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.
Supplied with the coach is an accessory bad that contains roof boards, Roco style coupling and for the first time with any SR Maunsell coach are a pair ‘Hunt’ style magnetic couplers that are a representation of the vacuum and steam heat pipes. Until these coupling are main available as separate parts just supplying a pair with an individual coach is not really practicable.
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.
21c11 General Steam Navigation was the first of the Second Series of ten Merchant Navys and was introduced in December 1944, she differed from Series Ones by having a flat front cab rather the previous swept forwards style and, unique to her, deeper bulbous front fairings between the cylinders and buffer beam. When introduced she had short smoke deflectors but was fitted with the now standard length deflectors in January 1947.
So far Hornby have only produced one Series Two version in the main range as R3861 35017 Belgium Marine, this represents her in post July 1954 condition with a modified wedge shaped cab, no front fairings and the safety valves resited to the later rear position over the firebox crown. One slight error with the Hornby Series Two model is the position of the Stones steam generator that they have modelled in the Series Three lower position (I assume to simply tooling options) that gave greater access to it, rather than the position for the first 20 locomotives up behind cab side casing and beneath the cab floor. To create 21c11 for my chosen period I amended all these items and in addition I replaced the smoke deflectors with finer etched versions.
Replacing the cab is the biggest challenge for this conversion, I started by removing the body from the chassis removing the deflectors, safety vales, pipework and then removed the cab cutting the bottom edge level with the cab floor.
For the replacement cab I used as a starting point the Light Pacific Original Cab etch 4AGBWOC that is available from RT Models, the Merchant Navy Cab is longer, so I extended the etch by soldering to it an additional strip of 15thou nickel silver cut to size including the cab roof rear overhang.
The cab was then shaped to match both drawings for the roof and the cab side curve allowing the rear turn-ins to be soldered in place. At each stage it was tested to ensure a suitable fit against the loco body. The join being at the cab floor level also coincides with the position of the lower lining that will also aid concealing the joint along with a small amount of filler. Etched window frames, also from RT Models were fitted and I used some scrap etch to make representations of the cab roof lifting eyes.
To create the flat front of the cab I used Milliput filler to fill the gap between the cab and the casing, smoothing the front flat with a wet knife blade and using a small rat tail file created the shape of the front window.
A replacement white metal Stones steam generator also from RT Models , was added in the correct location under the rear corner of the cab floor on the driver’s side. Just like the Series One and Two prototypes it is virtually hidden but I know it is there.
I drilled three new holes for the three Hornby brass safety valves in the original as built forward location and filled the later rear position above the firebox crown with Milliput filler. I carefully filed this to the correct roof profile and scribed it to recreate the joint lines around the dome cover.
I also filled the front washout plug (as this was moved to be slightly offset from the boiler centre line when the safety valves were resited), and created a new washout plug position in its original position back on the boiler centre line, I started with a with a small drill and then elongated the hole slightly, a small amount of Milliput filler was pushed up from the inside and shaped to create a representation of the plug itself.
I created from scratch the uniquely deeper bulbous front fairings between the cylinders and buffer beam on 21c11, see the image left, I started by cutting some 15th brass sheet to an approximate developed shape, before bending to shape. For the spherical front I made a number of cuts in the brass to create ‘leaves’ to allow the approximate sphere to be folded up (think like creating a globe) before filling with solder and finally filing to shape. A piece of 0.4mm brass wire was soldered to the front edge and filled flat to create the beading.
The locomotive and tender bodies have been painted using aerosol paints, following masking the buffers and buffer beam with maskol, I started by giving a light dusting of Halfords etch primer before two thin top coats of Railmatch 1632 malachite green. The smoke deflectors are painted and lined separately to allow the body area behind the deflectors to be painted first.
Lining and numbers have been applied using HMRS Presfix transfers from sheet 10 (10a for the lines). Care is taken to ensure the horizontal yellow lines are level and parallel, I use a rule and a pair of dividers to ensure these are correct. Note how the application of the yellow lining appears to the eye to change the overall colour of the base malachite green. Once applied the transfers are sealed in place by spraying the bodies and deflectors with Railmatch 1408 Satin varnish.
