Posts Tagged ‘21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth’

As per my review, here, of the Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy R3717 21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth in SR wartime black, the model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ without smoke deflectors. 21c7 was one of the first batch of ten Merchant Navy pacifics, she was introduced in June 1942 in malachite green livery but was quickly repainted in plain black as a wartime measure. 21c7 remained in this condition until August 1944 when she gained the more familiar cowl above the smokebox and also received short flared smoke deflectors. She gained the to become standard length and style of smoke detectors whilst still in black in June 1947.

The forward dating complete, 21c7 in 1947 condition.

The model and new components ready to start the conversion.

The top brackets are soldered to the etched deflectors

The first cuts are the bravest… and the front fairing edges bevelled.

The new cowl is trial fitted in place.

The deflectors are curved to the correct shape prior to painting.

The new front face is complete

The finished 21c7, now awaits some weathering.

Another view of the finished 21c7

As my usual modelling period is between 1946 and 1949 I have forward dated 21c7 to the condition she was just before being outshopped in malachite green at the end of June 1947. This requires the fitting of the cowl above the smokebox, in place of the ‘widows peak’, the fitting of standard smoke deflectors, with electric lamps attached. The middle position lamp irons were also moved to the smokebox door once smoke deflectors were fitted.

For this relatively simple forward dating process I have used the following items: etched smoke deflectors, electric lamps and a replacement smoke box dart from the excellent Albert Goodall range supplied by my friends at RT Models. The replacement lamp irons are simply staples cut to length and I have replaced the flat printed nameplates and smokebox door roundel with etched versions from Fox Transfers.
The Hornby nameplates come off quite easily, they are held in place by three small lugs, one in the centre and one towards each end of the arms. I slide a sharp knife underneath from one side to the other to lift the plates. I then ensure any remaining lug was carefully cut flush to the side. I affix the etched plates using a very small amount of superglue applied with a cocktail stick (some people prefer to use a small amount of varnish instead of glue).

The first step was to fold up and solder the brackets just below the top inside edge of the etched brass deflectors. The deflectors were then bent to both their correct vertical shape and also the curve at the bottom edge to match the existing fairing. I then used the deflectors to mark the position of the horizontal cut required in the existing front fairing. An Albert Goodall electric lamp was glued on the inside front edge of each deflector lining up with bottom of the two rivets on the outside of the deflector. I then used Halfords spray cans to first prime using etched primer before top coats of satin black.

Next I took a deep breath and using a razor saw, cut horizontally,  along the previously marked lines, the fairing back to the smoke box face and then vertically downwards level with the smokebox front, this removes both the ‘widows peak and the sides to meet the horizontal cuts. I also removed the Hornby printed roundel and the smokebox door dart. The sides of the slot in front of the chimney was also filed to match the rest of the opening. With all cuts cleaned up with a fine file, I also bevelled the remaining front fairings to give them a thinner edge appearance.

The Albert Goodall cast white metal cowl was filed to suit the slot in front of the chimney and glued into place using superglue. I drilled holes in the smokebox door for the two lamp irons and the replacement door dart. The finish painted deflectors were glued into place with the top brackets affixed to the top edge of the flat top gutter strip.

The Hornby model as supplied has an all over slightly matt finish, in reality the flat top, cab room and middle section of the tender cab roof were matt, whilst the sides were more of a satin finish and the front cowl also tended to be satin. I repainted the top and the smokebox front and door matt black. Before applying the etched nameplates and roundel I masked the matt areas and sprayed the sides of the model with Halfords satin lacquer. Once the nameplates and roundel were fitted the final tasks were to fit the new Albert Goodall smokebox door dart and the Hornby supplied cylinder drain cocks.

Once you get over the brave step of putting a razor saw to a brand new model the modification is reasonably quick and easy to complete. I will at some stage do the same to my malachite green R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model!

