Hornby first announced their intention to produce, as part of their 2017 rang,e the ex SECR Wainwright H class 0-4-4t back in September 2016 The first models, the SECR livery version, duly arrived October 2017 followed by the BR late crest lined black version in December 2017. I have now received my own model No. 1324 in SR olive green, hence me only just officially reviewing the model now.
The first 64 of the eventual 66 members of the class were first introduced by Wainwright of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway between November 1904 and 1909. The final two members of the class were eventually built under the auspices of Maunsell in 1915! They first appeared in Wainwright’s fully lined dark green livery followed by by Maunsell’s plain dark green livery, then the wartime dull grey livery up until 1923. In Southern Railway days they were in lined olive green which gave way for most members of the class to Bulleid black under wartime conditions and eventually British Railways lined black.
All but two members of the class (numbers 1264 & 1312 due to cracked frames) entered British Railways service with withdrawals taking place initially between 1951 and 1953 as a result of the spread of electrification and the remainder between 1959 and 1964. A large number of the class were fitted with standard SR air control Pull Push gear from 1949 onwards to replace some of the aging D3, R & R1 0-4-4 tanks. There were a number of slight differences within the class such as steam and Westinghouse braked versions, slight variations in coal and water capacities, while fifteen of the class had straight sided rather than flared topped coal bunkers.
- R3538 No.308 in fully lined SECR green livery
- R3539 No. 31518 in lined BR black with late crests and, correctly, OHLE warning flashes and pull push fitted
- R3540 No 1324 in SR Olive green livery (Post 1931 i.e. number changed from A324 to 1324)
- R3512 No. 31551 in BR lined black with late crest as part of a train pack with Maunsell Pull Push iset No. 602, comprising coach nos.1318 and 6681
As part the range for 2018 announced Hornby are to produce R3631 as 31265, representing one of the 15 members of the class with flat side bunkers (which is revised tooling new for 2018), in BR lined black with early crest. A further versions is being produced during 2018 as a limited edition for Hornby Collectors club members as R3648 No. 263 as she is persevered on the Bluebell Railway. It should be noted that No. 263 when introduced, in May 1905, she was one of the fifteen members of the class with flat sided bunkers and fitted with early type pull push gear. Sometime before withdrawal, by BR in January 1964, she was fitted with a version of the flared bunker style (not quite matching the rest of the class, see if you can spot the difference) and she has retained the style bunker in preservation.
Hornby have included within their tooling the ability to produce a number of options including smokebox rivet style, steam and Westinghouse braked versions, flat and flared bunker sides along with those fitted with air control pull push gear and its associated small bore air control pipework down one side of the running plate.
The model is fitted with pick ups on all wheels (although some have found those on the bogie require a little adjustment to function correctly), a five pole motor and brass flywheel and incorporates an 8 pin DCC socket. Body removal is quite simple, requiring the removal of four screws, however those wishing to a fit sound a small speak can be located within the bunker but this will require a little more complex dismantling of the body. Included with the model is an accessory / detail pack containing brake rodding, hand brake linkage, small NEM tension lock couplings and buffer beam pipe where applicable for the Pull Push fitted versions (which are neatly designed to mount behind the bottom edge of the buffer beam.
Hornby have certainly captured the look and dimensions of the prototype well and includes many separately applied parts including: pipework, handrails, lamp irons (front and rear) whistle, safety vales, smokebox dart, sprung buffers, sand pipes, a sliding cab roof shutter and steps. The cab features a fully detailed interior with leavers, control vales and dials all suitable painted. Both the front and rear spectacles are glazed with the rear ones fitted with glazing bars and the bunker coal load is removable.
Livery application of all the released versions that I have seen is up to the usual very high standard that we have come to expect from Hornby. The selection of the SR Olive Green livery version as No. 1324 is convenient (possibly on purpose) as this loco retained this livery right until nationalisation before gaining BR lined black, so she never gained wartime SR Black with Sunshine letter so widens her period of operation (it makes a change for me not to have to repaint a model to suit my own 1946 to 1949 period, although I dare say a repainted one will enter the fleet at some stage in the future).
Once again Hornby are to be commended for the product of another excellent Southern model. Knowing that the earlier released livery versions have already sold out with most stockists the H Class is bound to be a success as further livery variants are announced in future catalogues.