Somehow my fixation on mud drums feels a little deviant. Like “foot fetish” or “nasophilia,” “mud drum” is the sort of thing you Google for only after double-checking that your Safe Search filter is on. That the one group I wrote to when researching mud drums during the design phase never wrote back only cements the fact: mud drums are not to be spoken of.
I’ve only been able to find (prior to publishing this post) one locomotive with a mud drum. Sadly, after sitting outside on display for the better part of a century, the Countess of Dufferin doesn’t have much left down there. So, I wasn’t able to learn much when I visited her and peaked, breathlessly, between her frames a couple of years ago. Nothing was there. Just an empty tin can posing where there should have been some sort of boiler protrusion and clean-out valve.
So, the mud drum on #622 is a bit made up. I know there was a lever operated from the cab, but its shape and mechanism are a mystery. It doesn’t matter – nobody will ever look, and if they do, they won’t admit it!
I’ll not glue the assembly in place until I’ve decided on the colour. If it was sheathed in the same planished iron as the boiler jacket, then it’ll get stuck. Otherwise, it will be black and left off until the boiler has been painted.
One thing I’ve realized is that there are dangers with fixing the mud drum in place. If it is too far forward, I won’t be able to slide the boiler forward on its slot to disengage the T-bolt in the saddle. If it is too far back, it will knock against the air tank. Fortunately, there is just space to fit it between the two.
If you share my fetish and have any actual pictures of real mud drums, please send them my way. I’d like my next attempt to be more accurate.
Update: I decided the drum will be jacketed in planished iron and fixed it in place.