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Steve K

British Outline 'HO' - what's the story?

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It's not different enough from OO to have any worthwhile advantage to convert anyone.

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The Heljan idea probably failed because it was the wrong loco at the wrong time.

 

IIRC, it was also - for the time, & compared to OO - hideously expensive, at a proposed £99(!!!) I think. Which was why I didn't order one. Yes it would've had US-style all-axle flywheel drive, whereas OO was still in the stone age, but neither US or UK diesels were anywhere near that price back then.

How times change, of course. ;)

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IIRC, when the HO Heljan Class 37 was mooted, they invited pre-orders and set a target of a mere 750 spread over four different liveries. It was not reached and the rest is history.

 

Despite being fully committed to OO, I registered for one, considering it would constitute a landmark model for any collection and retain its significance long into the future. What proportion of the British HO community did likewise, I wonder? Presumably there were less than 749 of them.

 

From memory I registered for that as well, thought it was worth a punt - it was probably a reasonable bet for a model at the time.

 

FWIW - if they had tried with SNG or FS, I wouldn't have bothered. I could have maybe built a small layout around the availability of a 37, I wouldn't/couldn't have with a LNER pacific.

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Details of the HO version of the Flying Scotsman made by Samhongsa can be found here.

 

http://www.british-ho.com/showcase/traction-steam/psm_a3.htm

 

There was intended to be 4 British models to be made to HO scale (including a Duchess), but these were never made. Almost certainly, the slow selling of the A3, guaranteed a non event for these others.

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The only likely prototypes are locos which also ran in Continental Europe. Which, apart from 66s included 56, 37, 58, 20, EM2 as well as the 350hp shunter, and a fair number of steam types including Austeriities and S160s. Which is quite a variety, but I can't see it being commercially viable.

 

I'm sure you're right, but as you say, that's still quite a range. given that the locos you mention did run on the continent, it's perhaps surprising that no continental model manufacturer has produced, for instance, an HO class 20 in the white livery that it carried in France. Other than Mehano with their 66, this maybe shows that non-UK European modellers aren't much interested in stuff that originated in the UK.

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IIRC, it was also - for the time, & compared to OO - hideously expensive, at a proposed £99(!!!) I think. Which was why I didn't order one. Yes it would've had US-style all-axle flywheel drive, whereas OO was still in the stone age, but neither US or UK diesels were anywhere near that price back then.

How times change, of course. ;)

It was indeed, but if you want off-the-shelf products catering for a tiny niche in the market, I'm afraid big ticket prices go with the territory.

 

Even if anybody had the commercial nerve to take on a similar project now, there would be a significant premium to be paid over today's OO prices. I've been told that Heljan didn't get even half way to their required level of interest in the 37 so we'd probably be looking at a production batch of no more than 500 made up of 100 or 125 each in four or five different liveries. The tooling costs would therefore be distributed over a frighteningly small overall number of models. 

 

My guesstimate is that Heljan's proposed HO Class 37, in basic DCC-ready trim, would today come in at around the same selling price as a Hornby 50 with DCC sound.

 

If you came up with a similar proposal today but with a price tag of £250 - £275, you'd get the same result Heljan got, with one exception; this time I wouldn't order one.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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I'm sure you're right, but as you say, that's still quite a range. given that the locos you mention did run on the continent, it's perhaps surprising that no continental model manufacturer has produced, for instance, an HO class 20 in the white livery that it carried in France. Other than Mehano with their 66, this maybe shows that non-UK European modellers aren't much interested in stuff that originated in the UK.

There are three HO models of the Class 66 that I know of, Heljan, Mehano and ESU. All are very well done. The ESU model is superb.

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. . . There is something very wrong with those Warships.  Studying a lot of photos of the prototype reveals the loco should not tower over the coaches. The crease in the bodyside should align with the cant rail on the coaches, again it has to be nearer the Trix 3.7mm foot or 1:80 than 1:87

 

The main fault with the Warships is that they sit far too high on the bogies which was probably done to fit an existing mechanism and to allow it to go round train-set curves.

 

The Fleischmann Warship does ride too high on its bogies. The reason behind this was probably to make sure the outside faces of the wheels could not touch the valance, which is metal and live to one rail. If you change the wheels for more modern ones (I used Ultrascale ones intended for 00) and then lower the model onto its bogies, you end up with a true 1:87 scale engine which will go round 15-inch curves.

 

I think, the result stands up well to comparison with more modern RTR offerings in other scales, tho' I will admit I removed the speed-proportional headcode lighting. My write-up of my conversion is here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1762/entry-17881-d818-glory-fleischmann/, there are several photos there to save duplication here.

 

Judging by reports, the running characteristics of these models seems to be a lottery, either great or awful. I've had four (two now sold), and they all ran beautifully.

