Announced in January this year as part of their 2019 range the first of the range of Bulleid 59ft ‘Shortie’ coaches have started to arrive. A little annoying they have arrived so far as the two Southern livery composites and BR(S) liveried Brake 3rds at the time of writing preventing full correct sets in the same livery be formed, until further versions arrived. Those remaining examples are promised between the end of this month and September. However Hornby should be congratulated in that they are arriving in the same year as being announced as part of their range for 2019!
The prototype of these coaches were part of 18 three coach sets, formed Diagram 2121 BTK – Diagram 2316 CK – Diagram 2121 BTK, with set numbers 963 to 980. They were ordered in 1944 utilising Maunsell 59ft underframes that were originally constructed in 1940, then stored, when further construction was suspended by the war. Whilst similar in layout to previous Maunsell coaches, with doors for each compartment on the non corridor side (known as Multi-door) , externally they featured the new Bulleid bodyside profile. Bulleid new profile had already been introduced on the 4 Sub EMU set 4101 in 1941 with the body having a continuous curve from floor to cantrail and the characteristic lozenge shaped toplights over the droplight windows.
Hornby are releasing versions to correctly form Sets 965 and 973 in SR ‘Malachite’ green and Sets 968 and 972 in BR(s) green. The BR(s) versions include revised tooling to include: recessed / flush door toplights, later guards door handrail styles, rainstrips, end steps and the reinforcing beading added along the sides at waist the line.
This years full range as announced is as follows:
R4882 – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2316 corridor composite No. 5711 from Set 965 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery [Arrived]
- R4882A – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2316 corridor composite No. 5719 from Set 973 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery [Arrived]
- R4884 – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. 2845 from Set 965 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery
- R4884A – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. 2846 from Set 965 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery
- R4884B – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. 2861 from Set 973 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery
- R4884C – SR Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. 2862 from Set 973 in SR ‘Malachite’ green livery
- R4886 – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2316 corridor composite No. S5714S from Set 968 in BR(s) green livery
R4886A – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2316 corridor composite No. S5718S from Set 972 in BR(s) green livery
- R4888 – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. S2851S from Set 968 in BR(s) green livery [Arrived]
- R4888A – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. S2852S from Set 968 in BR(s) green livery [Arrived]
- R4888B – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. S2859S from Set 972 in BR(s) green livery [Arrived]
- R4888C – BR(s) Bulleid 59′ Diagram 2121 corridor brake 3rd No. S2859S from Set 972 in BR(s) green livery [Arrived]
For those interested additional information on the liveries carried and dates of repainting for the above sets are as follows (thanks to friend Colin Watts for the information, see also his excellent Blood and Custard website, for more information on these coaches here):
- Set 965 (Malachite) to Crimson Lake and Cream (CLC) March 1956 then to BR(S) Green June 1958
- Set 968 (Malachite) to CLC December 1953 then to BR(S) Green July 1957
- Set 972 BR(S) Green from CLC February 1958
- Set 973 BR(s) Green from CLC November 1957
As can be the seen from the accompanying pictures of the SR livery composite (the only ones I have in my possession at the moment (see opening paragraph) they are fine looking models that follow on from the standard set by their Maunsell stock range. This is hardly surprising as one of the reasons for suggesting these versions to Hornby in the first place was that they shared, with a few minor amendments the same 59ft chassis. The models come fitted with the standard close coupling mechanism with tension lock couplings fitted into the NEM Pockets. Also ‘Roco’ style couplings supplied loose to enable closer coupling, for those using Kadee style couplings (as I will be between the coaches in the sets as the prototypes were fitted with buckeyes) their Number 18 Medium length NEM style also couplings work well.
The packaging is of the now standard style, but the description on the box ends for some reason calls them ‘Suburban’ coaches, when they were of course introduced for the use in the West of England express services.
Hornby have captured the characteristic Bulleid curved bodyside profile nicely, but although the large corridor side glazing inserts are also slightly curved, at close viewing depending on angle and light the prismatic effect at the edges is noticeable and perhaps the windows, excluding the opening door droplights, are not flush or as curved profile as they could be. Hornby did manage better flush glazing in the past on their Maunsell 1935 type Brake Composite. The corridor side handrail that is printed on the back of the glazing has a more golden (possible wooden) colour than polished chrome finish of the prototype. Grab handles, waterpipes / handrails and lamp irons are separately applied items and buffers are sprung. Although not pictured here, as I dont have any of the Brake 3rds yet, I am aware that Hornby have made an excellent representation of the Guards periscope on the roof.
Livery application and printing is as the high standard that we expect from Hornby .(although I am still not personally convinced by their rendition of SR Malachite) even down to the tiny and readable seat number information just below the cantrail. On the SR versions the correct for the period rectangular white on blue ‘First’ and triangular red on white ‘Non Smoking’ window signs are well represented.
On the underframe the subtle differences between the Maunsell underframes and those for these Bullied versions such as battery box, dynamo and brake cylinder positions are correct, however the V hanger at the left hand end has been positioned outside of the truss rods (as per the Maunsell style) rather than immediately inboard. This slight error has I believe arisen due to the error also being included on at least one published drawing, whereas reference to prototype images shows that the location was also changed to be inboard.
It is also noted that on the BR versions so far released the tooling takes into account the later revised hand rail arrangement on the brake compartment doors and also the reinforcement beading (covering up the panel butt-joints that suffered from corrosion) added to the coach sides at waist level. This additional tooling allows for a range of livery and tooling detail permutations in the future.
Overall once again excellent coaches from Hornby, who have certainly set the standard for R-T_R coaches over the last few years, and I look forward to the remaining versions arriving and further livery permutations in future years.