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D J Models HA

One of the features that really lets down Hornby’s model is the headcodes being depicted by stickers applied to the outside of the cab widows.  The DJ Models version uses an ingenious, but actually so simple it is surprising this has not been done before, system to provide interchangeable headcodes behind the cab window.  The headcodes are printed onto clear thin plastic slides which are inserted up to the window from behind the bufferbeam.  A bag of two passenger, two goods, white and red blank headcodes is supplied, but no doubt modellers will produce their own.  A further refinement is the font size and weight of these supplied headcodes being specific to the era of the model.  This is such an advance it seems churlish to remark that some of the supplied slides might need trimming to insert easily and that as the headcodes sit about 1mm behind the windows, rather than flush, they do not look totally right. Fitting the headcode blinds is best done by taking off the body, but if you are careful the body can be removed without unplugging the cables between the chassis and body.  The body simply unclips from the chassis by slight flexing of the body sides – an easy operation. 

Detailed cab front of E5003

(above) The detailed cab front of the DJM0071-001 E5003 BR green with small yellow warning panel version, with the optional lower valance and pipes fitted but minus the supplied screw coupling. A headcode has also been inserted.

Detailing the buffer beam was fiddly as there does not appear to be positive location of the buffer beam insert and it can come adrift, whereas fitting the tension link coupling was a matter of simply inserting it into the NEM coupler box. The reason I did not fit the screw couplings was that whenever I did they fell off easily and not wanting to secure them at this stage with superglue I elected to put them back into their packs for safe keeping. Of note, the pickup beams align beyond the end of HO/OO gauge sleepers so I suspect the bogie width is to true 4mm scale dimensions. On inspection, pleasingly the wheel profile and tyres on DJM’s model are much finer, whereas Hornby’s are more train set like. I checked the back-to-back measurements of the wheels of a single loco chosen at random and they were spot-on.  

On Hornby’s model the booster unit can be seen through the “engine room” droplight, but in reality it is below the window and cannot be seen unless you are standing right next to the window and look in.  On the DJ Model’s version this window is obscured black.  This is a matter of personal taste, but I think it looks better and matches pictures better. (see below)

A side detail of the DJM0071-003 71009 BR blue version, showing the blackened window

(above) A side detail of the DJM0071-003 71009 BR blue version, showing the blackened window

The length of this model, both over extended buffers and body side bottom is the same as Hornby’s.  So whilst the length over extended buffers matches a works drawing and scale drawings, the length of the body side bottom on both models is shorter than on the drawings.  As Hornby’s model was produced from a laser scan of E5001, the conclusion must be that both the models must be correct and the drawings incorrect in this respect.  On the B side of the locomotive, on the DJ Models version the gap between the right hand set of grilles and the riveted strip to their left is slightly larger than on Hornby’s and as seen in photographs, however the DJM model matches drawings in this respect.  Given that Hornby’s model was produced from a laser scan of the real thing, by now I am doubting some of the elements on both works and scale drawings.

At first I thought the DJM version was lower than Hornby’s, but on parallel tracks on a level surface, with a spirit level between the two models the roofs are found to be the same height.  However, when viewed side by side DJM’s bottom of body, cab front handrails and bottom of cab windows are fractionally higher than Hornby’s.  However, the space between the bottom of the cab front and bottom of the windows is identical on both models, both of which are 1mm less than on drawings.  Unfortunately the headcode windows of the DJM model are definitely too narrow by just under 1mm, though the width of window pillars and size of windows each side are correct.  Looking at the cab fronts head-on the profile does not look quite right.  On comparing with head-on photographs it is noticeable that the taper, i.e. tuck-in, of the lower cab front sides is largely absent on the DJ Models version but correct on Hornby’s.  

(above) The cab front on the DJM0071-003 71009 BR blue version. The headcode window is noticeably narrow and there is an absence of "tuck-in" on the lower corners of the cab front

As to decoration, the “early” green on the versions with red/white stripes is to my eyes too yellow, not that believable.  I had to get out a DJM BR loco green version to compare and to establish they are not the same shade of green.  The BR loco green and BR blue versions are OK, as is the warning panel yellow – i.e. believable, albeit on the dull side.

Electrically this model has provision for a 21 pin DCC decoder and mounting for a loudspeaker for DCC sound.  Unfortunately there are no holes underneath to help sound project.  For DC users switches are underneath to turn off separately the marker lights and cab lights. I think the lights are rather bright and pure white whilst my recollection of working on the real E5001 when powered up is of yellowish light. 

Now to test running. The DJM Model weighs 351g to Hornby’s substantial 490g.  There is no flywheel fitted to the D J Models versions and this shows as a lack of inertia.  All five of my models ran smoothly straight out of the box.  I would describe the top speed of four of mine as “stately” (whereas surely this type of loco was known to be “brisk”?), whilst the other one was responsive and moved smoothly – but noisier than the others - it was just plain slow. However, my friends in the East Sussex Finescale Group have been able to undertake more objective comparative testing.  DJ Models and Hornby’s locomotives ran superbly straight from the box.  In the case of the DJM offering it was only objectively tested after being lubricated in accordance with the supplied instructions after ten minutes of running, and before a further half-hour of running in.  Whereas the Hornby HA romps away with an enthusiastic turn of speed the DJM HA was noticeably lack-lustre struggling to achieve a “scale” 45mph taking some 1min 50secs 45secs to make a circuit of the scale mile test track.  Just to be sure three standard DC controllers were tried with no appreciable difference in the speed of the DJM HA.  Both versions hauled seven bogie coaches with ease, thence ten.  Twelve bogies were pushing the DJM model to its limit (the circuit slowing to some 2min 15secs) with slippage taking place with fourteen bogies.  By comparison the much heavier Hornby HA still romped away.  The conclusion being that whilst the Hornby HA may be unnecessarily fast the DJM version was decidedly slow.

My final conclusion is that the situation is as with the Adams Radial tank; they are both very good models but there is no runaway leader.  Whilst the DJ Models version has significantly better features than Hornby’s in the form of interchangeable headcodes, a much finer pantograph, and finer wheels, it is let down by shape, proportion and moulding issues, plus it may not be such a good runner.

(below) An overhead view of the roof detail on the DJM0071-003 71009 BR blue version

A view of the roof detail on the DJM0071-003 71009 BR blue version