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Arriving hot on the heels of Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific R3632 35024 East Asiatic Company in BR Lined express blue, see my review here, is R3717 21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth in SR wartime black as announced as part of the Hornby 2019 range announcements.

R3717 21C7 looks imposing in SR Wartime Black

21c7 was one of the first batch of ten Merchant Navy pacifics, she was introduced in June 1942 in malachite green livery but was quickly repainted in plain black as a wartime measure. Hornby have produced her in a similar early condition to the previous R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model released in malachite green back in 2017, see my review here.  The body captures the shape and curves of the original well, with ‘widows peak’ cowl above the smokebox and no smoke deflectors. The extensive suite of tooling by Hornby for the Merchant Navy pacific range includes the correct 5000 gallon tender, as fitted to the first ten Merchants, complete with its air smoothed curves to the front of the coal space and roof over the footplate.

Rear 3/4 view of 21C7 the excellent cab details can be seen

21c7 remained in this condition until August 1944 when she gained the more familiar cowl above the smokebox and also received short flared smoke deflectors. She gained the to become standard length and style of smoke detectors whilst still in black in June 1947. Prior to full rebuilding in May 1958 she received the modified wedge shaped cab , losing the curved swept cab front, in March 1950. She carried malachite green from June 1947, BR Blue from March 1950 then BR Green from December 1952. She was finally withdrawn in her rebuilt form in July 1967 due to a broken cylinder.

21c7 captures the original style front end well

I wont repeat all of my past reviews, as the mechanics of the model are the same as the other original Merchant Navys in the range with a 5-pole motor and a large flywheel, with pickups on all driving wheels and the tender giving impressive performance all round. The outstanding high level of detail especially within cab is present as we have come to expect with Hornby’s other Merchants. Also as with the previous releases the brake rodding and front steps come pre fitted, whilst a standard accessory pack contains buffer beam pipes, front coupling and two sets of cylinder drain pipework. The additional set of drain pipes are supplied, in addition to the standard accessory pack, to allow for the lower fairing in front of the cylinders on this version.

The flat nameplate will be replaced by an etched plate. The correct slightly larger ‘C’ within the number shows the attention to detail.

As with other Merchant Navys in the range the front edge of the body side, due to the limitations of the tooling for a mass production model, are perhaps slightly too thick I may well look to bevel these from the inside edge slightly to deceive the eye in the area. The decoration whilst simple is very well applied with the SR Sunshine lettering and its green shading lifting the mood against the black sides. The ‘C’ of the loco number is correctly slightly larger than the numbers. The nameplates although separately applied are printed and therefore flat looking and I will be replacing these with etched plates from Fox Transfers. The front electric lamps and lamp irons above the buffer beam have like all the versions released a slight backward lean to them. The electric lamps are in reality are hung from the underside of the swan neck style lamp iron and also had electric conduit attached. However, on the model the lamp is attached via a perpendicular lug on their back into holes on the sloping front casing.  Like I did on 35024 I will probably replaced these three lamp irons with etched brass versions so they are stronger and correctly face forwards. The lamps are correctly black (the lamp casing were black painted brass on the front and body livery colour painted steal casings on the tender). Each lamp has a silver blob to represent the lens, however in reality these lens appear more gloss black unless the lamp is actually lit.

Front end options. Early short flared deflectors left, standard length right

I also intend to forward the date the front end of mine to add the later standard cowl above the smokebox box, but I am still deciding which version of the smoke deflectors to fit; either the early short flared type or the what was to become standard style and length. The latter is a slightly easier conversion as can be seen in the image to the left. Once I have decided it will become the topic of a future post.

Despite the few points above the model even in its plain black livery captures the imposing look of this early condition Merchant Navy Pacific is a welcome addition to the Hornby range that also see the release this year in BR Green of R3649 3502 ‘Ellerman Lines’, R3716 35022 ‘Holland America Line’ and R386135017 ‘Belgian Marine’.

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