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Hornby's N15 King Arthur 4-6-0 locomotive

N15 R2580
image by Hornby
Just like the new M7, Hornby have again managed to continue to raise the standard with the new tooling for the King Arthurs which just like the new M7 more than replaces the original Triang/Hornby 'Sir Dinidan' version. For full details of the earlier variations, see the first table in the Hornby model variations. For details of the prototype see the overview of the prototype.

During 2007 Hornby have produced 4 versions which as the table below shows includes the Urie or Manusell cab variations and two out of the three tender variations with so far the Urie style bogie 8 wheel 5000 gallon and the Ashford 3500 gallon 6 wheel versions (as used on the Central / Eastern sections due to the shorter turntables). Hornby's research and attention to detail is illustrated by the fact that they have correctly altered the locomotive body to take into account the fact, that due to the Ashford tenders having a higher footplate than the Urie versions, the batch had a shallower drop to the footplate valence under the cab sides to maintain consistency between the loco and tender. Like recent releases from Hornby the model includes fine details such as:

  • Sprung Buffers
  • Correct separately applied pipework including the injectors
  • The best and most detailed cab interior details / painting yet! Fittings including valves, water gauges complete with dial numbers and pointers, reverse lever and regulator and injector operating valves. The water gauges are complete with the black and white diagonal sighting aids.
  • Blackened wire handrails - 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 front steps and 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 (correctly attached at the top to the handrails) and tender sheeting sides
  • Removable coal load in the tender to reveal detailed coal space below including tank top, rivets and coal rave stiffeners.

A first for Hornby is that they come tightly packed in a split polystyrene packing but with the addition of large L shaped metal transportation brackets that are screwed to the underside of the chassis which must be removed and the screws replaced in the chassis before using. Historical details of each particular model are included. 30453 King Arthur was one of the batch originally paired with a Drummond 4000 gallon watercart tender but received the Urie style 5000 gallon tender in the early 1950s as per the Hornby model.

Mechanically a horizontal mounted 5 pole cam motor sits above the driving wheels and drives the rear axel within a diecast chassis block. Electrical pick up is from the driving wheels and all the tender wheels. The large and closely spaced (especially front two axels) driving wheels of the King Arthurs have been well captured and are correct in diameter, number of spokes, crank throw etc. The fine valve gear and cast crosshead are impressively fine. A single screw above the front bogie simply releases the chassis from the body, with nothing else to unclip or remove, although some people have said they find it difficult to relocate the lug on the chassis back into the body when re-assembling. Mechanically a horizontal mounted cam motor sits between the bogie and the driving wheel and a weight is included over the front driving axel. Electrical pick up is from all wheels including the bogie wheels.

One compromise has been made with the Locomotive bogies wheels which are a scale 3' 2" dia rather than the correct 3' 7" dia, anyone who has previously built a kit Arthur or S15 will realise that this is due to the very limited clearance between the frames and the cylinders. I should be added that this is very unnoticeable due to the fact that if measured over the slightly overscale flanges required in 00 gauge the diameter is just about correct.

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 reasonably close and far better than on the recent rebuilt Bulleid West County / Battle of Britain release which is unacceptably large.

A DCC 8 pin socket is included and a small space is allowed within the smokebox for the actual decoder. For more detailed information and photos of decoder fitting, please see the Review in the Model Rail Forum.

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

The conclusion is another great model from Hornby as they continue to raise the standard model by model. It really captures elegance of the prototype well it has been very difficult to find anything to criticise. Only a few things can be mentioned: the unusual mauve / blueish colouring of the reversing rod: the fact that on the prototypes there were variations in the slide bars where some were plain and other fluted and that Hornby, possibly due to the openness of the cab have also included a driver and fireman, albeit the old plastic moulded ones and are unpainted. Considering the superb painting of the cab fittings the unpainted crew are a bit of a let down, also the driver is already seated and therefore can not be used in the cab which already has the wooden seats in place!

One must hope that in the future the missing Drummond watercart style tender will be produced.

overview of the prototype

Hornby model variations

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This page was created 1 July 2007

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