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QUOTE (SRman @ 21 Oct 2020, 00:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...I still have far too many steam locos with moulded plastic coal loads...
My 'quick, cheap and dirty' method to improve these somewhat, where the construction makes it possible, is to trim whatever moulded in supports are on the underside of the faux coal load. That drops the level somewhat, and a little loose coal can then go on top if wished. (Top marks among the RTR locos I have goes to Hornby's Thompson L1 2-6-4T. Having removed the moulding in the bunker with a view to modification, a false floor was revealed in a well judged position for a little coal to represent a part emptied bunker, or a little more for a near full load.)

QUOTE (SRman @ 21 Oct 2020, 00:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...One observation I made from checking photos and videos was that M7 0-4-4T locos often started off with a full coal load in the bunker, with several more lumps of coal on the cab roof.
That's the signature of some mechanical handling aid in use for coaling. If hand coaled from ground level or a wagon there's little chance some coal gets lifted high enough to go on the cab roof! A common sight on the KX GN mainline district allocation of tank locos in BR operation, all of J50, J52, J94, L1, N1, N2, N7, can be seen on shed with bunkers fully coaled and quite frequently a 'deposit' on the cab roof. Mechanical handling at all the sheds: Cenotaph coal towers at KX Top Shed and Hornsey; Stothert and Pitt tub lifts at KX Bottom Shed, Hatfield and Hitchin.

However, I was firmly corrected when I 'enhanced' my model of an N7 with some coal on the cab roof, seen out on a working turn on the club layout. A former driver was most emphatic that the fireman's duties before going off shed always included trimming the bunker; and leaving coal uselessly on the cab roof where it might just bounce off the driver's bonce while running, was a sure way for the fireman to meet with disfavour on the footplate.
 
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