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Mr Pilcher

Hornby Mk1 timeline.

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I've come back to the hobby recently after a long hiatus. Being from Crewe, I'm building a BR/MR layout set c.1960.

I started to collect mk1 coaches both preused and new. I avoided the old Hornby coaches and bought later versions secondhand...they seemed ok with flush glazing and fine lettering but with the old d couplers. I thought these were the current body moulds. I've just bought some new railroad mk1's and despite the economy measures, the bodies appear more finely moulded and more true to scale.

So, how many generations of Hornby mk1's have there been since the old triang designed versions were dropped? 

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Well the old Tri-ang ones started in 1962. I think they survived , often in the colours of LMS, GW and Southern until 1977/78 when Hornby brought out a series of coaches to represent the big 4 , Staniers , Gresleys etc

 

The same models the re emerged in the 1990s , this time in more correct BR colours Maroon, Choc Cream , Crimson Cream, Southern green etc . These had flush glazing inserts and lasted right up to the more recent (5 or 6 years since introduction?) completely retooled versions . These later versions have NEM couplings whereas previous ones have the larger D coupling.

 

I actually still run all three variants although mainly its the newer type . I prefer them over Bachmann , not just because they are a lot less expensive, but because they are considerably lighter which means I can have longer trains without my locos wheelspinning to move them.

Edited by Legend
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Triang introduced the Mark 1s in 1962, and they appeared in all the liveries that the prototype had worn, including Chocolate/Cream, Green etc. Early Crimson and Cream versions had a very bright shade of Crimson. Before 1980, the body colour was one of the livery colours. In the Mid 90s, they were upgraded with flush glazing. 2013 saw the introduction of completely retooled Mark 1s, which obviously were much better than the quality of the ones designed 50 years earlier!

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12 minutes ago, JohnR said:

Triang introduced the Mark 1s in 1962, and they appeared in all the liveries that the prototype had worn, including Chocolate/Cream, Green etc. Early Crimson and Cream versions had a very bright shade of Crimson. Before 1980, the body colour was one of the livery colours. In the Mid 90s, they were upgraded with flush glazing. 2013 saw the introduction of completely retooled Mark 1s, which obviously were much better than the quality of the ones designed 50 years earlier!

And there was me thinking that Tri-and introduced the 'shortie' Mk1's in 1955 and included them in their train sets!

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Were the shorties actually mk1s? The early ones look more like LMS vehicles and the later ones .... well not much except maybe a passing resemblance to a hastings DEMU trailer 

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The older ones (1962 onwards) with separate sides are prime cut&shut fodder for producing Mk1s other than the basic BSK/CK/RMB that Tri-ang gave us. There was great article in the MRC circa 1982/3 which detailed some of the possibilities (and a couple more articles elsewhere detailing conversion to assorted EMU types) - I know I did the TSO/BG and BCK conversions from BSK and CKs. 

 

The RMB, with it's lovely late-Mk1 window frames could become a TSO with one RMB sacrificing windows into 2 others (2 from 3).

Avoid the 70s production runs though, the ones with the oversize 'chrome' window frames.

 

I believe Clive of this parish is still making coaches this way :).

 

The only major issue, iirc, is the bogie centres are a few mm too far toward the end. Otherwise they are very usable.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, russ p said:

Were the shorties actually mk1s? The early ones look more like LMS vehicles and the later ones .... well not much except maybe a passing resemblance to a hastings DEMU trailer 

I guess the closest they came to LMS or BR Mk1 was the maroon shade.

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6 hours ago, kevinlms said:

And there was me thinking that Tri-and introduced the 'shortie' Mk1's in 1955 and included them in their train sets!

 

I dont think they were marketed as Mark 1 coaches?

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Don't forget there were the real shorties, then the 10 inch sort of MK1's, before the 1962 ish full length ones.

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4 minutes ago, New Haven Neil said:

Don't forget there were the real shorties, then the 10 inch sort of MK1's, before the 1962 ish full length ones.

The first couple of coaches were about 7" long. Then, to try and make them look more realistic, they were lengthened to 9". 

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21 minutes ago, JohnR said:

The first couple of coaches were about 7" long. Then, to try and make them look more realistic, they were lengthened to 9". 

 

The first were the bendy maroon ones with the funny couplings, 6"?? - then slightly longer 7" ones that came with my Princess Elizabeth set in creamish and red, then the longer again to the 9", yes, not 10 sorry, I blame age,  ones, I have a restaurant car with interior somewhere, then the '62 proper ones.  Must have a dig in the loft.  