The cab roof, casing ‘flat top’ and tender top were then brush painted matt black and the smoke box cowl given a satin finish as per the prototype. Etched nameplates from Fox Transfers are glued into place, as per my usual method of a tiny amount of super glue applied with a cocktail stick. The wheels have been brush painted with Precision Paints P78 malachite.
The cab side and front windows have been cut to shape from 10 thou clear plastic and glued into place using a very small amount of Delux materials Glue ‘n’ Glaze as this dries very clear. The detail items removed from the body prior to the conversion, are refitted, such as some of the separate pipework fittings and the turned brass safety valves fixed into their new location. A replacement white metal smokebox dart from RT Models was fitted into place after I had glued into position the etched smokebox roundel, that is supplied along with the etched nameplates by Fox Transfers.
I have also replaced the supplied front steps with the excellent and stronger lost wax brass casting from RT Models but fitted other details from the supplied Hornby accessory pack such as cylinder drain pipes to complete the look .
Just a couple of little paint areas to touch up and some light weathering and she will be ready to add to my ever growing (no don’t ask how many…) fleet of Bulleid pacifics.
Hornby have today announced their forthcoming range for 2022. Although no tooling from a Southern Railway perspective modellers, the highlights include new versions of the Class 423 4-VEP EMUs, a new Dublo version of the original Merchant Navy and new LSWR and Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway liveried ‘generic’ coaches.
Hornby’s new tooling for 2022 moves away from the SR this year with a brand new LMS Black 5, LMS Princess Royal Class ‘The Turbomotive’, a revised HST power car and Mk3 coaches, the larger Sentinel industrial 0-6-0 diesel, LNER Coronation coaches and ‘beaver tail’ observation car, Class 755/3 & 755/4 ‘Flirt’ electric and bi-mode units and the GWR Loriot Y machinery well truck. A Limited Edition version of the LNER A4 also enters the Dublo range with a cast metal body.
Locomotives and EMUs
Although technically no new locomotive tooling for Southern modelers; however we see the re-introduction of the Class 423 4-VEP EMU, Hornby are listing this as new tooling, but it is the original tooling with only minor corrections such as to the front cab area, the first class internal partitions now having windows, improved inter coach coupling and power transfer, 5 pole motor bogie and now is also 21 pin DCC ready.
R30106 – Southern Class 423/1 4-VEP EMU Train Pack – final condition as between 2003 and 2005 – Unit Number 3514 [Q4]
R30107 – South West Trains Class 423 4-VEP EMU Train Pack – post refurbished condition as between 1996 and 2004 – Unit number TBA [Q4]
R30122 – Departmental A1X ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0 D.S.680 in lLancing Works shunter livery as carried between March 1952 and withdrawal on 4th June 1962. [Q4]
R30140 – BR M7 Class 0-4-4T 30244 in British Railways (Gills Sans) malachite green livery as carried between September 1948 and January 1952 and allocated to Nine Elms. [Q4]
R3434 – SR Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ a reintroduction as originally released in 2017 (delayed from 2016) in as when introduced condition with widows peak and horseshoe smokebox door plate as between in June1941 and August 1941. A limited run of 500 models.[Q4]
R30129 – BR Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ in early BR malachite green livery with British railways in Sunshine lettering as carried between her introduction in April 1948 and April 1952 when she gained BR Green. [Q4]
R30114 – BR West Country Class 4-6-2 34046 ‘Braunton’ in BR Green livery and high rave tender with early emblem as she an between Jan 1954 and June 1957. [Q4]
R30112 – Hornby Dublo – Merchant Navy 4-6-2 Lamport & Holt’ BR Green livery with early emblem as carried between June 1952 and July 1955. Limited Edition of 500 models.[Q3]
R30153 – BR Class 50 Co-Co 50044 ‘Exeter’ in Network South East livery as carried from April 1982. New 21pin DCC socket [Q2]
R30154 – BR Class 50 Co-Co 50042 ‘Triumph’ in BR large logo livery as carried from May 1982. New 21pin DCC socket [Q3]
