Hornby announced as part of their new 2021 range they were to produce new tooling for the Maunsell Dining Saloons to Diagram 2652 as introduced in 1927. In my Talking Stock#39 post about the complexities of the Southern Catering vehicles I advised that in 1930 the six Diagram 2652 Saloons were reclassified as Open Thirds and renumbered 1363 to 1368.
Hornby subsequently amended their plans and advised that R40030 Number 7864 and R40030A Number 7867 in SR lined olive green to be Open Thirds would now be produced numbered 1363 and 1366 respectively. This gives those modelling the Southern Railway in the 1930s greater flexibility in their accurate use.
During the WWI all except No. 1367 were converted for Ambulance Train use. Four of the six, were converted in July 1947 to Third / Composite Dining Saloons branded as ‘Restaurant Car’ to Diagram 2658 and numbered 7841-4 . These conversions have also been announced by Hornby as R40031 Maunsell Dining Saloon Third / Composite to diagram 2658 Number S7841S and R40031A Number S7843S in BR(s) Green. The other two were now fitted with 48 loose 2 +1 chairs and classified as First Class diners and numbered 7846/7 were paired with newly converted Diagram 2661 Buffet cars for use on the reinstated ‘Night Ferry” service.
Whilst originally announced as being SR lined olive green, I am not sure that when they changed the running numbers Hornby actually indicated that these would now be unlined; although it does mean they match the already released kitchen dinning firsts as these have also so far been released in unlined SR olive green.
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.
There are however two main areas that let this model down a little; firstly the horizontal bar that separates the main window from the upper vents should be flush with the bodyside and whilst Hornby have, perhaps understandably, modelled this bar as part of the glazing insert it inexplicably is too shallow and therefore not flush with the body side.
Secondly the lower panel vertical joints are modelled with a raised beading applied to them, whilst there is some evidence that some beading might have been to these vehicles later in their life, it certainly was not present during the period applicable to this livery. These two issues do detract slightly from the 3/4 side view of the model.
In service these 3rd Class dining saloons were actually paired with the first Maunsell Kitchen / Dining Firsts to Diagram 2651 that were also built in 1927 and numbered 7858-7863. Modellers licence will be required as this Diagram in original its 1927 form has not been produced by Hornby and therefore will have to be incorrectly paired with the Diagram 2656 Kitchen Dining First instead.