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On 14/11/2019 at 13:23, russ p said:

Were the shorties actually mk1s? The early ones look more like LMS vehicles and the later ones .... well not much except maybe a passing resemblance to a hastings DEMU trailer 

The 8" shorties were broadly similar to 57' Staniers, and were followed by 9" mk1s in CK, RMB, and BSK  form, without interiors except IIRC for the Restaurant Car.  The 1962 10" mk1s were scale length, the first in the UK RTR market, and included CK, Buffet, BSK and BG, the latter to an incorrect length as this is 57' coach not 64'.  The 1962 coaches were the first Triangs to dispense with the one piece moulded body and separate underframe detail screwed on format that dated from the Rovex coaches, and is still in production with the shorty clerestories...

 

The Triang 9" mk1s were, IMHO, superior in detail to the Hornby Dublo tinplate bodied mk1s.  Lima produced a range of mk1s in the 70s, which were to my mind better finished than the Triang/Triang Hornby/Hornby versions of those days, and followed Hornby in using them as generic GW, LMS, and Southern liveried coaches.  These are let down a bit by very thick body sides and recessed glazing, and enormous tension lock couplers that held the vehicles about a scale 6' apart.

 

The original stubby Rovex coaches were even shorter, and were embossed L M S so were obviously intended to be interpreted as Staniers, logically enough to go with Princess Elizabeth.  They are, to be kind, er, a bit representational...

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The first version of the 9" Tri-ang MkIs had flat ends. Later  versions had correct bow ends and were replaced by the correct length (apart from the BG) coaches in 1962. The restaurant car ( a flight of fancy - the only composite car I am aware of are the two Gwr diagrams modelled by Dublo and later Hornby) had an interior and IIRC were available as an add-on for the 1st/2nd and Bk/2nd

The Dublo coaches won on their flush glazing, but lost on length and lack of proper door furniture.

Both were beaten by the Kitmaster kits which were also considerably cheaper than either.

The early Tri-ang coaches were bought in with the Rovex* Princess, which was only intended as a cheap toy and being moulded in acetate doomed to a short life. (A Rovex Princess is a rare collectable!) The 7" coaches were crimson/cream or green.

 

* Rovex examples have a one-ended coupling and are invariably warped. The last Tri-ang ones are polystyrene. All are various shades of red/maroon  marked LMS and as 1st or 3rd class coaches, though there is no difference in the moulding.

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Going a bit OT were the moulds for the kitmaster coaches destroyed?  Never seen a list of what they actually produced. 

 

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Kitmaster moulds were sadly lost except for those taken on by Airfix, IIRC L & Y Pug, GW 61xx and City of Truro, Southern Schools and BB light pacific, and 350hp shunting engine (08), and some wagon kits; Airfix added some of their own products to the range after Kitmaster's demise.  The box art for those models that Airfix took on was identical to the Kitmaster art except for the branding,  The mk1 coach moulds were lost.

 

They were excellent models, at least as good as Triang's scale length mk1s and capable of successful construction in an afternoon by a hamfisted 10 year old, and they ran perfectly around train set curves.  IIRC they were available in BR maroon or Southern Region green liveries, the colour of the plastic side pieces rather than printed, and were a larger range than the RTR coaches.  There was a BSK, SK, SO, CK, and an RU but I don't recall a kitchen car. Windows were creditably flush, but you needed to carefully paint the ventilators moulded in the clear plastic.  Other losses were a Swiss Crocodile, an SNCF 231K, and a NYC Hudson, and a TT range which included all the mk1 coaches and a rebuilt Royal Scot.  I think Peco still make printed interiors for them which can be used with current RTR mk1s.

 

You could buy a power bogie to go inside a BSK and a powered vanfit to make them 'go'.

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Sadly the Kitmaster coach (and other moulds) were lost, but there do seem to be a lot still about. An unassembled kit is collectable..., but assembled models are quite common. Usually they were assembled with Kitmaster's useless adhesive and can be readily returned to a kit. An extra one or two will supply the missing/damaged windows. Often as a bonus they have been fitted with Peco's interior kit (still available?) This, like the kits themselves. merit careful assembly. They are a couple of millimetres short (unfortunately between the ends and adjacent doors where it shows and in the bogie centre spacing). Obviously the plastic wheels (the correct diameter for once*) need replacing. The Restaurant 1st is of little use without a Kitchen Car and a 2nd class Car,  but can easy be modified to make a non-catering vehicle. The solebar is channel section, but that is easily corrected.

