Hornby announced as part of their new 2022 range they were to produce two of the four Maunsell Composite Dining Saloons to Diagram 2658 as converted from Diagram 2652 Dining Saloon Thirds in 1947. In my Talking Stock#39 post about the complexities of the Southern Catering vehicles I try and detail the complex history of SR catering vehicles.
Hornby have released two versions of the Diagram 2658 Maunsell Composite Dining Saloon.
Firstly R40221 SR, as number 7844 to in SR green as she would have been between 18th November 1947 and approximately mid 1949 when the SR style lettering was likely to have been amended to BR style. She was outshopped Crimson and Cream livery 4th February 1955.
Secondly, R40222 BR, Maunsell Composite Dining Saloon S7842S to Diagram 2658 in Crimson and Cream livery as carried in between 7th December 1954 and being outshopped BR(S) Green 12th August 1957.
The model is of the same high standard of all their SR Maunsell coach releases with their excellent SR Standard 8ft bogies, good chassis detailing, sprung buffers, separately applied door grab handles , fine foot steps at each end and end handrails. Being unlined the decoration is plain and simple, but the lettering is neatly applied as we have come to expect from Hornby.
The inside is nicely modelled and decorated with the internal wooden partitions, seats (blue) and table tops (white) all being correctly coloured, although the colouring of the side of the tables the same as the seats is a little odd.
Just as with the Hornby Maunsell Diagram 2652 3rd Class Dining Saloons the lower panel vertical joints are modelled with a raised beading applied to them, whilst some beading might was added to these vehicles later in their life, (one of the pitfalls of using preserved prototypes as part of the model research) it certainly was not present during the period applicable to this livery.
This issue does detract slightly from the 3/4 side view of the model.
Supplied with the coach is an accessory bad that contains roof boards, Roco style coupling and a pair ‘Hunt’ style magnetic couplers that are a representation of the vacuum and steam heat pipes.
These Diagram 2658 Composite dining saloons numbered 7841-4 were paired on West of England services with Diagram 2659 Kitchen & Buffet cars numbered 7864/5/7 and 7999, that themselves had been converted from Diagram 2656 Kitchen Dining Firsts. Modellers licence will be required as these converted Diagram 2659 vehicles have not been produced by Hornby and therefore will have to be incorrectly paired with repainted Diagram 2656 Kitchen Dining Firsts instead.
Overall despite the slight issue with the raised vertical beading and the lack of the correct Diagram 2659 Kitchen & Buffet cars to pair them with, these Diagram 2658 Maunsell Composite Dining Saloons are a welcome addition to the Southern modellers fleet.