Alan shows how you can make your model motive power look more realistic. Follow the series, enjoy your hobby. Don't turn it into hard work
Do your models match up to the real thing? Handy hints and books below to close the 'credibility gap', from the larger motive power...
Aah, the heady smell of steam, coal, grease and oil!
That's what you want to create, eh? The hot creosote smell wafted by a strong breeze when you stepped down from the train door to the platform at your holiday destination. Or maybe it reminds you of your days as a 'platform ender' with your Ian Allan pocket books, chasing down the platform with your coat billowing, your camera in your hot little hand to catch a glimpse of the engine of your dreams.
Remember hastily scribbling numbers in the creased pages before stuffing the little mine of information into your overcoat pocket? The next 'Streak' glided past with its long rake of carmine and cream coaches, or a Jubilee with maroon stock chuffing past slowly before it grinds to a halt before the repeater signal... Maybe you were at Paddington with an array of Halls or Kings that awaited your pencil to note down their numbers? Waterloo Station, watching 'Spam Cans' and Merchant Navy pacifics simmer as they awaited the 'off' for Bournemouth and Poole or Weymouth? Whatever... the magic is in your head and you want to recreate it.
You look at the model in your hand and wonder... Is this really as it was? Are there the right number of rivets on the cab or tender side (you'd never believe the 'rivet-counters' that infest the hobby)? Can I squint and get that memory back, from when I stood/ran/stretched to see the real thing?
Pre-Grouping (1923) locomotive liveries of the Great Northern - tank and tender locomotives
Locomotives - liveries and period regional particulars (see right for early examples).
When you were given your first train set, can you remember what type of locomotive came with the set, what livery it was finished in? Think back, you've got all the time in the world. I'm not going anywhere and by the look of you, you're not planning on rushing off either.
At a loss? Ok, was it a tender loco, tank loco, what colour was it - might have been Henry ford's favourite colour, black - and how many wheels did it have? If you were struggling with the first question, maybe you should give it a rest for now and I might jog your memory along the way.
You've got passenger, mixed traffic, freight and industrial locomotives, and for reasons of logic - railway logic, we're talking about here - certain types could be coloured, indeed other types were painted similar to passenger ones until early in the 20th Century on certain railways. The colour preferred by most companies was green. On the LNER and constituent elements of the system before Grouping in 1923 there were several shades of green. You had one shade for the Great North of Scotland (GNoS), another for the North Eastern (NER) named 'Darlington Apple Green' and another, named 'Doncaster Loco Green' on the Great Northern (GNR). The NER had already embraced - or was it swallowed up? - the Hull & Barnsley (HBR) in 1922, and they had a shade between Darlington Apple and Doncaster Loco Green. An odd company who had Midland-style engines but whose works were based at Melton Constable in Suffolk didn't go for fancy-coloured engines. This was the Midland & Great Northern Railway, nicknamed the 'Muddle-and-go-nowhere railway and finished up 'in bed' with the LNER. Further down, in the North Thames area was the London Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR) which should by rights have been in the GER stable. But they were slow on the uptake and the 'Misery Line' as it became known later was snapped up by the MR. They had a lucrative suburban catchment area and access to the London docks, with sidings so close to the GER in places they were practically steaming up each others' windows with their breath.
The Great Western (GW), otherwise known as 'God's Wonderful Railway' had a much darker green, Swindon's green was more like bronze green in density. They absorbed the Taff Vale Railway (TVR), whose main claim to fame was coal traffic and who didn't bother too much with fancy-looking engines. The GW didn't have to change its name, either. That's what happens when you're treated like royalty!
Then you had the London & North Western (LNWR) which had black engines with red boiler bands, the Midland (MR) had crimson lake passenger engines - the only one! - the Caledonian Railway (CR) had bright blue with dove grey lining and the Highland Railway (HR) again had green. Last, but by far not least, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR), or 'Lanky', wasn't fussed about fancy colours, and they were quite happy with their West Yorkshire, East Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool traffic sources. These companies merged as the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMSR), who by and large adopted the Midland's crimson lake for passenger locos.
