Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Discuss Hornby Model Railway products and related topics here. This includes (Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, Electrotren).
BobDM
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Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby BobDM » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:00 pm

I have just yielded to temptation and bought the new Lord Nelson class 'Sir Francis Drake' and one of the King Arthur class and they both seem very good.

So now is it worth complementing them with one of the Schools and Merchant Navy classes. Did Hornby do completely new retools or are they older models?

I wasn't thinking of buying one of the Railroad range.

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Bigglesof266
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:28 pm

Define "any good".

I have a current King Arthur, so using it as basis of comparison.

Current Hornby High Detail Schools Class mould is about 9 (?) years old. I have three or four. Mine run well. Can't recall off the top of my head whether one or two, but they do have traction tyres. The mould is accurate enough for my eye. Like the T9, an aesthetically stunning looking model in its warpaint regardless the livery.

Rebuilt MN Class were retooled post Millenium. Circa 2001? Or I could be mistaking that date with the previous Duchess. In either case, the rebuilt MN mould is more accurate than the old King or venerable ex-Dapol Castle, but could do with an update sometime as the Duchess, Coronation have had recently, and Princess is currently getting. If you were content with the previous Duchess or Coronation (not the Railroad bathtub) -I was, then you'll similarly be OK with the MN. Not keen on the side seam in the MN mould but hey, it didn't stop me buying it and I love mine. They run well enough.

Unrebuilt MN is much more recent mould and reflects that in its aesthetic resplendence as you would expect. MIne (I only have the one) runs OK.

No new Lord Nelson Class yet, just the lust for one. A bit too pricey for me though, so it'll have to wait as other hobby interests returning better bang for the buck are triaged my playtime budget funds. A rake of the new Bulleid coaches will probably see diversion of some of it before another loco though.

Bigmet
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:28 pm

The Schools - 'per Bigglesof266' - is truly a beauty. But regrettably inflicted with traction tyres. Hornby have now devised excellent 4-4-0 drives that are not dependent on traction tyres to perform. I would be inclined to wait this one out in the hope Hornby revise the Schools mechanism to make it all metal tyres, but that's just me!

You are not short of choices for suitable locos to accompany your Nelson. The WC/BB Bulleid pacifics in airsmoothed condition are superior to the MN if those appeal, and then there are all the rebuilds too. These coming later in Hornby's Chinese productions are all more refined than the rebuilt MN.

How about Southern freight machines? Big Q1 and S15, much smaller C class and 700, N class in between.

Bigglesof266 wrote:Rebuilt MN Class were retooled post Millenium. Circa 2001? Or I could be mistaking that date with the previous Duchess. In either case, the rebuilt MN mould is more accurate than the old King or venerable ex-Dapol Castle, but could do with an update sometime as the Duchess, Coronation have had recently, and Princess is currently getting...

The first of the Hornby rebuilt MN releases were in 2000 as the 'launch' model of their move to production in China, and Hornby made much of its 'all-new tooling' status, showing the design stages, and indeed it was noticeably 'all new'. Just the tender link with wipers the poor feature carried over from Margate production.

What came along after in steam models were a loco drive LMS tender loco quartet, starting with the Coronation/Duchess and followed pretty quickly by Black 5, 8F and Princess, (I don't recall the order) and none of these were completely new tooling, but Hornby doing what was required to update the previous models. Of these the Coronation/Duchess was the most heavily reworked, but even there old Margate features lingered on, the undersize centre driver on this model a notable blot. Those needed replacement, now underway starting with the pacifics.

With that background, I doubt Hornby will do anything about an all new rebuilt MN any time soon. It had early revision to the smokebox door shape, and subsequently got the fixed truck and flangeless wheel abomination, and most likely has decoder in tender with a wired plug and socket connection by now (haven't looked at one of the newer releases over the past ten years!).
Those upgrades look like a holding operation to me.

Hornby have far less adequate models than the rebuilt MN in their range, starting with the Black 5, 8F, Fowler 2-6-4T, 2P 4-4-0, D49, Hawksworth County, (and probably some I have forgotten) which I would expect to get the renewal lurve first...

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markS&D
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby markS&D » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:59 am

Regarding Rebuilt MN's, I currently have 4 of these, they all run well, but I have added a lot of extra details and made improvements to them, to try and bring them up a little.

The earliest examples such as Clan Line, had a srung rear driving wheelset, which can cause some models to oscillate and or pitch as they are travelling along. Later examples such as 'United States Lines', dispensed with this idea, and have a rigid chassis. Overall they are good models, but are in need of an upgrade.

I have one example of the schools class, 30915, Detail on these is excellent, however mine has the tendency for the front bogie to derail every now and then, it is a bit of a balancing act between allowing the loco to have enough traction, and giving the front bogie enough springing to keep it on the tracks!


