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Ian J.

SR U Class - Why hasn't it been picked up for RTR yet?

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In reponse to some replies on the Wishlist 2019 results thread, I wanted to ask the question of why the SR U class hasn't been picked up for production by an RTR 'manufacturer'?

 

From the replies I read, it seems that some think there are too many variations. Can someone inform me of what the variations are, and how that makes tooling up so difficult?

 

TIA

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I seem to remember long ago when Bachmann introduced the N class mogul, it was said that with some small alterations to tooling a U class variant could be made if sales/demand dictated the need.

 I think, therefore, given that the N has not been seriously updated by Bachmann since it's release, that perhaps sales were not as great as anticipated, and demand for a model that in many ways looks very similar might not be there.

 Rather like the revamped 'Jubilee' , released in short firebox condition with an option to tool the long firebox variant dependent on sales, has not resulted in the long firebox version.

Cheers from Oz,

Peter C.

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28 minutes ago, Ian J. said:

In reponse to some replies on the Wishlist 2019 results thread, I wanted to ask the question of why the SR U class hasn't been picked up for production by an RTR 'manufacturer'?

 

From the replies I read, it seems that some think there are too many variations. Can someone inform me of what the variations are, and how that makes tooling up so difficult?

 

TIA

 

Visually speaking, to the casual purchaser it looks quite similar to the N class mogul which Bachmann already produce and thus there may be concerns over how well it would sell.

 

Being a fairly mundane unnamed loco also goes against it.

 

That said with the quantity of ex Southern Railway motive power being released over the past decade the field of potential new subjects is narrowing and it could be a good ‘spoiler’ project for one of the other big RTR names.

 

 

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Like Peter C (45568), I remember Bachmann indicating that they could do a U from the N tooling.

 

For the variations, the first batch of U's were converted from River class 2-6-4 tank locos. These had lower running plates and deeper splashers than subsequent new builds, which had splashers so shallow they were barely visible. As such, I would guess that any manufacturer's tooling would probably not be able to deal with this variant as well as the later versions.

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From the SEMG pages, and posts above and elsewhere, it appears the biggest difference is between the River rebuilds (790-809) and the other batch (610-639), the main visual difference being the running plate height and the cab (spectacle plates and other elements). So I imagine there might have to be two sets of toolings alone to cover that one difference. I imagine that would mean seeing them as two distinct models with some shared elements, rather than one model with variations.

 

I gather there were other more subtle differences like a variation in how the buffer beam curved to the smokebox and some had replacement frames. Tenders might have varied, but I would expect those to be between standard available tenders rather than being unique to the class?

 

I've not read anything yet that suggests some insurmountable, highly expensive problem that couldn't be overcome, especially with some of the tooling variations available in classes like the Terriers.

 

Edit: As I read a bit more, it looks like the 1955 changes (frame and footplate variation) might present the 'biggest' problem, as it affected a number of the class (23?) and would mean the prime period (late logo BR steam) tooling would need to take account of that, but could not be used on examples representing those locomotives pre 1955.

Edited by Ian J.

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Take the Hornby N15 as an example Hornby tooled up all 3 variations of it the Urie version, the Eastleigh version and the version for the central section. All 3 had subtle differences and one even had a completely different tender but Hornby ploughed on regardless. So for Hornby to do a U class with it’s different variations it’s not outside the realms of possibilities. Especially after the minefield of the lord Nelson, original merchant navy, N15 etc. 
 

big James 

Edited by Big James

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1 hour ago, Big James said:

Take the Hornby N15 as an example Hornby tooled up all 3 variations of it the Urie version, the Eastleigh version and the version for the central section. All 3 had subtle differences and one even had a completely different tender but Hornby ploughed on regardless. So for Hornby to do a U class with it’s different variations it’s not outside the realms of possibilities. Especially after the minefield of the lord Nelson, original merchant navy, N15 etc. 
 

big James 

It's certainly what the market expects these days. The Hornby airsmoothed light pacifics also benefit from a raft of variations on loco and tender. 

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Perhaps I can add my two penny worth?

 

I built a "U" from a secondhand Wills body kit and the very good SEFinecast chassis kit. Its true that the main variation is between River Class re-builds and new build loco's, however when I started to fix on the low running plate version I noticed further variations so in the end I gathered lots of pictures of the loco I had decided to model and did just that. Even then I fitted it with the wrong tender variation for mid the mid 1950s, although to be fair to myself, I was limited by what was supplied with the kit.

 

Have a look at:

David Maidment's Southern Moguls & Tank Locomotives. and

Ian Sixsmith and Richard Derry's The Book of the Southern Moguls Parts 1 and 2.

Full of useful information.

 

Having said that, I do find it odd that Bachmann have not capitalised on the development cost of the "N" by developing  "U" variation(s) as Ian above has suggested Hornby have done with the Light Pacifics.

 

715282827_IMG_4791(2).JPG.ec977aee3b31e081020768171a776cc9.JPG

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard B

 

 

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Yup, 'the tender trap' that I discovered when I went to build my kit(s). To answer the OP. It is because I am actually hardly making any progress on building my Us that the big boys and girls are postponing their release of both U variants, including both tenders and also a special U1 for the obsessives among us, until they see that I am about to put mine into the paint shop.:wacko:

Good looking build there Ricard....as usual may I say.

