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Hornby MGR HAA wagons


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After some indecision as to whether to have a train of HAA wagons, when they were first announced as being available in the Hornby Railroad range in packs of 3, the purchase of the Heljan 58 and having a dirty, railfreight 37/6, finally made up my mind. 6 packs were duly purchased from my local model shop at a decently reduced price (not quite as cheap as the pre-order I had at Hattons, but subsequently cancelled :oops: ). I know this is only just half a set for a normal power station mgr train, but these wagons will be representing a coal working to my local cement works in Westbury, which used to receive coal from the Midlands and latterly South Wales, in shorter trainloads. Anyway, my loops would only take a loco and 21 hoppers, so there wasnt much need for more!

The wagons went straight onto the modelling bench for some detailing / weathering.

The wagons were all broken down into 3 parts - chassis, hopper frame and hoppers.

First job was to prime all the hopper frames ready for repainting into Railfreight red (as supplied they are EWS maroon). The Railfreight red was then applied in 3 coats, by airbrush. I had bought a pack of Fox transfers HAA number sets and data panels. When the hopper frames were repainted, I then applied the new data panels.

Attention then moved to the hoppers. As supplied by Hornby in the packs, the hoppers carry 3 different numbers, so I then set about using the trusty T-Cut to remove the number panels off the other 15 wagons. This done, the new number panels were applied, along with some old elctrification warning flashes (waterslide) - these were so old that some didnt stay attached too long.

The wagons were now reassembled before the chassis and lower parts of the hoppers were treated to a fine coat of frame dirt, again using the airbrush.

Next, the hopper sides had some horizontal marks applied - I believe in real life these were caused by the loading / unloading gear (Mick would be the expert I should think on this ;). The hopper bodies were then treated to some dusty black, both inside and out. Everything was then finished with matt varnish (from an aerosol - I havent quite mastered mixing varnish to use the airbrush :| )

Finally, a little varnish was applied to some of the flat surfaces on the chassis and some real coal dust was added.

The rear wagon has had a Train - Tech flashing tail lamp added.I tried to hide the unit under the chassis, but soon worked out that too much surgery would be required, which may affect the rigidness of the wagon, so it has had to go in the hopper. I know it doesnt look good (if I dont put a load in the wagon) but I tend to look and video from a fairly low level, so it isnt visible. I may also gets some coal loads for the wagons, but am in no rush just at the moment.

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  • 1 month later...

Nice work on the MGR's Iain. That reminds me - I've got 72 MGR's of my own awaiting weathering.

I really do like any kind of coal wagon - there's just something about them whether they're the older 16t minerals or the modern 100 ton bogie hopper. Wagons were just meant to carry coal.

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  • 2 years later...

As promised some time ago, a photo of one of the wagons with the resin loads I had produced for me. Ive still to run the set with the loads in, but if you check out my new railway thread, it wont be too long before I do!

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  • 4 years later...

I've just picked up a couple of these hoppers. One has plastic wheels which aren't turning very freely. The other has metal wheels but wobbles quite a bit.

Any advice on maintenance and replacement metal wheels?

 

Cheers

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All the MGR's I have are the later Hornby version with metal wheels so I haven't had the need to change any of mine but it appears you need Hornby 14.1mm plain disc wheels as a replacement (Hornby R8218?).

As for the wobbling I think this is a feature of the earlier MGR models due to the swivelling axle mounts but it would be a good idea to check the wheel back to back measurements too as this can also result in wobbling if the distance between the wheels isn't correct. You will need a wheel back-to-back gauge of some sort for this.

There are a few posts dealing with upgrading these wagons at:

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/89108-hornby-railroad-range-haa-upgrades-wheels-couplings-buffers/

One post especially shows a method for stabilising the swivelling axles to reduce the wobbling.

I suppose how you proceed depends how many MGR's you intend to add to your collection. A pack of 10 wheelsets equates to about £1.60 per axle so adds a not insignificant cost to the price of each wagon.

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14.1mm disc wheels were apparently correct, but the models have 12mm 3-hole disc wheels as standard. I've no idea if the 14.1mm wheels will foul on anything without modification and the hoppers will sit a little higher on them. 

Another way to cure the wobble was to glue one axle on straight, you didn't need to glue both apparently. Bear in mind that this was Hornby's way of getting them around first and second radius curves so any modification might cause unintended consequences.

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4 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

14.1mm disc wheels were apparently correct, but the models have 12mm 3-hole disc wheels as standard. I've no idea if the 14.1mm wheels will foul on anything without modification and the hoppers will sit a little higher on them....

Yes, they do have incorrect 12mm wheels as standard but it appears that there's no problems swapping them for the correct 14.1mm plain discs. Perhaps Chris could try it out by using a couple of wheelsets from some other vehicles to test clearance - most wagons and coaches use 14mm wheels I believe.

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Thanks chaps. I'm using the two I got from eBay as testers for now. I've removed the wheels and found both sets are 14.1 already. I've ordered replacements along with nem connectors and coal loads.

It's nice to have a mini project on the go but I don't fancy doing this every time so will be keeping an eye out for the newer version mgr.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Morning all,

It's taken some steady hand Dremel work and creative thinking with regard to getting the smaller type connectors attached but finally got the hoppers converted. It's been a fun little project but no way I'd be wanting to convert anymore.

I purchased a more recent Hornby version to get a reference for how high the couplings needed to be. I also went to work with some acrylics and a sponge to get a more "used" look to them. I spent my childhood in the Midlands watching these things thunder past on their way to the power station and remember them being grubby as anything. I could get better effects by purchasing some specialist weathering bits but I'm a fan of using what's at hand.

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Good to hear you've got them sorted out and that you've actually increased your holding by another wagon. It's nice to be able to do a bit of modelling now and then but it can become a bit tedious at times.

I spent my early BR life with these wagons and although I didn't appreciate it at the time I can look back on them now with great fondness. I could operate my attic layout using nothing else but MGR wagons and I don't think I'd ever become bored of running them. Get some fine coal dust now and stick it on top of the moulded loads with a layer of PVA glue just to finish them off.

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