On October 12 at Barrow Hill Roundhouse the National Railway Museum and Bachmann launched the fourth exclusive model of the National Collection of Great Central Railway ‘Improved Director’ 4-4-0 506 Butler Henderson. (HM66)
The ‘D11/1’ 4-4-0 follows in the path created by models of the English Electric prototype Deltic (launched in 2007), GWR ‘City’ 4-4-0 3440 City of Truro (2009) and Midland Compound 4-4-0 1000 (2011).
It is well known that Bachmann is also producing models of the ‘D11/1’ and ‘D11/2’ 4-4-0s for its main catalogue range this year, but 506 Butler Henderson will remain exclusive to the National Railway Museum. Moreover it includes detail differences, more of which later.
Eleven ‘D11/1’ class 4-4-0s – known as ‘Improved Directors’ – were built by the Great Central Railway between 1919 and 1922 at Gorton Works. 506 was built in December 1919 and was named Butler Henderson after company director Eric Butler-Henderson, the son of Lord Farringdon, Chairman of the Great Central Railway from 1899-1922.
506 went on to become LNER 5506 at the grouping in 1923 then in 1946, with the LNER renumbering, it became 2660. The next number change came in 1948 on nationalisation of Britain’s railways when Butler Henderson became 62660. The locomotive was withdrawn from BR service in October 1960 and was then preserved.
Initially 506 was restored to its GCR condition and placed on static display at the British Transport Commission Museum at Clapham, London, but following closure of the site in 1975 it entered the National Collection and moved to a new base at the fledgling Great Central Railway, Loughborough. Butler Henderson was, after much discussion, returned to steam in 1982 and became a popular locomotive working at the Great Central Railway. Its final fling was in BR black after nine years of operation in GCR green, but on its movement to the National Railway Museum in York it was repainted into the lined GCR livery again.
Currently 506 Butler Henderson is on display at Barrow Hill Roundhouse near Chesterfield.
For more about the history of the Robinson ‘D11/1’ and ‘D11/2’ 4-4-0s see Reality Check in HM65.
With the ‘D11/2’ 4-4-0 already under its belt (HM65) Bachmann has a good grounding to work from. However, the ‘D11/1’ – and particularly the model of 506 Butler Henderson, has a number of detail differences.
Firstly the cab roof profile is taller due to the more generous loading gauge of the GCR while the whistle, safety valves, dome and chimney are all also taller. All of these details are reflected correctly in the model of 506 with the chimney looking particularly neat on top of the smokebox.
Another big difference with 506 is the original style valance over the driving wheels – a feature which was removed from the class in LNER ownership.
Like the ‘D11/2’ this model of Butler Henderson is beautifully detailed with lamp brackets and brake pipes at the front together with a finely produced smokebox door dart. The boiler profile and firebox are spot on while the cab exterior and interior are full of character and detail.
The tender too is excellent with a removable metal coal load which reveals a fully relieved coal space. The ‘D11/1’ also has a water scoop modelled underneath the tender which is correct for a GCR based locomotive.
However, what really makes this model stand out is its livery. The lined green colour scheme. Here Bachmann has done a superb job in recreating the intricate lining and colours of Butler Henderson’s GCR livery, as it is today, including crests on the driving wheel splasher and the cabside numberplates. Equally well done is the Great Central lettering on the tender sides.
The 4-4-0 chassis for 506 is the same as that used on the ‘D11/2’ and we were pleased to see that this sample ran just as well as the model of 62677 reviewed in HM65.
Straight from the box our sample ran smoothly and quietly throughout the speed range with ample capacity to haul a seven coach train. The tender is fitted with a 21-pin DCC decoder socket which is permanently linked to the locomotive via a neat four wire connection. The tender drawbar is also adjustable to reduce the distance between the locomotive and tender for those with generous curves.
This new NRM exclusive model is another tour de force. It meets the standards laid down by previous NRM steam models – City of Truro and Compound 1000 – in all respects.
Two versions are being produced for the NRM. The first is a batch of 100 limited edition Platinum collectors models which come with a numbered certificate, a glass display plinth and packaged in a larger platinum coloured box for £170. The main production run features 506 Butler Henderson in standard form which is exclusive to the NRM, but not a limited edition, for £130.
Both versions were due to arrive in the country during October and are available to order now through the NRM’s online shop as well as going on sale at its shops in York and Shildon.
It is fitting that this high profile and popular locomotive has been reproduced in 4mm scale and the NRM and Bachmann should be justifiably proud of their achievements. (MW)
Cat No: 31-145NRM
Description: GCR ‘D11/1’ 4-4-0 506 Butler Henderson, GCR lined green
DCC: DCC ready, 21-pin socket
Couplings: Small tension locks in NEM pockets