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Posts Tagged ‘Fox Transfers’

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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This week saw the first of the new Hornby ‘Original’ Merchant Navy Pacifics hitting  the retailers, see my Talking Stock #35 post here for more details and also the full size ‘Rebuilt’ Merchant Navy Pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. steaming in public service for the first time in 2017 on the  Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) for the week of services allied with the Cheltenham Races Festival. With this in mind I thought it was time that firstly I finished my model of 35006 in her as preserved guise (being a shareholder), and also that I mentioned the Rebuilt Merchant Navy Pacifics on this blog, although they are of course out of my usual 1946-49 modelling period.

Rebuilding the Merchant Navy’s

21C6 in original condition on Fisherton Sarum

Although in general the Merchant Navy class as introduced were a success, proving to be powerful and very free steaming, one of the outcomes of the less than scientifically carried out Locomotive Exchange trails in 1948 and further performance and efficiency tests carried out at the Rugby Stationary Test Plant between March 1952 and January 1952, showed them to be costing a lot in: coal, water, oil and secondly maintenance when compared to other classes. These costs along with issues of leakage of oil from the enclosed motion oil baths and the reliability and accuracy of the steam reverser / cut off setting led to the Southern Region looking at options to improve the engines.  The option chosen as opposed to trying to overcome the individual issues was to rebuild the engines with more ‘standard parts’.

Rebuilt 35006 in the sunshine at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway.

The task was given, in 1954, to R.G. Jarvis of the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer’s Department at Brighton, his new design replaced the encased oil bath and chain driven valve gear with three sets of  more traditional Walschaerts valve gear, new style piston heads and rods, regulator and a screw-link type reverser. The ashpan and grate were also replaced and included hopper bottom doors and front and rear dampers. A new fabricated smokebox, superheater header and steam pipes were also fitted.
The frames, outside cylinders, boilers were retained along with the: Bullied-Firth-Brown wheels (although now needing balance weights to be fitted), axleboxes, the efficient ‘clasp’ locomotive brakes and the ‘Stones’ steam generator for electric lighting both for the engine headsignals and in cab lighting. The same tenders were utilised, albeit with the side raves cut down to ease water filling access and reverse running view. The drawbar between the loco and tender however was replaced.

Reflecting on  superb standard of external finish on 35006.

Externally the ‘Air Smoothed’ casing was removed giving the look common to the recently introduced BR standard classes, although the characteristic oval shaped smokebox door was kept. Sanding, from replacement sandboxes, was also added to the leading driving axle, whilst rearward application was incorporated to the middle driving axle and new mechanical lubricators were accessibly mounted on the running plate alongside the boiler.
In 1955 the British Railways Board gave authority for fifteen of the class to be modified and authority for rebuilding the remainder swiftly followed. In February 1956 Eastleigh works released 35018 British India Line in its newly modified form (35018 as the prototype rebuild remained unique to the rest of the class as the front sandbox filler position and injector pipework differed), by October 1959 all the class had been rebuilt.
Performance of the rebuilt engines was indeed successful, solving most of the maintenance issues, although one drawback was that they put greater loads on the track, than the largely self balanced originals, as a result of increased hammerblow, caused by the balance weights required for the Walschaerts valve gear.

My model of rebuilt 35006 as preserved

The release by Hornby in the year 2000 of the rebuilt Merchant Navy locomotive heralded a new generation of model steam locomotives by Hornby and was a step change of standard of models reactive to competition in the market place and gave us a new super detail standard featuring blackened finish handrails and wheels with etched brass valve gear, detailed cab interior, and a five pole motor housed and driving within the locomotive itself. Over the years a number of the class have been released with a few modifications to the tooling along the way, although as yet none of the first series engines as rebuilt have been released as the 5000 gallon style tenders they were paired with have not been tooled.

My model of 35006 in as preserved condition

As 35006 in preservation has been paired to a brand new built larger 5100 style tender I have used a Hornby R1038 35012 United States Lines (split from a train pack) locomotive as the basis for my model.
Firstly I removed the cabside number numbers via my usual method of soaking the Hornby printing in enamel thinners and rubbing off with a cotton bud and replacing with HMRS Pressfix decals.

