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Thursday 16 July 2015

Just For The Record

This week I bought the GBL Lord Nelson 00 gauge static model.

As the GBL series comes to an end it will probably be the last Southern, Western Division locomotive I'll obtain from the series. I bought the Mallard, Schools, Black 5, Bulleid, N, T9 and Lord Nelson since the series started. All except the N and LN have previously been posted (use the search box to find them). Mallard was an impulse buy and since sold. Bulleid was motorised. The Black 5 is not Southern but I had an idea to turn it into a BR Class 5, which did run on Southern metal.

One day I may get around to motorising more.

 Lord Nelson and N class Mogul.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Z Gauge London Bus

Having visited Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre (see previous posts) we then went on to visit the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum at Manston. One of our party bought this keyring there.

The bus is nicely modelled and the wheels turn. Taking a rule to it I reckon it is about Z Gauge in size 1:220. The attachment for the ring could be cut off unobtrusively.

I was told by the purchaser that other vehicles were also available.

If you model in Z gauge and live in the Thanet area pop along to the museum to have a closer look.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

A Few Additions to Hornby 700

First up is the loco crew. I was put off buying a crew by the price of Hornby's driver, fireman and vacuum pipe set at over £6 and to be fair the seated driver in the kit would not fit the 700 cab correctly anyway.

I dug out my box of Airfix people from decades ago and modified a couple to fit the locomotive.

The fireman was originally an old man with a walking stick. I gave him a head transplant from a railway worker and turned his walking stick into a shovel with a square of paper stuck to the stick.

The driver was a standing railway worker. I cut off his legs and fabricated sitting ones from sleeved copper wire. He is sitting at a slant because I wanted him to look out of the cab side window.

This view shows the pair in the locomotive. I used PVA glue to fix the crew. It is just strong enough to hold them in place enabling removal without damage or marking of the locomotive.

Another addition is the head code disks for the Waterloo - Exeter route. You can read how they were made here. They are fixed using double sided tape so they can be removed without damage or marking of the locomotive.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

My Hornby Class 700

This is the locomotive I purchased from Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre in Margate recently.

The LSWR Drummond Class 700 a.k.a. Black Motor lasted until December 1962 and none were preserved. It was used for heavy freight workings. Hornby released the model in several guises including 30315 late crest version, which I bought because the prototype was shedded at Salisbury, which seems fitting for the period and location of my Model Railway. I have a picture of a 700 (30692) in 1960 hauling empty ballast wagons to Meldon on the LSWR main line confirming that the class would have travelled on the line and in the period I have modelled.

I added a Zero 1 chip, which was simple to fit in the tender as shown below. The weights had to be removed to make room for it and despite this the train runs satisfactorily but I suspect on tight curves or uneven track the tender might derail. There is still room in there to add a customised weight.

Out of the box the loco was tested using an old analogue Hornby controller and it was noted that the loco had poor slow speed running tending to jump start. With Zero 1 digital control slow running was restored.


So far I have only run it with a 15 wagon train. The loco exhibited wheel slip on the slightest gradient and on the main 800mm curves. I felt that the tender wheels were not particularly free wheeling but I need to investigate further and check the wagons for sticking axles too.

One other problem was a buffer falling off during handling. I glued it back in place.

It is a fine model with nicely detailed and painted cab controls. The cab area has an open aspect that is disconcerting during operation without a loco crew in place. I'll be fitting a driver and fireman.

Sunday 5 July 2015

A Visit to Hornby

A family gathering near Margate gave the opportunity to visit Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre, on the site of the firm's original HQ and factory.

Hornby is probably the best known brand for model railways, having a long history and the Margate factory in use since 1954. Except, as most in the hobby know, manufacturing moved overseas and the building became a warehouse.

The Visitor Centre is around the right hand corner of the main frontage shown in the photo. It comprises an exhibition, cafe and shop selling the firms products, which includes Airfix, Scalextric, Humbrol and Corgi.


My interest is in the railway products. I was surprised to see only a subset of the entire catalogue on display. I later discovered that the warehouse had moved elsewhere, and the office staff too. Only the visitor centre remains on site. This might explain the lack of products available.

Fortunately, the locomotive* I was after was available, in all its guises, and happily we had arrived on a rare 10% off day. The price paid was slightly lower than that offered by the Internet discounters! Had we visited the previous weekend we would have been blessed with a 50% off factory sale! Such a shame I don't live close by.

* more about the loco. in a future posting.

A handful of model railway layouts, which although landscaped still looked like toy train sets and would definitely appeal to younger visitors whereas older souls may find the static exhibits of toys through the ages more appealing. I saw examples of toy cars I owned from the 1960s and trains I bought in the 1970s, one of which is still used on my layout. Those vintage models on display all looked brand new.

One room is given over to a military exhibit of full size military vehicles and a huge diorama of a Battle of Britain airfield under attack. But this room holds a secret. If you made a pilgrimage to the site because of your love of Hornby and lament the end of manufacture on site and would have liked a tour of the premises well there is a small round spy hole in a door that leads into the factory area. You can see the factory interior that was once a hive of manufacturing activity, empty of machinery now of course.


The cafe is a spacious and comfortable rest area We only wanted a drink and had a cappuccino, which was of excellent quality.

I understand Hornby Hobbies are planning to move the Visitor Centre to a new location in Ramsgate. I'm glad I visited whilst it is still at the old factory site.

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