Hope this helps.
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RAF96
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby RAF96 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:18 am

US Lines MN from the VS Orient Express Boxed Set is a good model. Mine has had a hard life and the valve gear pivots wore out. Replacement valve gear (now rare spares) installed, no problems since.
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BobDM
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby BobDM » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:52 am

Thanks for all this help.

It looks like the unrebuilt Merchant Navy might be worth adding and leave the Schools class till later.

I have just received a Bachmann Halls class loco from Hattons which is the first GWR loco I have bought for about 20 years. Comparing these with my current collection of GWR locos it looks like these are my next priority.

Bigmet
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Bigmet » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:40 pm

Don't even look at the current Hornby Castle, unless prepared to risk bankruptcy. Very pretty indeed. :wink:

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Bigglesof266
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:38 pm

BobDM wrote:It looks like the unrebuilt Merchant Navy might be worth adding and leave the Schools class till later.


JMV, but I think you're making a mistake about the Schools assuming you want one. As I think Bigmet iterated, on balance of triage probability Hornby won't be revisiting it anytime soon. It is cosmetically resplendent and a fine runner. Re its traction tyres. Whilst indisputably I'd prefer models without them on proviso they run well without them, I don't have quite the same intensity of loathing for them Bigmet does, so it wouldn't prevent me buying a model because of them and doesn't. Life's too short, for most of us in this hobby today pressingly salient words indeed. A daily run with any decent track cleaner takes care of the detritus. The more challenging part is sourcing TT spares. Fortunately we have Peters. Although aggravating from the antipodes because of the added impost of international postage, the cost is moot for anyone resident in the UK, and of course, albeit overpriced IMV, there's always Bullfrog Snot or for the ultimate 'take no prisoners' refusal to compromise, watch this.

If you're happy with the Bachmann Hall (I have one & love it), you'll be delighted with the Schools, BoB/WC or MNs. The Schools is as good as the King Arthurs are. The MNs aren't. Aesthetically Bach's Hall is probably on a par with the unrebuilt MN.

Concur with Bigmet re the new Hornby King and Castle Classes. Very nice indeed. Don't care for their 2019 pricing quite as much, although much the same as any new mould Hornby express loco release these days. In the UK, I'd definitely be trawling the second hand avenues if I wanted one.

BobDM
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby BobDM » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:15 pm

You're endangering my savings Biggles! :wink:

I hadn't even looked at the Castle and King class locos despite the fact they are on my wishlist.

The trouble is I am basing my layout on Oxford - very much simplified - where all four companies met so you could see Great Western, Southern, LMS and LNER locos in one place, which makes it hard to resist temptation.

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SRman
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby SRman » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:18 pm

BobDM wrote:You're endangering my savings Biggles! :wink:

I hadn't even looked at the Castle and King class locos despite the fact they are on my wishlist.

The trouble is I am basing my layout on Oxford - very much simplified - where all four companies met so you could see Great Western, Southern, LMS and LNER locos in one place, which makes it hard to resist temptation.



Do you really need to resist temptation, Bob?

Evil laughter follows :twisted: :twisted:

Firefly16
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Firefly16 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:04 pm

Further to this thread, what have been members' experiences with rebuilt Merchant R2204. Is the can motor any good and is the trailing truck assembly free or fixed?

Bigmet
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:06 pm

Firefly16 wrote:Further to this thread, what have been members' experiences with rebuilt Merchant R2204. Is the can motor any good and is the trailing truck assembly free or fixed?

First off the standard 'Black can' motor that was in the first group of steam models tooled up in China by Sanda Kan for Hornby, starting with the launch item, the rebuilt MN. This is a very good unit, and I have a total of 18 in various Hornby models, and have probably had about a 100 or so through my hands for testing and any mods the owner wanted - and usually also decoder fitting - on behalf of friends; never any motor troubles.

One of those friends has R2204, 'Bibby Line' and he hasn't had any problems I am aware of; and it was running nicely earlier this year when I was last over. It's got the old style hinging rear truck with flanged wheelset - good - and also the horrible tender coupling with the wipers - not so good - that I took off and replaced with a bespoke scale length link and soldered on wire connections to the tender pick-ups. (This last was a typical example of the sort of simple mods I did to suit the owner's requirements.)

Firefly16
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby Firefly16 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:33 pm

Thank you, Bigmet. I have now ordered one of Hatton's Bibby Line offerings and am looking forward to receiving this in the next few days.

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markS&D
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Re: Are the Hornby Schools and Merchant Navy class any good?

Postby markS&D » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:34 pm

Have no fear about the motors in these models, they are an excellent motor, I have one of the original Clan Line models R2169, which is around 19 years old now, and still runs like a sewing machine on its original motor, it spends most of its time hauling 10 coach trains.
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