Hornby ‘A1/A1X’ 0-6-0T

Model Rail (UK) - - Reviews -

◆ GAUGE ‘OO’ ◆ MODEL Hornby ‘A1/A1X’ 0‑6‑0T ◆ PRICE From £89.99 ◆ PE­RIOD 1870s‑1960s ◆ RE­GION South­ern ◆ AVAIL­ABIL­ITY Hornby stock­ists Tel 01843 233512 Web www.hornby.com

The new Hornby ‘Ter­rier’ 0-6-0T is some­what con­tro­ver­sial, thanks mainly to a TV pro­gramme in which it was por­trayed as a ‘spoiler’ for an al­ready-an­nounced ri­val prod­uct. Hornby’s model is the first to reach the mar­ket, lead­ing some to sug­gest that it has been rushed. Does the speed of its pro­duc­tion in­di­cate a com­pro­mise in qual­ity, or was it al­ready at an ad­vanced stage, and the con­trived con­tretemps with a com­peti­tor seen as a way to ob­tain prime­time TV cov­er­age?

We shall never know, but cer­tainly there are a cou­ple of is­sues with the Hornby ‘Ter­rier’ which de­tract from this oth­er­wise keenly priced and cute lit­tle model. It is, of course, not the first time a ‘Ter­rier’ has ap­peared in the Hornby cat­a­logue. The ‘A1X’ tool­ing ac­quired from Dapol many years ago has been in and out of the Hornby range ever since, but it was cer­tainly due for the 21st-cen­tury re-tool­ing in ev­i­dence here.

The first ex­am­ples to reach the shops were the ‘A1X’ mod­els in BR lined black, but that was not the ver­sion I wanted. I went shop­ping – a lit­tle re­luc­tantly – for a re­view model as I did not want a BR ex­am­ple. I was just about to part with my cash when the shop as­sis­tant at Train­s4u re­marked that “some blue ones have just come in the mail.”

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

On open­ing the box it is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent that this is a pe­tite and ex­quis­ite lit­tle lo­co­mo­tive and its pedi­gree – from the same sta­ble as the Peck­ett 0-4-0ST – is ob­vi­ous. The ‘face’ has a cer­tain rus­tic charm with its long ‘droopy’ handrail, very fine sep­a­rate smoke­box door han­dles and separately fitted ‘brassed’ lu­bri­ca­tor pots. The el­e­gantly ta­pered chim­ney has a neatly shaped cop­pered cap. Cor­rectly, there’s just one separately fitted lamp iron front and back on this Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way ver­sion.

The ‘A1’ had com­bined splasher/sand­boxes and el­e­gant wing plates and these are com­mend­ably thin. The whis­tle and the Sal­ter safety valves be­hind the dome are re­ally very fine. The tank sides

fea­ture the cor­rect num­ber of bolt heads for the cladding, and the fine black handrail has knobs at the cor­rect an­gle.

There are one or two is­sues, how­ever, which for me are not deal-break­ers but if you are seek­ing the per­fect ‘A1’ they might just put you off. Firstly, the buf­fers which are cor­rectly shaped and have turned and black­ened metal heads (not sprung) should be re­cessed into the run­ning plate, and they are mounted flush to the buffer­beam. More ob­vi­ously, from the top-down view­point, the tank tops should be re­cessed be­low the curved cladding. This lat­ter fea­ture is ob­vi­ous from nor­mal view­ing an­gles and cer­tainly de­tracts from the over­all good looks of this lit­tle model.

On the plus side, the cab in­te­rior de­tail of this lit­tle lo­co­mo­tive is ex­quis­ite. The cab door handrails are very fine and the de­tail of the boiler back­head and con­trols looks top notch. It is a pity that it can only be glimpsed through the small open­ings. One al­most wishes for an open-cab ‘Ter­rier’ but there never was one! On the bunker the top coal rail is open and the rest in­filled. There’s the clas­sic Stroud­ley tool­box and the rear spec­ta­cles have pro­tec­tive grilles though, ap­par­ently, Rol­ven­den did not have such a lux­ury.

