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Other than the final version of the P2 and a decent V2, I am done on big engines. (My resolve might wobble on P1, U1, W1.) Hornby are never going to do the A2/3 are they?

It's the smaller pre-group design black locos where there are more purchases to be had from me. On current trend it looks like Oxford Rail are going to get much of my RTR loco spend this year, for their N7 0-6-2T, as my two old whitemetal models are desperate for the reserves to come to the rescue.
 

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In presentation their effort on line in the form of the engine shed strikes me as far more likely to succeed if developed. When I want to see what's available, I go to Hattons site. That's the right direction to go in presentation, not that it is perfect: but what it is, is useful. It's the actual item that got produced for a start, not a catalogue illustration of intent, the model very definitely not having been produced at the time the catalogue was committed to print!
 

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And right on time as if to show how it might be done, Hattons have put advance samples of their Barclay in the hands of the online video reviewers, in addition to the magazines. This thing is 'trending' if I understand the jargon. (Probably the jargon of five years ago, but I don't have a tech savvy teen to consult at the moment.)
 

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I would be surprised if you were to rate the Hornby Castle any differently overall from the B1/B12/B17. Looks right, measures up well with just one cunning adjustment of the outside cylinder position which usn't visibly apparent, Hornby's usual excellent finish, quiet and smooth mechanism and a trouble free runner. When it first came out I bought one to represent the Swindon four cylinder 4-6-0 development: a foreigner on my ECML layout, used on occasional SLS or RCTS specials.
 

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The Maunsell M7 0-4-4T. I have one, used on the cross London freight transfer turns. Worth every penny! Dimensions and appearance very good, the applied detail includes just about everything practical on a commercial 4mm RTR model, and it runs and pulls well. On level track it will perform the ECS job they were latterly famed for, a dozen coaches can be realistically started and pulled at slow speed. Traction goes the to dogs when there is any sort of gradient, hardly a surprise with this wheel arrangement; but short of a very ambitious compensated suspension this has to be expected.
 

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QUOTE (kristopher1805 @ 11 Feb 2018, 20:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>OK sounds better than I thought, the M7 originally appeared in very early Hornby days after the switch of Triang into Hornby must have been around 1969 in fact I have all the original catalogs from those days, so how many versions have there been since then. An 8/10?...
The current M7 has no relationship to the earlier item, other than the M7 classification and 0-4-4T wheel arrangement. I have no real knowledge of the earlier item.

In terms of a rating of the current model, on par with the best of Hornby's current output for dimensions and appearance.

The limitation is the traction fall off on any gradient, partly because of the inherent characteristic of the wheel arrangement. Hornby could have done a better job on the M7 mechanism layout; the much later D16/3 shows progress on this front, and I shall be interested to see if any of this has appeared in the H class 0-4-4T mechanism design. In short, put the motor and DCC socket toward the bogie end of the mechanism, pack all the available volume above the driven wheelbase with metal. On the M7, both motor and decoder socket and void are wholly or partially over the driven wheelbase, reducing the potential maximum weight from what could have been achieved with better layout. This also makes decoder installation something of a pig: completely unnecessarily when such light weight tackle could be placed in the ample cuboid bunker space, where the designer would have to make a real pig's breakfast of the layout to make a difficult DCC decoder installation.

QUOTE (kristopher1805 @ 11 Feb 2018, 20:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...tell me why I should dump older versions to buy the latest effort...
My baseline standard for those products that potentially suit my interest is simply 'is it a credible model?'. In terms of Hornby's China designed output the outright rejects are the Brush type 2 (class 30) and Gresley gangwayed coaches: both are visually deviant from protoype appearance, not models at all in my opinion. (I happily use the excellent drive from the mazak rotted Brush type 2s obtained s/h to power earlier body shells which actually look right, but had dire mechanisms. It's an ill-wind that blows nobody any good.)