The Great Eastern Railway (GER) adopted Royal Blue by permission of Queen Victoria, and ferried the royal family to Sandringham on its plush royal train. In 1923 the GER was bunched with companies who preferred green; thus was the LNER hauled into the 20th Century by its bootstraps. With the greatest number of pre-1900 engines still running in 1923, the LNER would face a stark financial challenge in the post-WWI years, the depression, where much of its industry was hit... and given a kick-start again in 1939.
South of the Thames and to the Channel ports were the London & South Western (LSWR), London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR), East Kent Railway (EKR) and Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR). There was a wonderful variety of colours, but none more wonderful than the LBSR, where the Locomotive Superintendent (was it Urie?) was colour blind and no-one dared tell him his wonderful shade of green was actually mustard brown, they were so scared of him!
These, then, were the Big Four. Sink or swim, they were left to get on with it in 1923. By and large they muddled through until war bumped up their traffic but the good old government forgot to pay for their services and things were beginning to slip, like safety and wages. British Railways was brought into being in 1948 by Clement Attlee's government before the Big Four had a chance to pick up again, and still no sign of significant capital investment. So although an effort was made in re-liverying loco stocks with the reintroduction of pre-War crimson lake, Doncaster Loco green, Great Western green and Southern Malachite green, things tended to grime up with the shortage of cleaning staff.
Which is where we come into the diesel age, again attractive colours, different greens but grime again put paid to enthusiasm for keeping clean in run-down sheds. In 1967 British Rail took over from British Railways and a more uniform blue and dove grey was introduced for all the diesel locos in stock, that also grimed up with time. Now we have all colours under the sun that also grime up as the plethora of operators can't afford the cleaning staff either.
Where does that leave us? With choice, of course! You can portray engines from the time of George and Robert Stephenson, Timothy Hackworth and I K Brunel to nowadays. Many of us like to 'weather' our engines, to look grimy - what else! - but there are as many who like to see pristine liveries on the rails. It's a big wide world, so whatever turns you on...
When it comes to freight and mixed traffic steam, Henry Ford rules OK! Personally, I haven't a single model loco that isn't black, even my single solitary diesel Class 03 is black.
That's the liveries taken care of. Classifications next...
Hornby goes North East
Q6 63443 and K1 62059
How about some background to 63443? Soon after the turn of the 20th Century, with the increase in North Eastern mineral traffic, a decision was made to upgrade the motive power. Although Locomotive Superintendent Wilson Worsdell's Class T1 (LNER/BR Q5) 0-8-0 of the 1890s was a strong workhorse, his successor Vincent Raven saw the need for a stronger, superheated design. A hundred and twenty members of Raven's sturdy, reliable new Class T2 were built from February 1913 through to March 1921 in six batches, fulfilling requirements on heavy mineral workings between pit and port. In fact they seem to have exceeded expectations, staying in revenue-earning service until September, 1967.
Intended solely for mineral and freight traffic, Class T2 (LNER/BR Q6) was fitted with steam brakes both for locomotive and tender. Five types of tender were used with these engines, from the earlier 3,940 gallon to the later 4,125 self-trimming version. From amalgamation in 1923 into the LNER the class was re-designated Q6 and operated from sheds across the region between Tyne and Humber, and across the Pennines to Westmorland. Some even ventured north across the border in the first year of Grouping.
The class did not change significantly during their existence, although subtle changes were made when boilers were updated from 1927 over the next two years. The change was marked by the dome being repositioned about a foot further back towards a cab-front that was re-designed with a flatter aspect. Duly all engines were fitted with the new Diagram 50A.boiler. Further detail differences were mirrored in smokebox doors, chimneys - and the buffer shape changed. The introduction of positive drive led to the lubricators being re-positioned.
At Nationalisation in 1948 all six-score engines were taken into British Railways' ownership, a six-prefix being added to the 1946 number by 1951, after the interim E-prefix. Withdrawals began in May,1960. It would be December, 1961 before the next withdrawal was made. In April, 1963 withdrawals began in earnest with the general move by the British Railways' Board towards dieselisation. Final withdrawals for scrapping were actioned in September, 1967. A single locomotive of the class was taken into preservation by the North Eastern Locomotive Group (NELPG), 63395, recently (early 2016) having been issued with a new boiler certifincate for working not only on preserved lines but also on the national network where transfer is required between lines.
