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G'day from Oz. This is my first post to this forum so if I don't quite get it right let me know! I have just started back into modelling British outline after 30yrs modelling US outline. The US locos while excellent models had become boring and quite expensive if, like the bulk of mine, you had to buy brass models to suit your chosen road name namely Chesapeake & Ohio in steam days. I still like the C&O and have retained a couple of my brass models that I didn't want to part with.
Anyway back to Hornby A3 "The White Knight". it's a fine model although it's a little fragile namely the reverser lever under the footplate and the front steps. I've broken both while trying to fit a DCC decoder, Lenz Gold series,, the reverser trying to get the mech out and a front step when the front bogie swung over. Also the lining bands on the boiler could do with a little work as the black line is a little patchy in a couple of places and disappears. Other than the lack of crew, how much extra would a painted crew cost to fit Mr Hornby or Mr Bachmann, which makes my loco stud look like runaways this is a fine model of a well liked prototype. Also on the DCC front I wish Hornby and Bachmann would take a leaf out of the US book and a fit the DCC interface in the tender. That way you have more than enough room to fit the decoder and it's only four wires coming back to the tender that could be disguised as the tender connections you normaly see.

Ozzie 21
 

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I agree with you, the new A1 and A3 is a very nice looking model and I would like to convert it to dcc but as with a lot of my steam collection and hornby in particular am reluctant to risk damage taking the top off. I can't see why tender mounted chips should be a problem given that hornby already have current from the tender passing through contacts on the couplings. As an afterthought it means that presumably converting a tender drive loco without tender pickups to take a loco mounted decoder would be easy. A lot of the tenders especially on bachmann stuff are just along for the ride. As you say the wiring wouldn't be too intrusive if you coloured it black.
 
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