Hornby Hobbies ex-L&SWR Diagram 1543 Review

January 5, 2020

Designed in Mar'18 and announced in Jan'19, Hornby Hobbies duly released their 'New Van' in-time for Christmas.


Using the same underframe as the previous 'Road Vans', Mr Surrey Warner (carriage and wagon superintendent of the ex-London and South Western Railway (LSWR) from 1906) produced seventy-five brake vans between 1915 and 1921 carrying L&SWR numbers between 387-15208.  The 'New Vans' were initially rated at 20 tons, until Grouping in 1923, at which time all but two (54949 and 54987) were uprated to 24 tons by adding scrap metal into pockets cast into the underframe. At the time of uprating, the original spoked wheels were changed to solid wheels.

Allocated to Diagram 1543 under the Southern Railway (SR) the uprated vans were numbered in the SR system between 55001-55017 and 55019-55074.  Withdrawal of the type commenced after nationalisation in 1957 and by 1961 just two remained, 55006 and 55037, which lasted until 1962 and 1963 respectively.


Hornby's new tooling has sought to cover many variations including buffer shanks*, lamp brackets and fix lamps, disc and spoked wheels, document holders as well as rivetted and welded duckets.


*Note that only some buffers were strengthened, resulting in variations between individual brake vans.


Priced at £24.99, six variations are available: -


- #R6911 (London and South Western Railway) 20T 'New Van' No 9646

- #R6911A (London and South Western Railway) 20T 'New Van' No 5359

- #R6913 (Southern Railway) 24T Diagram 1543 No 55062

- #R6913A (Southern Railway) 24T Diagram 1543 No 55009

- #R6915 (British Railways) 24T Diagram 1543 No S55040

- #R6915A (British Railways) 24T Diagram 1543 No S55032


Whilst initial reflections of my example (#R6915) are positive, it is pertinent to start with the criticism of the livery applied to #R6911, #R6911A, #R6913 and #R6913A and the use of a shade of brown far lighter than appropriate; an error apparent upon release of the decorated samples (September'19).



© Hornby Hobbies


Nonetheless, the model itself is made to a high standard and as already alluded to it is praiseworthy that variations between the L&SWR and SR versions have been considered.  Perhaps the most noticeable are the fitted lamps present on the L&SWR iteration (pictured, above); on the SR and British Railways (BR) examples they are replaced with a solid plate and the addition of lamp irons.


Also of note is the inclusion of the sanding mechanism and pipes, the latter in wire form.  Normally only found on locomotives, Hornby has found this was the best option to achieve the required finish.


The interior of Diagram 1543 is equally detailed with the handbrake and stove residing on planked flooring.


Despite the oversight in colour of the L&SWR and SR versions many will appreciate the addition of further pre-Grouping rolling stock to the ready-to-run market, especially at an RRP lower than Bachmann Branchline's SR 25T 'Pill Box'.  Hopefully the 2020 Range Launch will bring with it a corrected version for those requiring LSWR and SR iterations.



© Hornby Hobbies

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