This locomotive, 63443 was built in July,1920 as NER 2286 by Armstrong Whitworth on Tyneside. She was allocated initially to Stockton-on-Tees. Numbered 3443,in March, 1948 she was re-boilered for the first time with the upgraded 50A boiler. Spells at Selby and Newport (Middlesbrough) sheds would find her re-numbered E-3443. Further re-allocations found her at Neville Hill (Leeds) and back at Newport before she received her.final numbering as 63443. It would be 1950 that she saw longer allocation at Haverton Hill near Billingham-on-Tees. Another round of moves would bring her to West Auckland near Darlington, Thornaby's new shed (built 1958) and West Hartlepool. She went for scrap at Willoughby's in November, 1965.
In 1948 the first Peppercorn LNER mogul Class K1 2-6-0 locomotives were introduced to British Railways, built to a modified Thompson design by North British in Glasgow. In the fullness of time forty were allocated to the North Eastern Region of British Railways. Distribution of the class in the region was limited in 1950 to four sheds between the Tees and the Tyne, at Darlington (51A), Stockton-on-Tees (51E), Heaton on Tyneside (52B) and to the west of Newcastle at Blaydon (52C).
Later in the same decade the class was more widely distributed. Class K1 62059 in 1950 was a Darllngton allocation throughout her working life. When Darlington closed to steam in 1966 the last engines were transferred to West Hartlepool (51C) and Normanton (55E) near Wakefield. 62059 is likely to have been transferred to Normanton, as West Hartlepool had only 62004 on its books when closed to steam. Along with many other locomotives that still had many years ahead of them, 62059 went for scrap after a nineteen year working life. In September, 1967 steam was finished in the North East. Only the North West continued with steam for another nine months before the whole BR network was dieselised.
Duties diagrammed for Class K1 ranged from weekend passenger to coal and general goods or freight traffic. Only one of the class was preserved. K1 62005 was last on the books as being a York (50A) allocation until that shed closed to steam in June, 1967. She was latterly employed as a stationary boiler at Billingham's ICI petrochemicals plant before being bought for spares by Viscount Garnock, who owned K4 mogul 'The Great Marquess'. Deciding he did not need 62005 after all, Viscount Garnock handed her to the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group. You might easily see her before the main season on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, alternatively on the West Highland line taking trains from Mallaig to Fort William..
The G5 Locomotive Company Limited are well underway with their new-build 0-4-4 Tank Locomotive
North Eastern Railway (NER) Class O 0-4-4 tank engine (LNER/BR-NE G5),
The first NER Class O 0-4-4 tank engines were built from 1894 under the auspices of the company's locomotive superintendent Wilson Worsdell, younger brother of the outgoing Thomas William Worsdell. He reversed brother Thomas' policy on small locomotives and built these locomotives for branch line working, 'auto-trains' and normal locomotive working. One hundred and ten of the class had been completed when the last were turned out of North Road Works at Darlington in 1901. Withdrawal from service was completed in 1955.
Some North Eastern Region tender classes to compare for model accuracy, what do you think?
Close to the mark?
In recent years we have seen a sort of 'race' take place between the leading manufacturers, Bachmann and Hornby to produce more realistic locomotive models, but the price is rising.
We have seen DCC - Digital Command Control,- introduced by both makers, and 'smoke' introduced by Hornby. If the cost of proprietary models soars beyond affordability, the hobby will go back to what it started out as in the 19th Century, a rich man's pastime. That would be a shame. Nevertheless the cost of a proprietary engine is cheaper than a kit-built one if you don't have the skill level to build your own. For a well-constructed model in this country, complete with motor - there is an exhaustive range of these available, depending on the size of the model - and painting, with lettering, numbering and lining, you might see a bill of several hundred pounds (Sterling). Then it goes down the scale for part-builds or unpainted/unlined.
You can go down a 'different road'. There is the second-hand market, but here is the rub. Newer models will take some time to come on the second-hand market, and the older ones are not as well modelled. This is where detailing comes in. There are various manufacturers of detailing parts - chimneys, smokebox doors, wheels, tender body replacement parts, brake standards, boiler detailing, you name it, somebody makes it in white metal, plastic, nickel-silver, etched brass or lost wax brass castings, resin body castings and so on. A good set of craft knives, small drill bits, some manual dexterity and a set of needle files will get you far, plus a reliable superglue/compound adhesive (two-part) and model filler. The end result might be every bit as good as a kit-built engine.