 

- Richard.

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There is a chance of a future for British H0 if there's a manufacturer brave/foolhardy (delete as you see applicable) to take it on. HS1/HS2 is openening up more of Britain to continental loading gauge. Eurostar (though some now being withdrawn) and Cl.66 (Has an authentically British version in H0 been done?) are there already, plus I would assume at least some of wagons that run through the tunnel. Sticking with diesel and electric traction and with today's finer wheel standards there could be an opening for accurate H0 in this very recent British railway era.

For the Class 66, the short answer is "no" but it is better to say, "almost, maybe, not quite sure"!:

The Mehano 5-door model is correct for Freightliner and GBRf operations in the UK, but the headlamp clusters and buffers are the Continental type.

At least one of the REE ex-EWS models is correct if you accept it returning to the UK for servicing. The REE model of 66 001 in DB Schenker livery looks "close", but I haven't been able to see one in the flesh. I expect the livery is correct (for the UK) but lamps or buffers are wrong.

 

I've been modelling British railways in 1:87 scale for a while, and I have a different set of compromises to those I had in 00. This means (amongst other things), I'll accept wrong lamps on an otherwise authentic model, and I'll accept wrong buffer heads too but only until I can find some better ones.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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I think if you said you were planning something like the luxury Dapol loco , 20 years ago, most would scoff, and say no-one would buy it. Probably true then, but now people will, otherwise Dapol have miscalculated the interest. Times have changed a lot.

 

The other big change now is that people like me are designing models for 3d printing, and you can design to virtually any scale, with vrtually no costs, so if there is no interest in say, an HO version, nothing is wasted apart from some time.

 

Interest from outsde Britain should not be ignored. Hornby have fingers in a lot of pies, possibly too many, but in their Arnold N gauge range they have one , and only one British model, the Brighton Belle train. That is not aimed at the British market but the Continental one, but does not stop people here buying it. Produce a model of a luxury well know steam loco, with coaches, so you have a complete train, and market towards continental sales, then it will probably sell. Bachmann made a big mistake trying to serve up a Dutch liveried OO Austerity 2-8-0, and surprise sirprise there was little interest and people could buy them cheap to repaint here.

 

I think I might have just suggested myself an idea,and I have the drawings for all SR EMUs. Might add the Brighton Belle to my list.

Edited by rue_d_etropal
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Hornby have fingers in a lot of pies, possibly too many, but in their Arnold N gauge range they have one , and only one British model, the Brighton Belle train. That is not aimed at the British market but the Continental one, but does not stop people here buying it.

How is it aimed at the Continental market when it's 1:148 (British N gauge)? Continental N gauge is 1:160.

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How is it aimed at the Continental market when it's 1:148 (British N gauge)? Continental N gauge is 1:160.

So why only one model? It was an odd model to start in N gauge. Maybe they did not know continental scale was 1/160. The Arnold range is part of Hornby International, not Hornby UK, and most of the models inthe Arnold range are continental.

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So why only one model? It was an odd model to start in N gauge. Maybe they did not know continental scale was 1/160. The Arnold range is part of Hornby International, not Hornby UK, and most of the models inthe Arnold range are continental.

 

Given that it has Arnold branding I imagine they knew what they were doing.

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So why only one model? It was an odd model to start in N gauge. Maybe they did not know continental scale was 1/160. The Arnold range is part of Hornby International, not Hornby UK, and most of the models inthe Arnold range are continental.

It's part of a brand known as Hornby-Arnold and was their first foray into British N gauge. Word from Hornby was that the models did indeed sell well and a bigger range was planned, but nothing new was to be released anytime soon bearing in mind the economical conditions.

 

Reasons for assuming it's 1:160 don't include - Maybe they did not know continental scale was 1/160most of the models inthe Arnold range are continental

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It's part of a brand known as Hornby-Arnold and was their first foray into British N gauge. Word from Hornby was that the models did indeed sell well and a bigger range was planned, but nothing new was to be released anytime soon bearing in mind the economical conditions.

Reasons for assuming it's 1:160 don't include - Maybe they did not know continental scale was 1/160most of the models inthe Arnold range are continental

Is it a repetition of the Tri-ang thing, making nominally US-outline prototypes to HO scale so that the loading gauge was near-enough the same as the British outline OO range?

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Given that Arnold are generally credited as being the originators of modern commercial N gauge and an extremely well respected producer and Hornby's heritage in British outline modelling it is not credible to imagine that they didn't know the difference between European and British N gauge scales.

 

I suspect that one reason Hornby didn't expand their British N gauge range was as much down to their financial position as anything else. Take a look at the pruning of their ranges and very limited programs in European HO and Airfix this year. They're in recovery mode, consolidating those areas still doing well for them, it's probably not really viable for them to pump resources into entering the British N gauge market. Especially when they'd be going up against very well entrenched competition in Grafar and Dapol. However, if they continue to recover I wouldn't rule out future projects.

