Steve Johnson    Modelmaker



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Hibberd Planet Departmental No.52

Departmental No.52 was a Hibberd Planet 0-4-0DM that worked at Greenland Creosote Works, West Hartlepool. When delivered, it was incorrectly given the capital stock number 11104. It replaced an earlier locomotive that worked here, a Simplex numbered 15097.

The kit is made by Nonneminstre Models and is a white metal kit. Designed to run on a Tenshodo Spud bogie, it can be fitted with a Black Beetle, High Level or similar. I had chosen to use the Tenshodo, but I wasn't happy at the slow running qualities. Another problem is that the British Railways version is a little different to the kit. The most noticeable difference being the lack of side sheets between the axles. This would have made the Tenshodo bogie quite visible as well as not having daylight between the axleboxes. I have found that with a bit of body and chassis modification, the High Level Roadrunner unit will fit with a Mashima 1015 motor with flywheel or 1020 motor without will fit and give the required daylight. Another option that wasn't available at the time is the High Level Kits Quad Driver, which may fit?

So far, I have just taken delivery and inspecting the parts. The first item I will change is the buffers to sprung ones!

Some progress has been made with a rough assembly of the body. I am now awaiting delivery and construction of the High Level Roadrunner gearbox with 54:1 gearing so that I can make the necessary modifications and fit it before continuing. I still intend to fit a DCC decoder, but space is tight. One plus point is that the model is white metal and therefore probably heavy enough, not that the real thing could have moved much anyway!

Body roughly assembled

The Roadrunner unit duly arrived and was assembled for fitting with a Mashima 1020 motor. Although the unit is the right length, the depth of the unit caused a problem fitting the second wheel set. After a bit of a think, I decided to make a sub frame from brass that enabled the motor/gearbox assembly to be fitted at an angle. This then left enough room under the sub frame for the compensated assembly out of a High Level Kits Pacer gearbox kit. Gibson sprung pick ups were fitted to both the motor/gearbox unit and the trailing wheel set assembly and wired together. The performance is very good and being a compensated chassis, provides reliable and very slow running.

The Completed chassis using a modified Roadrunner gearbox

Having solved this hiatus, I just need to finish off the bodywork! Another noticeable difference to the kits prototype and No.52 is the valance under the buffer beams and angled fairing on the sides. This was easily solved by adding some plasticard valances under the beams. Another feature are the wooden dumb buffers attached to the valance. These were used to push the special wagons into the creosote tanks. The previous locomotive, Simplex 15097 also had these. Working off photographs, the front dumb buffers appeared to be attached to some sort of frame. This was fabricated out of plasticard strip with the dumb buffers being made out of some Plastruct rectangular section rod. I wasn't able to locate a photograph of the rear of the locomotive, so am not sure if this frame is attached to the rear valance or not. In the event, I have left it off. Another slight difference is the exhaust. No.52 had a slightly different pattern silencer to that supplied in the kit and mounted more to the edge of the cab. Using some brass wire inserted into a plastic tube of the right length, another silencer was made. With all this done, it was time to tidy up the body in preperation for a coat of primer.

No.52 in primer ready for painting

Having primed the model, a further inspection was made to see if any remedial work needed to be carried out. With this done, it was time to spray it black with my usual Halfords Gloss Black. The beams were masked off and subsequently painted red.

No.52 painted awaiting transfers

Now comes a difficult bit, transfers! It seems from photographs that the locomotive has some lining, which I think is probably red. Fox Transfers do make some suitably thin red lining. The text on the cabside reads, BRITISH RAILWAYS DEPARTMENTAL LOCOMOTIVE No.52. The text is quite small and was probably handpainted. I will attempt to get some custom transfers made for this.