Hornby Unrebuilt West Country / Battle of Britain class review

Class: Original (unrebuilt) West Country / Battle of Britain class

Use: Express Passenger and Express Goods

Region: Southern

Era: 1945-1967

Preserved examples:

34007 21C107 Wadebridge – Mid Hants Railway – operational
34023 21C123 Blackmoor Vale/Blackmore Vale – Bluebell Railway (as-built, Coat of Arms added in preservation) – Static Display pending overhaul
34051 21C151 Winston Churchill – National Railway Museum – Static exhibit Undergoing cosmetic overhaul to possible mainline standards as of June 2012
34067 21C167 Tangmere – Home base at Southall C – Operational (Mainline running)
34070 21C170 Manston – Swanage Railway
34072 257 Squadron Herston Works, Swanage (Southern Locomotives Ltd.) – Under overhaul
34073 249 Squadron – Bury – not restored yet
34081 92 Squadron Nene Valley Railway – Under overhaul
34092 City of Wells – Keighley and Worth Valley Railway – under overhaul (to Mainline Standards)
34105 Swanage – Mid Hants Railway -under overhaul

Note, these are original/unrebuilt versions only, a further 10 rebuilt versions have survived in preservation

Manufacturer: Hornby

Motor: 5 pole Loco-drive

Power: Middleweight

DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready/fitted

Locoyard Review

Detailing:

4.5/5

Very good, though missing draining cocks under cylinders.  Cab detail is also good, but not quite up to more modern releases in terms of relief (see above). This of course is not really noticeable in an enclosed cab!  Route disc/lamp irons plus Southern ring around smokebox door handle (below) all present and looks great.

Outline/Looks:

5/5

Overall shape is excellent, with three types of smoke deflector available and different tenders.  Light years ahead of the model that preceded it! It is a brilliant looking model of a distinctive locomotive class.

Finish/Decoration:

5/5

Excellent finish with fine printing and fantastic nameplates with crests as appropriate (see below).  The malachite green is spot on and applied fantastically well.

Running Qualities:

5/5

Smooth and quiet motor with good pick-ups, so it isn’t prone to stalling.  It is light which means wheel slip happens with heavy loads, just like it does on the real thing!  However, this does effect pulling power.

Click here for a video of it in action.

Relative Power:

3/5

As mentioned above, the model is light.  Unfortunately this does compromise its relative power, though there’s probably enough for most of us and it pulls four mark one carriages around locoyard’s tight 2nd radius circuit with no problems.

Specification:

4.5/5

Pretty good spec list.  NEM coupling pocket in tender in more modern versions, but not this older example.  Most are DCC ready/fitted versions, although older models (such as this one illustrated) are not DCC ready.  It is one of the most simple DCC hard-wiring jobs I’ve done however with ample room for a decoder in the loco body.  No DCC sound version produced yet.

Value:

4/5

A little pricey at full-retail price, but second-hand bargains can be found.  Considering the finish and that it is an express pacific locomotive it’s not bad value overall.

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 4.4

It’s not going to win any awards, not quite anyway.  It narrowly misses out on a 5 star rating.  A little more power would be nice, but equally it is a lot of fun to simulate wheel slip!  A very good model of popular prototype and highly recommended overall.

Detailometer 4.5, Outlineometer 5, Finishometer 5, Motorometer 5, Powerometer 3, Specometer 4.5, Valueometer 4, Locoyardometer 4.4

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