Ten of the twelve (H4-P-003 through H4-P-012) former South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) P Class 0-6-0T locomotives, exclusive to Hattons Model Railways, were released this week in 1:76 scale - originally expected December 2017-January 2018, delivery to the retailer was further delayed in February following adverse weather in the United Kingdom. The two SECR variations, H4-P-001 and H4-P-002, are due to follow in May.
Inspired by the former London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) A1/A1X Class, eight members of the class were built between 1909 (two) and 1910 (six) at Ashford Works primarily for motor train workings. A reduction in size and weight to reduce costs impacted their capabilities, even on minor branch line workings, and they were subsequently reallocated to shunting and station pilot duties from circa 1912. Nonetheless, all eight saw nationalisation in 1948 with four surviving to preservation.
Out of the box No 27 Primrose H4-P-011 and No 323 Bluebell H4-P-012 are strikingly small and encapsulate the character of the prototype perfectly - the pagoda-style cab, a recurring feature introduced by SECR's chief mechanical engineer Harry S Wainwright, immediately prominent. From the preinstalled vacuum brake pipes to the intricate steam reverser, detailing throughout is to an exceptionally high standard; the sheer amount of tooling variations is commendable. One welcome addition would have been the buffer beam support that keeps the coupling from swinging on both the front and rear of the locomotive, as per the prototype, but a minor oversight.
The quality of finish on both models cannot be faulted either - the Bluebell Railway's variation of the SECR livery on its namesake exceptionally intricate with highly detailed works plates and tank-side insignias. To further enhance the appearance two coupling hooks with cosmetic screw links, two steam heat pipes, three oil cans and four Southern Railway (SR) Route Indicator Disks are included to be added as required.
The five pole skew wound motor and all-wheel electrical pick-up ensures a smooth performance, even at low speeds, whilst remaining exceptionally quiet.
Hattons should be incredibly proud of their P Class which for many has already proved to be a fantastic addition to the ready-to-run market, especially considering the vast array of variations immediately available. The logic behind this is intriguing , especially considering the recent Rails of Sheffield announcement confirming that in partnership with the National Railway Museum (NRM) they had commissioned Dapol to produce the former LB&SCR A1/A1X 0-6-0T - just six variations will initially be available with the Bluebell Railway's widely recognised A1X No 55 Stepney (among many others) overlooked, presumably paving the way for future releases. What Hattons Model Railways have in store next will be interesting, but with the Andrew Barclay Sons & Co 0-4-0ST on the horizon modellers certainly have an exceptional choice of tank locomotives available at present.
Prices start from £99.00 (DCC ready) with DCC fitted and Olivia's Trains DCC sound fitted at £128.00 and £241.00 respectively. Twelve variations are currently available: -
- H4-P-001 (SECR w/ Brass) No 178
- H4-P-002 (SECR w/ Brass) No 753
- H4-P-003 (SECR Grey) No 754
- H4-P-004 (SR Lined Maunsell Green-Maunsell Lettering) No A325
- H4-P-005 (SR Black-Egyptian Lettering) No 1555
- H4-P-006 (SR Black-Sunshine Lettering) No 1558
- H4-P-007 (BR Lined Black-Early) No 31027
- H4-P-008 (BR Lined Black-Late) No 31323
- H4-P-009 (Bowaters Paper Mill Green) Pioneer II
- H4-P-010 (Robertsbridge Flour Mill Green) Pride of Sussex
- H4-P-011 (Bluebell Railway Lined Black) No 27 Primrose
- H4-P-012 (Bluebell Railway Lined Blue) No 323 Bluebell