Written by Richard Grigg, Photos by Gwion Rhys Davies.
Designed by H. Wainwright of the SE&CR (South Eastern & Chatham Railway), 8 members of the P class were built between 1909 and 1910 and were loosely based on the Al class Terriers of the LB&SCR (London Brighton & South Coast Railway). They were originally designed for light duty passenger trains however, in practise, it was discovered that they lacked the tractive effort to undertake such duties and so were re-allocated to duties of shunting and station pilot.
The P class survived as a whole all the way through Southern Railway and British Railway's ownerships until 1955 when withdrawal of the class began. By 1961 the final P class bowed out but thankfully 4 members have survived into preservation.
It's quite normal nowadays for model shops to work alongside the major manufacturers and commission special exclusive models, however Hatton's Model Railways have taken the next step and produced their own R-T-R locomotives and rolling stock and in this review we shall be taking a look at their recently released SE&CR P class No:178 in SE&CR lined green with brass (H4-P-001) priced at £99.00.
- H4-P-002: P class no: 173 in SE&CR lined green with brass
- H4-P-003: P class no: 754 in SE&CR grey
- H4-P-004: P class no: 325 in SR Maunsel lined green
- H4-P-005: P class no: 1555 in SR black with Egyptian lettering
- H4-P-006: P class no: 1558 in SR black with sunshine lettering
- H4-P-007: P class no: 31027 in BR black with early emblem
- H4-P-008: P class no: 31323 in BR black with late crest
- H4-P-009: P class "Pioneer II" in Bowaters paper mill green
- H4-P-010: P class "Pride of Sussex" in Robertsbridge flour mill green
- H4-P-011: P class no: 27 "Primrose" in Bluebell Railway lined black
- H4-P-012: P class no: 323 "Bluebell" in Bluebell Railway lined blue
- H4-P-013: P class no: 5027 in ROD green
- H4-P-014: P class no: 5753 in ROD green
- H4-P-015: P class no: 27 in SE&CR lined green with polished brass
- H4-P-016: P class no: 31556 in BR black with early emblem
Hatton's packing closely resembles that used by Heljan, Dapol and DJ Models. The model is protected by the familiar "Block Of Ice" style packing which is surrounded on all sides by sheets of soft foam padding. The whole assembly is then placed in a. sturdy cardboard box. Also enclosed are a full colour operation and maintenance leaflet and a detailpack which contains the following:
• A full set of spare buffers
• 2X cosmetic screw link couplings
• 2X steam heat pipes
• 3X SR route indicator discs
• 3X oil cans
• An SR style lamp
Whether it's separately fitted or moulded the detail on this model is just outstanding. It has to be one of if not THE most intricately detailed models I've ever owned.
Moulded details include:
• Rivets on the smoke box, buffer beams, running board, cab front, sides, back and roof, water tank tops and coal bunker sides.
• Boiler bands
• Water filler caps
• Cab roof ventilation hatch
• Sandbox filler caps
Separately fitted details include:
• Whistle valve
• Safety valve
• Copper pipework along the top of the boiler
• Handrails along the smokebox, boiler, water tanks and cab
• Westinghouse air brake pump
• Flush cab windows
• Copper pipework slung under the boiler
• Smokebox dart handles
• Lamp irons
• Vacuum brake pipes
• Water carry over pipes
• Brake shoes
• Sprung buffers
• Brake rods slung under the loco
I've undoubtedly overlooked some smaller details but that's testament to the vast amount of detail on show.
Turning to the cab, although your view is restricted, the internal detail here are just as impressive as the exterior with gauges and separately fitted cab controls that have all been painted with great care and attention.
The SE&CR livery is beautifully presented in the correct shade of green and the superb lining on the body is clean and crisp. The decals (lettering, company crest, running numbers and builder's plates) are also displayed sharp and clear.
Due to the small size of the wheels, the red lining that adorns them is slightly wonkey in places, however this is only noticeable when you get your eyes right up to the model. In normal circumstances you will not see it and it certainly doesn't distract from an otherwise visually pleasing model.
The model has been built to take a 6-pin decoder if you wish to run the loco in DCC. However installation of DCC sound is a little more complicated and involves removal of material from around the firebox in order to run the cables through. Running with DCC sound also means that due to the speaker taking up all available space inside the model the decoder has to be placed inside the cab.
Hatton's do exercise caution in the instructions by advising you not to undertake DCC sound installation unless your confident to do so.
The propulsion of this model is provided by a can-type motor which drives the rear axle. Even before conducting the initial run-in session the model was already a smooth and quiet runner even at slow speed.
The running board is machined out of metal providing adequate weight and tractive effort to the loco although you wouldn't want to run it with anything too substantial.
Leaving it the tricky DCC sound installation this model has everything else going for it. The immaculate livery makes t standout and draws your eyes to it, the exquisite details are a delight to look at and what's really impressive is that you can get all of this for just under £100.
For me, this is the perfect example of what the major manufacturers should be offering us... R-T-R models with high quality details at a reasonably low price. It's taken a model railway shop to prove that it can be achieved. If you model the railways of the south, regardless of era, you can't go wrong with a P class in your loco fleet.
Pros & Cons
• Excellent value for money
• Striking livery
• Immaculate detail both moulded & separately fitted
• Smooth and quiet runner
• Ideally weighted
• Sharp and clear decals
• Tricky DCC sound installation (as mentioned in instructions)
• Slightly off centre lining on wheels (only visible up close)
With this I give an overall score of 9/10.