Other Train packs
R30123 – K&ESR Terrier 150th Anniversary Pack – A1 No. 70 Poplar in LBSC ‘Improved engine Green as running prior to sale to K&ESR in 1901 and A1X 2678 in SR Sunshine black as currently preserved. A Limited Edition of 500 numbered train packs.[Q4]
R3961 – Isle of Wight Central Railway, Terrier Train Pack – Era 3 A1X No. 11 and three ‘Generic’ 4 wheel coaches (Composite, Brake Third and Full Brake) [Q4]
R40221 SR, Maunsell Dining Saloon Third [sic] (actually a Composite Dining Saloon), 7844 to Diagram 2658 in SR green as approximately between 18th November 1947 and mid 1949. She was outshopped Crimson and Cream livery4th February 1955, however the SR style lettering was likely to have been amend to BR style before the end of 1949 .[Q4]
R40222 BR, Maunsell Dining Saloon First [sic] (actually a 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. [Q4]
Merry Christmas to you all, fill up your life with love, compassion, tolerance, peace, happiness and perhaps hopefully some time for modelling.
Who knows what the next few weeks or even months might continue to bring, please make the time to contact your friends and family, especially those whom might be alone, and not able to be in the company of others during these still most unusual of times. It is good and OK to simply ask “Are you OK?” and likewise it is “OK not to be OK” and reach out for assistance. The one good thing, if anything, this past 18 months has been the kindness and generosity of others to help and support each other, and long may this continue.
As the festive season and New Year break is upon us, I just wanted to say many thanks to all of you whom have taken the time to read my ramblings over the past 12 months. I hope you have found such ramblings interesting and informative. I have always enjoyed corresponding with many of you that have made contact me via email or the comments field on my various posts. I look forward to corresponding with you again in the New Year and maybe, hopefully, in person at an exhibition…
A further flurry of activity will be taking place at the start of the new year with Hornby (January 10th) announcing its 2022 range followed a few weeks later, at the beginning of February, by Bachmann making the next of their now quarterly range announcements. I will as always bring you all the Southern Railway / Southern Region related news on here as soon as their announcements are made.
Seasons greetings, whatever your faith or beliefs, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (or Nadelik Lowen ha Blydhen Nowydh Da! from the boss’ side of the Tamar) to you all!
This weekend 4th/5th December sees the fourth World of Railways Virtual Exhibition, and a weekend filled with entertainment for all ages, model railways of all shapes, sizes and scales, plus informative model ‘how-to’ advice, and interviews with the brands who bring us the models we enjoy, including a in a couple of different interviews yours truly…
The virtual show organisers, Warners/BRM, have introduced a range of new features, including: guest modelling panels answering your questions, and a Christmas shopping segment you’ll not want to miss. Fan favourites remain, including the hugely popular Kids Zone, competitions, puzzles, exclusive interviews and more.
A #BigWORshow wouldn’t be complete without its competitions! There’s something for all the family across the weekend, from ‘spot the difference’, puzzle games and colouring for younger viewers, with a fabulous selection of prizes to win for adults, from a Hornby Queen Elizabeth and limited edition Merchant Navy, to an Oxford Rail modern air-braked Warwell and Bachmann BR Mk. 1 coaches.
Like the latest Hornby model of 21c7 the previously released model R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ and without smoke deflectors. 21c3 was introduced in September 1941 in malachite green livery but repainted in plain black as a wartime measure in May 1943. Changes to the smoke deflection stated in September 1944 when she was fitted with the top cowl and short flared deflectors. 21c3 was repainted malachite green in November 1945 and was subsequently fitted with standard length and style of smoke detectors in May 1947. She stayed in this condition until June 1948 when she was renumbered 35003 and British Railways in SR style sunshine lettering.
