My Hornby Brighton Belle arrived in the post on Thursday. First impressions of the 1934 Pullman version are excellent:
- It’s well packaged, and it’s possible to get in the box, unlike recent Dapol and Farish offerings.
- Overall finish is as good as other recent ‘N’ gauge multiple units.
- The 1936 livery is very similar to all versions carried until the British Rail blue and white (that looks smart as well). It’s also very close to that on the preserved unit. I understand that some lettering and crests changed a bit, but I suspect that most of us will happily run it as purchased for all historic periods.
- There is some criticism of the couplings, that are similar to other European offerings, as they carry power between carriages and are fiddly to put together. They seem OK to me, but perhaps one wouldn’t want to couple and uncouple too often.
- The motor is in the body of the motor car, but Hornby have still managed to include a line of the table lamps, for the motor is well camouflaged.
- There are still cut-outs in the solebars to allow the bogies to pivot on small radius curves. Frankly, you can hardly see these from normal viewing angles. The view seems to be that they were needed as the Pullman coaches are narrower than normal stock, so the solebars are closer together. It does mean that the wheels are the correct diameter and the body sits low on the bogies, unlike some models. The gaps could be covered by a sliver of black self-adhesive label on the outside of the solebars – but I suspect I won’t bother.
None of the above comments are meant to be overly negative. Like most models, it could be slightly better (only the Farish Blue Pullman got it absolutely right, and then they chose the silly yellow end livery for one release), but it’s a lovely little model and I recommend it.
I haven’t test run the unit yet, but reports on-line suggest that it is as good as the name Arnold would suggest. It’s probably a good thing that we had to postpone today’s ESNG PlayDay, as we would probably have had more 5-BEL units running than there were on the prototype!