The 'Large Prairie', Mk.2F Coaches and the Rivarossi "Big Boy"
Greetings and welcome to April’s edition of The Engine Shed – covering all the latest information straight from the Hornby Development team here in Margate.
In this month’s issue of the blog we continue on from March as we offer you the full write up from another two of our newly tooled projects for 2019, the Large Prairie and the Mk.2F coaches. Including all the information we can, we journey from the research trip through the design process and end with the Decoration Samples for each, which we have only received in the last couple of weeks.
However, that is not all as we have an interesting new feature which is looking at the iconic American locomotive, “Big Boy”. An exceptionally popular Rivarossi model, “Big Boy” returns later this year, not only celebrating the 150th anniversary of the ‘Pacific Railroad’ but also to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the locomotive being withdrawn from service. With its return this year we wanted to offer you some insight in The Engine Shed about this special release.
Lastly, we look ahead to the next edition with a small glimpse of the pre-production samples of the Bulleid 59’ coaches. As with each of our previous editions, we offer this first look with the promise of much more to come in the future.
Let us begin with the first item on the agenda, the Large Prairie.
GWR Class 3100/5100, 5101, 6100 ‘Large Prairie’
© Kenneth Field/Rail Archive Stephenson
Any new project starts with the history of the real thing, together with the rationale as to why the model has been included in the Hornby range. However, rather than repeat ourselves we would like to remind you of our January blog which offered a condensed history of the Large Prairie. Be sure to take a look if you are not familiar with the model’s background (also, do keep in mind that the history of each model is also featured on the corresponding product page on our website).
For the team, the project began with a research trip to Didcot in August 2017. While there the team made sure they took plenty of photographs, which are vital when design work begins. Original drawings were also sourced with plenty of literature supplied to the designer. The team would like to make specific mention of both Kevin Dare at the Didcot Railway Centre as well as the Great Western Society who greatly assisted us with this project.
With plenty of material available to the designer, CAD work began in October 2017 with the bulk of the work completed by December of the same year. The Large Prairie was not without its challenges as both the footplate edge and rear of the cab required a great deal of work.
As you can see below, the footplate edge has numerous bolts along its entire length. This posed a modelling problem as well as a manufacturing one. As for the modelling issue, these bolts needed to look right on a 00 gauge model, which is not as simple as it may sound. These bolts cannot simply be scaled down as this does not look correct. Like many aspects of the hobby, a balance must be struck between pure modelling accuracy and what looks right on the finished model.
As for the manufacturing side of things, this entire area must be able to be moulded as well as ensuring the piece can be safely removed from the tool. Small bolts and detailing can be notoriously difficult for manufacturing and allowances will be required. There is no point in having the most intricate detailing if the part cannot be removed from the mould.
The rear of the cab did not pose such problems, however there were many variations which needed to be accounted for. The designer had to ensure each and every version was correctly produced in CAD and, as fans of the Large Prairie will know, this did mean plenty of different designs all with their slight differences and detailing combinations.
However, once those challenges had been solved, the project allowed for some phenomenal detailing and additions. You will notice that framed bogies have been included, which is a first in a Hornby designed locomotive. The designer was particularly pleased with how much detailing could be included in the cab, with intricate touches like the heater in the roof as well as the levers which, just like the real thing, can be clearly seen when viewed from the side.
The blending of the different heights on the top of the engine was also another small triumph of the design. The wheels and the detailing around them also had to be carefully adjusted to ensure no problems or clashes were present.
With all those areas covered it just leaves us to show you the first Decoration Samples which we recently received. Unfortunately, the BR iterations have not arrived just yet but we will look to include them in future blogs as soon as possible.
All the upcoming Large Prairie models can be found here on the website with deliveries currently expected during August and September.
British Rail Mk.2F Coaches
Once again we would like to direct your attention to January’s edition of The Engine Shed in respect of the history behind the Mk.2F coaches, or indeed the individual product pages here on the Hornby website.
As for the development of these models, work began in April 2018 and finalised in May. The reason for the shorter design time was due to the fact that work had been carried out by the team several years previous. In 2013 the Mk.2E coaches were produced and consequently gave the team a huge amount of groundwork ahead of the new Mk.2F project.
With a research trip in 2012, previous work was used in conjunction with a whole plethora of additional photographs and drawings.
The bulk of the design work for the 2019 project included numerous body modifications as well as a number of alterations to the chassis. These changes were a new die-cast metal grille for the air conditioning unit together with various pieces of equipment that needed to be added, such as battery boxes and the like.
As for the body, detailing on the roof was re-designed with several windows requiring attention.
Similar to the Peckett W4 and B2 we discussed last month, projects that make use of previous work significantly reduce the amount of design time required. However, from the CAD design stage there is still plenty to do including the product artwork which include a significant numbers of checks involved with each sample received.
Without further ado, we would like to present the latest Decoration Samples for the Mk.2F coaches. Currently due for release from August to the end of the year with much depending on livery.
Union Pacific, Class 4000, “Big Boy” 4014
As we mentioned at the start of the blog, this year sees the 150th anniversary celebrating the completion of the ‘Pacific Railroad’, which connected the existing eastern US network with the Pacific coast at Omaha, Nebraska. The 1,912 miles of continuous railway line was constructed between 1863 and 1869. 2019 also marks 60 years when the “Big Boy” locomotives first started being removed from the US network. This also coincides with the restoration of Union Pacific “Big Boy” 4014.
With two significant anniversaries this year it was a straightforward decision to re-release the Rivarossi “Big Boy” 4014 model.
Called “Big Boy” this 4-8-8-4 was the largest in terms of size, weight and speed. The name originates from a message written in chalk on the door of the smoke box by a worker on the prototype project. “Big Boy” can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour, with over 7000 hp.
Dwarfing almost all of the locomotives we have discussed here in The Engine Shed, the “Big Boy” locomotive is an iconic model and one that transcends the US, UK and European modelling boundaries. Produced in unique packaging and including a commemorative number plate and pin badge, this model is truly something special in marking two important anniversaries.
With a staggering length of 475mm (almost 19 inches), this model boasts a 5-pole motor and brass flywheel, a DCC Ready 21-pin plug, handrails made out of steel wire and much more. This locomotive is unlike any other and is without doubt a pure classic.
You can find out more about the Rivarossi “Big Boy” 4014 here, with the model due in August this year.
Bulleid 59’ Coaches
As this edition of The Engine Shed draws to a close there is just enough space to show you the pre-production samples of the forthcoming Bulleid 59’ coaches. As these models will be the next project we will be looking at in detail, we are pleased to show you just a small glimpse of what is to come ahead of the full write up.
It is unlikely many of you will have seen these samples but they offer an initial glimpse of how the project is progressing and what the next steps may look like. We should also mention that everything you have seen in this edition does not reflect the final released models.
We hope you have enjoyed April’s blog as there are still a number of newly tooled projects to cover over the next few editions. As mentioned, the Bulleid 59’ coaches will be the next to be featured, but over the coming months we will also be showing you the Mk.3SD coaches, the LMS & LSWR ‘New Vans’ and the Princess Royal together with the latest samples as and when they arrive.
Until next month,
The Engine Shed team
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