King of Scarlets – A Quarry Hunslet

King of Scarlets – A Quarry Hunslet

As a modeller, you just can’t beat a good set of photos to work from.  At Statfold Barn last week, they had the King of Scarlets on display.  It’s an Alice class Quarry Hunslet from Dinorwic.  I have a 16mm kit to build plus an OO9 kit so I’m really keen to get some great photos to model from.

The loco is in the condition she (are locos shes?  This one is a king!) came out off the quarry.  They slapped on a coat of red paint and serviced her but otherwise she has been across the Atlantic to Canada but basically been in storage since 1962.  That’s a long time but as she is unrestored you can see the enormous bend in one footplate and all the dents and scratches.  One side of the cab is incredibly scratched, the front is bent and the cylinders are really bad!  It’s all great modelling fodder.

Modelling Thoughts

There’s a number of caveats to modelling King of Scarlets though.

  1. I want to model the Pen Garret level and she wasn’t there, she was on Duffryn level just below.  Can I cope with this anachronism?  I really like Pen Garret and Duffryn is quite boring by comparison.
  2. The frames are different so to do her properly I’ll need to redo the frames which are etched brass.  The kit frames slope up and have different cut outs.  This frame is squarer.  This is my first etched brass kit so is that just being daft?
  3. The chimney is a few inches shorter so would need changing on the model.  I guess I can cope with that but it’s part resin, part brass.

However, on the plus side, I have some amazing photos!  Historic photos are hard to find of any of these as cameras weren’t that prevalent on the side of a Welsh mountain in the 50s and 60s.  This loco is in the original state as it left the quarry, dents and all.

If I’m going to do a 16mm engine (that’s 1/19 scale), it becomes the star of the show so all these dents become important.  The actual kit is Rough Pup and I could go to Tywyn to get some equivalent photos but I like the idea of modelling this one.

I’ve been really inspired by this thread on RMWeb so if you want to know more about the kit, check this out.


Apologies that there are so many but hopefully if you are ever looking for details, you’ll find them here.

7 thoughts on “King of Scarlets – A Quarry Hunslet”


    Great shots.. Complete with cob webs! You might be able to clear up a question for me. THe saddle tank kept the water for the steam. From the pics there was no wood / coal bin. Where was the fuel stored? Is the saddle tank half water half fuel? Not a lot of storage. I would imagin it had to top off every trip if it was far…

    1. I’m not sure how it was done in quarry days, but I’m reliably informed that on the Llanberis Lake Railway, they simply bank up the fire at Gilfach Ddu before each round trip and don’t carry coal on the engine (they operate driver only). So while there is a coal bunker, it might not have been used back in the day. If the fire is built up to the level of the fire box door, these engines will go several miles without needing a top up. They also weren’t designed to be fired on the move, there is a sliding section in the back of the “cab”, you open it up and stand on the track between the buffers to fire the engine, the fire hole door is at cab floor level.

      I volunteer on the Bala Lake Railway which is a lot longer than the other lines which use these locos and also has some steep gradients, so firing on the move is usually necessary and it requires a certain amount of gymnastics from the fireman to get the coal in (I have personal experience of this).

      If you haven’t seen it already, there is an excellent video of a 16mm quarry layout on YouTube, search for “julian53809 Dinorwig Quarry”, I think it’s going to be a the Bala model show at the end of May along with my 009 layouts.

    1. Just snuck a quick look at the video. Excellent. It’s nice to see the locos in action! The scenery looks good too.

      Thanks for sharing it.


  2. Most of the operational Quarry Hunslets in preservation have a taller chimney to improve steaming, so I’m guessing that’s why your kit has the tall type.

    A bit more info re the frame design. As you have noticed, there is more than one frame frame type for the Alice class Quarry Hunslet’s, an early and a late design, the late type being first used on 680 George B.

    The Dinorwig workshops are famous for chopping and changing parts between engines during overhauls and most of the preserved Dinorwig locos have parts from other engines incorporated in them. The most infamous example involves King of Scarlets (492), Maid Marian (822) and Velinheli (409). The full story is described in “Quarry Hunslets of North Wales” by Cliff Thomas on pages 102 to 107 “A question of identity and the Alice class domed boiler”.

    The short version is that Maid Marian and King of Scarlets underwent an identity swap at some point in the late 1920’s. Around the same time, the domed boiler originally fitted to Maid Marian was swapped with the domeless one from Velinheli. The preserved Maid Marian does not contain any parts stamped with the makers number 822, the most common makers number on the parts being 492, the frame marking has never been found, but the evidence suggests that Maid Marian as preserved has King of Scarlets frames. Just to confuse things further, King of Scarlets originally carried the name Alice until 1908, this was later removed and applied to the current Alice (780) as a result of not removing the name plates when the water tanks were swapped!

    It’s also worth noting that these engines originally carried riveted water tanks, but most were replaced with welded ones during their quarry life. Alice (780) still has a riveted tank, as does the Penrhyn engine Hugh Napier. I’m not sure about the others.

    You might also find it worthwhile contacting Hugh Jones, secretary of the Maid Marian loco fund, they have a lot of archive material (not just of Maid Marian), some unpublished and he is a goldmine of information if you get him talking. He is usually present for most major events in Bala.

    1. Thanks Tim

      I’ve got the Quarry Hunslet book and it has some fascinating pictures and stories doesn’t it.

      I do need to read the details though.

      Thanks again


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