Smoke & Steam should make an ideal coffee table companion.

It will be on sale from 30th April – you can pre-order your copy here. Initially, this bookazine will only be available mail order, but once things start to return to normal in the news trade, it should be appearing in good newsagents.

Despite including my articles, having had the opportunity to review some of the excellent other contributors articles from which I have already learnt new things (everyday is a school day) I think it will be a cracking publication.

 

Read Full Post »

It was back in February 2015 when Hornby announced that they were to produce an original air smoothed Bulleid Merchant Pacific as part of their 2016 range, however they were then moved into the 2017 range. These first three R3434 21c1 ‘Channel Packet’, R3435 21c3 ‘Royal Mail’ and R3436 35028 ‘Clan line’ arrived in March 2017, see my review of 21c1 here.

Since then the high seas between China and the UK have been devoid of Hornby ‘Merchant Navys’ despite further versions being announced in the following years.

The right hand side view etched plates fitted

In 2018 R3632 35024  ‘East Asiatic Company’ in BR Blue was announced (the subject of this post as she has now arrived) followed in 2019 by three more versions: R3649 3502 ‘Ellerman Lines’ in BR Green, R3716 35022 ‘Holland America Line’ in BR Green and R3717 21c7 ‘Aberdeen Commonwealth’  in SR Wartime Black. Included in the 2021 range is R386135017 ‘Belgian Marine’

Hornby advised in January 2020 that the delay was due to one of factories that they use being unexpectedly at very short notice closed, due to a compulsory purchase of the land by the Chinese government! This impacted the production of the new Merchant Navy pacifics, versions of the Peckett industrial tanks, the Class 800 Azuma units and the GWR 61xx large Prairie tanks locomotives. Work to move the tooling to another factory appeared to take longer than had been hoped, however the backlog is slowly being cleared and 35024 should hopefully now be the first of the overdue excellent Merchant Navys to arrive.

Rear RH 3/4 view, the lamp lens are yet to be toned down at the rear

35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ was the first Merchant Navy to appear in the Express Passenger Engine Blue for the newly formed British Railways. Whilst in Eastleigh works in March 1949 for Minor ‘D’ examination she was first painted in a dark blue (note: not recorded as being the experimental purple seen on some other non SR loco classes, including the wheels with three horizontal crimson bands and a hand painted early emblem on the tender. She however re-entered service in what was to become standard express passenger blue with two horizontal black bands with white lining, following inspection of the livery by members of the Railway Executive at Brighton Works.
The blue paint of the time wasn’t very practical in practice, due to the elements and the heat from the engine causing the paint to discolour and fade quite quickly hence the change to BR Green for all Passenger Locos only a couple years later.

Hornby have released 35025 in the condition in which she first ran for a while in this livery from Exmouth Junction, as she does not carry the later BR shedplate (72A) it would have been fitted sometime before May 1949 when she was also fitted with the battens on the smoke deflectors to carry the ‘Devon Belle’ wing plates.

The left hand side view, although I’ve painted out the silver lamp lenses I might make the lens itself gloss.

I wont repeat my full review of 21c1, as that can be read here, and all the positives are also on this model such as: the powerful 5 pole motor with large flywheel, all wheel pick up, the excellent coupling rods, the loco and tender brake rodding being factory fitted. Included with the loco is an accessory pack that contains a pair of front steps for the loco buffers (which might like the wheel tyres benefit from being toned down from the bright steel) and rear steps for the bufferbeam on the tender, cylinder drain cocks and also steam and vacuum pipes.
As with previous Hornby Bulleid pacifics the front steps in particular require glue to affix and is a little tricky.
The fixed rear pony truck has flangeless wheels as is Hornby’s current way for pacific wheel arrangements allowing for a better representation of the ashpan etc. It may be possible if your curves allow to fit a flanged wheelset if you wish.

