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Model Railway Express News Bulletin 22 September 2014


No dumb questions

By Phil Parker

A couple of nice than you's in the postbag today from MREmag readers who have had their questions answered by other readers.

To me, this is a strength of MREmag. As the rest of the world seems to use social media and the Internet for ever more deranged activities, we quietly get on with helping each other out and enjoying our hobby. Of course, others might suggest some of us are pretty deranged...

So, if you have a railway (model or real) related question - ask. I always say the only dumb question is one that isn't asked. You can be sure that there will be at least one other person who is wondering the same thing.

Have Your Say

Having your say - Mon 22nd September 2014

By Phil Parker

P2 Comparison

I found your comparison between the Rail Road and the 'full' version of the Mikado very interesting and objective.
The illustrations are excellent.
I am, even after reading Pats piece, very happy with my Rail Road engine, although I do concede that the fully lined version does look quite a lot better than the cheaper engine.
However, I felt that I had little justification in buying one at all in terms of my layout (BR) and the reality was that allowing myself the Rail Road version was the only alternative to not having one at all.
If I had been modelling 1930s LNER then I would certainly, on the strength of Pats article, have bought the fully lined one.
So, hopefully, we are all winners - and Hornby have done well in providing the choice and, no doubt, will have sold many extra engines to people like me who essentially have no use for a P2, but very much wanted one.
Also, I felt a sort of duty to support Hornby for having the vision, as well as the courage, to produce this iconic but long lost (for the moment) 2-8-2.
Speaking of which the P2 re-creators use a coloured picture of 'Prince Of Wales' in railway magazines whose lining out looks more akin to the Rail Road version than the full version.
Well done Pat, excellent piece.
Dudley Jones


A superb review by Pat Hammond of the P2, so what do we get for the extra £40? A beautifully lined loco and a bag of bits.

Mechanically I presume the locos are identical. I suppose the questions for the prospective buyer is, Do I want to spend the extra for the lining? Could I line the loco myself? Could I get it lined professionally and buy the bits for £40?

It would appear that the detailed model actually represents superb value if you intend to keep it looking lovely and pristine. If you want a P2 that looks like it has done some work and you want to weather it then the fine detail is not so important and the Railroad version again would represent good value.

Either way Hornby have pitched the price perfectly. I have no use for one of these mighty beasts but I have a lot of locos that I have no use for and yet they appear on my layout and get used regularly so I will say never say never.

Just to pick Simon Kohler up on a point he made, that of the difficulty in lining the wheels white as it does not last very long. Are we to assume the same on the P2 with its lovely white lined wheels? I would be reluctant to pay extra for lined wheels that the white will wear off fairly quickly.

Andrew Carter


Schools Class wheel rims

With reference to the recent comments by Simon Kohler and others on the “Royal” livery on Hornby Schools Class “Brighton” close observation of the video reveals that the wheel rims were polished rather than painted. I do not have this model but in the past have achieved this kind of finish by careful use of an emery board. Also, almost certainly the drawhook, coupling and buffers were burnished rather than painted silver.
Alan Haydock


LSWR Road Van

I would like to say thank you to Kernow Model Centre for their commitment to producing the LSWR Diagram1541 ‘Road Van’ (announced on Friday 19 September). I’m sure it will be a great success. My order is already in!
Brian Macdermott


Kernow have announced their LSWR goods brake van, excellent news. Like the GWR Toad there is only one veranda; my question is with this type of brake van, was any attempt made by the operator to keep the veranda facing the rear on branch

Robert Inns

Editor: Interesting announcement. I built the D&S kit for this vehicle years ago. I wonder if there will be a rush of pre-grouping layouts to make use of it?


Brighton Belle

Just another snippet re Brighton Belle regarding cab roof horns these were added:

3051/2 Winter 1976 and 3053 March 1966.

Ian Taylor


Broxfield (30B) 1958/59 on a working day

My goal is to demonstrate a working layout with a bit of variety.

I hope everyone enjoys it.

Roger Lattimore


Thank You

I'd just like to record my thanks for the readers who responded to my fear of layout dust and the necessary cleaning email last week.  They offered some good ideas and will certainly help with my decisions as to how to fit put the room.

