Bachmann class 6P "Jubilee" 4-6-0 45611 "Hong Kong"
Review by David Blythman
The genesis of the LMS "Jubilee" in the early 1930s lay in the company's efforts to improve the now desperately inadequate performance of the majority of its mainline steam locomotives. The recently introduced "Royal Scots" had made marked improvements on premier express services but good as the "Scots" were, they had a low route availability due to their heavy weight. This prevented them from operating on a large proportion of the LMS network which included important routes such as the former Midland line from St. Pancras.
At about the same time that the "Scots" were being built, the design office at Crewe were trying to do something about the poor performance of the former LNWR "Claughtons". Despite fitting new boilers and Caprotti valve gear to upgrade the class to "5X", it wasn't enough.
In 1930 two of Claughtons (5901, 5971) were modified along the lines of the "Scots" becoming 5501 and 5500 respectively. The result was a slightly smaller locomotive which bore such a close resemblance to the "Scots" that they became known as "Baby Scots". This was not so much of a rebuild as a completely new locomotive. A further forty "Claughtons" were rebuilt and classified as "5XP" and by 1934 were carrying the numbers 5502 – 5541.
A further fifteen "5XP" locomotives were added to the building programme of 1932. Ten were built as "Baby Scots" and were numbered 5542 – 5551. The other five were built with the 3A taper boiler and numbered 5552 – 5556.
These last five locomotives did not look like anything that had ever appeared from the workshops of the LMS. They were pure Stanier in design and appearance, but they were the shape of things to come.
Barely had the first taper boiler locomotives entered service, than another 58 were ordered; 48 from Crewe and 10 from Derby. LMS records show this order identified the locomotives as "Improved Claughtons". They were duly delivered and went into service as 5607 – 5664.
The LMS "5XP" programme had now produced two locomotives of quite different appearance. The first units built had parallel boilers and the officially unacceptable nickname "Baby Scots". The later units built had taper boilers but apart from that, no name or description really stuck. In 1935, the name "Silver Jubilee" was given to a taper boiler locomotive. This name ultimately ended up on 5552 and the class became known as the "Jubilees". In 1937, the Claughton "Patriot" name was transferred to a "Baby Scot" and so the class became known as "Patriots".
A further three batches of Jubilees were built in 1934 – 1935 at North British Locomotive works, Crewe and Derby to bring the class total to 191. All 191 locomotives were named with four themes – territories in the empire, British admirals, naval battles and warships. 45700 ran unnamed for seven months in 1951 when its original name "Britannia" was transferred to the new BR Standard class 7 pacific number 70000. 45700 was eventually renamed "Amethyst".
One result of the change in superheating was a modification to the firebox internals. Instead of a vertical throat plate, the firebox was given a sloping throat plate. The visible result of this change is a longer firebox with six rather five washout plugs on the left hand side.
Even for a class of 191 locomotives, the Jubilee class displays a remarkable range of detail diversity. Apart from the short firebox / long firebox, dome / domeless differences mentioned above, a myriad of other changes, boiler modifications, boiler swaps, tender swaps and others too numerous to list in a short review such as this, make the Jubilee a modeller's dream / nightmare depending on point of view. In this regard a book such as "The book of the Jubilee 4-6-0s" is a veritable treasure trove of information. If you are serious about your rivets (even the rivets vary a lot), this book is a "must".
Areas of operation
The Jubilees could work for eight successive days before shed examination or attention. They did 40,000 miles between piston and valve exams; 70,000 miles between wheel and axlebox attention and 150,000 miles or more before boiler repairs and general overhaul.
Bachmann have announced three models of the short firebox version of the Jubilee:
This review is of 31-175 "Hong Kong" which comes with a riveted 4000
gallon Stanier tender.
What does it look like?
Two things strike you about these photos; the first is that the doors neatly fill the gap between the cab and the tender. The second is that the lining is rather bright. When you start to look closer you can see that the left side of the firebox has five washout plugs and that the firebox ends just before the centre line of the centre drivers. This confirms that this is a short firebox locomotive.
This next photo shows why I like steam locomotives with outside valve gear.
This is a 1:1 clip from a larger shot. The long bar beneath the footplate is connected to the crosshead and oscillates back and forth in time with the motion of the piston. The benefit of a metal running plate can also be seen in this photo; it is straight and true. The price to be paid for having metal rather than plastic is that it is more difficult to attach detail parts, so the gubbins that is to be found on the running plate is less well detailed than that found on some other models. I used UHU to attach the front footsteps (but more on that later). The sanding pipes are metal so they should stand up to a lot more wear and tear than the plastic variety.
The interior of the cab is the most detailed I have seen on a Bachmann model. It is also the first time that Bachmann have included a sliding roof hatch.
The dials don't have any markings but the copper coloured pipes and red regulator handle show up well. The one disappointment about the cab is that the extra glazing provided for the rear pair of cab windows do not have a side screen. I did not manage to work out how to fit the tender fall plate. Gluing the doors in place is going to be necessary as they are not really a "snap fit".
