It came out after Hornby’s version, but is Djmodels’ Class 71 the last word on the subject? CHRIS LEIGH finds out.
DJM’S Class 71 and Mermaid, Dapol’s Class 122 and IDAS, Hatton’s ‘Warwell’ and IRM’S ballast hoppers are under scrutiny this month.
My dislike of duplication in ready-to-run models is well known, and duplication is generally a financial disappointment to the manufacturers involved. In the case of the ‘OO’ gauge Class 71, both Hornby and Djmodels announced their models simultaneously and neither drew back from the brink. At the time of the announcement, the Hornby model must have been at an advanced stage, for it reached the market in September 2016 and was reviewed in MR226. The gestation period of the DJ Models Class 71 has been somewhat longer, and was subscribed by pre-orders under a crowdfunding arrangement. This means that the bulk of the production run is pre-sold, with only the limited editions from Hatton’s (‘Golden Arrow’) and Kernow Model Rail Centre (weathered) likely to be available to those who did not pre-order. Enough of the politics: the DJM Class 71 is now reaching its customers and we’ve been loaned an example of each of Kernow’s three weathered examples. I chose E5002 in the later BR unlined locomotive green to examine in depth. Kernow is also offering an original green version and a Rail blue example. I might have chosen the latter, as I made pilgrimages to see the final ‘Golden Arrow’ and the ‘Night Ferry’, both with Rail blue Class 71s in charge. However, both those prestige passenger trains had pristine locomotives and, to be honest, I don’t ever recall seeing Class 71s in quite the filthy state depicted by the Kernow weathered models. Nevertheless, lots of modellers seem to approve.
SIX OF ONE…
Inevitably, this review is going to draw comparisons. My first impression of the DJM was that it is remarkably similar to the Hornby model. That, of course, is
THE HEADCODE ARRANGEMENT ON THE DJM MODEL IS FAR BETTER THAN HORNBY’S STICKERS
how it should be. Apart from subtle differences in interpretation of detail, both models should look the same. That they do is testament to the accuracy of both manufacturers. The DJM model is spot-on, dimensionally, and captures the character of the real thing extremely well. Side by side, however, there are subtle differences in the shape. The DJM model has a slightly ‘furrowedbrow’ look, the windscreen pillars being thicker and the brow more pronounced. It also has wire horizontal handrails, while the Hornby has the correct flat-section but as separate plastic fittings. The windscreen glazing on the Hornby model is clearer and lacks the prismatic effect, but the headcode arrangement on the DJM model is far better than Hornby’s stickers. The DJM model includes a selection of headcodes printed on a strip of clear material which can be inserted through a slit to sit behind the glazing and in front of the light source. Headcodes can, in theory, be changed without removing the body but it’s a fiddly process. DJM’S pantograph is plastic and can be posed in up or down positions, although few modellers are likely to need to raise it. I was pleased to find that it is a little more robust than Hornby’s metal offering, and doesn’t self-destruct like the Hornby one. Both models have sprung buffers, but those on the DJM model have much stiffer springs than Hornby. DJM includes the third rail pick-up shoes in the bag of detail parts to be added by the modeller, together with alternative front skirt sections without the coupler aperture. As built, the Class 71s had no rainstrips, as correctly depicted by Hornby’s early green versions. These were soon added, however, to reduce water ingress in grilles and cabside windows. DJM’S Class 71 has the rainstrips on all versions, and this is one detail which looks a little heavy-handed. Hornby has the small vents on the cab corner posts but these were added later and were not present when the locomotives were new. So both manufacturers have limited their tooling variations but in different ways. Turning to the bogies, those of the Hornby model are 30mm wide, while DJM’S are 32mm. This small amount of extra width is used to good advantage, and the bogie sideframes are one of the DJM model’s best features. What’s more, the mass of complex detail, cables, springs and