Only announced as being part of the Hornby 2018 range in January this year the Maunsell 1st Class Kitchen Dining cars have now arrived and yes they are pretty much 1st Class and certainly up the standard that we have come to expect from Hornby for coaching stock. Often coupled to the Maunsell diagram 2005 Open 3rd coaches these will complete Southern / Southern Region express passenger rakes.
The versions being produced initially by Hornby are: R4816, SR Maunsell Kitchen Dining First Number 7869 Diagram 2656, in unlined SR Green; and R4817, BR Maunsell Kitchen Dining First Number S7861S Diagram 2651, in BR(s) Green.
The Diagram 2656 cars were built in 1932 and a later batch built in 1934 and other than the cooking equipment fitted were similar in body style to Diagram 2650. There has been much debate that Hornby have chosen to produce this model in unlined olive-green which is totally correct for post 1940s, as seen in the picture, left, courtesy of friend and SR coach guru Mike King. Evidence also exists of members of the 1934 built batch having been introduced when new in unlined livery (See Gould, Oakwood Press; Maunsell’s SR Steam Passenger stock 1923 to 1939)
The Diagram 2651 in BR(s) green represents one of the six, originally built in 1927, coaches post rebuilding around 1935 to include the characteristic recessed double doors.
There were some slight bodyside differences between these and the subsequent 20 similar cars built in 1929 and 1930 which is one of the reason why after some discussion between the Hornby team and a number of contributors that the originally announced number of S7946S was changed, to suit photographic evidence, especially related to the size of the window next to the double doors.
The pictures of the models accompanying this post speak for themselves, and as stated above meet the standards we have come to expect to from Hornby for coaching stock especially with respect to the other Maunsell coaches they have produced. The bodyside feature the relevant panel lines, hand rails on the ends and are nicely flush glazed, frosted where appropriate. Clip on corridor connection end doors are fitted but these can be removed, to reveal the closed inner doors, if required.
The interior is well moulded and the tables painted to represent white table clothes and includes the swan neck table lamp, although unlike the Pullman range these do not illuminate.
Curtains are printed on the inside of the glazing, which again has been an area of debate especially as they are uniform on each window, some may wish to remove these, and if doing so use only good quality methylated spirit on a cotton bud, do not use anything like enamel thinners or similar as this is likely to fog the glazing.
The Underframe is well detailed with sprung buffers and the nicely moulded delicate end bottom foot steps on each corner and also all the additional tanks and equipment associated with dining cars and the excellent Hornby standard SR 8ft Bogies are used. The lead weights that were located on the solebar, which were necessary to even up the wight distribution of the prototypes is also moulded.
The roof mouldings include the relevant water tanks and variety of vents needed especially over the kitchen area.
An accessory pack is included with each coach containing blank roof boards and Roco style close couplings, I will be using Kaydee No. 19 buckeye couplings as per the rest of my Hornby Maunsell coaching stock.
In reality and to most eyes the Diagram 2656 and rebuilt Diagram 2651 cars are pretty similar and in many ways it is a shame that perhaps the tooling for the original Diagram 2651 cars has not been done, although perhaps this is still a future option? One very pedantic further point is that on the boxes Hornby have called these ‘Kitchen/Dinning coaches’ not sure where the additional ‘n’ comes from…
Overall these are a good and long-awaited additional to the range for Southern Modellers, one should hope that a SR lined green version will be announced in due course as although Hornby have publicaly stated that their tooling does not allow this, I like a number of others do not believe this to be the case.
Note: I have of course referenced Mike King’s excellent book in writing this post: An illustrated history of Southern Coaches, OPC ISBN 0-86093-570-1 and David Gould: Maunsell’s SR Steam Passenger stock 1923 to 1939, Oakwood Press, that should grace any SR / BR(s) modellers book shelf.