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Hornby A2/2 and A2/3 (2020 Range)


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I can’t get past the green , it just looks bleached to me , in comparison the my Bachmann A2 Blue Peter . Clearly with the issue of the frames it’s not well put together . The front buffer had a glued on appearance to me and I wasn’t sure about the join between boiler and cab . It also looks like there’s a bit of cost cutting going on , no front NEM coupling . I know it’s an express engine but you usually get the option, but of course the flanged pony wheels have magically disappeared.  For a £189 loco , no I don’t think so. 

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Explaining incorrect correct crest reminds me of cricket, the side that is in goes out, until they are all out, when they come in etc. 

Edited by Dominion
Clarity !
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14 minutes ago, Legend said:

I can’t get past the green , it just looks bleached to me , in comparison the my Bachmann A2 Blue Peter . Clearly with the issue of the frames it’s not well put together . The front buffer had a glued on appearance to me and I wasn’t sure about the join between boiler and cab . It also looks like there’s a bit of cost cutting going on , no front NEM coupling . I know it’s an express engine but you usually get the option, but of course the flanged pony wheels have magically disappeared.  For a £189 loco , no I don’t think so. 

Hi Legend 

 

just a word of warning on the rear flangeless pony wheel.

 

I did replace the flangeless wheel with a flanged one from an old Hornby A3 but found the axel is to thick and the rear pony wheel doesn’t turn and the loco just slips on the rails

 

I am going to have a go at reducing the axel thickness to see if that works.

 

Regards

 

David

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Just now, landscapes said:

Hi Legend 

 

just a word of warning on the rear flangeless pony wheel.

 

I did replace the flangeless wheel with a flanged one from an old Hornby A3 but found the axel is to thick and the rear pony wheel doesn’t turn and the loco just slips on the rails

 

I am going to have a go at reducing the axel thickness to see if that works.

 

Regards

 

David

 Thanks David , but I’m not going to buy this loco . I’ll hold on and see if it finds it’s price level . 

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6 minutes ago, Legend said:

 Thanks David , but I’m not going to buy this loco . I’ll hold on and see if it finds it’s price level . 

 

That will be interesting in view of the planned second wave advertised for Summer 2021....

 

I must offer thanks to all who have commented on the new A2/2s and shown photos, I expect a few assembly issues are quite likely in any I receive, but the model still looks to me to be very desirable. RMweb is excellent in that people so kindly offer their cures for such as A3 ski-jumps and A2 wavy footplates.

 

I still subscribe to the view that we are lucky to have a Hornby company prepared to manufacture and sell models of such astonishing detail even if sometimes with imperfect assembly.

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4 minutes ago, Legend said:

 Thanks David , but I’m not going to buy this loco . I’ll hold on and see if it finds it’s price level . 

Sounds like a good plan.

I wonder if the forthcoming A2/3 Sun Castle is produced at the same factory as the A2/2?

If that is the case, I might wait for a second release, possibly Earl Maraschal before I buy to see if build quality is improved.

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I have Sun Castle on order and paid-for with Kernow, and I read that Tony Wright is expecting to see an example in the not too distant future.

 

On the subject of minor or major detail assembly issues, I have yet to see aa A2/2 model by Hornby with the handrail above the front footrests not squashed.  It was not always (or ever?) vertical on the prototype, being angled outwards a bit , so I might be simply nit-picking, shows what an idle sod I am!

 

Thus I fully expect to be doing a bit of detail work on my A2s when they arrive here in NZ. Actually I am quite excited and full of optimism.  Fully expecting some repair work ....  One wonders about the costs and difficulties in finding assembly contractors in China.

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As regards QC alas I am not encouraged by stores that test a loco prior shipping.  Several years ago I purchased two new stock Hornby train packs with the then unknown to me T9 mazak issue.  The packs were received two weeks after posting and each included a certificate that the models were tested prior dispatch.  Strangely two weeks later the motor retention casting on both locomotives had totally disintegrated making the models inoperative.   Mid last year I returned a Heljan 1361 class loco requesting that the replacement loco be tested instore prior shipping.  This is the only loco I have ever returned as I usually sort out issues myself but this one was a basket case.  The return process took four months and upon receipt of the replacement loco it needed the hand of god to get moving and operation was barely better than the returned loco.  Knowing that stock levels were low and a further replacement would take many months,  I repackaged the loco and placed in a dark corner on a shelf so that I would not be reminded of its existence.  