 

Back on topic, The Tri-ang product has windows that are too deep (over corrected on the Sleeping and Buffet cars) and rides 2mm too high. Also the windows are deeply recessed (not as badly as the Lima effort however). The lack of the common 2nd class coach was a serious omission.

 

*Unlike Airfix kit wheels, the half axles press fit together tightly and they run true. They also have a reasonable profile. Metal replacements are still better. (I usually use the contemporary Jackson/Romford product running in Peco bearings, but modern wheels and pin-point bearings would be freer running.

 

For 2nd, read 3rd pre-1956 of course.

Edited by Il Grifone
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8 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Kitmaster...You could buy a power bogie to go inside a BSK and a powered vanfit to make them 'go'...

...for a while, judging by an example I saw quite recently. The motor components were fine but the inclusion of one piece plastic axle and gear components moulded in tasteful dog crap brown were as life limiting as the colour suggested.

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On 16/11/2019 at 06:17, The Johnster said:

 

 

The original stubby Rovex coaches were even shorter, and were embossed L M S so were obviously intended to be interpreted as Staniers, logically enough to go with Princess Elizabeth.  They are, to be kind, er, a bit representational...

Wonder why they were embossed LMS, when they were sold in crimson/cream and so BR?

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Remember Triang also sold a kit version of the Mk1s and a few locos too under the CKD label. CKD stood for Completely Knocked Down. All you needed was a screwdriver to build them, I think they were 10/6d for 2 coaches (52.5p in new money).

 

Trix also done their coaches and some locos in kit form as well, you could get the excellent AL1 for under a fiver.

 

As for conversions, I think it was Chris Leigh who done a conversion to a Clacton electric in the 1962 Model Railway constructor using Triang coaches with Airfix railbus ends.  The Model Railway Club has that year's MRC in their library.

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On 17/11/2019 at 23:43, roythebus said:

Remember Triang also sold a kit version of the Mk1s and a few locos too under the CKD label. CKD stood for Completely Knocked Down. All you needed was a screwdriver to build them, I think they were 10/6d for 2 coaches (52.5p in new money).

 

Trix also done their coaches and some locos in kit form as well, you could get the excellent AL1 for under a fiver.

 

As for conversions, I think it was Chris Leigh who done a conversion to a Clacton electric in the 1962 Model Railway constructor using Triang coaches with Airfix railbus ends.  The Model Railway Club has that year's MRC in their library.

For those of fewer years:

The CKD avoided purchase tax of 25% and a young school leaver would have been made up if his takehome pay was close to £5. A teacher with over ten years experience earned around £15 a week.

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I built the Trix CKD Western, which, apart from the scale which didn't bother 14 year old Johnster and the odd bogie frames which did, was a lovely model and a very good runner, smooth and quiet almost to modern RTR standards and featuring headcode lights which would put a lot of current versions with overbright blue cast leds to shame for appearance.  It went together very easily and was the subject of my first serious attempt at weathering.  

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On 17/11/2019 at 12:24, kevinlms said:

Wonder why they were embossed LMS, when they were sold in crimson/cream and so BR?

 

The original 6" Rovex/Tri-ang coaches were moulded in maroon* plastic and embossed LMS. The 7" ones were embossed with a number and class markings.

 

6" coach. A Rovex example (exceptionally almost straight!). The buffers are missing. The Tri-ang example (at the bottom) is identical apart from the couplings.

 

http://www.tri-ang.co.uk/Coach Rovex.htm

 

The 7" coaches are here (sorry it's come up on eBay Italia

 

https://www.ebay.it/itm/323955113077

 

Ignore the comment about bending them back - they won't!

 

* This colour tended to vary from maroon to red.

Edited by Il Grifone
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They were far too early for me. I am interested in vintage models though.

 

I don't think I even had any of the Hornby versions. All mine were Mainline or Lima. The Lima ones were mainly the Blue/Grey and Southern green versions and were cheap as chips at the time.

 

The Lima ones still look pretty good considering they are over forty years old.

 

https://www.yesterdaystoys.co.uk/Lima-OO-Gauge-No-305365-BR-Mk1-2nd-Class-Corridor-Coach-no-S25916_A19HY6.aspx

 

 

 

Jason

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