Keith Reeve


I bow to superior knowledge as they say! Some comprehensive replies to confirm that Hornby have got it right on the colour scheme.

Alan Wickens
Sunny South Coast


Holiday Snaps

This is becoming a habit.  I really enjoy seeing other people's holiday snaps and several times have felt like responding, which I have done twice.

This time it is pictures of the  NSW Railway museum in Thirlmere which have caught me.

My wife and I visited this relatively new museum in April last year on a visit to my son in Sydney.  It is quite difficult to get to by public transport, so we used a hire car.

Your previous correspondent failed to mention that in addition to being a museum, it is also a workshop for repair and maintenance, with a direct connection to main line tracks.  They also run a tourist train for about three miles.  My photo shows this train ready for the return journey.

David Temple
Blue Anchor by the WSR


Join in the discussion - send an e-mail to:

In the case of e-mails published in MREmag, individual responses from the editor are not usually sent unless there is an issue to be raised or answered. Our thanks to all those who contributed their thoughts, questions and answers which develop the topics covered above. A special thanks to Pat Hammond, Brian Macdermott, and Trevor Gibbs for their regular features.

 If you have suggestions for the model manufacturers to consider, or if there is anything else you would like to discuss within the British railway modelling and collecting subject base of this magazine, please send me an e-mail, giving your ‘first’ name and surname (no pseudonym please) to Please read the Notes for Contributors and keep your postings to a reasonable limit, as well as being positive, polite and definitely not libellous.

Anonymous comments cannot be published. Your contributions will be edited for readability and acceptability within the unbiased policy of the magazine. Care will be taken not to alter the views expressed but they remain those of the writer of the e-mail and are not necessarily shared by the Editor.

Any photographs supplied for use must have been taken by you, or you have copyright clearance for MREmag to use them.

Event information is reported as supplied and taken in good faith. If you are planning to travel a long distance, you are advised to check the website or contact the organiser to make sure everything is going ahead.

 Remember! The manufacturers are our friends - not our enemies. They read this magazine and so, when you comment on their products, you are talking directly to them. Choose your words carefully as you would with a friend.


Wonderful World Goes Global !

By Phil Parker

Wonderful World of Trains & Planes, Birmingham's brightest, newest tourist attraction, has gone global in its first few weeks of opening. The attraction features models of trains and planes from around the world, and will be extending its reach as it continues developing over the next year. Managing Director Peter Smith explains.


"We expected visitors from all over UK - which has happened - and we did think that we might get a few visitors from overseas but the result has been absolutely amazing. So far we have had visitors from Italy, Holland, Canada, USA, Australia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, France, Romania, South Africa, Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and Denmark.


"A lovely young couple came in last week and were on a two-week holiday touring Britain - they had heard about us back home in Bucharest through an on-line guide to Birmingham and decided we were the place to come - they were lovely."


The website and Facebook pages are also gathering in enquiries and "likes" from all over the world, including India and China. And the Indian "likes" are quite apt as WWTP will be bringing in a Darjeeling Himalayan Railway layout shortly to go alongside the other countries currently represented - UK (three layouts), Canada, Germany (two) and other features including the latest Japanese "Shinkansen" bullet-train.


"And if you are going on a trip by train anywhere in the world, or have just been," continues Peter Smith, "bring us in your ticket and we'll put it on our "Tickets Please ! " feature wall, so we can make this truly the Wonderful World of Trains & Planes."

New products from Brassmasters

By Phil Parker

New from Brassmasters is a conversion kit for the London Road Models (formerly D&S) Diagram 61A 6-wheeled LYR 20T Brake Van kit. As produced the original D&S kit builds the relatively late built vans and the Brassmasters kit converts this to a diagram 43 version built in 1900, of which 83 were produced.  These had different internal veranda bulkheads and doors, roof end supports, brake rigging and lower step-boards. The kit costs £5 plus P&P.

Also available is a etched brass fret of replacement splashers for the Bachmann MR/LMS 3F 0-6-0 at £5 plus P&P.

The RTR loco has splashers 1.5mm diameter too large and these are designed to replace them. On the Bachmann model the front and middle splashers are separate plastic additions to the Mazak footplate so are easy to remove, the rear ones are moulded as part of the plastic firebox sides. The Brassmasters replacements require to be formed and fitted and include the frame extensions above the footplate that link the leading two splashers. Similar replacement splashers are under development for the Bachmann 4F.

