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Posts Tagged ‘British Railway Modelling magazine’

Bachmann first announced the introduction of these ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway 60ft Birdcage coaches back in March 2013. Has it been worth the wait? Although at the time of writing only the BR Crimson versions are due this month, I have to say, yes very much so. The review is is a version of one I have written for British Railway Modelling magazine the electronic version of which is published today with printed copies to be available next week.

These 60ft three coach ‘birdcage’ sets were introduced by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR) between 1912 and 1915; and comprising of 62 sets were the most numerous sets compared to the previous 50ft examples. With the birdcage lookouts over each of the guards compartments these sets typify the standard SE&CR non-corridor coaching stock.

The sets comprised originally of:  2nd / 3rd class composite Brake Lavatory (later declassified to Brake Lavatory Third (SR Diagram 162), a 1st / 2nd (later declassified to 1st / 3rd) Lavatory Composite (SR Diagram 315/6)  and the Brake Third (SR Diagram 160), The Composites were built in batches with two distinct body side variations, with the initial batch having two wide windows on each side for the saloon, whilst the later batch had one wide and one narrow window for the saloon; Bachmann have tooled for both versions. The Southern Railway renumbered both the individual coach and set numbers between 1923 and 1929.

39-602 ex SECR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory, No. 5468 Set 595

The initial Bachmann releases are as follows:

39-600 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Composite SE&CR Dark Lake, No.1174 Set 138
39-610 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite SE&CR Dark Lake, No. 1178  Set 138
39-620 SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd SE&CR Dark Lake, No. 1182  Set 138

39-611 ex SECR 60’ Birdcage Composite, No. 5423 Set 613

39-601 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory SR Olive Green, No. 3518  Set 613
39-611 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite  SR Olive Green, No. 5423 Set 613 (Two wide saloon window style)
39-621 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd SR Olive Green, No. 3446  Set 613

39-622 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd, No. 3428 Set 595

39-602 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake Lavatory BR Crimson, No. 5468 Set 595
39-612 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Composite BR Crimson, No. 5468 Set 595
39-622 ex SE&CR 60’ Birdcage Brake 3rd BR Crimson, No. 3428 Set 595

The SR versions are due to follow in October / November with the SE&CR versions November / December.

A view of the ends including separately applied lamp irons and brake control apparatus on the brake ends and showing the ‘birdcage’ lookouts

Separately applied fittings include the roof vents, vacuum pipes, handrails and grab handles. The brake ends also have separately applied lamp irons and brake control apparatus. The glazing is commendably flush and the window corner radii, especially in the drop lights are very nicely prototypically small. A representation of the internal window bars is included on the luggage compartment door window glazing.

The moulded interior and painted seating, and also showing the position of the body fixing clips.

The body is removed via easing the four clips located on each side to reveal a moulded interior with partitions, table in the saloon and even lavatories (where appropriate) and the seating painted in respective colours.

The fine underframe details with four sets of truss rods

The underframe detailing is exquisite with finely mounded brake details, 4 sets of very finely moulded queen post truss rodding and even the turnbuckles. The buffers are separate moulded items and not sprung.
Dynamos and battery boxes are fitted only to the the SE&CR composite, and on the SR / BR versions the Composite and the Brake Third as the electric lighting was through cabled to the other coaches in the set.

The separately fitted items and finely moulded 8ft Heavy Fox bogies can clearly be seen.

The all new well detailed 8ft Heavy Fox coil spring bolster bogies fitted with metal wheels sets and pin point axles running in metal bearings are very freewheeling. Detachable couplings in NEM pockets are mounted on the now standard close coupling mechanism.

The underside of the 8ft Heavy Fox bogies showing the electrical pickups incorporated

The resulting gap (4mm on the straight) between coaches could still benefit from being reduced slightly with perhaps an alternative to the supplied tension lock coupling (I test fitted Kadee No.18s, although of course the prototypes were not buckeye fitted, and this reduced the gap to 2mm) if your minimum radii allows. The coaches when test ran, run very smoothly both hauled and propelled though a complex range of pointwork.

No internal lighting is fitted but each bogie includes wiper pickups so this might be a potential option in the future.

Depending on the lighting that the coaches are viewed under the rendition of the crimson livery might appear to some to be slightly on the dark side, although it does match previous ready to crimson releases in that respect. The  initial SE&CR Dark Lake livery sample as previously shown by Bachmann has been commented on as being too brown and Bachmann I believe are currently looking at revising this to give a deeper red colour.

