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Hornby Class 86

Tom Davidson



86419 ‘Post Haste’ Postal Red R589 (Margate made, 3-pole motor bogie)



Given that this model dates back to the 1990s, with a tooling designed in the 1970s, it has an accurate shape with good levels of detail. Unfortunately the headlights are painted on, and much of the detail is moulded as opposed to separately fitted, but the overall impression is convincing. My model has the headlights drilled through, which improved the look of the front end considerably, and the factory paint finish is realistic. 



The pantograph is a very chunky rendition of the real thing, although it almost makes up for this in durability. At almost 20 years old, mine no longer clicks down into the lower position, but this can be improvised with a section of layout wire!



With a 3-pole motor and only 2 pickups on each side, this model initially struggled in terms of performance. Although the high top speed made for a very free-running chassis, acceleration and deceleration were less than smooth. This was improved significantly by an upgraded 5-pole motor bogie and trailing bogie assembly, which meant pickups on all wheels and smoother performance. There’s still a bit of friction that should improve with running in, but overall it is a very reliable performer.



Take care to keep wheels and the motor clean if you have the 3-pole version, and don’t be tempted to over-oil it. Peco electrolube is a good bet for the moving parts, but you only need a very little bit to make it worthwhile. With no DCC socket the chassis must be hard-wired.



Bought for Christmas in 1995 this model is an old favourite that has stood the test of time well. Upgrades to the motor and trailing bogie are well worth the investment.


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