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Is it a repetition of the Tri-ang thing, making nominally US-outline prototypes to HO scale so that the loading gauge was near-enough the same as the British outline OO range?

Very much different

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So why only one model? It was an odd model to start in N gauge...

 I would suspect it represented an economical opportunity to probe the market potential. Had the research from a popular OO model to hand, and a suitable drive plus design and manufacturing resource from the Arnold operation. Make it, see how it does in the market.

 

No further N product from Hornby says to me that the return was insufficient to justify continuing. That doesn't mean it didn't sell or failed to return a profit. Just that there are alternative more profitable opportunities for their investment cash.

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For the Class 66, the short answer is "no" but it is better to say, "almost, maybe, not quite sure"!:

The Mehano 5-door model is correct for Freightliner and GBRf operations in the UK, but the headlamp clusters and buffers are the Continental type.

At least one of the REE ex-EWS models is correct if you accept it returning to the UK for servicing. The REE model of 66 001 in DB Schenker livery looks "close", but I haven't been able to see one in the flesh. I expect the livery is correct (for the UK) but lamps or buffers are wrong.

I had a suspicion that they hadn't done a correct for UK version. There's little chance of a model of another UK only loco if the very minor alterations to the Cl.66 are considered uneconomic. A conversion kit form the British H0 Society would seem a worthwhile exercise though.

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I had a suspicion that they hadn't done a correct for UK version. There's little chance of a model of another UK only loco if the very minor alterations to the Cl.66 are considered uneconomic. A conversion kit form the British H0 Society would seem a worthwhile exercise though.

From a purely personal point of view, I'm happy to pull the buffers off an engine and change them for better ones, but changing a lamp cluster looks prone to me making mistakes and spoiling things, especially because there will be a light pipe inside there somewhere and it may need changing/moving to get the light in the right place.

 

Right now, lamps are the bane of my life. I have an REE S100 and it seems it would be a perfect reproduction of an engine used in Britain, if it wasn't for its SNCF lights (this their engine p/n MB-011). But I cannot swallow hard enough to cut them off such a wonderful model. The European version of the Rivarossi S100 has the same 'problem'.

 

I have succumbed to temptation and bought a s/h REE class 66. Let me wait until it arrives, and then report back on its "British" detailing. If the 1:87 Society did do a conversion kit, it would be good if it was suitable for both the Mehano and the REE models. I've got my doubts about the Heljan model because it seems to be in relatively short supply and I'm not sure what advantages it offers over the other two. Also I haven't got any budget left for a third '66 :-)

 

- Richard.

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The Hobby Shop in Faversham have a few of the Heljan Class 66's at reduced prices. Nice model and an excellent shop for anybody wanting an HO 66, usual disclaimer of no connection, just a satisfied customer etc.

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For me, modern locos don't intrest me. I checked my rivarossi S100 and it does not have lights, mind you it did lose some detail bits after an accident, but stilll looks and works OK. Almost tempted to get anothe as some are at a good price.

I am working though various designs for 3D printing. Still need chassis, but as a narrow gauge modeller I am used to that, and it is part of the fun. I doubt if any manufacturer would consider any of the items I am doing, in particular HO, although  could see someone doing an Austerity 060 tank loco. I am not sure if British modellers would be prepared to pay the price as it would be copared with OO ones. I try to do my designs so they can be resized easily.

I still think it would have to be something glamourous to get the attention such as express passenger steam plus matching coaches. Then others might fall in behind.

 

At the moment, not only is British HO seen as too different, but also too difficult for most people.

 

As I said I am not interested in the big locos, but am building small layouts such as this to show HO is not something foreign, and to can get a little bit more in the space.

br-ho-box94-sm.jpg

Edited by rue_d_etropal
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Is that a Southern themed layout? I am of the opinion that the Southern is the best bet for HO. The EMU's will perfectly look well, and a careful selection of inside cylinder steam locos with full footplate width or no splashers for the freight is possible (mostly poor designs by the likes of Drummond) and everyone on the Southern is rich, so it can be afforded!

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LMS GEC unit. They were used on North London/Watford lines(4 rail) and on Southport to Liverpool services(3 rail). Some coaches also ran on the Altringham  line.

The Southern did not have a monopoly on electrics, and see no reason why SR would be best option for HO. As a southerner living up north I have a foot in both camps, and my GEC unit can run on two different regions

I am also planning a small London layout, where I can use my GEC, Oerlikon and a 2SL , just to be different. I am also trying to find drawings of other electric stock used in the North West, maybe even Tyneside.

Edited by rue_d_etropal
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