Bulleid Light Pacific in original ‘Air Smoothed’ condition
Aster's 30th Anniversary Model
Southern Railway - British Railway
Battle of Britain class 4-6-2
Mr. O V S Bulleid is generally considered to be the last giant of British steam locomotive design. For a number of years he was the principle assistant to Sir Nigel Gresley on the LNER railway, but his chance came to demonstrate his singular talents when he was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer to the Southern Railway in 1937. Innovation was Bulleid's credo. Welded steel fireboxes, totally enclosed chain driven valve gear and 'air smoothed' boiler casings were among his most striking concepts.
The 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class of 110 locomotives were introduced from 1945 and featured all Bulleid’s design innovations. Often referred to as "Spam Cans" due to their unusual appearance, these locomotives were intended for express passenger duties on the SR's principle routes. But their light axle loadings allowed them also to be used with success on the secondary routes. For nearly twenty years the 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class were to be found everywhere throughout southern England. Their popularity on named trains like “Atlantic Coast Express, "Night Ferry" and "Golden Arrow" is now legendry.
Although there were two classes of locomotives, the 'West Country' class and the 'Battle of Britain' class, they were in practice identical in all respects. The 'West Country' class was named after towns and districts of south-west England served by the Southern Railway. The 'Battle of Britain' class was named after aircrafts, airfields, squadrons and personalities of the Battle of Britain - a critical period in WW2 when Britain stood alone against the enemy defended by the brave men and women of the Royal Air Force.
Aster has chosen to model two examples from the 'Battle of Britain' class.
It is worth noting that of the 110 members of the 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class, no fewer than 60 examples were rebuilt into a quite different format from 1956 to 1961. It should also be remembered that no fewer than 20 examples are preserved throughout the UK in both the original "SpamCan" condition and in rebuilt formats. This class is still very much admired by rail enthusiasts after more than 40 years since they last ran in revenue earning service.
The first live steam Gauge One model from Aster Hobby Company, Inc was a Southern Railway 'Schools' class. It is entirely appropriate that the 30th anniversary should be marked by another Southern Railway locomotive; the 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class. Aster Hobby Co. Inc. wish to sincerely thank the Bluebell Railway and the Bulleid Society for access to their locomotive 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" and the National Railway Museum for access to 340151 "Winston Churchill."
Aster Hobby Co. Inc. Japan produced a limited number of the "Golden Arrow" detail kit for the Southern version of the Spam Can. As illustrated in the picture above, this kit contained 2 golden Arrow emblems for installation on both sides of the boiler jacket, a twin boom flag pole with real fabric flags, and a golden arrow emblem for the smoke box door.
Specifications of Battle of Britain class (SPAM CAN)
SCALE/GAUGE: 1/32 , GAUGE ONE (45mm)
TOTAL WEIGHT: 6.00kg (13 1/4 lbs) (ENGINE 4.2kg + TENDER 1.6kg
DIMENSIONS: LENGTH O.B. 649mm (25 1/2 inches) (ENGINE 427mm + TENDER 222mm)
WIDTH: ENGINE 86.2mm TENDER 86.2mm
HEIGHT: ENGINE 126.5mm TENDER125.5mm
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 4 - 6 - 2 PACIFIC (2C1/231)
DRIVING WHEELS: DIA 59.0mm
PILOT TRUCK WHEELS: DIA 29.0mm
TRAILER TRUCK WHEELS: DIA 29.0mm
ENGINE CYLINDERS: 3CYLINDERS,BORE 12mmX STROKE 20mm, STEAM PORT 1.4mm LAP 1mm,
CUTOFF 82.6% ,SLIDE VALVE TRAVEL 4.8mm
VALVE GEAR: Axle Drive Valve Gear
BOILER TYPE: C TYPE WITH WATER TUBES, WATER 255cc at 80%FULL
PRESSURE 3-4 KG./SQ.CM AT NORMAL WORKING
FITTINGS: 2 X SAFETY VALVES, PRESSURE GAUGE, WATER GAUGE, BLOW DOWN VALVE,
REGULATOR VALVE, BLOWER VALVE,& SUPER HEATER
AXLE DRIVEN PUMP: PUMP BORE 5mm X RAM STROKE 6mm
LUBRICATOR: ROSCOE DISPLACEMENT TYPE
BURNER: 3 WICK TUBE ALCOHOL BURNER
TENDER WATER TANK: CAPACITY 190cc, HAND PUMP MOUNTED..
DISPLACEMENT TYPE ALCOHOL TANK: CAPACITY 180cc, METHYLATED ALCOHOL
TENDER BOGIE WHEELS: DIA. 340mm
MINIMUM RADIUS: 2 meters (6 1/2 feet)
The Bulleid Society was originally organized in 1966 as the Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society. Their goal was to preserve an original light Pacific in fully operational condition for haulage of special trains on BR. The Society's website covers all things Bulleid and features news, historical articles plus information on other preserved Bulleid locomotives. Click on the link above to access their website.
Photos by Peter Trinder
Malachite Green - 21C166 Spitfire with high sided tender
BR livery - 34051 Winston Churchill with cut down tender as preserved at the National Railway Museum, York.
Artwork courtesy of Richard Green, Locos in Profile