Hornby’s Black Motor ex LSWR / SR 700 class a review

Originally announced by Hornby in December 2013 the ex LSWR Drummond 700 class 0-6-0 locomotive models have now arrived. I outlined the history of the class in my Talking Stock #29 Black Motors, Drummond’s 700 class here so I will not repeat the detail in this post. Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge.

The Hornby R3238 in lined SR 1920/30s black livery
The Hornby R3238 in lined SR 1920/30s black livery

The Hornby models depict the class in their superheated form.  Number 316 was modified in 1919 by Urie that changed the look of the engines including extending the smokebox, the frames, raising the boiler pitch by 9 inches and modifications to the cab design. The rest the class of the class were similarly modified and superheated in Southern Days between 1923 and 1929. Therefore it is only number 316 that could potentially be re-liveried into an authentic LSWR livery for pre-grouping modellers.

Originally paired with 13ft wheelbase tenders a number of the class gained 14ft wheel base from members of the T9 class (so that the T9s  would fit on the smaller central section turntables of the time) Hornby have correctly tooled both tender types.

So far released are the following variations:

  • R3238  No. 695 – SR lined black livery, 14ft wheel base tender, open coal rails, capuchon lip on chimney and smokebox snifting valves
  • R3239 No. 30315 – BR livery late crest, 14 ft wheel base tender and correctly no builders plate
  • R3240 No.30693 – BR livery early emblem, with 14ft wheel base tender
  • R3304 No.30316  – BR weathered livery early emblem and is the only release to date paired with 13ft wheel base tender
  • R3302 325 SR unlined black, part of 1940 Return from Dunkirk train pack, 14ft wheel base tender and with smokebox snifting valves

The first three, R3238,9 & 40 were originally announced as 2014 releases with the last two announced last December for release during this year, however all versions are now arriving together.

A front 3/4 view of No 695
A front 3/4 view of No 695, note the visible representation of the inside motion (painted red)

The model has a cast metal boiler and cab, to give weight whilst the running plate is plastic. The 3 pole motor does not have a flywheel, although there is technically space for one to have been fitted, perhaps this is a slight hangover from the Hornby ‘Design Clever’ phase, and is therefore a slight disappointment as originally from memory a 5 pole motor and flywheel was listed on the specification, which now shows on the Hornby website as being a 3 pole motor with flywheel, the motor sits neatly in the bottom of the cast boiler section driving the rear axle via a worm gear and two gear wheels. Hornby have advised that the 3 pole motor without a flywheel was a result of the narrow diameter of the boiler in which it is neatly mounted. This high position of the motor within the high pitched boiler allows for a cosmetic representation of internal valve gear on the top of the chassis block. This is a nice and welcome simple but effective addition. The external brake pull rods are nicely moulded however unusually for models these days the cross rods are omitted, nor are they supplied as separately non factory fitted parts.

A rear 3/4 view
A rear 3/4 view, this version is a 14ft wheelbase tender

Electrical pick up is through phosphor bronze wipers bearing on the rear of the wheel tyres on both engine and the tender with the wiring passing  through to the tender via the semi-permanent plug and socket, where the pickups run neatly along two grooves within the tender chassis, to an 8-Pin DCC socket.

The paint finish and level of detail is what we have come to expect from Hornby, the green lining on the SR version is particularly fine and represents the livery as applied pre 1936 when the use of the green lining was stopped in favour of unlined black (almost a shame that my version will be repainted into post war black!). On the SR version the cab side number plate is however a simple printed representation of what is in reality a cast plate.

A view of the cab detail, note the commendably thin cab sides considering they are part of the metal casting
A view of the cab detail, note the commendably thin cab sides considering they are part of the metal casting

The model has plenty of separately fitted items such as smokebox door dart (although the handles are incorrectly in the same plane and therefore would not be able to pass each other!), pipework, whistle, turned brass safety valves, reversing lever, sprung buffers and all lamp irons on both loco and tender. The level of the cab detail is excellent with again a mix of finely moulded and separately fitted items, it is neatly glazed and the cab side sheets are commendably thin considering they are cast metal. A metal fall plate is fitted to the loco and is fitted at enough of an able to allow movement through second radius curves with no issues.
The chimney is a separate moulded part to allow for the variations of chimney and tooling allows for the smokebox snifting valves fitted variants, that on some samples I have seen has led to a slight tooling slide mould line being visible on the top of the smokebox either side of the chimney. The boiler handrail knobs, like their recent J15 release, have been incorrectly mounted to be parallel to the footplate rather than positioned radially from the boiler, which is a slight let down on an otherwise excellent looking model although both issues are perhaps from a normal viewing distance not too noticeable.

A view showing the loco to tender coupling distances, normal top and close below
A view showing a comparison of the loco to tender coupling distances: standard setting top and close setting bottom

The fixed engine to tender drawbar has a close coupling setting, but unlike other models in the range this is adjusted via the removal and refitting of an interference fit pin rather than a screw. This if done often might lead to issues of it becoming loose in the future. I would also add that the pin is very tight as first supplied and does require some effort to remove. If set in the close coupling position it will prevent the model from being put back into the packaging. I found that even in the close setting the locomotive will navigate Peco Streamline medium radius curves with no issues.
The tender also has a removable plastic coal load revealing a fully detailed empty coal space below, being a plastic moulding it is, I feel, a better representation of coal than the cast metal coal load seen on some Bachmann models (although I always add real coal to my models anyway). The brake shoes on the tender are in line with the wheels rather than simply moulded as part of the frames as has been disappointingly seen on some recent Bachmann releases such as the C Class. The tender coupling does appear to protrude quite a distance from the rear of the tender and I will probably look at modifying that in due course.

A view of cab end of the tender. The 13ft wheel base tender was essentially the same just with a foot longer rear overhang from the last axle.
A view of cab end of the tender. The 13ft wheel base tender was essentially the same just with a foot longer rear overhang from the last axle.

Tender brake pull rods are supplied for the owner to fit along with a front vacuum pipe, the tender pipe being already factory fitted, and a front tension lock coupling although no representations of screw couplings are included.

Unlike some of the other recent releases the tender does not have an obvious / pre defined location for a DCC sound speaker or apertures for sound to escape. Separate tender metal weights are fitted inside the tank area and these might have to be removed for some speaker / DCC chip combinations.

Although delivery of the first three of these  models were been delayed, it has been worth the wait and these are a great addition to the fleets of Southern and Southern Region modellers alike.

7 thoughts on “Hornby’s Black Motor ex LSWR / SR 700 class a review

  1. It is a superb model with excellent detailing particularly the in-cab detailing between the frames. Certainly well worth the wait.

    I did notice visible moulding lines on the smokebox and the interference fit (rather than a screw) to close up the tender is a small disappointment. perhaps this is one of those areas where Hornby is seeking to keep its costs down; personally I’d be content to pay a little extra.

    Visiting an old friend whilst returning from my local modelshop provided an opportunity to place the Hornby Black Motor with his recently finished Bec-kits P4 model. However, it would be unfair to make direct comparisons as the Bec-kits version is from of a different era.

  2. Many thanks for the info on a possible 316 LSWR livery for this model and the date for the end of green lining which looks superb.

  3. Great little loco but struggles to pull three maunsel coaches on Reading South incline? Which rises 80mm in2400 is that to much?

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