I have therefore took the razor to hand and modelled 21c3 in her May 1947 condition just after she received freshly painted new standard deflectors, complete with the baton along the top for mounting the Devon Belle wing plates as a per a photograph of her that I have in my collection.
Like my 21c7 conversion I have used 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.
I have followed the same steps as per my Workbench Witterings #10 post here so will not repeat the stage by stage details. Who knows when we might see this version from Hornby, as I said in the #10 post 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
Announced as part of the Hornby 2021 range, the Gangwayed Bogie Luggage vans have now arrived at retailers. An old version of these vans with a Triang heritage has been in and out of the Hornby catalogue for some time and were very much something of a comprise (and it is not even worth comparing it with these new models). These newly released models are totally new tooling from the ground up and are a very welcome addition to the range.
Diagram 3098, 25/26 ton 51’ 3” bodies with 36’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2331-54 & 2482-90
Diagram 3099, 27 ton 53’ 3” bodies with 36’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2355-70 2461-81
Diagram 3100, 25/26 ton 51’ 3” bodies with 34’ 3” bogie centres. Numbered 2281-2330
The Southern coded all these vans as ‘GBL’ (Gangwayed Bogie Luggage) and later COR PMV (Corridor Parcels Miscellaneous Van) by British Railways. They we utilised mainly on Southampton Docks and other South Western Section trains and also the various overnight newspaper and mail trains.
30 of the GBLs were converted for use within casualty evacuation trains as stretcher vans. Most of these had received droplights in the centre pair of doors and when returned to the SR in 1945 these and a small number of other vans were allocated new diagram numbers as follows:
Diagram 3096 for the 17 ex Diagram 3098 51’3” GBLs
Diagram 3097 for the 16 ex Diagram 3099 53’3” GBLs
They were initially introduced in SR Olive Green livery, a very small number gained malachite. Under British Railways they were in crimson, with as few as six gaining BR(s) Green.
Hornby have initially released five versions of the 53’3” Diagram 3099 / 3097 vans
R60020 – SR GBL Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.2362 to Diagram 3099 in SR Olive Green livery (it should be noted that 2362 was one the vans that received centre door droplights and reclassified to Diagram 3097 in 1945, so is modelled by Hornby in its pre-war guise)
R60020A – SR GBL Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.2471 to Diagram 3099 in SR Olive Green livery
R60021 – BR COR PMV Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.S2477S to Diagram 3097 (modified from Diagram 3099 with centre door droplights) in BR Crimson Lake livery
R60021A – BR COR PMV Gangwayed Bogie Luggage van No.S2467S to Diagram 3097 (modified from Diagram 3099 with centre door droplights) in BR Crimson Lake livery
The bogies are a well detailed recreation of the LSWR 8 foot bogies that were used on these vehicles. They are fitted with steel disc wheels, it should be noted that prior to 1945/48 these vans ran on Mansell wooden cantered wheels.
The NEM coupling pockets are mounted on close coupling cams. However, the tension lock coupling fitted already extends beyond the buffers by approximately 4mm and although the cam allows the coupling to pivot in a arc and is sprung it is hardly driven by any bogie movement except at the very extremes of bogie swing. Even on the short radius turnouts and tight curves of Canute Road Quay the coupling and cam hardly moved, so I will be fitting a shorter tensions lock coupling in mine.
Livery application is to the standard that you would expect from Hornby with the shaded numbers and letting on the SR version clearly well reproduced and includes the extremely small by legible “Distributed Load 10 Tons”, the end lettering and data panel, sole bar cast number plate (although the plate on the crimson version still shows the ‘R’ of ‘SR’ whereas under BR only the ‘S’ would have been picked out in white) and brake wheel notations.
It was back in February 2015 when Hornby announced that they were to produce an original air smoothed Bulleid Merchant Pacific as part of their 2016 range, however they were then moved into the 2017 range. These first three R3434 21c1 ‘Channel Packet’, R3435 21c3 ‘Royal Mail’ and R3436 35028 ‘Clan line’ arrived in March 2017, see my review of 21c1 here.