Phil 

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What is wrong with a manufacturer basically saying that they can't make every variant under the sun but just making the two (perhaps) most numerous variations in a class?

 

Of course they would have to be totally up front about it and not try and hide that fact. If the class was popular enough (I believe that the 'U' would be) perhaps sales would justify this approach, plus,of course, people would know exactly what they would be buying. 

 

Perhaps also the 'true modellers' amongst us would also be able to take these as a base to convert to whatever version they needed.

 

Just a thought...

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47 minutes ago, 30368 said:

Perhaps I can add my two penny worth?

 

I built a "U" from a secondhand Wills body kit and the very good SEFinecast chassis kit. Its true that the main variation is between River Class re-builds and new build loco's, however when I started to fix on the low running plate version I noticed further variations so in the end I gathered lots of pictures of the loco I had decided to model and did just that. Even then I fitted it with the wrong tender variation for mid the mid 1950s, although to be fair to myself, I was limited by what was supplied with the kit.

 

Have a look at:

David Maidment's Southern Moguls & Tank Locomotives. and

Ian Sixsmith and Richard Derry's The Book of the Southern Moguls Parts 1 and 2.

Full of useful information.

 

Having said that, I do find it odd that Bachmann have not capitalised on the development cost of the "N" by developing  "U" variation(s) as Ian above has suggested Hornby have done with the Light Pacifics.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/715282827_IMG_4791(2).JPG.ec977aee3b31e081020768171a776cc9.JPG

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard B

 

 

 

 

Richard

 

A very nice looking model, I have a couple of SEF kits and a DJH one to convert to EM gauge, yes if you are building a specific loco and want it as accurate as possible then you have to copy photos of the era you are modelling. It is very debatable how many people would even notice the difference between a N or U class let alone subtle differences between locos in a specific class. I guess the tender may be more obvious than other differences.

 

How have you managed to weather the motion so well without gumming up the works ?

 

I for one just admire both the building and painting skills the model has received.

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I suspect there is an element of: "But it looks too much like the N class which we already produce".

 

In which case why not go for the U1 which is a really interesting looking variation on the U with fewer of the variations people seemed concerned about.

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5 minutes ago, Forester said:

I suspect there is an element of: "But it looks too much like the N class which we already produce".

 

In which case why not go for the U1 which is a really interesting looking variation on the U with fewer of the variations people seemed concerned about.

 

I think the point is that the U is the last numerous SR & BR(S) class to be done (with Q next). The U1 was not near numerous or (I think) geographically spread out enough for it to come near the U in terms of ubiquity. Pretty much every SR & BR(S) layout could have a U, but I don't think that's true with the U1 (which in my eyes is too ugly, but that's just my onion).

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37 minutes ago, Ian J. said:

 

I think the point is that the U is the last numerous SR & BR(S) class to be done (with Q next). The U1 was not near numerous or (I think) geographically spread out enough for it to come near the U in terms of ubiquity. Pretty much every SR & BR(S) layout could have a U, but I don't think that's true with the U1 (which in my eyes is too ugly, but that's just my onion).

If I would pay a reasonable sum for (say) a U1 because I am in a position to do so or could raise the funds (shall we say £380/400ish), could there be others that might do the same to obtain a loco RTR, because they can't or won't attempt a kit build? If the box gangs are really going for 'modellers' is there a place for such a production to go ahead based on that awkward pre order scenario, or is the cost still way too high? 

Phil

 

Edited by Mallard60022
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43 minutes ago, Forester said:

I suspect there is an element of: "But it looks too much like the N class which we already produce".

 

In which case why not go for the U1 which is a really interesting looking variation on the U with fewer of the variations people seemed concerned about.

At least the days of tool a new tender and then put U numbers on N cabsides have passed. The U1 or a Q both have the benefit of distinctly different appearance.

 

35 minutes ago, Ian J. said:

 Pretty much every SR & BR(S) layout could have a U, but I don't think that's true with the U1 (which in my eyes is too ugly, but that's just my onion).

Bit harsh toward the shapely allium: celeriac now, that really is ugly...

 

1 hour ago, PhilH said:

What is wrong with a manufacturer basically saying that they can't make every variant under the sun but just making the two (perhaps) most numerous variations in a class?

 

Of course they would have to be totally up front about it and not try and hide that fact...

I would find this welcome, having often felt that a manufacturer would have done better to state in the advance publicity, and in the packaging text, a little of the 'why' of their decisions. Hornby's Terrier a case in point. What's wrong in stating that subject X had so much variation in build groups or lifetime development that a choice had to be made to tool up and produce selected variants to best represent, this, and that, and maybe if likely to be very popular, the other?

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It might be down to similarity of appearance, but the 'N' can't have sold that badly, given it's been produced in N gauge more recently …

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Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.

 

Motion - I usually apply blacking compound before assembly (but not always) and then weather using weathering powders and Humbrol washes. The valvegear does get a wee bit gummed up but a drop or two of oil both adds to the look and frees it up again.

 

On some loco's I try to create an ex works + a few weeks. In which case I very lightly apply blacking compound after assembly and clean off after 10 - 20 seconds. I then apply light and dark brown washes on some area's with blue grey wash around crank pins. Motion did not stay rust free for long!

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard B

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