The Stanier 8F was something of a grudge purchase for me, thanks to that spinning gear shaft end on view. Overall it does look like an 8F sufficiently enough to rescue it, but sooner or later I am going to have to drop a kit gearbox into it for a concealed drive line. I'd trade up in a heartbeat if Hornby renewed the 8F to the standard of their Thompson O1.
 

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QUOTE (butler-henderson @ 12 Feb 2018, 19:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Actually its a very simple loco to fit a decoder to provided you have the right decoder. Ignore Hornbys instruction to remove a weight as the M7 obviously needs as much weight as it can get in the right places and either
1.fit a suitably small enough direct fit decoder, I have two with TCS DP2X-UKs fitted; these have to fitted the wrong way round in order to get the body back on but that is not an issue as there are no lights and a quick change of CV29 corrects the loco running the wrong way, or
2.remove the 8 pin socket and all of Hornbys wiring bar the solitary wire leading from the pick ups. Hard wire a suitable decoder (I have a TCS M1 in another M7) with the motor wires soldered direct to the motor, one track lead to the tag on the chassis block and the other to the wire referred to early with heat shrink over the joint.
Compare to socket in bunker. Remove body, fit any HO size decoder of choice. The next Hornby tank engine I purchased (Thompson L1) had this very simple arrangement.

I modified the M7's wiring to put a Lenz standard decoder in the bunker. That frees space above the driven wheels for more ballast where the bulky but lightweight decoder socket was originally positioned. It's a poor layout decision on Hornby's part is all.
 

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Yes, Hornby, assisted by the output of Bachmann, Heljan and Oxford Rail, with honourable mentions for Dapol and Rapido, and the A5 in prospect from 'Sonic', have just about done it. Thus the revival of this old thread. Pretty much got all the truly essential traction I need for my BR(ER) KX inner sub area operation from RTR, and Hornby promising a high grade Black 5, ought to have one of those when it arrives. 'Someone' is bound to do a B16 aren't they? So now I can 'ramble' a little.

Now, I sold on my M7 some time ago to a friend, who 'wanted one that worked': and immediately missed it, even though it's a massive stretch to find one in the KX area. Well, one has come along, non-runner (detached wire) and I am attacking it in earnest. Both the ballast weights have come out, and it's getting replacements in the form of lovely lumps of lead, but only ahead of the rear coupled axle centre. (Some of the lead is actually more like foil than lumps, but you know what I mean.) Pretty confident that by this means an increase of the weight of the model by 40% will be possible, with the centre of balance at the midpoint of the coupled wheelbase. Such a lovely looking loco, and Hornby really went for it and mightily succeeded in capturing the appearance, still as good as any model currently on offer.

Dreamtime.
Hope Hornby follow their excellent J36 with the ex-NBR D34, such a pretty mixed traffic 4-4-0.
Good 0-6-0 models always welcome, specimens of the breed from the LNWR and L&Y would be very welcome.
How about a current standard 8F anybody? Got one that really pulls now by putting the H-D body on a current Hornby mechanism, but it isn't a match in appearance for Hornby's O1 or Bachmann's WD 2-8-0's.
If Hornby are still in 'big engine' mode, there's Gresley's P1 2-8-2.going begging...
And how about the other dry side atlantics? Handsome classes from all of the GCR, NBR and NER: trying to avoid keyboard drool just thinking about these.
 

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Further extension of the 'rambling'. While setting about the M7 modifications to improve the weight distribution, I was reminded by the presence of a spare N2 body of their rather similar dimensions.

So what if Mr Gresley - as he then was - persuaded the loco committee that for branchline work he could take the N2 and develop an 0-4-4T from it? This works extremely easily, and makes a very attractive loco: with the M7's leading driver centred in the N2 body splasher, the cab steps fall neatly over the bogie pivot point so it immediately looks right. I'll take about 10mm out of the bunker end, as it wouldn't need as much coal and water capacity as the N2, and the condensing gear naturally comes off too, should bring the weight down to a liitle over 60T. By the time the first in class were fictitiously out the Stirling G1 had been withdrawn, so the new loco took the vacant designation.

