Arab Revolt 1917: Scratchbuilt Hejaz Railway Hartmann (1/58)

Well. since the last post work has gotten stupidly busy, I've moved house, flew to the US for the 100th running of the Indy 500 (obligatory YouTube link) and even managed to get a fair few games in (the RJW and ACW Campaigns covered superlatively by Ed on the Palladian Guard blog).

The Hartmann 2-6-0 ready for painting by Ed

I've also been working on a rather interesting project, part of which is the Hartmann 2-6-0 here. I don't want to say too much about the project yet (it's not mine), but the SB5 involvement is to build a diorama of Lawrence of Arabia's famous ambush of a Hejaz Railway troop train at Hallat Ammar (TEL's spelling). You can read an article by Dr Neil Faulkner on the ambush here. Coincidentally sections of the Hejaz Railway still runs today as a heritage railway essentially, using much of the same locomotives and stock as it did in 1917. 

The only surviving Hartmann 2-6-0. Courtesy of
There aren't many 28mm or 1/58 scale locomotive kits as it is, on top of that the Hejaz Railway is narrow gauge (or more technically, medium), making an off-the-shelf option even more unlikely. So to get it right (or right enough) it would have to be scratchbuilt. Luckily, if we assume 30mm = 6ft then 00 gauge track is pretty much the perfect scale to represent 1050mm track at 1/58. This means we can at least use the track as is and wheels etc. of 00 gauge kits without too much tinkering. Very helpful as time on this was very limited.

Now we don't actually know what locomotive was used to pull the train, if you search for Hallat Ammar you will see a derailed Hartmann 2-8-0 close to the Hallat Ammar station, but this is from a later attack. What we do know from TEL's memoirs, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is the following:

  • There were two locomotives, 
  • They were relatively large
  • They had tenders 
  • They were pulling 10 carriages
Whilst sufficiently large, it seems unlikely that two 2-8-0s would be needed to pull 10 carriages, so I opted for the shorter 2-6-0 version. 

Ultimately information is sparse and occasionally conflicting, so I felt as long as my choice was plausible and I recreated that as best as I could that would count as a job well done. 

Hartmann 2-6-0 Technical Data
As the second locomotive was almost totally destroyed and the tender of the first locomotive likewise, then I only needed to build one almost intact. We know that only the cab was blown open and that it was working as Lawrence describes it - he had to place a second charge on this first loco as it was still "at steam", meaning there would be little more than superficial damage to it for it to be in this state. It was derailed, but only half over, so any damage came from the blast itself. 

It seemed unlikely that I was going to be able to find detailed plans or schematics, so I looked at photos of the Hejaz Railway locos with people in it, preferably crew and workers standing on the train so I could judge what the general proportions should be

Luckily I also stumbled upon what appears to be some kind of data card, which didn't give full measurements but did provide the wheelbase and wheel sizes, so now there was something concrete to work from. 

1894 Swiss-built SLM 2-6-0T in Syria, 2007
Looking for locomotives that would have the same wheel size at 00 scale as the Hartmann would at 1/58, the Ivatt was the best fit but I couldn't find one cheaply or in plastic (easier to modify). However Dapol do a BR Class 4 which with a little modification could be made to fit, which is exactly what I did, shortening the wheelbase and filing down the wheels. 

The rest of the locomotive is the usual scratch-building fare: balsa wood, plasticard, brass rods, guitar string and a load of Milliput. Notable elements are the the boiler door from an old Ork dreadnought (with 3 of the braces filed away), part of the whistle is a hubcap from a Space Marine bike (upside down), the boiler itself is a Scalextric track support I've kept in my bits box for 18 years, and the chimney/funnel is a piece of plastic from the packaging on a pair of pliers. I cut it into quarters to create the slightly conical shape, cut and placed the end of a poly cement cap in the top to hold the shape, then filed the gaps with Milliput, and added the trim around the top. I also forgot to drill the hole back in the top. 

Without further ado, here's a slideshow of pictures of construction, and a few image of the final(ish) product :-

Well that's it for now folks, thanks for reading. There may be a follow up with Ed's painted version on the Palladian Guard blog so watch this space. Or that one. There will also be more on this project in the following weeks.


  1. Wow! O_o

    That's some serious research. Credit to you young man and to your conspirators.

    1. Thanks very much Dai, can never do things by halves, means it takes bloody ages though

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Michael, very kind of you

  3. Glad to see this kind of job...and post, great one!

    1. Thanks Phil, really appreciate that

  4. My first comment seems to have been lost in the warp. I was just going to say that it looks even more impressive close up.

    1. Thanks muchly sir, although have to say your painting definitely brings it to life

  5. Love your work, I've been building some hejaz railway items in this scale aswell,
    you might want to check out R.Tourret's book(hedjaz railway), its got all the drawings of locos and stock, either way,
    you've done a great job on that loco.

    1. Very kind of you, would love to see some of the work you've been doing. Ah I could have done with a copy of that book before I started this, will have to get myself a copy


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