Sometimes I am a very lucky boy. Once every year or so a lady in a high vis safety vest will knock on my front door and ask me to sign a strange little computer. Then she will give me a cardboard box, and in that cardboard box is usually a splendid toy locomotive
This happened to me again yesterday when I received my Ace Trains Bulleid Light Pacific. Nicknamed “Spam Cans” for reasons apparent when compared to the distinctive tins in which the equally distinctive processed meat were sold during the 1940s. These locomotives, which would find fame hauling prestigious express passenger trains were initially described as ‘mixed traffic’ locomotives (a measure to convince the government to allow then to be built during a time of global conflict). So whilst housewives were giving up their pots and pans under the misapprehension that they could be used to make Spitfires, the Southern Railway were building huge passenger locomotives that had bits in them that were known to catch fire. Perhaps ‘Southern’ felt guilty and that’s why they named them after aircraft, squadrons or individuals that distinguished themselves during the Battle of Britain.
I love Spam Cans; I draw them all the time. Most recently I made a silkscreen print of one with cut-away sections showing all the amazing internal workings, which you will see in the photographs bellow.