 

Given the comments on the A2/2 loco I would not be impressed if I had paid the retail price or even a discounted price and had to deal with the livery and poor assembly issues.  This does not bode well for future Hornby releases.   Fifteen years ago Hornby had the expertise with its Chinese manufacturers to produce an outstanding model.  What has changed,  has the company in its quest for profits reached rock bottom to get the best manufacturing deal at the expense of customer satisfaction?

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2 hours ago, GWR-fan said:

....

 

Given the comments on the A2/2 loco I would not be impressed if I had paid the retail price or even a discounted price and had to deal with the livery and poor assembly issues.  This does not bode well for future Hornby releases.   Fifteen years ago Hornby had the expertise with its Chinese manufacturers to produce an outstanding model.  What has changed,  has the company in its quest for profits reached rock bottom to get the best manufacturing deal at the expense of customer satisfaction?

 

I agree that 15 years ago we were receiving such as the blue Princess class 4-6-2 which although easy to criticize for it's crude trailing truck was typical of products of the day and my 46206 is the smoothest quietest 00 engine I have ever known.

 

We are getting very smooth running from the new A2s, it appears to be the extreme detail and assembly errors which are fouling the nest....  but I will hope for the best and I'd still rather have the stunning detail and the odd repair job than the 2006 standard.

 

Without doing the sums the retail vs incomes hasn't changed much over this last 15 years?

 

As to the livery issue, there is a photo of a TMC-weathered 60505 in today's 'Wright Writes'  and the green looks as good as any I've seen, the lining too... even though on pristine models it's too black, in each case  to my eyes, at least, within the limits of photography. 

 

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6 hours ago, GWR-fan said:

As regards QC alas I am not encouraged by stores that test a loco prior shipping.  Several years ago I purchased two new stock Hornby train packs with the then unknown to me T9 mazak issue.  The packs were received two weeks after posting and each included a certificate that the models were tested prior dispatch.  Strangely two weeks later the motor retention casting on both locomotives had totally disintegrated making the models inoperative.   Mid last year I returned a Heljan 1361 class loco requesting that the replacement loco be tested instore prior shipping.  This is the only loco I have ever returned as I usually sort out issues myself but this one was a basket case.  The return process took four months and upon receipt of the replacement loco it needed the hand of god to get moving and operation was barely better than the returned loco.  Knowing that stock levels were low and a further replacement would take many months,  I repackaged the loco and placed in a dark corner on a shelf so that I would not be reminded of its existence.  

 

Given the comments on the A2/2 loco I would not be impressed if I had paid the retail price or even a discounted price and had to deal with the livery and poor assembly issues.  This does not bode well for future Hornby releases.   Fifteen years ago Hornby had the expertise with its Chinese manufacturers to produce an outstanding model.  What has changed,  has the company in its quest for profits reached rock bottom to get the best manufacturing deal at the expense of customer satisfaction?


What changed was the Sanda Kan factory stopping , forcing Hornby to scrabble round looking for other factories to make their goods . You could argue that they were vulnerable having all their eggs in one basket  but at least it was good quality .  Another large supplier of model railways has recently closed due to retirement , so I think they’ve had to look round again .  I’m not sure what the code is on this loco , or even if they still have one . But my suspicion is that they have 5 or 6 factories on the go . The one that is producing the current Princess seems to be very good , the others.................

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To add insult to injury on packing away the box I notice that the instruction leaflet actually depicts the trailing wheels as having flanges. A very poor leaflet I might add with no class history.

I fell that Hornby have lost their way with this release and if they want to be regarded as No 1 in the UK model trains field they should do a recall and smash the whole batch in public.

I do not understand why some people are making excuses for them. The standard of care and quality is way below the acceptable compared with other modern issues both by them and other makers. 

