Western Region modellers are going to love this one – a small loco in a small scale which will inspire a few layouts, I am sure. Despite the long held view that minority loco classes would not make it to main stream modelling, manufacturers have broken into this field and are now offering some very attractive models of unusual prototypes. For N gauge, the Class 22 breaks new ground and Dapol has done a pretty good job of it too.It is a small Bo-Bo type locomotive which will suit anything from large layout themes based on WR main line action to sleepy west country branch lines.
A single Class 22 has ‘Wheal Annah’, my compact China Clay industry layout as its home. No. D6318 is weathered and fine-tuned for operations on a compact shunting layout.
The Class 22 was a short-lived locomotive and originally born of the need for a small type 2 rated locomotive to cover mixed traffic duties in the south west including local freight and Class 2 passenger services. Originally called the NBL D6300 Class, it is very much a Western Region machine, a B-B diesel hydraulic locomotive constructed between 1959 and 1962. ‘Short-lived’ fully describes the fate of the Class 22: many failed to notch up ten years of service despite migrating to various duties throughout the Western Region including empty coaching stock moves and short distance trip freight trains. They were removed from traffic by the early 1970s.
It should be noted that the six pilot scheme locomotives (D6300-6305) remained in the Devon and Cornwall area throughout their short careers to keep them together in a small geographical area due to non standard detail differences compared to the rest of the fleet. The higher powered production locomotives saw use throughout the WR despite their unreliability. Fortunately, the Dapol model does not live up to the full sized locomotive’s reputation for poor performance!
Dapol’s N gauge Class 22 is a lovely runner and is a popular model with me! It features working lights, 6-pin DCC socket and spoked wheels too – just like the full size locomotives. The model of D6326 was a pre-production model subsequently returned to Dapol and has never had the chance to run on ‘Wheal Annah’.
A one piece injection moulded body is simply clipped onto the chassis without the use of screws to retain it. In common with its OO gauge cousin, detail definition is sharp and well defined but subtle in the most part. Comparison with photographs shows that Dapol has achieved a good shape to the cab windows and adjoining roof area which is a defining feature of the Class 22s. The offset fan grille in the roof is another important characteristic of the full size locomotives, faithfully represented on the model. The large side grilles are composed of etched metal and neatly fitted to the body shell.
Class 22s are complex in shape, with difficult curves and a plethora of body side detail to tool up in a relatively small area – a challenging project for Dapol to attempt in any scale. With no surviving locomotives to examine and scan, only very careful research could be applied and the result is like the OO gauge version: a crisp and well proportioned model which has the character of the full size locomotives.
An examination against published references shows that its overall dimensions are accurate, including measurements such as bogie centres, length over head stocks, extreme body width and bogie wheelbase.
The now standard arrangement of a frame fitted motor equipped with twin fly wheels has been applied to this model to good effect. All wheels are driven via drive shafts and gear towers resulting in a very powerful little locomotive.
The chassis frame fills most of the body with sufficient room for a decoder resulting in a weight of 75g, which will ensure good haulage capacity for an N gauge locomotive. Given that the Class 22 was generally used on trip workings and short freights, the model will have more than sufficient grunt for most layout operators needs.
The buffer beam side fairings are attached to the under frame mouldings, not the body. When the body is pulled from the chassis, the fairings should be left behind! Buffer beams are fitted with neat oval buffers and separate details are included with the model for fitting by the modeller, including brake hoses and couplings. Dapol has achieved the correct shape and proportions to the bogie side frames and detail has good relief. Both bogies swing freely in the chassis and are equipped with the correct sized wheels (with spokes), a very neat feature for N gauge modelling. It is easy to unclip the bogies from the model for cleaning, maintenance and lubrication
Dapol’s N gauge Class 22 is enhanced with many separately applied details including separate wire hand rails, flush glazing and a bag of small details for application to the buffer beam. A pair of ‘Easi-Fit’ magnetic couplings is included with the Class 22 model which will plug into the NEM pocket. Assembly of the model is neat and durable, nothing having fallen off in the box.
A fab little package which has proven its worth on ‘Wheal Annah’. performance over a weekend of intense shunting operations leaves me liking a loco model of a class I never saw as an enthusiast or photographer.
Wheal Annah’s No. D6318 at work with clay hood wagons before weathering was applied.