PRETTY IN BLUE

As usual it’s the qual­ity of the fin­ish which is Hornby’s ic­ing on the cake. The KESR colour scheme with red lin­ing on a mid-blue back­ground was not an ex­am­ple of good de­sign but Hornby has re­ally made an ex­cel­lent job of a dif­fi­cult sub­ject. The red lin­ing is ex­ten­sive and in­cred­i­bly fine and the KESR logo and painted Rol­ven­den name ap­pear ex­actly as they do in pho­to­graphs. As with many of the Stephens lo­co­mo­tives, it car­ries no num­ber.

THE WORKS

Two screws in the un­der­side hold the body in place and once these are re­leased the body lifts off. The wheels are black­ened metal with blue plas­tic cen­tres and cap­ture the look of the real thing. Hornby has tooled both the original wooden brake blocks and the later cast-iron ver­sion. Rol­ven­den has the early pat­tern, linked by very slim brake rods. Del­i­cate plas­tic sand­pipes pass be­hind the brake shoes. Dis­ap­point­ingly, the ef­fect of the slen­der na­ture of the brake rods and the del­i­cacy of the cor­rectly jointed fish belly cou­pling rods is spoiled by over­sized hexagon-headed crankpins. These look noth­ing like the round heads of the real thing and are larger than the cou­pling rod bosses. In­deed, the ones in the il­lus­tra­tion on the box lid are smaller than those fitted to the ac­tual model!

A to­tally en­closed mo­tor, mounted above the bot­tom seg­ment of the boiler, drives the rear axle through a worm and gear­box. For DCC users there is an ➤

eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble six-pin de­coder socket at the front of the chas­sis, but there is no ob­vi­ous pro­vi­sion for sound in­stal­la­tion. Phos­pho­r­bronze wiper pick-ups bear on the backs of all six wheels. In short, the chas­sis is a neat, mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a largely tra­di­tional 0-6-0 chas­sis.

STOP PRESS

As this re­view was be­ing writ­ten, a sam­ple of the ‘A1X’, as BR No. 32655, was re­ceived for re­view. Such are the changes from ‘A1’ to ‘A1X’ that this model is largely from a com­pletely dif­fer­ent set of tools. Among the changes cor­rectly re­flected in the model are the length­ened smoke­box and sand­boxes moved to be­low the run­ning plate. The chim­ney and dome are the same, but the fire­box top fea­tures the clack valves and ad­di­tional pipework as­so­ci­ated with the West­ing­house brake, for which the pump is mounted on the cab side. On our sam­ple, how­ever, the front of the pipe had not been lo­cated into the smoke­box, and a poorly fitted mid­dle lamp iron pinged into obliv­ion when I tried to cor­rect it. Other vari­a­tions in­clude the tall LBSCR lamp irons, cast-iron pat­tern brake blocks and fully plated-in bunker coal rails. Both mod­els have the one-piece rear spec­ta­cle plate, a late re­pair that is cor­rect for No. 32655 but not for Rol­ven­den.

In to­day’s mar­ket an 0-6-0T for well un­der £100 is some­thing of a bargain. Rushed or not, Hornby’s ‘Ter­rier’ is most wel­come as it brings the company’s lat­est mod­el­ling stan­dards to a lo­co­mo­tive which has been a pop­u­lar model since it was launched by

the original Dapol or­gan­i­sa­tion. While the de­tail com­pro­mises will un­doubt­edly de­ter some pur­chasers, oth­ers will wel­come a model of this cal­i­bre at such a keen price. I shall be cu­ri­ous to see if any more tool­ing vari­ants such as en­larged bunkers ap­pear in due course, or whether the more es­o­teric de­tail dif­fer­ences are left for the com­peti­tor to cover.

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