TRANSFORM dock tanks 2: ‘J70’
George Dent and Chris Leigh offers simple tweaks to further gild the ‘J70’ lily.
Looking at old photographs of the ‘J70s’, the cab interiors appeared cramped even when they were empty. However, adding a set of scale figures really brought home how little room there was on the real things.
Hardy’s Hobbies has designed a choice of footplate figures specifically to suit the Model Rail ‘J70’ model, sporting a variety of appropriate poses. With leaning postures and outstretched arms, each figure stands nicely within the cab confines, aligning with cab controls and/or peering around the cab pillars.
There’s even a fireman crouching uncomfortably with a short-handled shovel to reach into the firebox. Created using 3D
printed scans of real humans, they’re scaled accurately and are clad in realistic overalls and caps.
Available in painted or unpainted form, they’re a perfect accompaniment to a ‘J70’ or other similar motive power. And they’re available in other scales too!
The ‘J70s’ were like any other class, and individual locomotives received minor modifications undertaken by shed staff, rather than a major alteration that was rolled out across the whole fleet during works overhauls.
Towards the end of steam on the Wisbech & Upwell, several photographs show
No. 68225 at Wisbech shed and operating on the tramway without its side skirts. This would have been late in its career and presumably its skirts had been damaged, or possibly removed and not replaced during its time at Colchester prior to September 1951. ‘J70s’ working the various docks lines were not required to have the skirts fitted and it seems that the shedmaster at Wisbech was willing to ignore this aspect of the tramway regulations late in the career of the steam locomotives.
No. 68222 was the the last ‘J70’ to work on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway and must have been drafted in from Colchester or Ipswich to cover for the failure of both diesel shunters 11101/2 in 1953. It gained notoriety when it ran out of water at Upwell and the crew found that there was no longer a locomotive water supply there. No doubt forewarned about the return of steam, the Reverends Awdry and Boston were on hand. Awdry dashed home to fetch his hosepipe and saved the day! By this time, No. 68222 had received three replacement sliding windows which appear white in photographs as the frames were never painted.
For us modellers, it provides the perfect
excuse to have an unskirted ‘J70’ with full valve gear on a W&U layout. I could not resist that opportunity and in MR-203, Model Rail provides a ‘J70’ in just the right state and livery. It also has the coupling safety chains which the prototype retained throughout its career, the only ‘J70’ to carry them in BR days. There is, however, a little tweak that you can do to the end doors if you plan to model them open. The doors on No. 68225 did not have the diagonal brace which is depicted on the open door mouldings supplied with the model. However, the closed door moulding is without these braces and it would be a simple matter to cut it and adapt it to be in the open position.