The tender back plate is a nice piece of work.
Of particular note is the opening on the left for fire irons. This has been modelled as a complete compartment and stretches right back into the coal space. Removing the coal load shows how this more clearly.
This top view also shows the detail on the rear deck of the tender by the
tank filler. This includes two lifting hooks. The only disappointing
aspect of the tender is that the plates on the rear of the tender have
only been printed on and it shows. Separate parts as found on some other
models would have been a nice touch.
The builder's plate clearly shows that this locomotive was built at Crewe. The shed code is 16A – Nottingham – which was home to "Hong Kong" throughout the fifties. The image also includes a lot of the variable detail which makes a Jubilee a dream or nightmare. Finding out whether or not Bachmann have got it right is left as an exercise for the reader.
The Bachmann Jubilee is probably the first British outline OO model since the Triang Hornby M7 to feature an opening smoke box door. It's just a shame that they didn't put anything inside for us to see when it is opened. Maybe someone will make an aftermarket add in?
That completes the tour around the locomotive. Here is the full three quarter view from which some of the clips were taken:
How does it run?
In the photos above, the footstep are in the "nobbled" (nobbling?) position.
My layout is a mixture of Peco streamline code 100 and code 75 with electrofrog points, slips and crossings. Apart from the front steps, there were no other running problems.
On a 1:50 gradient on a 36" radius curve there was a little wheel slip once the sixth Gresley was on the slope but the model was able to continue. It was not able to restart the train while on the gradient.
This performance is in line with other express passenger models I own, though the Jubilee is lighter than some of them.
Summary of operating characteristics
Alternative wheels can be had from Markits
Many modellers will want to fit a smoke unit. Like many modern steam models, the smoke box and boiler are completely sealed which means major surgery will be required. See the decoder fitting sections for a photo of the body underside.
From left to right we can see the following:
The speaker shown in the photo is a DCC Supplies bass reflex speaker. These are quite a bit larger than 40 x 20 mm but it gives an idea of how a speaker might fit. If this tender is to be fitted with a speaker of this size, the coal bunker will have to be modified as there just isn't the space for both.
The decoder installation is straightforward provided you choose one which is narrow enough to fit into the boiler. The weakest point of the model is the over bright lining.
It will be interesting to see if Bachmann produce models with other detail variants. The most obvious being a long firebox version. With 191 members in the class, Jubilees were a frequent sight on many parts of the network. No layout should have just one. I look forward to seeing other members of the class being produced in the future.
Fitting a decoder
The rear screw also secures the tender drawbar. If you plan to use the shorter one, this is a good time to make the substitution. Note: the screws are not the same, one of them has a countersunk head; don't mix them up while they are on the work bench.
Once the two screws have been removed, you can ease the body away from the chassis. I usually start by gripping the cylinders and pulling gently. At first I thought that there must be some other fixing as the body was reluctant to come away. It turns out that the motor is a tight fit in the narrow boiler and firebox of the Jubilee.
Now you have two assemblies, the chassis
and the body
There are several points of note here:
I have standardised on using Zimo MX63R decoders. They are not the smallest in the Zimo range but offer the range of features that I want. They are a slim fit and come already wrapped in an insulated coating so I had no fears about feeding one into the boiler space. All I had to do was remove the decoder socket blanking plug and fit the decoder plug in its place. The socket PCB has the numbers 1 and 8 marked on it if you have the eyesight to read them. I had to scramble around looking for a decoder manual to find out which wire is on pin 1 as I can never remember. Having found it, I hope that saying Orange is One will impress it on my memory.
I did not remove the capacitors from either the motor or the DCC socket PCB. Leaving them in does not appear to affect performance but your mileage may vary. Any sign of problems associated with capacitors and they're coming out.
Before replacing the body, I always place the chassis and newly connected decoder on the programming track to see if I can read CV 1. It should return a value of 3. Next I read CV 7 which on the Zimo returns the firmware version and CV8 which is the manufacturer ID – 145 for Zimo. I do a quick check to see if the loco will drive forwards and backwards at address 3 before reprogramming it for 128 step, long address mode. I try to keep addresses close to the loco number by dropping the second digit, so Hong Kong's address was set to 4611. As I have a DCC system which allows me to name my locomotives, "Hong Kong" is all I have to remember.
Once I am satisfied that the decoder installation is working, all that remains is to feed the decoder into the front boiler void, loop the excess cable carefully over the top of the DCC socket and drop the chassis back onto the body. The great thing about having screws at both ends is that you don't have to locate an unseen lug into a difficult to locate slot. The chassis drops on and having fitted the tender draw bar of your choice, you refit the two screws. You might find it helps to have a magnetised screw driver to help lower the front screw through the bogie.
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 21st May 2013 - 06:45|