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Hornby LNER K1
Paul Johnson.
Hornby K1 in BR black late crest no 62024 catalogue no R3243
The locomotive appears to be right in all essentials compared to both photographs and the Isinglass drawing which I had bought in preparation for a DIY effort, just months before the Hornby announcement. The tender has curved ‘scallops’ out of the frame ends as on the B1 and earlier loco designs with versions of the LNER GS tender; generally the K1 tender had a straight ended frame as built. It hardly shows, and I can easily correct this if it ever bothers me. Not much more to say when it is above serious criticism as in this case. They were handsome workhorses in reality, and the model shows this off to great advantage. (Really interesting to compare it to the Bachmann K3 model as this class is ‘grandad’ to the K1, they share a huge amount of ‘design DNA’. The relationship is clear, they look most convincing together, all the key dimensions and proportions that should match do so.)
All the exterior detail worth representing in 4mm is present in my opinion. Very fine handrails and lamp brackets, as close to dead scale as makes no difference, excellent glazing and paint job. The usual extra bits and pieces to add if your layout curves permit are supplied, and these all fitted easily. Hornby have backed off a little on the level of cab detail to what you can probably see while the loco is running, especially if you put a crew on the footplate. Good choice in my book to save a little on the assembly cost, as it looks so fine...
This gets yet better as it isn’t just the looks where this model shines. Hornby have really made a move here. It’s geared realistically for a scale maximum speed of near 80mph at 12V. They didn’t often go anywhere near that fast as this was first and foremost a freight loco. It will pull a normal freight load and some more. Actually better than the earlier O1 which struggled as supplied with sixty wagons, a typical 8F train load. The K1, rated as 6F, just walks off with sixty on, more than enough traction. This traction is delivered smoothly and quietly in both directions, with an excellent smooth start and stop thanks to a high gear ratio and flywheel. Top drawer stuff. Fitted it with a Lenz standard in the tender socket, excellent running as expected. This is a genuine RTR loco, fine straight out of the box for realistic running performance.
It came neatly greased on the moving parts, and will get more grease as required. The mechanism construction is really interesting, very similar to what we have got accustomed to in Bachmann steam models. the axles run in brass bearings, and the motor mount is screw assembled, it’s got the neat short wipers hidden behind the wheel rim and flange, and a single pivot pony truck. Hornby have dropped the silly ‘two pivot’ pony truck monstrosity, hurrah! Got to suspect that the new company Hornby are using for this model (TEC) have an ex-Bachmann designer working for them. (Rapido have publicly acknowledged employing a couple of designers formerly with Bachmann/Kader; that company has lost quite number of skilled people in their restructuring as the former Sanda Kan factory wound down, among much else.)
One small thing, my layout curves allow use of the closer spacing on the loco to tender drawbar – but it won’t connect as supplied because the electrical socket fouls! But if turned around so the choice of spacings is on the loco screw, it will connect. Usual improvement in appearance when Loco and tender are at scale separation.
Hornby have fully recovered from their ‘design unclever’ episode. This is cleverly designed, and is the right stuff. The real locos travelled far and wide: were all over Scotland, seen on inter-regional workings onto LMR,, and one got as far South West as Bristol. I should think Hornby will think about a K4 in time, as this model has so much in common, much as the Britannia and Clan.
Overall ranking
10. I only really need one of these locos, a relative rarity in the area I model. Somehow I think a second may come my way however.
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