I'll swap the bodies as the whimsy takes me, both of them not to be found in the KX area after all. Haha, a 'free' extra loco. (Being a drysider I have N2 bodies, originally on Mainline mechanisms that wore out on my old outdoor operation; plastic chassis being rather poor when mixed with the grit of the real world...)
 

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Good progress on the M7 mods, the 32g of mazak ballast in the side tanks - most of it behind the rear coupled axle centre - gone; and now just coming up to 40g added, all of it forward of the same axle centre.As an 0-4-0 it's nearly balanced in the middle of the coupled wheelbase now, and there's some small fiddling pieces of lead to go in well forward yet, and if I can find a brass or whitemetal chimney to match the pretty fine Hornby piece, that will go on as well.

I have rewired the loco too, partly to eliminate use of the chassis block in the current path, but primarily to completely declutter the front of the model for more weight by routing the driving wheel pick up wires to the rear; the hardwired decoder will be at the rear of one of the side tank voids.

The bogie will be arranged to simply trail around, not supporting the rear of the loco at all, so no lifting weight off the drive wheels which significantly reduces the traction of the model as supplied. I am searching for a couple of split axle 10 spoke circa 14.3mm diameter, so that the bogie can be modified to collect current with no wiper drag; I know I had some off worn out Bachmann split chassis locos, now where did I stash them....
 

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There's an outline diagram of a Robinson 2-6-0 in the Haresnape volume on Robinson Locomotives. Looks like a 'Director' on 5'8" wheels with two outside cylinders. Would near enough build itself on the basis of a 'best fit' mogul mechanism, (from a K3 would suit) O4 body, (modified by shortening the boiler barrel and footplate circa 12mm) cylinders and connecting rods, and tender. Fair bet that this would have been a success, it looks very right.
 

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... progress on the M7... The bogie.. I am searching for a couple of split axle 10 spoke circa 14.3mm diameter, so that the bogie can be modified to collect current with no wiper drag...
Well that idea is canned, split axles too thick for the bogie frame to safely accomodate, hey ho, we have to sacrifice 2 grams force worth of traction to the bogie wiper drag.
 

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Had it done so, I suspect few if any of Robinson's mixed traffic 4-6-0's classes would have emerged; as a circa 28,000lb tractive effort 2-6-0 with the boiler performance of the Robinson 4-4-0's would have been a very useful engine indeed. (It could have followed the same boiler development path as the 4-4-0's, from the 11C saturated to the final superheated boiler on the 11F (LNER D11), and the GCR could have handed over 86 very competent class 5MT units to the LNER, for a lot less money and effort, and a lot more much admired performance; instead of the 5 classes - for a total of 86 - mediocre mixed traffic 4-6-0's.)
 

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Further on the M7, now nearing completion. I have taken weight out of the rear of the body, there's a large blob of plastic under the neatly modelled coal slide - not much weight reduction, but it counts for more in balance terms as it is near the rear of the loco, and have finished adding weight at the front, so it is now very stable.

A spare N2 body was sitting near the M7 while I was doing this, and the size was very similar. Now what if Mr Gresley had decided that the boiler and front end of the N2 might do well in an 0-4-4T format on the GN's branchlines, now that the Stirling G1 and G2 0-4-4T's were nearing their end? And then succeeded in subsequently persuading the LNER locomotive committee that this might be a useful move?

The resulting new LNER G1 is about two feet shorter than the N2, taken from the bunker end as less water is required, so it's purely a coal bunker at the rear, and the balance pipes behind the steps are lost, and sheds the condensing gear too; the weight estimate a branchline friendly 60 tons, with adequate adhesion at 38 tons on the coupled wheels. (As a model there's room for much more weight up front than in the skinny boiler of the M7, so ample traction, and to top it off, the overall appearance is very neat.)

I'll swap bodies back and forth...
 
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