Just completed a full overhaul of a Hornby GWR Prairie Tank for a work colleague, involving replacing an entire chassis and revamping the bodywork of a rather elderly model.

As supplied, the motion was knackered, motor a bit rough and bodyshell bashed about. Luckily, we had a spare chassis in the Model Rail store so that was a very quick swap, although the body needed much more work. New handrails and other small details like brake pipes and real coal chippings in the bunker made a massive difference, plus a driver and fireman squeezed into the cab.

This was the model beforehand...

The main improvement is in the finish, with the body stripped and scrubbed at the beginning of the project and the lining removed in favour of a more appropriate plain black finish with early-style BR crests and etched numberplates (luckily available with the same running number as the original model: 6167 – from Fox Transfers). Blue circle and ‘D’ route restriction legends have also been added.

I took the opportunity to try out a new tin of Alclad2 Gloss Black cellulose paint - it worked a treat - no need for varnish before adding the decals, just a spray of clear satin enamel to finish off.

Although it’s been around for ages, the Hornby model still looks OK and the new chassis runs very smoothly. It felt hard to resist going for a full super-detailing and weathering job on this loco as I’m sure the work would be rewarded with an even better looking model. But that wasn’t my brief. Maybe I’ll look out for another donor model and have a go for myself...?


  1. I like the tank George I have one of those in green. No. 6132 an older model but it does have a heavy chassis. I had it fitted with a sound decoder by Howes. They were a little apprehensive about doing it as they'd done another for someone else and it was no good. But I assured Howes that my model was a good runner and good hauler and so they did it. They also did a Grange for me at the same time. It was no good as the motor burnt out in half a lap round the garden. It's very light in weight compared to the Prairie tank.

  2. That is a terrific overhaul - I'm sure your friend appreciated the exquisite finish. Looks better than out of the box to me!


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