Since then the high seas between China and the UK have been devoid of Hornby ‘Merchant Navys’ despite further versions being announced in the following years.
Hornby advised in January 2020 that the delay was due to one of factories that they use being unexpectedly at very short notice closed, due to a compulsory purchase of the land by the Chinese government! This impacted the production of the new Merchant Navy pacifics, versions of the Peckett industrial tanks, the Class 800 Azuma units and the GWR 61xx large Prairie tanks locomotives. Work to move the tooling to another factory appeared to take longer than had been hoped, however the backlog is slowly being cleared and 35024 should hopefully now be the first of the overdue excellent Merchant Navys to arrive.
35024 ‘East Asiatic Company’ was the first Merchant Navy to appear in the Express Passenger Engine Blue for the newly formed British Railways. Whilst in Eastleigh works in March 1949 for Minor ‘D’ examination she was first painted in a dark blue (note: not recorded as being the experimental purple seen on some other non SR loco classes, including the wheels with three horizontal crimson bands and a hand painted early emblem on the tender. She however re-entered service in what was to become standard express passenger blue with two horizontal black bands with white lining, following inspection of the livery by members of the Railway Executive at Brighton Works.
The blue paint of the time wasn’t very practical in practice, due to the elements and the heat from the engine causing the paint to discolour and fade quite quickly hence the change to BR Green for all Passenger Locos only a couple years later.
Hornby have released 35025 in the condition in which she first ran for a while in this livery from Exmouth Junction, as she does not carry the later BR shedplate (72A) it would have been fitted sometime before May 1949 when she was also fitted with the battens on the smoke deflectors to carry the ‘Devon Belle’ wing plates.
I wont repeat my full review of 21c1, as that can be read here, and all the positives are also on this model such as: the powerful 5 pole motor with large flywheel, all wheel pick up, the excellent coupling rods, the loco and tender brake rodding being factory fitted. Included with the loco is an accessory pack that contains a pair of front steps for the loco buffers (which might like the wheel tyres benefit from being toned down from the bright steel) and rear steps for the bufferbeam on the tender, cylinder drain cocks and also steam and vacuum pipes.
As with previous Hornby Bulleid pacifics the front steps in particular require glue to affix and is a little tricky.
The fixed rear pony truck has flangeless wheels as is Hornby’s current way for pacific wheel arrangements allowing for a better representation of the ashpan etc. It may be possible if your curves allow to fit a flanged wheelset if you wish.
The paint finish, whilst a slightly different hue to the printed box not that it maters, I think captures the drabness of the BR Passenger Blue well.
If the carpet crawler YouTube reviewer is to be believed this should along with the flat casing top be a stain finish just because another manufacturer has done so on a totally unrelated model, he also claims the nameplates are etched but printed, and that the brass cab side window frames are wood (to be fair they are wooden on the Light Pacifics). For the record whilst the blue could perhaps be only slightly more satin for an ex works condition, the casing tops should be matt black.
I only have two niggles are firstly the nameplates, whilst separately applied plastic parts are printed with none of the casting relief and I have already replaced these with etched plates from Fox Transfers.
Secondly the characteristic electric lamps that 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 them to point upwards slightly and the very fragile plastic lamp irons to lean backwards.
I have replaced these three lamp irons with etched brass versions so they are stronger and correctly face forwards, this in itself helps trick the eye away from the lamp angle. 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 black unless the lamp is actually lit. I have touched away the sliver and again it helps disguise the incorrect angle of the lamps.
Little niggles aside, I stand by my earlier review these models have raised the bar, capturing splendidly the front face and overall look and details that Bulleid intended. Along with the excellent smooth running powerful drive system and chassis we can look forward happily to adding other versions to the fleet when then arrive, with hopefully more versions from the tooling suit that Hornby have produced to cover most of the potential variations.
The model railway world and mainly Southern Railway meanderings of Graham 'Muz' Muspratt