Rear LH 3/4 view

The paint finish, whilst a slightly different hue to the printed box not that it maters, I think captures the drabness of the BR Passenger Blue well.
If the carpet crawler YouTube reviewer is to be believed this should along with the flat casing top be a stain finish just because another manufacturer has done so on a totally unrelated model, he also claims the nameplates are etched but printed, and that the brass cab side window frames are wood (to be fair they are wooden on the Light Pacifics). For the record whilst the blue could perhaps be only slightly more satin for an ex works condition, the casing tops should be matt black.

The excellently detailed cab interior, even down the the gauge dials, has been supplemented by some crew by Masterpiece Figures.

I only have two niggles are firstly the nameplates, whilst separately applied plastic parts are printed with none of the casting relief and I have already replaced these with etched plates from Fox Transfers.
Secondly the characteristic electric lamps that in reality are hung from the underside of the swan neck style lamp iron and also had electric conduit attached. However, on the model the lamp is attached via a perpendicular lug on their back into holes on the sloping front casing them to point upwards slightly and the very fragile plastic lamp irons to lean backwards.
I have replaced these three lamp irons with etched brass versions so they are stronger and correctly face forwards, this in itself helps trick the eye away from the lamp angle. The lamps are correctly black (the lamp casing were black painted brass on the front and body livery colour painted steal casings on the tender). Each lamp has a silver blob to represent the lens, however in reality these lens appear black unless the lamp is actually lit. I have touched away the sliver and again it helps disguise the incorrect angle of the lamps.

For anyone wanting to renumber and rename to one of other the third series Merchant Navys in blue (for details of the differences between the third series read my first ever Talking Stock post here) then the candidates to choose from are 35021/2 and 35025 to 35030, as 35025 is one of the three members of the class along with 35014 and 35011 (currently being restored back to original condition) not to gain the Blue livery.

Little niggles aside, I stand by my earlier review these models have raised the bar, capturing splendidly the front face and overall look and details that Bulleid intended. Along with the excellent smooth running powerful drive system and chassis we can look forward happily to adding other versions to the fleet when then arrive, with hopefully more versions from the tooling suit that Hornby have produced to cover most of the potential variations.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

On Friday 2nd October 2020, the boiler of Ex-SR Bulleid Merchant Navy Class, 35011 “General Steam Navigation” was successfully lifted from its frames for the first time since 1959. The boiler was built by North British in Glasgow in January 1941 and has been attached for a total of 61 years since its last overhaul in July 1959.

The boiler of 35011 is lifted from the frames for the first time since 1959

The frames are lifted to allow the trailing truck to be removed

The old smokebox is removed

The aim of the General Steam Navigation locomotive Restoration Society is to restore the Merchant Navy locomotive 21c11 / 35011 to her original as built condition complete with air smooth casing and Bulleids unique chain driven valve gear.

The trailing truck was also removed from the frames, utilising the crane on site as this will soon be moving off site to be fully restored.

The smokebox, that would have been unusable if we were restoring to as rebuilt condition, was also removed. A new smokebox to the original design will be fabricated in due course.

As a trustee and Director of the project it is an exciting time for the project and it allows us to concentrate on the restoration of the chassis which on its own is a big project and will take several years to complete.

We are in the early stages in the process of the manufacture of a new centre crank axle (she had the crank axle swapped for a plain axle just after withdrawal) and also the middle cylinder will need to be replaced to return her back to Bulleid’s original condition.  

With work on 35011 now being directed to the restoration of the chassis and further fund-raising campaigns will be launched in due course. The first of which is the wheelset tyre profiling fund here

We have been made very welcome by our friends at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway  and I am very pleased to be able to advise that following the forced closure of the line due to COVID-19 it is re-opening to passenger services this Sunday 4th October. 

Read Full Post »

I am far from being a ‘vlogger’ or a ‘youTuber’ and you will never get to watch me ‘unbox’ anything but I have often added video clips to illustrate posts throughout the site, I have now added a new page where I have collated some of these videos on one page with links where appropriate to the original post.

The new page can be found either here or by clicking on the video menu button above.

I have also added a Gallery of some of my favourite pictures from through my blog which can be found either here or by clicking on the Gallery menu button above.

As many of us currently have a little extra time on our hands, enjoy the content, relax and stay safe!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: