First announced by Hornby in January this year and detailed on my post at the time here, the Southern Railway Bogie Van ‘B’ has now arrived in the shops. The first four versions are two in SR pre war Olive Green livery and two in BR(s) Green all with different running numbers.
The model builds on the success of their 4 wheel SR Van C (BR code BY) released a couple of years ago and it is just as exquisite. These 50ft vans have the same nice modelled SR 8ft bogies as their wonderful Maunsell coaches and include the same close coupling cam mechanism with NEM pockets. As with the Maunsell coaches Hornby’s close couplings are included in addition to the now usual narrow tension lock style coupling.
The model includes many separately applied fine details such as handrails, door handles, sprung buffers, vacuum pipes and even lamp irons, The underside is just as well modelled with representations of battery boxes, generator and much, but not quite all, of the brake gear and linkages. On the roof, the vents are reasonably well moulded and the guards look out periscopes are separate fittings with the wipers also moulded, the glass however is not represented and the whole thing painted roof colour. Whilst speaking about the roof, the rain strips are very straight and not as curved as the majority of the prototype vans. However one picture on the excellent Southern Railway resource SeMG website here appears to show similar straighter rain strips, although I am certain this was pretty much an exception rather than the rule.
Livery application is up to Hornby’s usual high standard, although the guards lettering does appear to be slightly oversize, which considering it appears to be correct on their Van C models this is a little surprising. The olive green versions have the door window droplights in varnished teak as they would have been. Mind you these vans were soon quite dirty and not often cleaned so much so the livery was quite often not discernible.
Overall this is an excellent model, even with the minor niggles highlighted above, and will certainly be very popular with Southern modellers (and judging by stock levels at some retailers it already has been) and when perhaps a BR blue liveried version is released suitable for a heavy level of grime to be applied (see Paul Barlett’s excellent reference site here for inspiration) wider afield modellers will be able to make use of them as towards the end of their life they could be seen all across the network.