This months picture…
Bachmann have released images of decorated samples for the much anticipated brand new range of Bulleid 64ft coaches. It is good to see further progress in the development of these coaches, I have spotted the lack of set numbers on some of the examples and this will be reported back to Bachmann. [update] The RRP will be £74.95 each.
- Window Ventilators: original 10 inch vents or later 15 inch vents (plus the corresponding toilet window ventilators – original horizontal-opening vents or later vertical-opening)
- Bodysides: As-built or with later reinforcing strips added
- Braking System: Original single vacuum cylinder or twin cylinder system
- Battery Boxes: Multiple positions and Bulleid or BR Mk1 type
- Dynamo: Bulleid or BR Mk1 type
- Footboards and bogie footsteps: Multiple lengths and positions
- Guard’s Handrails: Two or One / Short or Long
- Water tanks: Long and short and central tanks
- The correct style of end handrails / water tank filler pipes as appropriate
The four body toolings in the initial release will include: Semi Open Brake Third (BTK) to Diagram 2123, Corridor Composite (CK) to Diagram 2318, Brake Composite (BCK) to Diagram 2405 and Corridor Third (TK) to Diagram 2019.
- 3 coach ‘L’ set 790 (BTK-CK-BTK) from range 770-793 with 10″ window vents in Southern Malachite introduced 1946
- 5 coach ‘H’ set (BTK-TK-CK-TK-BTK) 847 from range 830 -849 with 15″ window vents in BR Crimson and Cream introduced in 1950. These sets often also ran as 3 coach ‘L’ sets (often a winter formation) minus the two TKs’
- 2 coach ‘R’ set (BTK-BCK) 69 from range 63 – 75 with 10″ window vents in BR Green livery (a much better rendition of the colour by Bachmann, that I understand will become their new standard for their BR(s) green) with side strengthening ribs
- 34-725 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 4341
- 34-725A Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 4342
- 34-750 Bulleid Corridor Composite Dia 2318 (10″ Vents) in Southern Railway Malachite Green No. 5771
34-725/725A/750 will make set 790
- 34-775 Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (10″ Vents) in Malachite Green but with BR “S” prefixes as delivered in late 1948, this coach is a ‘loose’ coach that would be added to strengthen sets. No. s1935 [updated]
- 34-726 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (10″ Vents) in BR (SR) Green No. S4377S
- 34-800 Bulleid Brake Composite Dia 2405 (10″ Vents) in BR (SR) Green No.S6706S
34-726/800 will make set 69
- 34-727 Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S4005S
- 34-727A Bulleid Semi-Open Brake Third Dia 2123 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S4006S
- 34-751 Bulleid Corridor Composite Dia 2318 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S5865S
- 34-776 Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S75S
- 34-776A Bulleid Corridor Third Dia 2019 (15″ Vents) in BR Crimson & Cream No. S76S
34-727/727A/751/776/776A will make set 847
Further information can be found on the Bachmann website here. The images are courtesy of Bachmann Europe plc.
I am certainly looking forward to these arriving with retailers, such as Kernow Model Rail Centre, later this year in the Autumn, having already had a chance to review in person the initial Engineering prototypes, I know it will be well worth the wait.
This months picture…
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
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
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’.
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 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.
We didn’t remove any parts honest…
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…
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…)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.