You can't expect to be expert the first time you tackle a job. Keep your ambitions for when you do get better at the craft, and start with something simple like perhaps an 0-4-0 saddle tank engine. The more you do it - and don't give up too easily - the better you'll get. You may also see different ways of achieving the same results - and share your experiences with others! If someone sees your work they may take comfort in your early snags, or be encouraged by your perseverance [there is a range of finescale model parts by that name].
Model comparisons: 2-6-0 classes, Gresley K3, K4, and 2-6-2 V2
From the first to the last. British Railways inherited many pre-Grouping and pre-Nationalisation classes of locomotive from each of its 'parents'. Steam still reigned in 1948, although dieselisation had crept in, in the form of dock and industrial shunters, and electric traction had been in place around the mines in northern Durham.
Eric Sawford's book looks at one of the larger pre-Nationalisation company's loco fleets, in particular the six-coupled classes. Many classes are covered in the LNER's range of six-coupled engines (see below), the most widely known being the Pacifics, A1, A2 A3 and A4 4-6-2 (the recently completed'Tornado', earlier 'Blue Peter','Flying Scotsman', 'Mallard' amongst others). Take this 'guided tour' through the classes covered, tank and tender engines included.
...To the smallest type of 'locomotion'
Each company classified its locomotives differently...
As i'm more familiar with them, I can only give you the LNER Classifications:
I'll use large and small 'O's to represent the wheel arrangements, front first (there were many arrangements divided into tender and tank classes):
M................ OOO-oo (0-6-4);
P.(Mikado). o-OOOO-o (2-8-2;
U.................was diesel class No.999;
W................oo-OOOO-oo (4-8-4) - this was the Yarrow (ship)-boilered class built at Darlington;
X.................o-o-OO and OO-o-o this was 'Aerolite', rebuilt twice;
A pair of Nu-cast kit-built pre-LNER veterans
Kits and bits and ready-to-run
Many locomotive classes are represented in proprietary ranges, more now than before. Until recently, for instance you had to get a kit or buy conversion kits to change proprietary models into classes not represented, such as the older Hornby tender-driven D49/1 'Shire' 4-4-0 conversion into D49/2. Then Hornby brought out what purported to be a D49/2 Class, but it was still a D49/1 with a 'Hunt' name. There is a world of difference between the two classes. The motion is derived and would be difficult to translate in a plastic model. Somehow the Walschaerts motion - as on many Pacific classes - has been represented, but is still simpler to translate on a plastic vehicle than Lentz's. In kit form DJH - of Consett fame - brought out a D49 many moons ago, loco driven and therefore less likely to look 'pushed'. If one can be found, snap it up. Even further back Nu-cast brought out many locomotive classes not covered by the likes of Hornby, Lima, earlier Bachmann Branchline or Replica, a majority of North Eastern Railway classes being the examples I have in mind. The only NER Class I remember being covered in proprietary form is the J72 0-6-0 tank engine, but only since Mainline, then Bachmann came onto the market. This leaves a whole fleet of NER classes out in the cold even now, such as the Q6 (T2) 0-8-0, B16 (S3) 4-6-0 and D20 (R) 4-4-0. Great favourites of the proprietory manufacturers were GWR and LMS classes, the market at one time being flooded by them.