The Emperor's new clothes story comes to mind.

Bernard

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2 hours ago, Legend said:


What changed was the Sanda Kan factory stopping , forcing Hornby to scrabble round looking for other factories to make their goods . You could argue that they were vulnerable having all their eggs in one basket  but at least it was good quality .  Another large supplier of model railways has recently closed due to retirement , so I think they’ve had to look round again .  I’m not sure what the code is on this loco , or even if they still have one . But my suspicion is that they have 5 or 6 factories on the go . The one that is producing the current Princess seems to be very good , the others.................

 

i think I’m correct in saying that the code on the box is an unfamiliar one.It has been posted here but atm I can’t find it. This may well indicate a factory new to Hornby. You have to ask......how on earth has this been allowed to occur ?

I hope it will not be treated with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders by those responsible for it at Hornby.

”Sending it back “ is not currently an easy option for those in lockdown is it ?

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2 hours ago, Legend said:


What changed was the Sanda Kan factory stopping , forcing Hornby to scrabble round looking for other factories to make their goods . You could argue that they were vulnerable having all their eggs in one basket  but at least it was good quality .  Another large supplier of model railways has recently closed due to retirement , so I think they’ve had to look round again .  I’m not sure what the code is on this loco , or even if they still have one . But my suspicion is that they have 5 or 6 factories on the go . The one that is producing the current Princess seems to be very good , the others.................

 

Disagree regarding the Princess part. They have their own issues as well, Ski jump front end for one.

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3 minutes ago, Brocp said:

 

Disagree regarding the Princess part. They have their own issues as well, Ski jump front end for one.

Haven't got any footplate issues with my Princess but evidence of cost cutting in the absence of a 3 link front coupling (supplied with the recent Duchess) and I believe the motor is secured by a black tack like substance and lacks any physical restraint. I do wonder how about the long term viability of this method (but then we have had mazak rot in motor retention brackets haven't we).

 

My overall impression with Hornby at the moment is that they are utilizing top notch plastic molding technology (hence the very high level of detail) but then either savings are being made elsewhere in the manufacturing process or the manufacturers themselves are not model railway specialists and we are seeing the results in good but flawed end products. 

 

Incidentally (and almost back on topic!) I nearly bought a CoTN  - I've had the nameplates in stock for more than a year but then happened upon an obviously unused R2910 A4 Dominion of Canada on Ebay that I 'won' for just over half of the cost of the new A2/1 - so now have a better made and  better looking LNER Pacific to add to the roster. Those CoTN plates might never get used  :)

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3 hours ago, Bernard Lamb said:

To add insult to injury on packing away the box I notice that the instruction leaflet actually depicts the trailing wheels as having flanges. A very poor leaflet I might add with no class history.

 

In fairness to Hornby there's a decent historical overview of the class on the back of the box.

 

10 hours ago, robmcg said:

On the subject of minor or major detail assembly issues, I have yet to see aa A2/2 model by Hornby with the handrail above the front footrests not squashed.  It was not always (or ever?) vertical on the prototype, being angled outwards a bit , so I might be simply nit-picking, shows what an idle sod I am!

 

Funnily enough a similar observation had me looking through my Coster 'Book of the A1 and A2 Pacifics'; in every A2/2 image the small front frame handrails are angled outwards away from the vertical. On the model it's obviously a very delicate part that's easily squashed, but at least the lean is prototypical. 

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Now this is just a theory of mine, and I have no need to pursue it, but I wonder if the poor fitting cab is a paint issue. If the mouldings are the correct size (firebox/cab/footplate) and will assemble ok without paint, then when they receive paint things tighten up. This could then give issues with assembly as parts won't "click" properly into place.

I've seen this many times with the smaller detail parts such as buffer beam pipes. I admit to having a little chuckle (sorry) at the number of posts on here from those who can't get the pipes into the holes. Use of a small drill to enlarge the hole, or instead scrape the paint off the pin that goes in the hole, and they fit.

As I say, just a theory; I'm lucky with my example, but some of those close up pics hint at paint on the mounting surfaces.

