My Dad has just begun work on building a garden railway in OO scale. He’s always been really into his railways and whilst I’ve dabbled, I’ve never been able to justify getting the larger locomotives that spark my imagination such as the streamlined LMS and LNER engines of the 1930s, as we’ve never had anywhere large enough to run them.
I didn’t want to jump right into the deep end by spending hundreds of pounds on something like an A4 Pacific and a rake of new, beautiful LNER teaks, so I jumped on eBay and put together a little train for under £100.
Starting from the top we have a British Rail (BR) Blue Class 47, which we will be looking at today. A BR Mk1 brake coach and Mk1 parcels coach. Two open BR Mk2 coaches and a Mk2 brake.
There were a couple of really really good buys in here and a few bits that need some work. There will be a couple of blog posts coming that detail the restoration of the coaches, but today’s post is all about the Class 47.
This is Hornby R319 “The Queen Mother” in British Rail Blue. It was released in 1984 and carried over into the 1985 catalogue, making it at least 35 years old.
I brought this one from eBay with a “buy it now” price of £39.99.
It arrived in a really nice original condition, and had clearly been looked after.
The body has a lot of moulded detail, especially on the roof, a reasonably detailed interior and a couple of separately fitted details such as metal handrails up to the door.
Underneath it has this weird “ringfield” type motor which was apparently common at the time. Note the reduction gears from the motor’s core to the wheels to allow it to run at a realistic speed.
The Ringfield looks like an easy motor to service. all I’ve done to this one so far is add a little drop of oil to the gears. As with the rest of the loco, the motor looks like it’s been really well looked after and runs very quietly and smoothly.
Another feature of the chassis I like is that electrical pickup is done through both wheel sets. Hopefully that will help it to not cut out crossing points slowly (not that it should need to on a garden railway).
A heavy locomotive puts a lot of pressure onto the driving wheels, allowing them to grip the rail and pull it’s load along. This Class 47 doesn’t weigh a lot but has a set of tyres to help with it’s traction. I somehow doubt a newer model will do this as it doesn’t look that realistic, but the tyres are currently nice and soft, so I won’t be getting rid of them for now.
We’ll start the detailing process with the interior. The model already has controls and seats moulded into the interior.
I just picked them out using my trusty Vallejo paints.
I also needed to add a driver. I picked these chaps up for £5 on eBay. They are 3D printed.
I went a little overboard with the detailing, since you can’t really see him, but painting a face on a figure this size was a fun challenge.
You can sort of see him in there.
I then picked out the little windscreen wipers.
On the exterior I didn’t actually change that much. The model already had a lot of moulded detail on the roof which I just added to by painting in the exhaust, cooling vents and a couple of other small vents on the roof.
To do the cooling vents, I just painted them black and then gently went over the top of it with a fine sandpaper just to bring back the original colour of the mesh.
I know it’s not a 100% uniform effect, but I’m ok with that. As the loco would be running those vents would be sucking in lots of air and grime from outside which would cause a little discolouration of the vents.
That brings me nicely onto my final point which is weathering. There are plenty of photos out there of Class 47s which were absolutely filthy. However, Class 47s were used for both passenger and goods services and whilst goods trains can get really weathered, I doubt a company is going to send out a train to paying customers when it isn’t top notch.
I’ve never seen an overly weathered passenger train even on branch lines. Modern HSTs and inter-city services that GWR and LNER (ex-Virgin) that I’ve seen and been on, seem to be really well maintained.
I will be adding a little track grime around the wheels and undercarriage in time, but I intend to do the whole rake in one go, to give the weathering a uniformed look; as if the train has just picked up a bit of dirt from it’s route that day.
So for now, here is my detailed Class 47. It’s been a fun first step into railway modelling and I’m hoping to make some progress on the carriages soon!
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By Richard Francis