Prototype and model notes


Price list and terms
Loco and tender kits
RTR detailing kits
Etched windows
Rolling stock
Track details
Useful sites
Contact us


The J15s were long-lived and there were many changes over time. Therefore it is important to refer to photographs. 289 of the class were built, of which 123 were taken over by BR in 1948 and the last were withdrawn in 1962. Yeadon's Register volume 35 is recommended and for those of you with access online the website has a good selection of photographs with descriptions.

Hornby have produced several models and appear to be continuing to do so. However, LNER versions are a little thin on the ground, especially those featuring the original cab roof profile which are essential for pre-1930 locomotives.  None have been made with the original stovepipe chimney.

In selecting a prototype, or even before buying the Hornby model, the following notes may help, although when referring to original build information there were many ‘swaps’ at Stratford Works.


Chimneys were originally all stovepipe. A NER design was fitted starting from 1930, most stovepipes being replaced by 1935. During the Second World War there were some oddballs. From 1960 Norwich shed found and fitted original stovepipe style chimneys to three engines. Alan Gibson offers lost wax stovepipe chimney ref 4M630.

Ramsbottom enclosed safety valves were originally fitted but, starting in the late 1920s, Ross Pop were fitted on the original base. Later these were fitted directly to the firebox. Hornby appear to only fit Ross Pops fitted directly to the firebox top. Alan Gibson offers lost wax replacement Ramsbottom safety valve ref 4M629.

Cab side cut-outs were deep in pre-1892 builds, shallow after that (Hornby do both but the majority of models are the shallow post-1892 cut-outs)

Raised profile metal cab roofs were fitted from 1933, eventually to all locomotives. Hornby so far (2020) have only produced one model with the original profile and wooden roof (with NER chimney), but it is an easy modification to backdate a later cab roof as this is glued (usually poorly) on the Hornby model.

The first 249 members of the class were steam brake only and all but seven of these remained so. These usually had 3-link couplings. The 43 locomotives that were vacuum or Westinghouse braked had screw couplings. Hornby models of the unfitted locomotives are not in the majority. The LNER original cab version R3230 No 7524 is one, as is the LNER later cab roof version R3380 No 7510 (both having small cab cut-outs of the post 1892 pattern and also have post-1892 tender frame types - see below). The BR liveried non-vacuum braked models all appear to have brake piping along the footplate so are incorrect.

Westinghouse pumps were only on passenger engines. Pipes were fitted (sometimes in casings) on the side of the footplate angle for vacuum (one side) and steam heat fitted engines (other side). These are cast into the Mazak footplate and therefore are difficult (i.e. near impossible) to remove from the Hornby model.

Pre-1899 engines had no balance weights on the wheels; later built ones had integral cast weights.

LT trip cocks were fitted to some engines, initially under the cab steps then adjacent to the front guard irons.

Occasionally, taper buffers were fitted.

The 19 Sharp Stewart built engines (all withdrawn before 1946) had outside brake pull rods.

Side window cabs were fitted to some engines.

Handrail knobs were perpendicular to the boiler and not parallel to the boiler as modelled by Hornby. These can be re-drilled and this makes a significant difference to the appearance of the locomotive.


The cut-outs in the frames were D-shaped up to 1892 and parallel top and bottom thereafter. Hornby do both types, but the majority of models are the post-1892 parallel type.

Tender cabs were fitted to some locomotives.

Tarpaulin sheet support bars were fitted in World War 2 and retained thereafter on some locomotives.

There was a water gauge in the form of a dial on the left-hand side of the tender front (as fitted to Hornby models), these were removed from 1930 onwards.

Some tenders were larger at 2,640 Gallons capacity and therefore had six inch higher sides.

The last thirty engines built were matched to second-hand tenders of different patterns. Look out for equally spaced axle centres on these tenders.

The tender front handrails were of different lengths depending whether pre- or post-1892 build dates, generally to match the different cab cut-out types, but swaps occurred.

Only 16 tenders received the post-1956 BR crest as opposed to the earlier ‘cycling lion’ emblem.

Copyright © 2020 Brassmasters Scale Models