 

Stewart

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1 hour ago, stewartingram said:

Now this is just a theory of mine, and I have no need to pursue it, but I wonder if the poor fitting cab is a paint issue. If the mouldings are the correct size (firebox/cab/footplate) and will assemble ok without paint, then when they receive paint things tighten up. This could then give issues with assembly as parts won't "click" properly into place.

I've seen this many times with the smaller detail parts such as buffer beam pipes. I admit to having a little chuckle (sorry) at the number of posts on here from those who can't get the pipes into the holes. Use of a small drill to enlarge the hole, or instead scrape the paint off the pin that goes in the hole, and they fit.

As I say, just a theory; I'm lucky with my example, but some of those close up pics hint at paint on the mounting surfaces.

 

Stewart

Very possibly, or even that some paint was allowed for but not as much as was actually sprayed.

 

Lest anyone think this is far fetched, please be assured that it isn't. I have a collection of US diesel models, some from the cheap and cheerful Athearn Blue Box range, and several of these had precisely this problem. For a cost of say £25, or less, I didn't mind a bit of careful filing and scraping to get the paint off the hidden joints and enable the parts to sit properly. Moreover no glue was usually involved, the parts just clipped together. However this isn't the case with the A2/2, and major disassembly even in the hands of the skilled could well result in breakage - in any case for £170 folk really are entitled to expect better.

 

I'd toyed with buying one of these, but now won't until there is evidence of much better production quality. If I miss out, well there's always that Crownline kit in the cupboard! Thanks to all for posting and illustrating the issues.

 

John.

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4 hours ago, Ian Hargrave said:

 

i think I’m correct in saying that the code on the box is an unfamiliar one.It has been posted here but atm I can’t find it. This may well indicate a factory new to Hornby. You have to ask......how on earth has this been allowed to occur ?

I hope it will not be treated with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders by those responsible for it at Hornby.

”Sending it back “ is not currently an easy option for those in lockdown is it ?

Well, I emerged from self-isolation, donned a mask and returned mine from a local Spar. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the last was sold just before I contacted the seller. I have located another and it’s on its way. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been sensible in persisting. In spite of all the problems, the things seem to be selling well. That’s the trouble with model railways. It’s not like picking a tele or a washing machine; if you want a RTR A2/2, it has to be Hornby. All the same, I suggest that it’s an indication of how poor the model is, that I am wondering if I should have bought one at all.

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17 hours ago, Legend said:

I can’t get past the green , it just looks bleached to me , in comparison the my Bachmann A2 Blue Peter . Clearly with the issue of the frames it’s not well put together . The front buffer had a glued on appearance to me and I wasn’t sure about the join between boiler and cab . It also looks like there’s a bit of cost cutting going on , no front NEM coupling . I know it’s an express engine but you usually get the option, but of course the flanged pony wheels have magically disappeared.  For a £189 loco , no I don’t think so. 

I don’t expect everyone to be pleased at the lack of a front NEM socket but I’m not so sure that it is purely a cost-cutting exercise. The lack of one certainly improves the appearance of the front of the bogie if, like me, you dress up the front of the loco. I couldn’t agree more with the rest of your points.

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16 minutes ago, No Decorum said:

Well, I emerged from self-isolation, donned a mask and returned mine from a local Spar. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the last was sold just before I contacted the seller. I have located another and it’s on its way. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been sensible in persisting. In spite of all the problems, the things seem to be selling well. That’s the trouble with model railways. It’s not like picking a tele or a washing machine; if you want a RTR A2/2, it has to be Hornby. All the same, I suggest that it’s an indication of how poor the model is, that I am wondering if I should have bought one at all.


I do sympathise with you. In my spotting years ,I saw the class quite a few times and would really have liked an acceptable model in terms of accuracy,finish,construction and performance. This offering fails to encourage me to part with a not inconsiderable sum of money and atm I am going nowhere near a parcel collection depot of any kind.

So good luck with that.