Finally, after repeated requests, Brassmasters have introduced a range of kits for connecting rods and coupling rods complete with working ‘knuckle’ joints and bosses of ‘multi-layer’ etched nickel silver. There rods are from prototype drawings and measurements and are designed to recreate the size and mass of the originals which are often a very weak part on a RTR model.

The photograph shows the difference between the much thinner RTR Bachmann 3F rods and their etched scale replacements. Initially available are coupling rods for the MR/LMS 3F and Wainwright Class C. There are also connecting rods and coupling rods for the GWR eight-coupled locomotives of classes 42/52/72xx and the LNER A1, A3 and A4 4-6-2s. These cost £5 per set for the coupling rods and £3 per set for the connecting rods.

Details and prices are available on the Brassmasters website or by post at PO Box 1137 Sutton Coldfield West Midlands B76 1FU, enclosing a SAE.

Hints and Tips

Hints & Tips No.882 - A Toothpick is a Modeller's Best Friend Part 1

By Several Modellers

I came across a wagon that had the wrong number on it. At first, I thought I would just let it go and run it as it was, but then as things like that always seem to do, it started bugging me, so I started trying to figure out a way to erase it. In the past, I have seen a number of methods for removing decals, but instead of those, I decided to try a sharp tooth pick and a little spit (not to be gross) and carefully but quickly rubbed the tiny numbers off of the car without doing any damage to the paint.

You can use them from stirring paint, for checking consistency of plaster, as a sculpting tool, you can use it for painting tiny detail , you can file them to fit as shim anywhere, in a pinch you can use them instead of insulating joiner.

Toothpicks can also be used as load in N scale and Z , can be use for small lumber in OO and HO. You can put masking tape on with one in tight areas and use one as a painting handle for small parts.


Model Railways

Hornby Ex-GWR Penrice Castle R3118

By Pat Hammond

The 'Castles' were a post-Grouping design by Collett and were made over many years (1923-1950) to produce a class of 166 locomotives. The design was a development of Churchward’s excellent 'Star' Class of 1907 and included some members of that earlier class that were rebuilt as ‘Castles’. Also, The Great Bear, which had originally been built as the GWR’s only 4-6-2, was rebuilt as a ‘Castle’.

Possibly because a ‘Castle’ Class model had been chosen for the Hornby Dublo range in 1957, when Rovex came to choose a GWR main line subject for their Tri-ang Hornby system, they chose a ‘Hall’ instead. That was in 1966 and it was not until 1979 that another ‘Castle’ ready-to-run model appeared on the market. This was tooled up in China for Airfix and for its time was a good model. However, two years later, Airfix went into receivership and the tools passed to Palitoy.

The tooling was not used by Palitoy and when they closed down in the mid-1980s, Dapol acquired the former Airfix railway assets. Dapol repackaged old Airfix stock, renaming some of the ‘Castle’ models in the process. They also produced some new models from the tooling and also, from the tools, produced a Hawksworth ‘County’ with a newly tooled tender.

After a disastrous fire, Dapol had to sell tooling to raise money and the ‘Castle’ and ‘County’ passed to Hornby Hobbies in 1996, along with much else. Hornby made about 30 different versions of the ‘Castle’ from the Airfix tools, improving the tooling over the years. However, some modellers were not convinced that Hornby’s improvements went far enough. Eventually the model was completely retooled and the first of the super-detailed models started to arrive in 2010. To date, 11 versions have been made, including recently released 7023 Penrice Castle illustrated here in late BR green.

This highly detailed model has a DCC decoder socket fitted in the tender and has a 5-pole skew wound motor, sprung buffers and the loco and tender are now semi-permanently linked. It has the double chimney, which I find unattractive compared with the single one, a beautifully detailed cab, removable coal and many separately fitted items of fine detail. Despite that there is still a bag of bits for the purchaser to fit if required and instructions to show where the parts go. They consist only of a front coupling, brake rods and a dummy drop-link coupling for the front buffer beam. Everything else is already attached.

RRP £144 (Hornby R3118 Penrice Castle BR Late Crest Double Chimney at ModelFair £102.50)

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