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Hornby R2614 GWR 4-2-2 Dean 3031 Archilles Class Locomotive

Lorna Doone

By Gary Leigh

When I heard that Hornby were going to produce a Dean single with a new name for the first time in 40 years then this was one model that had to be added to the shopping list for 2007. The model has now appeared and even though an older model in the Hornby armoury it has to be said that it has been given a fresh new look as a result of using the latest paint technology to produce what has to be the best example ever of this vintage GWR loco.
The package comes complete with limited edition certificate and the loco is DCC ready and should have the room to squeeze in a small Hornby decoder. I was a little surprised not to find a driver and fireman in the box. In fact there are no detailing parts at all in the box and this does make for a refreshing change as many models these days have detailing packs that contain more parts than the average Airfix kit! .
The pictures that accompany this review can do most of the talking as far as how the model looks however it has to be said that the fine paintwork in the cab is exceptional and this is one model where you can really appreciate this as the loco is running around the layout. So how does the loco run on the track? (continued lower down)
The loco being light in weight and having just one drive wheel is clearly at a disadvantage compared to bigger heavier locos with multiple drive wheels. Two Clerestory coaches were hooked up and on the flat there was little difficulty. A further coach was added and again the loco rolled along smoothly. Four coaches though and the loco was on the limit with the big drivewheel spinning along in an effort to propel the train forward. In times past track was steel and Lord of The Isles had magnadhesion which helped to provided plenty of grip. And the short Clerestory coaches were about half the weight of the latest and longer examples. In terms of overall performance it was all very smooth and slow running, even with that big wheel, was very acceptable. This is helped by having additional pick ups in the front bogie. The big wheel also provided exceptional speed and if required and clearly The City of Truro would have had stiff competition had the prototype performed anything like this!
What I really did like though was the show stopping effect the loco had on everybody who walked past the test layout at Warley MRC where trials took place. There were a couple of the latest modern locomotives running and nobody batted an eye however once Lorna Doone appeared club members were tempted to walk over and see what the fuss was about. Lots of talk of proper trains and something different from todays super detailed models. (continued lower down)
If you don't like big gaps between the loco and tender, or moulded handrails, then this loco is not for you. For those who enjoy operating models that are a little different in character to the mainstream offerings, and with entirely different running characteristics that can be a little challenging, then this is definitely one of those locos that you should add to your collection. If it is too late to pick one up by the time you read this review then Hornby will probably release another example at some point and when they do put your name down on the waiting list!
I would like to express my thanks to Warley MRC for the use of their test layout for this review.

RSS    Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 23rd April 2021 - 03:28