Sonic Models/Rails of Sheffield GCR A5

16 March 2023
Tony Wright examines this new exclusive release of the 4-6-2T prototype for the Sheffield-based retailer.

Designed for the Great Central Railway and first built in 1911 (classified 9N), this class of ‘Coronation’ 4-6-2Ts initially worked the heavy and tightly-timed suburban services out of Marylebone. A total of 20 was built up to 1917, with a further ten added after the Grouping in 1923, all built at Gorton. This latter ten were built with side-window cabs, which type was fitted to the original by 1926. A further 13 were built by Hawthorne, Leslie & Co, in 1925/’26. These were designed to work under lower loading gauges than the GC and had cut-down boiler fittings and a re-profiled cab roof. They were also slightly longer and were fitted with left-hand drive.

The class had a long life, working over many parts of the LNER system and BR’s Eastern and North Eastern Regions. The last to go was in 1960, at almost 50 years old.

What we like:

Sonic Models A5 locomotive

First impressions are that this is a very fine model indeed, fully-capturing the elegant lines of its prototype. Perhaps BR lined black doesn’t quite have the magnificence of the original GC regalia, but it suits the locomotive well.

Sonic Models A5 locomotive

On checking with the Isinglass drawings, all the principal dimensions appear to be spot on. The dome is, correctly, lowered for this manifestation, and the chimney is GC-style, which several A5/1s retained to the end (including 69804).

Sonic Models A5 locomotive

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The cab, which has a fully-detailed interior, has all side windows closed, though prototype pictures of the locomotives in service reveal that they’re mostly open.

Sonic Models A5 locomotive

There are many separately-fitted details which are beautifully-applied to the body; which consists of a heavy, die-cast metal footplate and plastic superstructure. The buffers are sprung.

What we noticed:

The spectacles are nicely flush-glazed; however, 69804 was one of the locos to have its ‘split’ spectacles replaced by a single piece of glass later in its life. Check this detail if renumbering is contemplated, because several A5/1s retained the split spectacles, including 69801, 69806 and 69817 (there were probably others).


Livery-application is uniform and crisp, though the lining is ‘compromised’. There should be a thin cream line between the red and the grey on the tank and bunker sides, and the valance should have a red line as well as the grey. Other RTR manufacturers have succeeded in applying these ‘extra’ lines.

What more? Read Tony Wright's full review of this new model for the May 2023 issue of BRM. Get your issue of the magazine earlier and digitally to read 'on the go', anywhere, with a World of Railways Plus subscription. Find more details, here.