A front 3/4 view of 35006 based on the Hornby Rebuilt Merchant Navy with detailing parts and etched plates from RT Models and Fox Transfers

New nameplates and smokebox door number plates were fitted along with an extched 72B Salisbury shedcode plate on the smokebox in the slightly higher position than usual, level with the lower smokebox  hinge, on 35006 which was a charactoristic of her when in service. All the plates were obtained from Fox Transfers.
I replaced the front steps as supplied by Hornby by the more robust lost wax cast versions, along with a set of the cylinder drain pipes to complete the front end look, obtained through RT Models, from his excellent Albert Goodall range.
As I am modelling 35006 in her preserved condition I want to to also represent her superb external paintwork finish with a reflective and classic oily rag polished hue and have therefore given the model a coat of Kleer floor polish to give a such a finish to the paintwork (and also seal in the decals).

More details of 35006 and the locomotive Society can be found on my dedicated page here.  Also it is worth mentioning the 35011 The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that was formed last year with the intention of not only restoring 35011 back to working order but doing so back in original air smoothed condition condition complete with Bulleid’s oil bath encased valve gear incorporating chain drive elements to fill the gap in preserved examples left by the entire class having been rebuilt.

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This weekend I finished changing the identity of one of Hornby’s excellent S15 Class 4-6-0 models to represent 30847 one of the locomotives preserved by the Maunsell Locomotive Society. I carried out the work on behalf the Company Secretary of the Society and it was a pleasure to assist him in getting a model of 30847, that has been lovingly restored by members of the Society, and has seen frequent service on the Bluebell Railway.
Further details on the actual 847 / 30847 can be found on the Maunsell Locomotive Society’s website here, in addition to 847 they also have U class 2-60’s Nos. 1618 & 1638, Q class 0-6-0 No. 541 and Schools Class V 4-4-0 No. 928. If you are interested in joining and supporting the Society click here. 

Carrying her new identity as 30847 just prior to the cabsides gaining a coat of satin varnish.

Carrying her new identity as 30847 just prior to the cabsides gaining a coat of satin varnish.

The donor locomotive was a Hornby R3328 No. 30843,  although I have detailed my method of changing model identities on this site before and I generally followed my usual processes, I detail them again here for reference. In this instance I did not require to repaint the model and for a change I would be giving the locomotive a BR identity.

Another view of 30847 the replacement smokebox door number can just be seen.

Another view of 30847, the replacement smokebox door number can just be seen.

I actually removed the entire number on each cabside rather than just try and change the last digit (as generally the available transfers never quite exactly match the factory applied numbers) using good quality enamel thinners on a cotton bud, this also leaves the are where the numerals have been removed as a shiny surface finish which is good for the application of the replacement transfers. I took care not remove the existing small 6F power classification printing. I then replaced the numbers starting with the centre digit ‘8’ and working outwards on both cabsides, as this I find it easier to keep the numerals level, using HMRS Pressfic transfers sheet 14 BR steam era loco and coach insignia.   To seal the number transfers and retrun the cabsides to an ex-factory finish I masked off the model just leaving the cabsides exposed and sprayed with a light coat of Railmatch satin varnish.
The smokebox door number plate was changed using transfers from the Fox Transfers FRH4099/003 – Southern Region Smokebox Numbersets 30726-31059 set which simply and neatly covers the existing printed number plate.
To complete the identity change I fitted one of the very fine (and small!) etched shed code plates for 72B (Salisbury) also from Fox Transfers. Finally I finished the model by adding its detail pack of brake rigging on both loco and tender, front steps and cylinder drain pipes, although it should be noted that the packing does require some trimming to allow the model to fit back in once these items have been fitted.

I hope the owner will be pleased with his S15, now 30847, and if readers are able to support the Maunsell Locomotive Society in anyway, I am sure you will be more than welcome.

With a break from real work planned over the Christmas period I hope to be able complete a number of outstanding projects so watch this space for further ‘Workbench Witterings’.

 

 

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