Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Project 25

To kick off the new year, a new project!

It perhaps looks a little basic but what you see is just a starting point. And the heart of all this is perhaps very basic - Hornby's Class 25 dates back to the seventies and is very basic in terms of detailing. The key thing is that its overall shape and proportions are very good - much better than Bachmann's when it comes to the overall shape in fact. Maybe it's time for a brand new, all-singing-all-dancing as Bachmann's class 25 was one of the first of the new generation of RTR diesels when it appeared with its all wheel drive and pick up - and they do run beautifully, and this will be become more relevant below. However I believe the original design work for the plastic mouldings dates back to the days of Mainline. However, until such time that a new 'Rat' appears we are left to our own devices...

So with Hornby's lass 25 body in one hand we require a Bachmann chassis in the other. Previously I have used nearly a full Bachmann body with Hornby cabs for a Class 24 as the Bachmann bodyside grilles were right for the Class 24 but they aren't right for many Class 25s. I'm not going to go into detail of all the variations here - for further details I can do no better than recommend Diesels in Depth - Classes 24/25 by David Clarke. The books manages to cover the large number of variations which the class displays and is an excellent source of reference.

The body is dimensionally sound and is essentially just a detailing exercise - the chassis, although mechanically superb, leaves a little to be desired cosmetically. In full valanced form (as per the original Class 24 spec, the chassis moulding looks great and only requires work around the fuel/water tanks and battery boxes to really set it apart from the factory appearance. However without the valance (many locos had these either partially or fully removed and later locos didn't even receive them) the chassis moulding's shortcomings are significant as the underpinnings have a frames of, in simple terms, H/I section beams without a conventional carriage and wagon style solebar which the model unfortunately displays. Mass producing this wouldn't necessarily be that easy without pushing the price up but we can deal with this! Jim Smith-Wright has already written about this - see below for a link.

In order to fit the Hornby body a tiny section requires removal at either end, and to achieve this I have removed the ends which were beyond the bogies and will fit these to the body permanently as the project progresses. But even at this very early stage, reducing the width of the buffer beams will instantly improve the front end appearance. And to finish off the 'middle' will be a lovely resin moulding from Brassmasters - more can be found here too.

What may be worth mentioning is that if you don't mind the Bachmann body, and in either full BR green or green with a small yellow warning panel the discrepancies aren't too noticeable, then work around the chassis is still worth undertaking and it will still have an enormous impact.

You should be able to see the finished result not only here but also at Scalefour North in April.

Further Reading

Diesels in Depth - Classes 24/25, David Clarke published by Ian Allan Publishing 2006
Rail Express Magazine, November 2004 - Peter Johnson revamping Hornby Class 25s Click here for Back Issues
Class 24s and 25s - various models on Keir Hardy's wonderful website
DEMU Update 48 - Modelling Class 25s by Jim Smith-Wright, also available on Jim's own website


  1. Looking forward to seeing this one progress - great stuff!

  2. Thanks for your comment! Hopefully it'll be a nice little project - the result will be at Scalefour North in April, though from your profile, that might be a bit far! I'm undecided whether to paint or leave it to show just what's been done though.