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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

GBL Black 5 - Almost Motorisable

In two minds about obtaining this locomotive display model because it is not of Southern origin. However, the BR standard Class 5MT was developed from the Black 5 and some were allocated to BR(S). In fact the only outward difference I have read about is 'the running board on the BR 5MT is higher, revealing almost all of the wheels, the locomotive’s whistle is directly behind the chimney, and the cab sides are not square, but have one corner "cut off’. All this seems achievable by modification of a Black 5 model.

The Class 5 allocations to BR(S) were 73110-19 and 73080-89. They carried the names previously allocated to the King Arthur N15 class.

With favourable reports about the GBL model quality I decided to buy one. This time from Asda, which seems to be consistent in retailing the entire series to date (3 on the shelf when I visited on the day of publication).

It is a really good model and surprisingly heavy, which is due to the chassis and fixed driving wheels being a solid metal casting. The front bogie wheel/axle set are separate mouldings and turn!. The tender wheels do not turn.

Both the locomotive chassis and tender chassis are removable leaving hollow body shells, which means either a motorised tender or locomotive chassis might fit.

Even if I do not convert this model looking at it revives memories of a wonderful excursion behind 44932.

The most frustrating aspects of the GBL series models for the modeller is:

1. Differing assembly techniques - some have separate chassis making motorisation easier and some have moulded in chassis making conversion more difficult. (I know they are not intended for modeller conversion, which is surely a missed marketing opportunity).

2. Inconsistent manufacturing quality across the range.

Nevertheless I look forward to future Southern models, especially the Bulleid West Country, due in July I believe.

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