Well Hornby’s Collett coaches are here, and there’s very little point in doing a review as such of them. Basically Hornby have got these three right when checked against data within both Russell and Lewis coaching stock books, and pictures in various books and magazines. The buffer heads may be a touch undersize and they have the correct rectangular shanks of the prototype. (Thanks Chris T for pointing out my earlier cock up!). The whole appearance of these coaches is very pleasing leaving very little to do in the makeover department, paint finish and markings are excellent quality too. I’ve already started on the Brake 3rd and will put up some picture later of the extra detailing I’m adding, it’s really simple stuff like brake pull rodding anm dynamo wiring and belts. Part of the Hawksworth makeover will involve adding Masokits corridor connections as used by Gerry Beale in MRJ216 which really brings out the coach ends. They should also be suitable for the Colletts, and if practical I may change these to further improve the coaches.
The short wheel base bogies are outstanding the tie bars in particular having the right ‘weight’ to them visually and the brake shoes in line with the OO wheelsets. The only downside I’ve found with these coaches is the NEM socket which may be a bit on the tight side. The original couplings are a very tight fit, the replacement close coupling units are, (on my samples), so tight the NEM socket is showing signs of splitting.
To see higher quality copies, please double click any of the pictures. The following images show all three versions I’ve received, for the batch number collectors out there they are:
R4684 TAL05-PO10000170 R4684-51-078
R4688 TAL05-PO10000170 R4688-51-078
R4686 TAL05-PO10000170 R4686-49-078
R4688 Collett Corridor Composite (RH)
R4684 Collett Corridor 3rd
R4686 Collett Corridor Brake 3rd (LH)
So what’s this ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ My project layout/s are hopefully to build a system of locations based on Forest of Dean prototypes. My chosen era is the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s. During this period there were large changes underway on the British railway scene, with British Railways(BR) standard design rolling stock displacing large amounts of pre-group and grouping railway company equipment. Historically, and into BR times this meant that what was previously front line coaching stock often went to secondary services when replaced by new items. Geoff Forster has touched on this in his Penhydd and Llangunllo blogs, http://thechroniclesofpenhydd and similar factors affected the railways of the Forest of Dean, often with identical rolling stock. The arrival of the Colletts has meant that I have been able to almost complete my coaching stock requirements for the layout scheme, these three vehicles having been downgraded to secondary line useage. I’ll have very few coaches overall, these three Colletts, and three Autotrailers, including the Dingo Ugly A44 will make the backbone of the service. To supplement them there are two B Sets and a Hawksworth Brake Composite, and an AC Railcar which will fill in on trials. Whilst the coaching stock is now complete, coming close behind are the locomotive requirements. With 57xx and 64xx variety Panniers on draught, whats left will be nice to have’s. Ideally a suitable 16XX pannier will come available, the NuCast kit was a bit grim, but theres talk of it being reworked with a new etched chassis by South East Finecast, if this comes to pass I’ll certainly give them consideration. Wagon Rolling stock still has a way to go, the biggest deficit being 16t mineral wagons. I have a good number of 12/13t wooden minerals and have an Oxford Rail version on the bench at the moment being abused, more on that later!
With the bulk of the motive power and rolling stock requirements for the ‘Severn and Dean’ met or being within reach, I find myself at that weird point where new releases by RTR manufacturers will be less relevant for me as I get deeper into the Forest!