Hornby's Unmodified Bulleid Light Pacific loco


photograph by Colin Duff

The Tangmere model before the brake gear rigging, front footsteps and front coupling have been fitted.


That the second loco of Southern Railway heritage that Hornby should release for its high quality, super detailed, built in China range is that of a Bulleid Light Pacific in its "original" form is a cause for celebration from more that just Southern modellers. It is also a courageous decision given the minefield of the number of body, tender and detail variations that existed and still exist of preserved examples. For further information on these please view our Bulleid Light Pacific picture pages. To enable the representation of these variations they have invested in flexible and different tooling, plus have been imaginative in their production methods. (Hornby claim to be able to produce models for up to 85% of the class.) The present production runs are as follows:

R2218 34041 Wilton BR livery late emblem
original narrow cab rebuilt with wedge front windows cut down sided tender
standard smoke deflectors BR smokebox door speedometer cable
nameplate and scroll.

R2219 21C123 Blackmoor Vale Malachite Southern Railway livery
narrow cab rebuilt with wedge front windows high sided tender
short smoke deflectors SR ringed smokebox door speedometer cable
nameplate, crest and scroll

R2220 34081 92 Squadron Malachite interim British Railways livery
original wide cab with original wedge front windows high sided tender
standard smoke deflectors BR smokebox door speedometer cable
nameplate and shield

R2221 34067 Tangmere BR livery early emblem
original narrow cab with original wedge front windows high sided tender
standard smoke deflectors BR smokebox door no speedometer cable
nameplate and shield with additional shield below cab side number.

R2282 34091 Weymouth BR livery late emblem
as running in 1962 with 9' cut-down tender
standard smoke deflectors, nameplate and scroll.
Available 2nd quarter 2002

R2283 21C155 Fighter Pilot Southern Railway livery
original narrow cab rebuilt with wedge front windows and original high sided tender
extended smoke deflectors, nameplate and scroll.
Available 3rd quarter 2002

In addition there will be 34057 Biggin Hill as part of the R2279M 'Thanet Belle' train pack. Etched brass nameplates and three new Hornby Pullman cars.
Available 3rd quarter 2002

See also our table of Hornby model variations

Note that Blackmoor Vale and 92 Squadron represent the locomotives as they currently exist in preservation and not their original SR/BR form. In Blackmoor Vale's case this is well justified as this locomotive has now run longer in service on the Bluebell Railway than it ever did for the SR and BR combined. We do not yet know if Hornby have a tooling variation capable of delivering an original narrow cab with flat front windows.

There is, additionally, a further model, a limited edition (based on a renamed, rebadged and renumbered Blackmoor Vale or Wilton) of Wadebridge. This model was available in malachite green as 21C107 and in late BR livery as 34007. The 21C107 model is not an accurate representation as it retains Blackmoor Vale's SOUTHERN roundel on the smokebox door with the date 1946, whereas Wadebridge was built in 1945, and it has the later cab with wedge shaped front windows, however the 34007 model is correct in this respect.

Front of Wadebridge before application of separately applied fittings.

photograph by Peter Richards

Wadebridge front
First impressions:

The first challenge from this model is getting it out of its expanded polystyrene tray without damaging it because it is tightly packed. The instructions do warn and advise on this. However our reviewers also found - the second and only other challenge - that even more care was needed when replacing the model into its tray, especially if the additional details have been added. The tray may then need slight carving out to accept the model. The smoke deflectors are particularly vulnerable in this respect. One reviewer found on one of his models the outer cardboard box fell apart at the first and slightest touch. Clearly they had been a bit sparing with the glue in China on the day this had been put together. As just mentioned additional details, such as front footsteps, loco and tender brake rigging, SR route discs and loco crew/tools, are supplied bagged to be fitted by the purchaser. Careful attention needs to be paid to the instructions when fitting the brake rigging as it is handed.

Both the first and subsequent inspections of these models are very favourable. This model is in a completely different class to Hornby's previous Bullied Light Pacific offering which had its origins in Triang's Winston Churchill model.

