Today, I've started work on a feature for Model Rail with a working title of 'The Ultimate Class 37', using a new Bachmann OO model as a basis for a little super-detailing work. In fact, the model is an exclusive limited edition rendering of the preserved 37003 in late 70s/early 80s BR blue livery, produced on behalf of the Class 37 Loco Group as a means of raising funds to get the real '003 back on the rails. But, more of this a little later...

While I was rooting through some stuff for this '37' feature, I came across a Hornby model that I comprehensively rebuilt for my first book project, Detailing & Modifying RTR locomotives, Volume 1. Taking an old Hornby shell and revamped chassis and using various bits of a spare early-issue Bachmann version, mixed with a few Shawplan, A1 Models and Dave Alexander bits, and lots of filler, it took a long time to finish.

I raised the question in the book of 'Was it worth it?" and I still stand my my affirmative answer. It's not perfect, but it doesn't look out of place on my layout. Besides, it was certainly good practice for detailing and conversion work and it meant that an old model (dating back to the late 1980s) with a big sentimental attachment, lives on in my working fleet.

The nose from a Bachmann 37 was grafted onto the Hornby body and the sides re-profiled to match. Lots of etched bits were added, mostly from the Shawplan range.

New bogie frames, from Alexander Models, replace the Class 47 pattern units on the Hornby chassis and Ultrascale wheels have been fitted. With a new 5-pole motor, it runs quite well.

The weathering job adds a lot to the overall appearance and, at first glance, especially on a busy layout, the model doesn't stand out. The project was described and demonstrated in depth in my book on Detailing & Modifying RTR Locos (Volume 1).


  1. I have recently done something similar to my old Hornby 37. It is now in DB Schenker livery, it too has some sentimental value as my first diesel from nearly 20 years ago. However I would like to replace the motor, is there nothing on the market that will just slot in?

    1. It's good to know that I'm not the only one still attached to the old Hornby '37'! Unless you can get hold of a 5-pole Hornby Ringfield-type motor, perhaps from East Kent Models, there's no other simple drop-in motor option, I'm afraid.
      If you're prepared to but in a bit of extra work in modifying the body to fit a different chassis, there's the possibilities offered by the Railroad '37' - based on the old Lima model - or Vi-Trains produce separate RTR Class 37 chassis as an upgrade for Lima models.
      Other than that, it'd be a case of making up your own drive unit, or having one built for you by the likes of Hollywood Foundry (www.hollywoodfoundry.com), who offer a number of excellent drive and motor options.
      All the best,

  2. My first loco was a Hornby 37 and I still have the body. A future project would be to repower using say a Bachmann or Vi-Trains chassis. But then I just had a thought about scratch building a chassis and used a pair of Hornby Class 50 bogies?

    1. Hi Richard,
      Thanks for the comment. I'd considered scratchbuilding a chassis - in fact I may still do it one day - maybe using a centrally-mounted motor and drive to each bogie, using something along the lines of a Hollywood Foundry unit, who offer a great range of options. See www.hollywoodfoundry.com for more info.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts