Five things we love about Hornby's 'Dublo' A4

04 May 2023
Its body now die-cast for greater weight, and produced to the latest model standards, here's what we think about this new model.

If you haven't seen our video of Hornby's new 'Dublo' A4 4-6-2 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley (R3973) on test yet, you'll want to. The heavy-weight clatter across track joints and tractive effort sets a very high bar, even for the finest of kit-built models. 

Tony Wright examines the model for the June 2023 issue of BRM, on-sale May 18. In the meantime, here's what we think of the new model...


R3973 Hornby Dublo A4

The A4s need no introduction, for they rate as one of the finest express passenger steam locomotives ever made. In Mallard it has the fastest steam locomotive of all time and in Sir Nigel Gresley it has the fastest post-War steam locomotive.

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Hornby Dublo A4 R3973 Sir Nigel Gresley

The subtle body-shape has been captured to perfection – many OO gauge A4 models don’t get this right, and from every angle it’s spot-on. The tender is plastic, and is an excellent representation of the 1928 corridor type (ex-A1/A3), towed throughout its life.


Hornby Dublo A4 R3973 Sir Nigel Gresley

All wheels are true-round, have consistent back-to-backs and on test on Tony Wright's ‘Little Bytham’ ran perfectly through a mixture of hand-built and Peco points and crossings. The locomotive is incredibly quiet and super-smooth. The motion is a fair representation of the elegant original, including the lubricator drive off the RH rear driver’s crankpin.


Hornby Dublo A4 R3973 Sir Nigel Gresley

Provision for DCC is in the tender (eight-pin), and there’s now a far-superior mechanical/electrical coupling between it and the locomotive. It’s now a fool-proof single action ‘plug-together’ device, and not the previous rather flimsy plug and socket connection, with a separate drawbar. There’s even a firebox glow present, and provision for a smoke unit.


Hornby Dublo A4 R3973 Sir Nigel Gresley

Cylinder drain cocks, a scale front shackle, brake rigging, and a bespoke crew are for the owner to fit. There’s also an AWS bang-plate supplied, to be fixed behind the front coupling. After the 1952 Harrow disaster (which AWS probably would have prevented), 60007 was used to test the device, so fitting it to the model would be correct for the period – plus a conduit along the nearside valance.


Related: Video – Hornby's A4 4-6-2 Sir Nigel Gresley on test.

Tony Wright examines the model for the June 2023 issue of BRM, on-sale May 18.