The paintwork and printing finish is of high quality, though the BR lining as on many RTR models and indeed transfer sheets is slightly overscale. The body casting is of high quality with finely moulded rivet and other details. The rivet detail on the front bogie and tender underframe are particularly worthy of note. There are a number of separately applied high quality details such as brass safety valves and whistle, smoke deflectors, smokebox door handle, lamps, injector pipes, sprung buffers, electric generator, tender ladders and cylinders. The tender comes with moulded coal - something which is frequently a cause of complaint from serious modellers - but just for once is not piled high and even better this is actually a separate casting which is easily removed revealing a hopper into which more realistic coal can be inserted. A nice touch, well done Hornby! The cab and tender windows are flushglazed with the cab side windows represented partly open. Unlike on Hornby's earlier rebuilt Merchant Navy model the boiler backhead details are picked out in copper white and red paint and the resulting effect is good. Hornby's flexible tooling has to cope with the mounting of the multitude of nameplate, crest/shield and scroll variations. Nameplates and shields/crests are separately applied printed plastic items, but so well done are they that they could be mistaken for brass. However on Wilton the West Country scroll is printed onto the body sides as is the additional shield below the cab number on Tangmere, the only member of the class to carry this adornment. Also there is no cabside lining on this variation. Pictorial evidence indicates that Tangmere did not carry this additional crest at all times - it being a later addition after the locomotive had been adopted by RAF Tangmere. It appears the cab side window surrounds on some malachite livery samples have been picked out in yellow - on the prototype this was natural wood colour.


Visually the model looks accurate and represents another success of our model manufacturers in driving up the standards of their accuracy and manufacture. These models conform to all major dimensions as given on published drawings with the qualification that drawings of the particular variation may not be available The locomotive and tender are close coupled, the resulting distance being only 1mm too great - quite an achievement for a model designed to run on trainset geometry curves. The electric lights of the prototype are well represented, though those fitted to the inside of the smoke deflectors have been left off, and the three lower ones have a well proportioned, though vulnerable, lamp iron.

Wadebridge front The near-scale gap between loco and tender. (The holes in the brake hangers are where the rodding assemblies are fitted).

photograph by Peter Richards


The locomotive body is fixed to the chassis by a single screw although the speedometer drive (where fitted) also needs to be removed very carefully by easing out its top bracket with pliers or tweezers. The chassis is driven on its central coupled axle by a 5 pole motor. Electrical pickup is from all 6 drivers and all six tender wheels via the two pole tender connector. Care needs to be taken when connecting the tender to the locomotive to ensure that the electrical contacts are correctly made. One reviewer found these contacts needed adjusting before smooth running could be achieved. Maybe they accidentally became bent - say when removing from the tight packaging. Subject to these contacts being OK the model runs well straight out of the box though obviously it improves with running in.

Roof detail Roof detailing.

photograph by Peter Richards

Super Detail Fittings:

To enhance the model further Hornby provide several Super Detail Fittings that can be added by the owner. These comprise the rodding for the brake gear, front steps for the loco, route indication discs, front vacuum pipe, an optional front tension link coupling, fireman's tools and, last but by no means least, a driver and fireman; these last two are unpainted so you will probably need to open the paint tins before they are used. The brake rodding for the tender is a very easy installation, being in one piece it simply clips into existing holes in the brake hangers. That for the loco is a little more tricky as each side is a separate, "handed" item that also fits into existing holes in the brake hangers, but doesn't clip in and needs to be cemented in place. Likewise the front steps which are glued to the underneath of the buffer. The route indication discs, if required, simply glue to the front of the loco. Hornby recommends using polystyrene cement for these items but knowing all too well how disaster can strike with this adhesive a PVA glue was used for the fittings on Wadebridge. Should this loco ever leave the North Cornwall route, it will be a simple job to remove the disks with no nasty reminder afterwards!

Wadebridge front

Wadebridge after application of footsteps, brake rodding, vacuum pipe and discs.

photographs by Peter Richards

Wadebridge side

One word of warning! Thse items are very delicate and probably best left off if the loco is to be handled by youngsters. The front steps cannot be fitted if the optional front coupling is to be used unless, that is, you have a minimum of something like six foot radius curves. Also, the electric light housings on the front of the loco have very fine lamp irons attached. Be very careful handling the front of the loco as these are just plastic and could so easily break off.

