Hornby's Modified Bulleid Light Pacific locos

Text by Graham "Muz" Muspratt and John Russell

WC/BB R2584
R2584 Nº34003 Plymouth

photograph from Hornby

When Hornby first produced the Modified Merchant Navy it heralded the first of the new highly detailed models, which were a step change on the previous offerings and repositioned Hornby ahead of its rivals in the detail stakes - and Southern Modellers could not believe their luck. Despite the advances made with the rebuilt Merchant Navys the new Hornby rebuilt Light Pacifics take the level of detail still further.

Prototype information about the West County and Battle of Britain class can be found here.

Hornby have, to date produced a number of versions which as the table below shows includes variations on the fitting of Speedometers and AWS warning battery boxes. All have a new moulding representing the 5500 gallon tender.

  Name Speedometer Fitted AWS Battery Box Weathered
R2584 34003 Plymouth No No Yes
R2585 34045 Ottery St Mary Yes Yes No
R2586 34053 Sir Keith Park Yes Yes No
R2587 34062 17 Squadron Yes Yes No
It should be noted that some reviews have mentioned that the 5500 gallon tender is incorrect for 17 Squadron. However, when rebuilding the locomotive it was decided that the original smaller tender tank was badly corroded so a replacement 5500 gallon tank (from tender 3354 which had been previously attached to 34087 145 Squadron) was fitted.
As with recent releases from Hornby the model includes fine details such as:
  • Sprung Buffers.
  • Correct separately applied pipework including the injectors.
  • Exclusive cab interior details / painting. Fittings including valves, water gauges complete with dial numbers, reverse lever and regulator and injector operating valves. Blackened wire handrails.
  • Opening cab ventilator.
  • Sanding pipes (metal).
  • Darkened coupling rods.
  • Brake rods, front steps and cylinder drain pipework supplied for fitting by the user. It should be noted that once fitted the drain pipework will restrict the bogie movement slightly.
  • Usable screw link couplings (if no tension lock coupling is fitted), and bufferbeam pipework for owner installation.
  • Separately applied lamp irons.
  • Impressively thin smoke deflectors.
  • Removable coal load in the tender to reveal detailed coal space below.

Mechanically a horizontally mounted 5 pole cam motor sits above the driving wheels and drives the rear axle within a diecast chassis block. Electrical pick up is from the driving wheels and all the tender wheels. The fine valve gear and cast crosshead are impressively fine.

As with the Hornby's new Britannia and A4 models, the pony truck is a fixed solidly to the chassis and supplied with a flangeless wheel to allow tighter curves to be negotiated. A flanged wheel is supplied with the model for those with large radius trackwork (the flanged wheel will generally run OK through the equivalent of a Peco medium radius or larger point, depending on the following track layout). This has been a contentious issue with many modellers and will be down to personal taste and track radiuses employed. What the fixed pony truck design allows is a very high level of detail for the injectors, associated pipework and ashpan damper linkage to be modelled.

The locomotive to tender coupling, unlike the recent new Hornby Britannia models, is the traditional Hornby style coupling with phosphor bronze electrical contacts. The spacing between the locomotive and tender is unacceptably large, especially when compared to the Rebuilt Merchant Navys and the recent King Arthurs, that utilise the same style of coupling.
With a little brave modification this can be corrected by drilling a new fixing hole (3.5mm dia) in the coupling bar 3.5mm back from the current hole position and the bar shortened accordingly. A small amount of metal will need to be removed from the cast chassis block either side of the screw position to ensure adequate movement through curves.

Also supplied for owner installation on the AWS fitted models is a representation of the shield to protect the device from the front coupling. Hornby has made a slight mistake here as when fitted (which can only be done if the tension lock coupling is not being used) it actually fouls the front edge of the bogie, which will require to have metal removed to give the necessary clearance for running.

A DCC 8 pin socket is included and space is allowed within the smokebox for the actual decoder.

NEM sockets are provided on the front of the bogie and the rear of the tender, these appear to be at the correct height and suitable for a Kadee Nº18 coupling if required.

The conclusion, despite the locomotive to tender spacing, is that it is another great model from Hornby as it continues to raise the standard model by model. It really captures the power and elegance of the prototype well and dimensionally is very accurate. The only other criticisms are that on some models the horizontal joint in the boiler is very prominent on the left hand side (the same joint on the right hand side is conveniently partially hidden to the eye by a steam pipe) and the tender lifting lugs could do with being drilled out (this is quite easy to do with the aid of a small drill but care must taken as the lugs can break easily.

This model representing Nº34013 Okehampton has been lightly weathered
and has also had the gap between the loco and tender shortened.

Detailing and photographs by Graham "Muz" Muspratt.


Our article on swivelling the pony truck

Overview of the prototype

Hornby/Wrenn light pacific model variations

Return to model railway product review index

Return to model section index

This page was created 16 September 2007

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