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.