September 15, 2011

"Hornby 4VEP"

What a nightmare morning.

Woke up to knock at door. A fantastic brown package (sadly no longer tied up with string, but still very welcome all the same!) containing the first unit for my planned end to end layout ("Sidcup").

A brand new Hornby 4VEP. I had been looking forward to this immensely, until I started reading the extremely informative RMweb thread on the 4VEP.

Cue panic. Can I really avoid all these extra pieces to make it look more like a 4VEP? Why weren't half of these done in the first place? Oh my god, it has traction tyres...?!

All of this, and more, were nothing in comparison to the very real sinking feeling I had this morning when I opened the 4VEP box and found that the coach which was meant to be the motorised one - wasn't! No motor bogie at all.

Panic ensured again. Rang Hattons - happy to have it returned and checked - and then I noticed the other centre coach was bowing outwards slightly...

Yep, the motor chassis had been inserted in the wrong coach. Panic over. Taking the bodies off to switch them round, I noted the lugs are really fiddly - I didn't break anything luckily, but it is not as easy as it says in the instructions!

By having the coach body on the wrong coach, my whole unit would not have worked, because as far as I can tell from looking at mine, and the instructions, the wires from the coach roof (where the DCC chip is meant to be fitted) have to be pressed into a socket in the motor compartment.

Mine wasn't: it was neatly stowed (just about) between the aisles of the seats in the wrong carriage. All of the coaches have wires in some form from the roof/body to their chassis, so it took five minutes of careful checking to make sure all was well once the switch happened.

Now that it's in one piece, working, and I have time to examine it - I'm actually a lot happier with it in the flesh than I thought I would be. But I can't find out where these "missing" door handles are. There's a single missing door handle on one side of the non-powered centre coach, but that's about it.

John M Upton's excellent modifications are something I am going to have a go on, and definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, a new set of wheels for the motor bogie. The traction tyres squeal when decelerating or accelerating, I cannot live with that forever!

So in conclusion - it's better in the flesh than it is in photographs. However, it does need a lot of remedial work - the bogies are all, as a chap on RMweb said earlier, "wrong" - but I'm feeling more confident about my ability to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse this morning after surviving the earlier shenanigans, and seeing John's modifications.

So I'll leave you with this picture - of my 4VEP with the route code "40" for Charing Cross-Dartford via Sidcup. Most appropriate, given its intended new home!

Until next time!

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