Tender front The tender front (left) and rear (right).

photographs by John Russell

Tender rear
Chassis and motion:

All wheels including on the tender are correctly of the BFB pattern. The wheel treads are on the wide side and the back to back measurements in the region of 14.1mm. Some of our reviewers found the back to back measurements on their model(s) consistent, others varying. One reviewer found the back to back measurement on one tender axle as tight as 13.7mm which may have been responsible for this tender occasionally derailing when reversing. Frankly wheels with a finer profile and to consistent NMRA (or similar) back to back standards would further improve this model which in this respect is perhaps still betraying Hornby's recent trainset past.

The motion is fine and lightly blackened. However it is not completely accurate. The driving arm is perhaps too light as the real things look chunkier. This arm also has a slight inward bend (as on the LP model) which is the compromise that results from being built to OO gauge. Also the connecting rods should be fluted - Hornby are correcting this on future production and those with non-fluted rods can obtain fluted ones from Hornby via their website. {Please note, since the time of writing this page has been removed from the Hornby website}  Cylinder drain cocks are not fitted to avoid fouling the front bogie on model tight curves and for the same reason the ash pan has been cast as part of the rear truck rather than on the body. Of particular note is the central lubricating system which is represented by some extremely fine moulding above the slide bar. On malachite livery examples this has correctly been picked out in red. The rear drivers are sprung. This device has been used on past Hornby models and over-light springing resulted in the wheel base rocking with loss of adhesion and electrical pickup. Fortunately this does not appear to be the case with these models.


photograph by Colin Duff

The wheels - all of BFB pattern, correctly including the tender wheels - all look to be of the correct diameter. All drivers are flanged and the flanges are of a much finer profile than in the past from Hornby. Good! However the back-to-back dimension on all axles measured about 1mm narrow in gauge - but consistently so. The good news seemingly that Hornby's factories in China appear to be able to construct a chassis to a standard, but the specified standard appears incorrect. The etched brass motion, which is blackened, is an extremely fine piece of construction and the cylinders are even moulded with drain cocks - again all this pleasurably most unlike Hornby's past production. The driving rods are bent on all samples viewed, though this is not very noticeable from a side view. This is presumably for clearance reasons. Also on some samples the slidebars have a very pronounced downward slope towards the rear and this could be due to the cylinders not being fitted quite correctly.  The speedometer crank is not centred over the axle so the speedo cable oscillates backwards and forwards as the loco moves. This is not thought to be prototypical.

Running properties:

Some of our reviewers have commented that hauling power is not as good as it could be both on the flat and up gradients. For instance 8 coaches plus van could be pulled on the flat but this formation stalled on a 1 in 100 gradient. Removing 2 coaches allowed the formation to climb the gradient but almost to the point of slipping. Whilst accepting that the prototypes were legendary for their slipping behaviour there is room within the body for additional weight. One reviewer added 75 grams of lead cut from 5mm thick sheet, folded into a 'U' and placed over the existing weight. Performance then improved permitting 10 coaches steadily with no slip up the 1 in 100 and indeed 6 coaches slowly but steadily with no slip up a 1 in 30 (...model of Exeter Central!). Adding extra weight above the existing weight will also serve to throw the balance of the loco towards the front drivers thus reducing the potential for any unnecessary rocking onto its rear sprung axle. Prior to additional weighting the locomotive weighs 315 grams and the tender (both high and cut down sided versions) 115 grams.


photograph by Peter Richards


In conclusion this is another very good high quality model, though Hornby please pay more attention to wheels and wheel standards which prevent this model from being elevated into the "near perfection" category. We very much look forward to more variations/samples of this popular locomotive - indeed there is the potential for some modellers and collectors to get into some serious expenditure buying them! What next from Hornby from the Bulleid stable - a rebuilt Light Pacific (...please) or an airsmoothed Merchant Navy?

Now and Then: On the left is the new, super-detailed Blackmoor Vale and on the right, the old none-too-detailed Spitfire.

photograph by John Russell

Blackmoor Vale and Spitfire

This review compiled from comments and/or photographs from SREmG members Syd Carroll, Brian D Frary, Nigel Millar, Martin Randall, Peter Richards, John Russell, Richard Sheppard and Colin Duff. Although it may not be the first review to be published it is done with the benefit of all four releases being available between us.

Overview of the prototype

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Hornby model variations

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This page was last updated 18 July 2005

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