Then along came Mainline, then Replica, and then Bachmann. LNER Classes came out onto the shelves such as J39 0-6-0 - even with different tender types! - and B1 4-6-0, J72 0-6-0 T (tank loco), V1/V3 2-6-2T, V2 2-6-2 and K3 2-6-0 amongst others. Hornby became experimental and re-tooled their A3 and A4 stable, then recently brought onto the market the Class L1 2-6-4 tank engine, but not before Bachmann introduced Class A1 4-6-2 to the punters. Shortly after that Hornby brought out a Peppercorn A1. Talk about futile! The Bachmannn one is still better, and cheaper. Now we have class A2 4-6-2 as well. There's serious competition for Hornby at last, and they're rising to the challenge. Hornby recently brought out the rebuilt GC 04 2-8-0. A nice looking engine, but at what price?! £124! I heard someone say some time ago Bachmann was to bring out the rebuilt ex-NER B16 4-6-0 tender engine. This might have been the Gresley rebuild or the Thompson rebuild of the Gresley rebuild (you're not seeing things - this happened). Nice! Together with my B1 4-6-0 the two would look handsome on the shed road at Ayton Lane (see the 'Thoraldby' page)! What I waited for a long time was the ubiquitous Peppercorn K1 2-6-0, slightly reconfigured version of Edward Thompson's design. Hornby came up trumps with that one recently. Maybe not as numerous as the B1, the K1 was nevertheless widespread in the Eastern Region system of British Railways, seen on mineral workings, mixed goods, pick-up goods and passenger workings up until the end of steam in the North East in 1967. At least one of the class, 62005 was rescued by the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG), and I spoke often with Jim Brodie, the man who fired the engine at Billingham when it was being used as a stationary boiler for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) there. Hornby then brought out two types of Q6 0-8-0, the early one built before and during WWI with one style of tender, and after WWI until 'Grouping' with the Armstrong Whitworth version. Now Oxford Models has the CAD drawings ready for a later 2019 release of a J27 in different liveries from plain unlined post-WWII black (LNER) to British Railways' late lozenge emblem, the lion on the wheel in a cream coloured circle with panels either side that bore the name 'BRITISH' on the left and 'RAILWAYS' on the right. We're getting somewhere at last! Not too long ago Hornby introduced their Peppercorn A1 Pacific, 'Tornado'. I bought one to spruce up a bit with Romford screw couplings and wire-wound vacuum and steam heat pipes with the name 'North Eastern' (a Gateshead allocation). Then I found out there was a Bachmann A1 with that name that would've been easier to detail because Hornby insist on metal behind the locomotive (front) buffer beam that blunts my drill bits! I'll know for next time.
There was an on-line poll recently on the MRE/RMweb site to let the manufacturers know what classes the modelling public wanted. hopefully they'll listen. The GW is a bit over-subscribed, and that's the general consensus.
There are Southern classes covered by Bachmann, too, that were hitherto not seen unless built from kitform, such as the Q1 Austerity 0-6-0. Speaking of Austerity, Bachmann saw the 2-8-0 Riddles engines onto the shelves half a decade or so ago, and Hornby responded with the Austerity 0-6-0 Saddle Tank (ST). Hardly in the same class of detail, but a change at least. The tooling had been bought from Dapol, who had bought out Airfix and Replica. Hornby recently introduced a B1 onto the market, a niche which was ignored and taken up originally by Replica and then Bachmann. Another
Neverthless - between kits and ready-to-run - there can be very few classes not represented.
In terms of realism, the new products on the shelves are very good, so good in fact modellers who usually prefer etched brass kits with white metal detail have opted to adapt ready-made products. Small things such as vacuum and steam heating pipes on passenger locos leave something to be desired in their fragility, and the couplings make them look very much like toys, but this can be remedied if needed. A little oversized but robust in their execution Jackson screw couplings (available nowadays from 247 Developments) in the Romford range, together with their wire-wound vacuum pipes bring an engine closer to realism. Fragile but accurate in size are the Smiths product. You have to be careful with them, and not put too much of a strain on them, but they look good. There are several representations of vacuum pipes for locomotives available, made from lost wax castings, brass wire-wound (the thickness of fuse wire) or white metal. And there are the lamps to 'top and tail' them from makers such as Springside, with 'jewel' lamp aspects (either red or clear) for different companies or regions. It wouldn't do, for instance, to put LMS or GW lamps on an LNER or SR loco. It just wouldn't look right, would it?
Ready to run wishlist - little or large?
Christmas shopping/wishlist - kits
You might be looking forward to someone buying you a locomotive kit, or buy one for yourself - if you're more particular and you know what you want. Here's a list of possibles you might like to look for on the internet or phone for a catalogue:
Alan Gibson Model Products - also includes rolling stock, and bits: www.alangibsonworkshop.com
Branchlines: (Email) Sales@branchlines.com
Comet Models: www.cometmodels.co.uk
Craftsman Models: (Email): Sales@craftsmanmodels.co.uk, 01926 428530