Tag Archives: Bullied Merchant Navy Pacifics

Southern Railway / Region related model news 07/08/15

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.

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.

Firstly: Production of the Adams O2 Steam Locomotives has now started and the first models will be leaving China in a couple of weeks time.  This does mean that the pre-order special offer price has now ended, but they are still taking orders for these models.

Production of the Adams O2, this image just shows the the level of detail and individual items being applied (picture courtesy and copyright Kernow Model Centre)

It should be noted that the amount of manual labour to assemble these highly-detailed models is very high and this is why the models will take a couple of months to actually produce.  It is worth just considering that for a moment – a production line at the factory will be fully-occupied producing the O2 models for three months straight.  Imagine that for every hour of every day, you will be inserting tiny pipes into the pull-push gear for months on end!   To give a further taste of this there are some images and videos can be viewed on the Kernow Model Centre website here.

The anticipated delivery dates for each version have been advised as follows:
K2101 Number 24 “Calbourne” BR Black early emblem – Expected around October 2015
K2102 Number 16 “Ventnor” BR Black late crest- Expected around November 2015
K2103 Number 30182 BR Black early emblem pull-push fitted – Expected around October 2015)
K2104 Number 30225 BR Black late crest – Expected around December 2015
K2105 Number 225 Southern Black with Bulleid Sunshine lettering pull-push fitted – On board Hyundai Victory, due into Southampton around 15th September 2015
K2106 Number 30193 BR Black early emblem – Expected around September 2015
K2107 Number 207 Southern Maunsell Green pull-push fitted – Expected around December 2015

The first Enginnering Prototype of the K1001 version of the Gate Stock (picture courtesy and copyright KMC)

Secondly: the first off tooling samples for the ex LSWR Gate Stock pull push sets have arrived in the UK and a few tweaks are being made before they can be signed off for production.

Four versions of the 1914 Stock will be available: –
K1001 Set number 374 in SR Lined Maunsell Green livery
K1002 Set number 373 in SR unlined Malachite Green livery
K1003 Set number 363 in BR Crimson livery
K1004 Set number 373 in BR (SR) Green livery

Further information on the Kernow Model Centre ex LSWR Gate Stock can be found here.

Graham Farish

The Graham Farish N Gauge SR Bogie Van B models are about to hit the retailers. The following initial versions will be available:

374-630 SR 50′ Bogie B Luggage Van Southern Green
374-631 SR 50′ Bogie B Luggage Van BR (SR) Green
374-632 SR 50′ Bogie B Luggage Van BR Blue


The Dapol first livery sample of E6003

Dapol have released images of the first livery samples of their 00 Class 73 diesel electric locomotives. There are still a few things to correct, including a spurious high intensity headlight on the BR blue version along with some number sizes and positions, but they advise these have been noted and will be corrected.


I am able to advise that work is continuing apace on the development of a number of SR / BR(s) models. I have been privileged to have been assisting the design team with some of the initial design work on the Bulleid Original Air Smoothed Merchant Navy locomotives that will be part of the 2016 range announced here and I can tease you that the CADS are looking great so far!
Hornby have also released footage of the first running sample of their Class 71 3rd rail electric locomotive here. 

Hornby have also published an interesting Engine Shed blog post ‘A researcher’s tale’ by Paul Isles about the lot of the Hornby researcher. I was pleasantly surprised to get a name check by Paul, whom I can confirm is very passionate about his role and also a pleasure to assist on a number of fronts…

The new Graham Farish Merchant Navy Pacific reviewed – Bulleid power exceptionally well captured in N gauge RTR 

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, 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)
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)
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
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)
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.

Talking stock #20 The Devon Belle

The “Devon Belle” Pullman service between London Waterloo and Ilfracombe with a portion to Plymouth did not in reality last for long as named train services go. It was introduced by the Southern Railway on 20th June 1947 and lasted until September 1954. Usually the train was worked from London to Exeter with Merchant Navy class pacifics and was then split with a four coach portion heading to Plymouth and the remaining eight (sometimes up to ten) coaches including the iconic observation car heading to Ilfracombe both portions usually behind Bulleid Light Pacifics.

Light Pacific 34011 ‘Tavistock’ in experimental Apple Green livery heads the London bound Devon Belle deputising for the more usual Merchant Navy Class

At the time it was the only service to as advertised run ‘non stop’ from Waterloo to Exeter i.e. not stopping at Salisbury, although in reality an unadvertised stop was made at Wilton (the next station to the west of Salisbury) to change engines. This resulted in light engine movements between Wilton and Salisbury in each direction.

Merchant Navy 21C14 shows off the iconic Devon Belle headboard and deflector wing plates

To meet the needs of up and down services two Devon Belle rakes were formed along with two popular observation cars on the Ilfracombe portion. These observation cars, numbered 13 and 14, were converted from other coaches, with the origins of No 14 being an ex LNWR Ambulance car which was converted into a Pullman car in 1921 before being ultimately converted for its role as an observation car. With the decline in passenger numbers first the number of operating days was reduced, then from 1950 the Plymouth section ceased and ultimately the final Ilfracombe Devon Belle service was run in September 1954.

Passengers having paid the supplement enjoy the view from the ’00 Works’ Devon Belle observation car

A representation of the Devon Belle has been one of the signature trains on Fisherton Sarum since the layouts first public appearance in November 2006. My rake, albeit not a full 12 /14 coaches for space reasons is formed from Hornby Pullman coaches along with a brass observation car from ‘00’ Works prior to the later introduction of the Hornby model.  I have both a light Pacific 34011 ‘Tavistock’ (in early British Railways apple green livery) and a Merchant Navy Pacific 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ decorated with the iconic Devon Belle head board and smoke deflector wing plates for operating this train. Where possible we also include the light engine movement from the shed to the west towards Wilton and back.