Hornby ‘Big Four’ Collection SR Class N15 4-6-0 Joyous Gard No. 741 arrives

01 May 2024
This is the fourth (and final) piece of Hornby’s ‘Big Four’ celebratory models marking the centenary of the Grouping of Britain’s railways in 1923.

The other three were the GWR Castle Class, LMS Fowler 2-6-4T and the LNER A1, all of which have already featured in BRM and on videos on WoR. The ‘poor’ LMS had to make do with a tank loco as its representative because no Hornby models have ever been available to represent the LMS’ principal express passenger loco (a Claughton) in 1923, whereas in the case of the other three these were their respective companies’ most-prestigious types, including this latest N15 King Arthur, Joyous Gard (the name of Lancelot’s Castle in Northern England). Introduced by Urie for the London & South Western Railway in 1918, the class proved to one of the most-able two-cylinder 4-6-0s in the country; so much so that Urie’s successor (on the Southern Railway) Richard Maunsell, had more batches built (with improvements) up to 1927. For the next near-30 years, the ‘Arthurs’ did all that could be asked of them. There were detail differences down the years – smoke deflectors, different tenders, styles of chimney, etc, but Joyous Gard is in the condition she would have been in 1925; that is as first painted in Southern Railway livery, number on the tender and no smoke deflectors. As such, it is a magnificent model!

Hornby first made a King Arthur in 1975 as Sir Dinadan, but it was a poor thing. In 2007, the present model was introduced, bearing no relationship to its predecessor; it’s this outstanding model which forms the basis of the latest Joyous Gard. Everything about it smacks of high-quality, from the dimensional accuracy, the standard of finish and the superlative running characteristics (which will be evident on the WoR video showing it running on my Little Bytham coming soon). It’s a splendid addition to the Arthur models, which have been produced by Hornby since 2007. Was there ever a happier choice of names for a class of locomotives in Britain? British Railways obviously thought so, too, because after the N15 Joyous Gard was withdrawn, its name was carried by a BR Standard Five 4-6-0, 73088. 

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As with the other three in the ‘Big Four’ Collection, this model is limited to 500 pieces and comes complete with a certificate of authenticity. Priced at £218.99, it is thoroughly recommended.

By Tony Wright

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Nice looking model, but it seems to be missing some important details, which I suspect is down to compromise on tooling requirements. All the N15 models that have been issued to date before this model have been of the modified post 1928 smokebox design. As this model is of a 1925-1928 condition SR N15, they needed to modify the smokebox door and front end. This has been done partially, with care, by introducing a modified tooling with a smokebox dart and smaller door hinges. Unfortunately, they have not added the parts that are needed to complete the model: 1. the model is missing the three upper lamp irons (9, 12 and 3 o'clock positions) that were fixed to the face of the smokebox as built, 2. the continuous curved handrail is missing above the smokebox door. Both these details were changed when smoke deflectors were fitted from 1928: the three lamp irons were removed from the face of the smokebox itself and refitted to the smokebox door. The curved handrail was removed, and a horizontal handrail was added to the front of the door itself. As it stands, the model is unfortunately inaccurate and incomplete.

Posted by Matthew Hillier on Thu 09 May 13:29:17