Hornby’s Welsh excursion…

Hornby have produced a number of models in their ‘Super detailed’ range, and this class 67 locomotive is one of their latest editions. Although the Hornby class 67 has been produced for a number of years now, this version, the Arriva Trains Wales Class 67, 67003 is a 2014 Hornby release in the new plain blue livery, it’s the second of its class in this scheme to have been released by Hornby with 002 preceding it.

Full Product packaging
Full Product packaging

Thirty class 67 Diesel Electric locomotives were ordered by EWS (English Welsh & Scottish Railway) and these were built by Alstom in Valencia, Spain. These powerful Bo-Bo locomotives are powered by a General Motors 3200hp EMD Prime Mover – known as the 12N-710G3B-EC. This EMD prime mover forms part of EMDs 710 engine series which powers a number of modern diesel locomotives around the world, this 12 cylinder version powers other locomotives such as the Irish Rail 201 class, as well as the British class 66 locomotives.

After a few teething problems, with a gauging issue and a bogie issue which resulted in the fleet being restricted to 110mph until all were modified by 2003 to run at 125mph, they were the workhorses of the Royal Mail trains, until EWS lost the contract to carry mail by rail, with this venture all but ceasing in 2004.

Since the class were no longer required for hauling mail trains, they became well spread across the rail network, some of the class were used in Scotland to pull the sleeper trains over non electrified routes, other were employed to rescue failed express trains on the East Coast Main line. Just a handful of the class have become synonymous with Royal Train duties and also the EWS directors train. Their appearance with mk3 coaches and a DVT in the short lived Wrexham & Shropshire railway, gave a very welcome boost to the popularity of the railways and showed that locomotive hauled trains still had a place on todays system.

In March of 2012, Arriva Trains Wales leased three units from DB Schenker, namely 001,002 & 003. These locos replaced the class 57’s on the Premier North-South Wales route, a weekday premier service running between Cardiff and Holyhead, offering a First class route with dining service.

67003 makes up the review piece here. The all over blue and yellow very reminiscent of the heady days of BR blue. 67003 was the first locomotive off the production line and became the first of the three Arriva Trains Wales 67’s to be painted so.

Hornby have created a good rendition of this paint scheme, the silver roof and Arriva blue match up very well, there are the odd few blemishes in the paint on this review item, there is perhaps a little too much paint bleed on the front of the loco where the Yellow warning panel meets the surrounding blue.

Front cab, slight paint blemish

Having mentioned the slight paint blemishes the text has been crisply reproduced and is legible. With such a (used hesitantly) bland paint scheme the detail of the locomotive really needs to stand out and be just right, as on a significant majority of other models the extravagant paint schemes often steal the eye and offer their own Wow factor, but in the case of this model that isn’t the case.

For me the showstopper is the ability to see through the grilles and not seem a big lump of Mazak, the prototype allows you to pear through the locomotive grille and this is well replicated.

See through Grille and crisp bogie detailing

The bogie detail again is crisp along with the underframe detailing and the long fuel tank is moulded well. This is a refreshing change amongst a number of RTR locomotives, that have very little detail or just incorrect detailing. The only detailing lacking is the myriad of pipes between the bogies and the cab sides which are clearly visible on viewing the prototype. While these are easily added by a competent modeller, I’m not in a position to make this a criticism as these are after all toys and are still required to navigate sharp train set curves.

Hornby’s well used 5 pole skew motor runs very smoothly with the Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, this test piece was the DCC ready version and it comes pre wired with an 8 pin socket. The motor was responsive  and ran very well when coupled with a Lenz Silver decoder and I also had quite pleasant control from the older Hornby R8215 decoder 8pin 4 function decoder (These have now been superseded with the newer R8249 or Sapphire).

The Hornby Cl67 comes with what would perhaps be considered quite a small bag of detailing parts, (if any of you have bought Heljan or Vi trains locomotives you’ll understand just how many parts you get!). However the detailing is very crisp and the small cab front pipes and swing knuckle couplings will add a very good touch once added by the modeller. The lower skirt is also an add on detailing item which will complete the front look of this locomotive really well. This however is where the next issue arises, adding all that detail may mean in some instances that the loco will now not negotiate tight trainset curves, (just bear that in mind when fitting them). Hornby nicely give you the option of the large or small standard 00 gauge coupling, which will fit the NEM pockets on this loco. Although If I were to detail this to a high standard I would be tempted to fit Kadee (Or even a Sergent Coupling from the US) knuckle couplings. The prototype is fitted with a knuckle Buckeye type coupling that can be swung to the side if the need for connecting to coaching stock arises and the screwlink coupling is required.

Small or Large standard couplers
Small or Large standard couplers
Lower front Valance and detailing parts.
Lower front Valance and detailing parts.








Overall this model is good, there have been discussions over the Quality control of the paint issues before and most if not all can be easily rectified by the modeller, with a little generous weathering, and if not then a simple replacement is all that is needed, so hysterics its a hobby after all!

Match this up with the up coming Arriva Trains Wales DVT and Mk3 coaches and you can have a simple and short but very prototypical train without any comprises! Brilliant.




