Hornby 42xx Chassis modifications


This is a view of the new guard irons that I’ve made for Hornby’s 42xx, which has given an immediate improvement in the locos appearance both from the side and rear view. Its an easy mod to do and I’ll cover that in this posting. Apart from the pony truck, which I will either replace or modify, I’ve now completed the significant modifications to the chassis. In the previous post I referred to the axle side play and fixing that with Peco fibre washers. The chassis has now had a good amount of running on a test bed, and back and forth through a crossover and curved points with no detriment to the running, so the fibre washers are well worth doing. With the reduced side play particularly on the leading axle there is much less opportunity for the crosshead and slide bar to cause problems which was one concern I had. Another benefit of this is improved contact with the pick wipers on the backs of the wheels. I’m of a mind to replace the pickups on mine with top wiping pickups, these will fit easily into the body. The reason I may do this is Albion Yard has significant weed growth particularly in the sidings and there’s clearly the potential for one of the existing pickups to catch. The layout will be up for testing and filming soon so I’ll re-assess the pick ups at that point.


So how easy is it to make guard irons?, the answer is, very. Above you can see a couple of pieces of scrap etch that have been soldered together to make a sandwich. Once they are soldered together file them to match the shape required from a drawing or good photograph. By having them soldered together you do two things, you save time as you are working on a pair of guard irons at the same time. If I were doing more than one loco I’d just add further layers to suit. The second and important benefit is that you are making a mirrored pair, left and right hand versions of the same shape and dimensions.


Once you’re happy with the initial shape of the guards unsolder them and form the first one. If using brass like I have, they will bend easily to shape.


Make sure you check the first one against the chassis and running rail so you have the correct amount of drop, and width from the chassis to the rail. Once happy with the first one, form the second one, make sure you get it the correct way round if they have an uneven taper to them, so check the orientation before making your first bend. It’s simple to make a mirror image of the first guard by checking both of them match visually as above.


Using either a drawing or photographic references like I did, cut the guard irons to length. The mounting plate fixing to the chassis is actually quite short on the prototype and is noticeable. Rather than relying on superglue I drilled and pinned my guards with a 0.4mm drill and made a rod between the two. This will give added strength to the joint so in the event of a knock on the guard irons they are much less likely to be displaced. Total time for this job was about an hour, definitely an hour well spent. Next up will be the cab area and/or pony truck. The cab area looks to be a easy fix, I’ve already opened up the roof sliding vent throwing more light into the cab. Using detail pictures I took of a 52xx I’ll make the details around the rear cab doors and windows, I don’t see any potential problems with them or replacing the glazing. The final detailing will be replacing the buffers for sprung versions, lamp and fire irons where appropriate, possibly a re-number, for a loco that would have worked regularly through Aberbeeg and weathering.

Again I’m really pleased with the impact these small changes are making, partly because whilst its a Hornby 42xx, its now very definitely my Hornby 42xx. And that’s quite a nice feeling.

Not Everyone
Works For Peanuts …

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2 Responses to Hornby 42xx Chassis modifications

  1. Phil says:

    Easp peasy then…….looks like a nice loco mate. is that the case?

    • bawdsey says:

      Hi Phil, I do think its a good model overall. I did have a problem with mine which appears to have been unique, and Hornby offered an immediate replacement, which is what customer service is all about.
      It is a relatively easy makeover that gives fast returns for little effort, which is how I like them! As a model I don’t think theres any value comparing it against the L1 for example, as from my production engineering background, unless you know all the costs associated with the production, development, marketing and shipping, then making a price comparison is pretty meaningless. Without that data it certainly wouldn’t be an informed opinion.

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