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I think we need to remember how lucky we have been the amount of models being released; go back to most of the 1970s and their was one new loco a year from Hornby, or if you were lucky two, and the chance of it turning up before the end of year was often very unlikely. There are nothing that particularly interests me in the current list of main catalogue announcements although I do have an eye on the Club being re-launched in order to get the preserved H.
 

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Discontinued items are simply down to the Chinese batch production method; the Duchess will no doubt be back in next year or the year after and something currently in the catalogue dropped. The Chinese factories like to set up a tooling and make the lot (then put the tooling in storage until needed the next year or years later) so we have had situations where Hornby have said one version will turn up on the first quarter and another in the third and the whole lot have turned up together.
 

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QUOTE (34C @ 12 Feb 2018, 09:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>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.
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.
 

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Its not just Hornby who have sockets oddly placed, some models of other manufacturers are equally poorly positioned and yes the obvious place would be underneath a removal coal load in the bunker or tender so removing any need to dismantle the loco to any extent but that seems to a giant design leap that no one has yet managed.
 
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