Hat­ton’s ‘P’

Model Rail (UK) - - Reviews -

An­other month, an­other ex­clu­sive steam lo­co­mo­tive from Hat­ton’s.

Harry Wain­wright’s lit­tle 0-6-0T for the South Eastern & Chatham Rail­way was some­thing of a poor man’s ‘Ter­rier’. The lit­tle ‘P’ was de­signed for push-pull work and was in­spired by Wil­liam Stroud­ley’s lit­tle ‘A1’ but with some economies made; the ‘Ter­rier’ al­ways had the edge in terms of per­for­mance. De­spite its some­what lack­lus­tre per­for­mance, the ‘P’ is a bit of a favourite with en­thu­si­asts, and there was al­ways a dumpy, an­gu­lar hole in the ranks of ready-to-run ‘OO’ gauge South­ern Re­gion mod­els… un­til Hat­ton’s de­cided to fill it. What’s re­mark­able about the ‘P’ is that out of the eight that were built, four sur­vive. Even more re­mark­able per­haps, Hat­ton’s has found 12 liv­er­ies for a class of just eight lo­co­mo­tives. We re­ceived three of the 12 for re­view: No. 1558 in un­lined black with Bulleid ‘sun­shine’ let­ter­ing; ‘Pride of Sus­sex’, the liv­ery that No. 31556 car­ried when used at Hod­son’s flour mill at Roberts­bridge; and No. 31027 in Blue­bell Rail­way lined black as No. 27 ‘Prim­rose’.

FEAST FROM THE FAR EAST

Hat­ton’s has pro­duced the ‘P’ di­rectly with a fac­tory in China and, as we saw with the An­drew Bar­clay 0-4-0ST that we re­viewed in the last is­sue (MR246), the re­sults are ex­cel­lent. Like the Bar­clay, Hat­ton’s has pro­duced a re­ally good-look­ing lit­tle model with great at­ten­tion paid to detail dif­fer­ences. The over­all shape is ex­cel­lent.

When com­par­ing the model to pro­to­type pho­to­graphs and draw­ings we couldn’t tell whether it was an op­ti­cal il­lu­sion that made it look just a lit­tle un­der­scale in places or if it ac­tu­ally was a lit­tle on the small side. To set­tle the ar­gu­ment we sent a sam­ple to Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way Ser­vice De­liv­ery Man­ager Andy Hardy. No. 31556 is based at the KESR and Andy was in­stru­men­tal in the model’s de­vel­op­ment. He de­clared it to be “spot on”. The ‘P’ is a very pretty model and small, just like the real lo­co­mo­tive. The dis­tinc­tive pagoda cab is well shaped and the ‘face’ cap­tures the char­ac­ter, al­though there’s some de­bate as to whether the smoke­box door is dished enough. It’s the com­bi­na­tion of good looks and lots of fine detail that im­presses the most. There’s plenty of fine pipework, par­tic­u­larly around the West­ing­house air pump, and the handrails are better pro­duced than those on the Bar­clay. The cou­pling rods are im­me­di­ately no­tice­able and very slim and re­fined. The cab is a minia­ture work of art. All the fix­tures and fit­tings are where they should be and well painted. It’s a shame that the roof ven­ti­la­tor doesn’t open be­cause that would al­low a bit more light onto the foot­plate. The glaz­ing unit for the front spec­ta­cle glasses has been dis­guised by in­cor­po­rat­ing pres­sure gauges and their as­so­ci­ated pipework. The thick rear glaz­ing unit is a bit on the crude side, even when painted, and de­tracts from the good work else­where, but it’s dif­fi­cult to see how the rear spec­ta­cles could be glazed oth­er­wise. MI­NOR QUIBBLES There are a cou­ple of other nig­gles. The tap next to the safety valves could be better and the one by the cab door is heav­ier than it ap­pears in pho­to­graphs. A cou­ple of our sam­ples had lost lamp irons and one had mis­aligned buf­fers. We don’t know if this oc­curred dur­ing tran­sit or if it was a fac­tory er­ror, but a dab of glue should rec­tify both is­sues. As ex­pected, each model comes with the ‘bag of bits’. In­side are two cou­pling hooks with cos­metic screw links, two steam heat pipes, three oil cans, a South­ern Rail­way-style lamp and four route in­di­ca­tor discs. The ‘P’ is also Dcc-ready, with a six-pin de­coder socket. There is space for a sound speaker, but if you are planning on fit­ting the ‘P’ with sound then be aware that the speaker uses the space where the de­coder goes and you’ll need to un­der­take a lit­tle mi­nor surgery to mount the de­coder in­side the cab. Hat­ton’s sug­gests that you get a pro­fes­sional to do this if you’re not con­fi­dent in your abil­ity. We found in­stalling a DCC de­coder in the An­drew Bar­clay some­what prob­lem­atic. There were no such is­sues with the ‘P’; you sim­ply re­move the two screws be­tween the buffer­beams at each end and the chas­sis drops away. FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES One as­pect that helps to make the ‘P’ look so good is the liv­ery ap­pli­ca­tion. All three of our sam­ples had a rather plain back­ground colour – black or green – that had been ap­plied well with a good level of sheen and lus­tre. ‘Prim­rose’s’ yel­low lin­ing and let­ter­ing isn’t the most at­trac­tive, but Hat­ton’s has done a good job. No. 1558’s Bulleid green and yel­low let­ter­ing looks spot-on and the works plate is leg­i­ble un­der a mag­ni­fier. Strictly speak­ing, the num­ber shouldn’t have the same black lin­ing as the let­ter­ing, and pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence sug­gests that No. 1558’s num­ber ought to be car­ried on the front buffer­beam too. ‘Pride of Sus­sex’ is ar­guably the pick of the bunch. The scroll­work and me­dieval-style let­ter­ing looks re­ally ef­fec­tive and though the heraldic shield de­pict­ing Sus­sex’s six martlets ap­pears to be crudely printed, it’s an ac­cu­rate de­pic­tion of how the real thing looked. This model evokes a feel­ing of be­ing an an­nouncer at the stock ex­change – you want to shout “Buy! Buy! Buy!”. With an RRP of just £99, Hat­ton’s de­light­ful ‘P’ isn’t likely to hang around for long.

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