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> Hornby Black 5, A tale of two locos
post 12 Mar 2011, 13:57
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A few weeks ago I bought a new Hornby Black 5 of the railroad variety, the LMS one which is in the 55 notes zone from my buddies in scouseland, Ok when it arrived not a great model, I model late BR (19th May 1962) but I figured that one day it would be weathered and the LMS identity would be submerged under a coat of grime just as I recall they all did, was hopeless train spotting back then as all the numbers were totally obscured.

I kept looking at the Hornby versions but really topping 100 for a Black 5 which was a very common loco seemed a bit steep, anyway setting aside my distrust of ebay I bought an Ayrshire Yeomanry and when this arrived I liked it so much I bought another from eBay 44762 or something a weathered one (still a bit clean by contemporary standards)

Now When the railroad one came it seemed busy, as if it were slipping, loco drive Ok, I examined the body as it sits a bit high and the footplate slopes to the front by half a mm. Still I thought it could be a donor chassis for one of the others if needed. I also noticed an AC like buzz from the loco none of these trits are apparent with the other two.

I decided to look more closely and these are 2 different models viz;

3 locos and 3 different boiler/dome/top feed castings.
the 2 ebay locos have a bigger chimney (wider)
These two sit better body on chassis, Black 5's if anything were lower at the back unlike the Railroad one
The valve gear on the Railroad is simplified without the 4 bar chain valve gear return it links to the bottom of the cross head directly
The tenders are different, the Railroad is very heavy and feels like it was derived from the tender drive version, the coal is cast into the top, the other two have a scale tender with moveable load.
The tender wheels are different
When it came the Railroad one had a faulty front bogie wheel which I replaced with one I had
The other two are really nice models from the go.
Under neath the loco the chassis is different with cast springs also in the better ones the drive gear is bigger and placed differently

So it seems these are two completely different models and I wonder what is the sense in that? I also wonder if this applies to other Railroad models such as the A4, somehow this is sad as Hornby could have made both the BR version AND the Stanier instead of two essentially the same.

Finally I have not checked if they are interchangeable chassis wise they look similar at the back but not at the chassis front.

Just interested in other folks observations.
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post 12 Mar 2011, 14:42
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You are not really comparing apples with apples here. The new Hornby is a vastly more sophisticated production. The Railroad range are aimed at 'little Johnny" and people who just play trains. Serious railway modellers will go for the new one which is dimensionally and cosmetically more accurate as well as a better runner I think. The tender tells you all you need to know - it is the old tender drive unit sans motor.

I have six Black Fives on my layout - two, kit built, costing around 250 a time as they have RG4's Ultrascale wheels etc - and four of the new Hornby ones. The latter look just as good as their kit built mates and run just as well, and pull more than the kit models. The only thing wrong with them is those horrible bogie wheels. Five minutes and some Alan Gibson LMS wheels fixes that and you can't tell the kit locos from the RTR. I am mightily impressed by the quality of these Hornby productions. If they have a fault it is slightly flimsy valve gear compared to kit productions, but at the price you can't complain. The four Hornby bought on ebay altogether cost about the same as one kit loco.
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post 12 Mar 2011, 17:41
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I have the railroad black 5, I'm not a stickler for realism so it doesn't bother me the slight inaccuracies. I did have a problem with low pulling power, the problem being the pickups in the tender causing a lot of drag. I removed the pickup and performance was a lot better, albeit with a little more stalling over points (not too bad though).

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post 12 Mar 2011, 17:59
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I have 2 Black 5s, one in LMS livery built, I think, by E Rankin Gray and bought in an estate sale. It has Portescap drive and runs extremely well. It will pull my 10 coach train with ease, unlike RTR locos. My other is the latest Hornby Black 5 with sound. It is a beaut! and its running characteristics are exemplary. The bogie wheels have been replaced.

Many years ago I had the Hornby tender drive Black 5 loco - what a disaster! It never did run properly, was dimensionally inaccurate and very crude. I have no experience with the Railroad model but I would have assumed that it is a "dumbed" down version of the current Black 5. It might make sense to buy the Railroad version and tart it up oneself if one is so inclined, but only if it runs as well as its more expensive cousin.

My 2 cents



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post 12 Mar 2011, 21:17
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The railroad (RR)range makes use of older and simpler tooling in most cases.

For example:

RR Class 31 is ex Lima, SD (super detailed) class 31 is all new tooling
RR A1 Scotsman is ex 1980s tooling, SD (super detailed) A1 and A3 is all new tooling
RR A4 is part ex 1980s tooling and part (loco body) new, SD (super detailed) A4 is all new tooling
RR Class 08 is ex 1980s diesel, SD (super detailed) class 08 is all new tooling

It remains to be seen if the older Britannia, old lima 50, west country and class 25 will appear...

Exceptions to using old tooling are the class 395 hitachi (to be honest, I don't rate the super detailed one as being super detailed, its only just better than former lima and eurostar moulds - for example moulded roof fans instead seperate fittings below, no interior lighting etc), and the new tornado.....
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post 15 Mar 2011, 15:24
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The Railroad Black 5 is the old tender drive version with a loco drive chassis, even down to the cast tender chassis with mounting for the Ringfield motor. All they've had to tool up is a new chassis block, the tools for everything else were sitting there waiting to be used. The only thing in common with the current 100+ Black Five is the colour.

A Standard 5 would have to be tooled up from scratch, the Railroad Black 5 will have cost peanuts by comparison. If the old one shared a chassis with anything else in the old tender drive range I wouldn't be surprised to see that turn up in the Railroad range before long either.

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