Please note: all the images on this post are copyright and courtesy of A York and BRM Magazine.

 

The complete set 595

Bachmann have been given assistance in the research and preparation of these excellent models by friend Trevor Rapley the owner of,  albeit one of the earlier 50ft version, birdcage Brake lavatory Composites preserved on the Bluebell Railway and the results speak for themselves (although I am sure someone will moan cryptically due to finding maybe a rivet slightly in the wrong place). The introduction of these sets with their distinct character, being of pre-grouping origin, that were long lived and little modified during their lifetime; along with recent and planned (check back on here after midday on Monday 11th for a further announcement) South Eastern & Chatham Railway / Eastern Section Southern Railway locomotives; will ensure that these excellent coaches prove popular.

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This months picture…

Bulleid Light Pacific, Battle of Britain 21C151 'Winston Churchill' is turned at Fisherton Sarum.

Bulleid Light Pacific, Battle of Britain 21C151 ‘Winston Churchill’ is turned at Fisherton Sarum.

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This months picture…

Douchess class No. 46236 'City of Bradford' is turned at Fisherson Sarum during trial runs for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange trials, she is coupled to a WD tender due to the SR not having any water troughs.

Stanier Duchess class No. 46236 ‘City of Bradford’ is turned at Fisherson Sarum during trial runs for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange trials, she is coupled to a WD type tender for the trials due to the SR not having any water troughs.

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This months picture…

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 'Nederland Line' built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton. Adams O2 built from a Wills kit, shunts the ash wagon on shed. My Grandfather, a Ganger,  can be seen taking a break leaning on his ballast fork near the platelayers hut.

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton. Adams O2 built from a Wills kit, shunts the ash wagon on shed. My Grandfather, a Ganger, can be seen taking a break leaning on his ballast fork near the platelayers hut.

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This months picture…

Gresley A4 class 60033 ‘Seagull’ heads to London on a locomotive exchanges route familiarisation working in May 1948. The Home signal that controls entry to Platform 1 or 3 at Salisbury Station is made from model Signal Engineering components.

Gresley A4 class 60033 ‘Seagull’ heads to London on a locomotive exchanges route familiarisation working in May 1948. The Home signal that controls entry to Platform 1 or 3 at Salisbury Station is made from model Signal Engineering components.

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Delivered via its current day namesake, my Hornby 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ arrived this week. It is gratifying to see a project that I have in a small part been involved with for nearly two years come to fruition. I have already posted on this blog a few times about the Merchant Navy classes, in connection with the prototype, my kit built examples, progress of the Hornby versions since their announcement in 2015 and also the variations possible from the first releases. Click here to see a list of such posts.

Hornby 21C3 with the detailing items added and the nameplates replaced with Fox Transfers etched versions

So far the first two have arrived in the guise of R3434 21C1 ‘Channel Packet’ and R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ with the other two BR liveried versions of the first releases due in the next couple of months. This post is not a full review as such but aims to discuss some of the features of the model, although I hope the pictures (and thanks to Andy York and BRM magazine for some of the images on this post) speak more than my words.  Ultimately tooling will be such that the majority of the number of the variations / modifications of the Merchant Navy class in their original form can be produced, but of course it will be a number of years before all will be seen.

An X-ray style view showing inside the body (picture courtesy and copyright A York /BRM)

Starting with the chassis and drive, a large 5 pole motor and brass flywheel drives the rear axle via a gear tower and provided very smooth and powerful running and impressive haulage  as I have witnessed on the High Wycombe and District MRS layout Hinton Parva. Electrical pick up is via the driving wheels on the loco and those on the tender, the drawbar between the loco and is of the latest permanently fixed style, with two positions via a screw on the loco, to allow close coupling should your layout curves allow.
The wiring between the loco and tender terminates in the usual Hornby plug and socket, but as the they are permanently coupled there should be no need to repeatedly remove the plug from the socket.

A close up of the chassis, coupling rods, and factory fitted brake rodding on 21C3

The coupling rods are some of the best I have seen on a ready-to-run locomotive, even down the to representation of the lubricating oil filler corks. The Bulleid-Fuirth-Brown wheels are well represented although the metal tyres might look better slightly toned down a little.

