We seem to have reached the stage in OO scale modelling where there is no such thing as a stupid suggestion. Beattie well tanks, Southern Region multiple units, BR Clans and the Kestrel prototype diesel would all, not so long ago, have been considered a mildly insane prospect for the ready-to-run manufacturer. And all are either on the drawing board or in the run-up to release. We’ve actually got to the stage where the manufacturers are running out of diesel locomotives to make.
However, while we wait for the Class 14, 15, 03 and no doubt 23 and 28 in due course, there’s another class that’s been stealthily prepared with almost no attention from the model press, and is now not far from its release.
It’s a humble shunter with a relatively small area of operations, being based in BR days at Southampton Docks, replacing the old USA tanks. The class was also capable of shunting EMUs (three worked at Bournemouth doing just this). A number were sold into industry and seven survive to the present day. In many ways, it’s a better candidate for a ready-to-run model than some of the prototypes that are already being manufactured. It’s not surprising that Bachmann have snapped it up.
What is slightly surprising, and what accounts for the lack of attention in the modelling press, is that it’s to be made for the American market. It will only be available in the UK via import. No word on price, but it’ll probably be between £30 and £40. It will only be available in one livery, which will be non-prototypical. Here’s a photo.
Yep, that’s the catch. It’s a Thomas the Tank Engine character. See, the great thing about Thomas and Friends is that the engines are, with a few notable exceptions, based on real life prototypes. Our man Salty here is a character invented for the TV series rather than the original books who is, yes, a dock shunter. By coincidence, shunter number 2991 is one of the survivors, currently based at Eastleigh (it’s the one in the photo up there).
The model isn’t perfect – some compromises have clearly been made for the sake of producing a model robust enough for children’s use, and the bonnets look a little low compared to the cab. But with a repaint and detailing, it would make an interesting addition to an industrial, dockside or depot scene. You might have to remove the face – I’m not sure whether this was a feature of the prototype or not.
If you’d prefer something more detailed
http://www.silverfoxmodels.co.uk/st/st.htm – Silver Fox produce a resin kit that uses a Bachmann chassis.
http://www.semgonline.com/diesel/class07.html – A nice photo of the prototype.
http://www.pegnsean.net/~railwayseries/salty.htm – About Salty (more photos)
http://www.wnxx.com/disposals/disposals07.htm – Withdrawals.