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Hornby R6214A 2 Axle China Clay Hopper CDA Wagon Review - List Price 10.49

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Review by Gary Leigh
 

In 1987 BR introduced a fleet of 125 wagons to carry china clay within the West Country. They replaced small open end tippler wagons. The Hornby version of the CDA china clay hopper was first introduced towards the end of 2003 to rave reviews. The modelling press stated that the new generation of wagons were well up to continental standards in both detail and finish, with some commentators even claiming that the quality of the finish exceeded continental standards. So it seemed that a new dawn was breaking in the modelling standards for the new generation of Hornby rolling stock. Up until now those wishing to extend their china clay hopper fleet have only had the multi pack weathered versions available. Hornby have recently released a new "clean" example with the hopper number 375052 and so this will be popular with those who prefer their wagons to be spotless.

             

Prototype images courtesy of Paul Bartlett. A link to his gallery is included in the Model Rail Forum links resource.

For those unfamiliar with the new packaging Hornby have adopted the style of packaging used by others to protect the fine detail of the model in transit. Gone are the days of the card inner tray with the wagons flapping around loose inside. This is a very sturdy affair

       

You will see from the images of the prototype above and below that Hornby have captured the detail of the CDA hopper including the fine handbrake detail and hopper release mechanism. Even the rivets are in the right place. The colours are also just about right. It is interesting to note that the white panel seen in one corner along the horizontal frame, whilst being both on the prototype and the Hornby production model, does not feature in the catalogue on the pre-production example. The blue tarpaulin hood is produced as a separate section which clips onto the top of the hopper bin.

   
             
             
             
 

The one thing that every new modeller returning to the hobby will notice is how smooth running the rolling stock of today is compared with when there were a lad. If you spin the metal wheels on these wagons they just keep turning. I set up a 1 in 60 incline with a section of straight track and placed the wagon at the top and it had no difficulty at all freewheeling to the bottom. This will permit very realistic and long china clay train to be hauled around your layout by a class 37 or whichever loco is your own pick. After you have read this review you may like to tell us which is your favourite loco that you put to work hauling a rake of hoppers.

             

Another feature that adds to the feel that this is a scale model and not a toy is that the buffers are sprung. You can push them in and out. Now this has been a feature of Hornby locomotives for a while but it has now been carried over to rolling stock. One interesting observation is that the buffer heads do not project beyond the line of the coupler. Even when running on tight radius curves there was no buffer contact. So it is nice to have the sprung buffers and it does give the wagon an engineered feel but for all practical purposes the springing action is redundant. The images of the printing above indicate how fine it all is.  It is simply too small to read with the human eye but with the use of a magnifying glass it is all perfectly legible.

     
             

So to conclude this new addition to the hopper wagon fleet from Hornby will please modern outline modellers and help to extend the china clay CDA wagon fleet. For those returning to the hobby, or entering the hobby for the first time, it would certainly be worth considering creating a layout specifically with a view to permitting these terrific looking wagons to operate. And as this happens to be Devon and Cornwall then what better excuse do you need!

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