It came out af­ter Hornby’s ver­sion, but is Dj­mod­els’ Class 71 the last word on the sub­ject? CHRIS LEIGH finds out.

Model Rail (UK) - - Content -

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.


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


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


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