Deep Dive: H.B. Whall

From the July 1956 issue of Model Railway News comes an account of H.B. Whall's work in 2 mm Scale.

"We have visited the workshop of Mr. H. B. Whall at 29, Gloucester Court, Kew, Surrey, and were con­fronted with an unusually studious approach to model railways. Mr. Whall, a retired research engineer, is no newcomer to railway modelling and his first 2 mm scale layout was built in 1923, but it was not until 1946 that he was able to devote his undivided attention to the many problems that arise in this scale. Those who visited the Model Railway Club Exhibition will have seen the delightful layout for which he and a friend are responsible.

"There is a tendency to refer to work executed in the popular gauges by the term 'modelling' as opposed to 'engineering'; the latter term being reserved for the gauges over 1.525 in., but nobody could call work in 9.5 mm gauge anything but engineering, as there just is not room for 'imagination' to overlook the 1/2 mm discrepancies. This may sound like a red flag to those contemplating a drop in scale, but there is little need for con­sternation, provided they are prepared to place patience well to the fore.

"The catalogue available from Mr. Whall at 1s.6d. p.p. is a comprehensive little publication, and those who have despaired of ever acquiring wheels and motors, etc., need only to glance through its pages to realise that they can forget their problems on this score. As the emphasis is on accuracy, nothing is truly mass-produced, and despite the hand-made devotion that goes into each assembly the prices are remarkably low; vertical drive motors with gears from £3 17s.6d.; spoked driving wheels 4 ft. to 6 ft. 6 in. with cast in crank pins ranging from 4s.6d. to 6s. a pair (all equipment is for two­rail operation with pick-up through tyres).

"A number of coach underframe kits are available, but because of the very large variety of prototype designs, bodies are only made to order. Freight rolling stock is represented by wagon and van underframe kits for 10 and 12 ton open and box vehicles. Wood or plastic bodies are at present available for wagons. Accessories such as coup­lings, funnels, domes, axleguards, buffers and gears are all listed, as are brick papers and corrugated iron sheets for the scenic side of layouts.

"Right- or left-hand turnouts (24 in. radius) in kit form at 9s.6d. each and track kits for both straight and curved sections of 9 in, in length are priced at 1s.10d. and 2s.1d. respectively. Nickel-silver is used throughout.

"As a matter of interest we publish the standard measurements used by Mr. Whall.

Track gauge 9.5mm
Back to back 8.25mm
Tread width 1.0mm
Flange depth 0.75mm
Flange thickness 0.5mm
Buffer centre to rail 7.0mm
Loading gauge 28.0mm
Inner rail to inner rail in double track 15.0mm

"The accuracy of Mr. Whall's work must be seen to be believed. Each item is thoroughly checked prior to despatch and motors get a complete series of bench tests. These are wound for 12V D.C. operation, but are tested at 15V D.C. to ensure perfection. Two mm scale modelling is not a freak in a back yard in Kew; equipment is despatched to every corner of the globe."


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