First Published article



I couldn’t resist a quick post as I’ve had my first article published. The Partwork series that is Your Model Railway Village on reaching issue 19 has published my article about building Model Railway Dioramas and small layouts, based around my Long Logging Line Layout which is the On30 layout I’ve mentioned on here and the little wooden wagons a few posts down. Whilst it may not be in one of the big 4 magazines, not that all of them would entertain an On30 layout in their pages, its still a great feeling to know that some people will get to read your article and hopefully gain something from it. It takes you through the thought processes needed for a small layout, and aims to get across the message that it doesn’t take long to build  a small layout or diorama and that they can really help you refine your modelling skills if your aim is to build a large layout.

The partwork can be ordered from Hacette if your local shops no longer stock it.  https://www.hachettepartworks.com/our-titles/model-railway/



The Cornish way.

I’ve been through quite a questioning of why I enjoy Model railways of late, I’ve found it so easy in the last few years to model US railroads, and I struggled to understand why I couldn’t get motivated to build something British. I didn’t lay this at the door of modelling to P4 standards, although I think that it may have crossed my mind at times, but I struggled to find something worth modelling. However after a discussion on the Scalefour forum( http://www.scalefour.org/ ) I decided that I would use a ‘Track plan’ rather than find a prototype and copy it. Its this barrier I think that’s kept me away from a British layout for some time, but I have always been fond of a track plan that Iain Rice published many moons ago, and I decided to modify the operation but keep the track plan, but it couldn’t think of a way of including my usual theme of 1980s West Midlands. However the ace up my sleave was a Cornish China Clay layout. My Parents run a B&B ( http://www.thechapelguesthouse.co.uk/ ) in Carthew, Nr St Austell and are surrounded by China clay and Wheal Martyn is just a 2 min walk away. I have always had a fascination with Cornwall and the China clay layout has a lot going for it.

So here it is, a settled plan, its small, compact with plenty of operational potential, a scenic setting and very much manageable!

Iain Rice track plan, to be adopted for a Cornish china clay layout in P4
Iain Rice track plan, to be adopted for a Cornish china clay layout in P4

The operational changes to Iain’s plan is the mainline enters from the track bottom right of the plan, and enters the loop area. A local shunter will be available to help split the train up. The exit off scene top right allows access to the clay dry which will be the long building along the top of the plan, but off scene will be a coal power plant and bagged clay loading facility, so wagons for both of those can be used on the layout and can come in full and leave empty and vice versa. From the plan the engine shed will not be present, and could be replaced by using that small spur as a cripple siding. The longer siding which will occupy the front edge of the layout scene will become a slurry loading facility.

Some stock has already been purchased and others I already have which is always good, I’m going back a little further than I usually do, back to about 1976, so I can for the first time have an excuse to use a Western, but I go as far forward as 1984, thus allowing everything from the Western, to 25s, 50s, 37s, and 47s and peaks. I’m working on the wagons to start with as this will be a slow project, little pieces will be completed over time. I plan on using the Ratio Clay hood kit and I’m not totally convinced of the Bachmann version and their tarp hood is far from pleasing. A set of old Airfix 5 Plank open merchandise wagons will be modified for a Clayliner service. There’s a myriad of other wagons that will be looked at over time and hopefully you’ll be able to follow along with my attempts at modelling these trains.

Inspiration, modvid…

Modvid is a Australian hosted website that contains an enormous amount of photographs mainly depicting modeling in 1/48 scale or US O scale narrow gauge ie On30 and On3. Although there is plenty of modeling in larger scales too by some of the most talented modellers from across the world.

Sadly the owner of the site may at any time remove the sites content.

This link is the current main homepage http://www.modvid.com.au/html/body_worldwide__miniatures.html

Please take a look there is some stunning modelling. There are hidden away some photos that show how to make scenery.

Although the site could disappear at any moment the owner Mario is currently offering for sale 2 CDs worth of photos and videos from the site and his personal collection for under $30! An absolute bargain for what is on offer. Check out the page above and then the link here to order now. http://www.modvid.com.au/html/body_modvid_photo___dvd_.html

I hope you enjoy looking through the site it truly is inspirational.

Tying up loose ends… for those following my Miami NW 22nd St layout

Well the original idea for this blog was to charter my build of my Miami ho layout before it went to exhibition.
That exhibition came and went and the layout was built in time. It received some really good comments. So for those who are/were interested here is a batch of photos taken of the layout on the day of the exhibition before the doors opened.

Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments. There are more photos if people would like to see them. The layout still exists and is available for exhibition if any one is interested.


Well I missed the postman yesterday but I’ve managed to pick them up from the sorting office this morning. I’ve managed to get all of my shipments from the States without any stinging handling fees this end which I’m pretty chuffed about.

Anyway my Boley fridge vans have arrived, hopefully I can get some more of these including a flat bed or two. However Boley have stopped licensing them so their supply if very limited so if you get a chance to get hold of some then go for it before its too late!

I have photos of these not great quality but taken this morning.

These will become the Domingo produce vans, i haven’t decided if I’m going to repaint the cabs yet, maybe but again not before the show.

I’m hopefully going to be able to recreate the Ford cargo reefer out of a Herpa/Reitze model, I can get hold of an add on fridge unit for above the cab a nice little repaint and that should compliment the Boley quite well.

Well happy trucking…