Super Detail Hornby Pug

A previous post showing my progress with building a SER class 01 from a Jinty Chassis and a Golden Arrow resin kit created some interest, so today’s blog show’s a completed project – the project being the creation of a super-detail Hornby Pug.

Hornby’s model of a Caledonian Pug (class 264) has been around for a long time, with “Smokey Joe” being a popular example.  It has always been intended as a starter model and I’m sure many of you have been familiar with these ridculously high geared models spinning around a circuit like a Scalextric car.

It’s likeness to a Scalextric car is down to it having a Scalextric motor.  The metal body is tough with no fine detail – ideal for children, although I’m not too sure if having such a fast motor is great in that respect!  Fitting a DCC chip helps make the model much easier to control and slow down.  It isn’t a perfect fix but a substantial improvement in this respect.  The model is not DCC ready, but conversion isn’t too taxing if you can use a soldering iron.  Hornby has a good set of instructions on their website to do this.

Improving the look of the model is a good way to learn how to add detail.  If you make a mistake, at least you’re making it on a cheap model that’s easy to replace!  A significant improvement can be made by painting cab details – having a very visible open cab this really helps make it look better.  I started with a wood colour for the base, a metal gloss finish for the backhead, with copper colour picked out for the pipes and white for the instrument details.

Two other items that make a big difference are firstly trimming the end of the connecting rod off so that it does not poke out of the wrong end of the cylinder when it is running.  Secondly, Hornby’s model lacks cab handrails and for me this always looked like a missing piece from a puzzle.  Again this is an easy addition.

Other improvements include:

  • Filing down the split mould line on the top of the locomotive
  • Grinding down the front and rear buffer beams to replace the metal lump representation of a coupling hook with a proper one and the little buffers to the prototypical correct bigger one’s (this is a shunter after all!)
  • Using plasticard I created proper coal bunkers
  • Hand rails were added to the smokebox and saddle tank side
  • A circular style smokebox door handle was added, as were lamp irons front and rear (the latter required the metal moulded ones to be filed down.
  • I replaced the moulded hand brake, added cab spectacles and used Deluxe Materials Glue ‘N’ Glaze to add glazed cab windows.

This class varied massively – some examples even had small tenders!  So it is important to do some homework before making changes to make sure they are correct.

When you are happy, re-spray, add numbers and you’re done!  Overall it is surprising how good a budget model can be made to look and it is a fun project for those with plenty of patience.

Although I said this project is complete, there are more improvements planned in the long term… the cylinders are too small and there is no representation of valve gear.  I also hate the massive coupling hooks.  The chimney isn’t great either and I would like to replace it.  The transfers aren’t great, but I may weather the loco to hide this!

However, after many hours work into improving this prototype that would never have ventured anywhere near Southern England, I now have my eyes fixed on more appropriate prototypes, so don’t hold your breath!

12 thoughts on “Super Detail Hornby Pug

  1. Pingback: Hornby (Railroad) Caledonian Pug Review | Loco Yard

  2. Pingback: Children in Need 2012 | Loco Yard

  3. Your two articles on this beast are very good indeed, especially the cab end photo. Just bought one from E-bay, which quoted running number 51200, which I thought would be the ex-L. & Y. version, so you can imagine my suprise upon opening the box to find the Scottish one!! I was amazed Hornby numbered this is an L& Y example. I wondered if it would be possible to solder in a resistor to into the motor circuit to slow it down somewhat, or am I wishful thinking??


    • Many thanks for the comment. The model you bought was a Hornby club locomotive a few years ago… I know as this model started life as the very same one. The wrong L&YR number was one of the reasons that I started looking at changing its identity!

      I’ve not seen a resistor being added to slow the model down, but it may be worth a try. Spare chassis ate cheap and plentiful to experiment on! Fitting a DCC decoder did much to tame the motor, but of course that’s no use if you have an analogue layout.

      Best wishes,



  4. I’ve been think of trying (as my first attempt) to detail and weather this loco, in Caledonian railway livery

    Have found these other images as a ref.

    R321.  0F 56035.  July,1960.

    Although this one is the wrong loco its still seems helpful.

    Your post provides the kind of tips n advice I need.



  5. Fantastic article and has provided me with the inspiration to try my first detailing project using the latest Caledonian pug model which features Hornby’s latest improvements to the motor/gearing (not sure which of those improvements it is) which has resulted in much improved slow speed running.


      • I will do, though progress might be a few weeks rather than days due to family and my business commitments. Thank you for your inspiration and excellent article. Painting the back head of the boiler with such accuracy was amazing.


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