 

I am not a pre order fan in any case except recently in the case of the “Hush Hush “ W1. I have a pre order for that but now alarm bells are ringing in my head should Hornby have awarded the production contract for that to the nail factory that has presented us with the A2/2.Of course,sod’s law dictates we have no way of knowing until it arrives.

 

Can Hornby not understand that debacles like these tarnish their reputation ?

 

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4 minutes ago, Ian Hargrave said:


I do sympathise with you. In my spotting years ,I saw the class quite a few times and would really have liked an acceptable model in terms of accuracy,finish,construction and performance. This offering fails to encourage me to part with a not inconsiderable sum of money and atm I am going nowhere near a parcel collection depot of any kind.

So good luck with that.

 

I am not a pre order fan in any case except recently in the case of the “Hush Hush “ W1. I have a pre order for that but now alarm bells are ringing in my head should Hornby have awarded the production contract for that to the nail factory that has presented us with the A2/2.Of course,sod’s law dictates we have no way of knowing until it arrives.

 

Can Hornby not understand that debacles like these tarnish their reputation ?

 

I suppose a sensible approach would be to wait for another batch to see if Hornby grasps the nettle. Your comment, “… how on earth has this been allowed to occur?” puts it perfectly. There should be a serious post mortem going on at Hornby. It should not only ask about the mess of the A2/2s, it should also ask, “Why did no-one try fitting a standard-sized decoder into an 87, why did no-one try fitting a decoder and speaker into a 71 and so on and so on? In Hornby’s defence, I have to say that the motors are superlative. I also concede that it must be difficult keeping tabs on all the different factories Hornby uses but that’s the path Hornby chose and it needs to be managed properly.

 

Also, leaving aside that the painted samples were on the wrong models (which doesn’t matter so long as the mistakes aren’t perpetuated in the production models, which they weren’t), going by those samples, we had a treat in store. What happened between the painted samples and the production models? Answers on a postcard to Simon Kohler, please.

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7 hours ago, Legend said:

The one that is producing the current Princess seems to be very good , the others.................

A bit of a combination of tooling issues and assembly issues, but I had to strip down, file away at bits and completely rebuild the front end of my Princess to reduce the ski-jump. I still have issues with the valve gear not sitting correctly and I have a plan for that but it won't be an easy fix. 

 

Cheers,

  60800 

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24 minutes ago, No Decorum said:

I suppose a sensible approach would be to wait for another batch to see if Hornby grasps the nettle. Your comment, “… how on earth has this been allowed to occur?” puts it perfectly. There should be a serious post mortem going on at Hornby. It should not only ask about the mess of the A2/2s, it should also ask, “Why did no-one try fitting a standard-sized decoder into an 87, why did no-one try fitting a decoder and speaker into a 71 and so on and so on? In Hornby’s defence, I have to say that the motors are superlative. I also concede that it must be difficult keeping tabs on all the different factories Hornby uses but that’s the path Hornby chose and it needs to be managed properly.

 

Also, leaving aside that the painted samples were on the wrong models (which doesn’t matter so long as the mistakes aren’t perpetuated in the production models, which they weren’t), going by those samples, we had a treat in store. What happened between the painted samples and the production models? Answers on a postcard to Simon Kohler, please.

 
Events such as these are not new.Historically the perceived way of dealing with it is to avoid the issue....one or two exceptions apart.....and to say that the numbers of faults are no more than usual or average.I cannot be optimistic that a second cohort of this ,if such does arrive,will settle anything.The goal of management is to turn the company round towards solvency and profitability.Laudable aims with which no one will quarrel but with events like this we’re in a baby and bath water situation. My guess is that the nettle bed will stay intact and they will tough it out.How easy is it to withdraw from a contract in China and go elsewhere at this juncture in any case ?

 

There used to be a managementspeak phrase a while back ...”Claiming ownership “. Maybe a practical demonstration of this would be no bad thing .

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6 hours ago, Ian Hargrave said:

 

”Sending it back “ is not currently an easy option for those in lockdown is it ?

 

Royal Mail  wil come and collect for 72p - how easy is that!  You can buy your postage online at past 10 o'clock at night and still get the item collected next day.

 

Regards Ray

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