Hornby 14xx Review

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Hornby 14xx Review

Postby 37012 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:20 pm

A review of the Hornby 14xx


Brief History about the prototype: The GWR 1400 Class is a class of steam locomotive designed by the Great Western Railway for branch line passenger work. It was originally classified as the 4800 Class when introduced in 1932. Four examples have been preserved, all late withdrawals from service in the 1963-1965 period. All went direct to preservation from British Railways in relatively good condition. The current location of the preserved examples is as follows:
1420 – South Devon Railway (under overhaul)
1442 – Tiverton Museum, Tiverton, Devon (static exhibit)
1450 – Dean Forest Railway
1466 – Didcot Railway Centre

Brief History about the model: The model was first produced by AIRFIX between 1975 – 1981, after which the tooling for all the Airfix loco’s was sold to Palitoy who manufactured the MAINLINE range. However, the 14xx was never manufactured under this name. The tooling was then sold on to DAPOL, a model manufacturer based in Wales, UK. Dapol produced the 14xx for a while. They then sold the tooling for the 14xx along with others to HORNBY. Hornby still manufacture the 14xx, releasing it with new numbers and livery variations every couple of years.

Body Detail and Livery Application: The body detail is good for its age and most of the handrails are wire. The chimney is a turned metal piece and has a scre through the top which is used to secure the loco body to the chassis. The paint work is crisp and without fuzziness to edges. The lining on the BR examples is crisp too. The number plates would benefit from etched examples though as they lack depth, although this does give the modeler an easy renumbering job opportunity.

Chassis: The main part of the chassis is die cast. The motor fitted is a 3 Pole Type 7 motor driving a small gearbox. The bottom base plate for the chassis is molded in Black plastic. This has all the spring and brake rigging details molded to it too. These are neatly molded although some finescale modelers prefer to replace ites like the leaf springs with whitemetal examples. The chassis has pick ups on all wheels. The driving axle has traction tyres so the main wheel tread doesn’t make contact with the railhead making pick up off this wheel literally useless. The back axle is sprung which gives this chassis some built in compensation. Wiring this loco with a DCC chip is relatively straight forward as even though the chassis is used to transmit power to the motor there is a wire bridge form the chassis to the motor terminal making it a very easy job to totally isolate the motor.

Running capabilities: With having pickups on all wheels the model doesn’t stall that much unless the wheels/ track are dirty. Its 3 pole motor driving the small gear box enables the chassis to run pretty smoothly down to quite low speeds.

Marks out of Ten

Livery Application: 8
Chassis: 8.5
Running capabilities: 8.5

This gives the model 25/30 which isn’t bad saying it is 30 year old

Quick over view: The model is finished and runs nice. It has good slow speed control and doesn’t suffer that much from dirty wheels. One criticism is that you can see the back end of the motor through the cab side windows although this isn’t noticeable from normal viewing distance.
Sam Moss

Working member and Guard at the Midland Railway Butterley
Member of Alfreton Model Railway Society

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Postby Ironduke » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:19 pm

I find that this loco doesn't run very well in reverse... a bad thing for a loco designed for push-pull operation. I think it's caused by the distribution of weight, the traction tyres and the rear wheels which are sprung. If you push down on the cab roof you'll find that it's very easy to lift the front wheels off the track.

Mike Parkes
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Re: Hornby 14xx Review

Postby Mike Parkes » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:36 pm

37012 wrote:Brief History about the model: The model was first produced by AIRFIX between 1975 – 1981, after which the tooling for all the Airfix loco’s was sold to Palitoy who manufactured the MAINLINE range.

To be correct Airfix collasped financially and were acquired by Palitoy. Palitoy did not maufacture the Mainline range as that was done by Kader, who today own Bachmann. Airfix had used various manufacturers including Sanda Kan, todays manufacturers of Hornby. Palitoy did arrange for further production of ex Airfix items by parties other than Kader and when Palitoys owners pulled out of the European toy and model market the warehouse stock and non Kader toolings were acquired by Dapol.

Dapol did redesign the chassis and it is that chassis not the Airfix one which Hornby now use.

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Postby noel » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:27 am


Ultrascale do a nice N/S conversion set of wheels for this model if you wish to get rid of the tyres. The set comes with a new gear wheel and is assembled, so no problems with quartering.


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Re: Hornby 14xx Review

Postby RAF » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:40 pm

I remeber having one of these when I was about 8yrs old. Not sure which version though, It would have been the early nineties. Don't remember it having traction tyres although at that age I probably wouldn't have looked. It seemed to pull quite well though. I remeber I broke the wire handrails pretty much instantly though. :r How naive I was at that age. :r

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Re: Hornby 14xx Review

Postby d74 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:24 pm

I've just purchased the old Airfix model of 1466, mint (even with handrails and vacuum pipes intact), boxed and recently serviced for £30. It's a puzzle as to why someone would care so well for something for so long then sell it to a dealer, but it has another good home now. 1466 was the first loco purchased by the Great Western Society and I'm very happy to own a model of a superstar loco, although I believe it's in a condition it never ran in as the Didcot folk think it was painted in the mid-30s shirtbutton livery when first built while the model is in the late 20s/early 30s livery. It also has its post-1946 number on the early livery, so rivet counters may not be too keen.

Considering the age of the model it's excellent and I would say it compares very well to current models. The only problem I've found is a tendency to derail when going forward over a right-left sequence of points, which it can strangely cope with when running backwards... aside from that I've noticed no real difference between running forwards and backwards. The model is jerky at slow speeds and can't pull away or come to a gentle halt as smoothly as a recent Bachmann can, but that's just its age showing. Being an old model it's not possible to change the couplings easily (I normally change the couplings on my models to narrow tension locks), but as it's only ever being used with an autocoach I've just changed the coupling on the coach to a large one and have no problems.

Basically, it's a good model of a handsome loco with lots of character.



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Re: Hornby 14xx Review

Postby roadie stu » Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:18 am

I bought the current release model on friday, Numbered 4869 with shirtbutton livery,

I am impressed with it's load hauling capacity ( it pulled my 6 hornby GW composites and 2 bachmann collett corridors with no problems), the only thing that let it down was the chimney was unpainted, not a problem as it was easily removable, but it should have been painted before it left the factory, but it runs well and looks the part with my Autocoach

I give it 7/10 ( only down to Hornby's lack of quality control on the chimney)
If You Can't Fix It With A Hammer......You've Got An Electrical Fault

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