A close up of the cab and ashpan of 21C3

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 pony truck is also a separate component, held on with a single screw which should allow for Hornby to change between the cast and fabricated versions of the different prototypes in the future.
Thankfully Hornby have decided to factory fit the characteristic brake rodding on both the loco and tender (although some owners have reported that they have had to re glue the rodding at some of the mounting points), the former, was on their past Bulleid models difficult to glue in place due to the small contact area and type of plastic they use.
For those wanting to get under the body it is easily removed by first removing the front bogie, held in place with one screw, and then the two chassis to body screws. The DCC socket and space for a speaker is within the tender, the body of which is simply held on with two screws.

The front end view of 21C3, the larger size of the ‘C’ compared to the numerals is correct to the prototype, noting the Fox Transfers etched roundel I have fitted

The body captures the shape and curves of the original well, being as in her very early condition with ‘widows peak’ cowl above the smokebox there are no smoke deflectors and if being a little critical the front edge of the body side, due to the limitations of the tooling for a mass production model ,are perhaps slightly too thick and I may well look to bevel these from the inside edge slightly to deceive the eye in the area (although part of me is still deciding whether to forward date this model by cutting back the front sides, fitting smoke deflectors and the later top cowl). Looking down the chimney you even see a representation of the locomotives blast pipe, (21C1 also has its unique chimney cover plate modelled in the open position).

The impressive cab detailing and printing (picture courtesy and copyright A York /BRM)

The cab is very well represented, complete with nice representations of the two part cab doors, with great attention detail internally with exceptional printing of the various pipework, handles, gauges and dials. The cab roof, complete with lifting eyes etc., has a separately applied ventilator that can be opened or closed. The side windows are neatly glazed and modelled in the open position (rear pane slide behind the front pane and are complete with the windshield.

The cab roof including the sliding shutter (picture courtesy and copyright A York /BRM)

The nameplates and smokebox door roundel on 21C3 and also the number and tender ‘Southern’ plates on  21c1 (with the roundel correctly being the initial style inverted horseshoe) are separate parts but flat printed rather than having any cast relief such as you would get with etched versions. I have therefore already replaced those on my 21C3 with etched plates from Fox Transfers. For those also wanting etched number plates and Southern plates for 21C1 these are available from C.G.W Nameplates. The nameplates are simply held in place by three spigots one in the middle and one at each end of the ‘Merchant Navy Class’ cross bar lettering and they came away from the model easily using the tip of a modelling scalpel enabling the etched plates to be glued in place directly to the body side. The overall painting, lining, printing of the numbers and ‘Sunshine’ Southern lettering, correctly slightly different between the numbers and the Southern lettering, and the larger ‘C’ as part of the 21C3 number is of Hornby’s  usual high standard.

A view of the other side of 21C3

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, I may well end up replacing these with more robust lost wax castings from RT models, the other items all have positive location holes for fitting. A front tension lock coupling is also included.

Just like when the rebuilt Merchant Navy model was first introduced in 2000 it raised the bar as far as models from Hornby was concerned, I feel that once again the Merchant Navy has been the cause of the bar being set even higher and I am pretty certain that it is no coincidence that it coincides with Paul Isle, whom it has been a pleasure to assist, coming on board at Hornby as head researcher. I look forward to the release of more members of the class and variations in due course, as they are sure to be popular.

 

 

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The winners of the first British Model Railway Awards for 2016 have been announced today and can be read here.  This year saw a resurgence for Hornby wining not only 00 manufacturer of the year, but also Overall Manufacturer of the year,  helped by within a number of the categories Southern Railway / Region related products winning and or polling highly.

Set 45 comprising of a Dia 418 Brake Composite and and Dia 99 Brake Third

Set 45 comprising of a Dia 418 Brake Composite and and Dia 99 Brake Third

Congratulations to all the winners; and especially Hornby as mentioned above, coming top in a number of the individual categories including: 4mm scale carriage stock award, with their excellent SR Maunsell 58ft ex LSWR rebuilt coaches; and the 00 gauge wagons award with the super SR diagram 1529 / 1530 cattle trucks .

Diagram 1530 Bullied Cattle truck in SR livery

Diagram 1530 Bullied Cattle truck in SR livery

Also polling well was their Class 71 electric locomotive with over 25% of the vote in the 00 Gauge modern traction award; therefore ensuring that the Southern Railway is well represented in the awards, which is always good news. With the Hornby original Merchant Navy and ex SECR H Class 0-4-4T due to the hit retailers this year  in my opinion they will also have a strong contenders for the awards in 2017 as well.

Also well done to the UK Model Shops website for justifiably winning the website of the year award, for the second year in a row, a category in which I was surprised to have been again nominated and came a creditable 5th among a wide range of high quality and informative websites, so many thanks to all who did take the time to vote.

 

 

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