G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello:

Has anyone ever ran a Hornby 3 1/2" gauge Stephenson's Rocket? Performance thoughts? Would anyone know why Hornby discontinued the live steam Rocket product?

I owned a Rocket years ago but traded it in unfired at a Hobbyshop. I was disappointed in the Rocket detail level. The coaches were highly detailed and beautiful. I owned three coaches but was told that the Rocket wasn't capable of pulling all three coaches.

Thank you
Norman
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
220 Posts
RE: Hornby 3 1/2" gauge Rocket

Norman, I had a Hornby live steam Rocket many years ago, It would just pull itself around it's small circle of track for a couple of loops. It could hardly pull one coach. Very disapointing but pretty. I traded mine to go into G1 garden railroads.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
Norman, as Rod wrote, the poor old 'Rocket' was a real slug. In spite of it having a natty double reduction planetary gear in the drive-wheel hub, it was barely able to move itself, and was a great cause of embarassment at a train show at RAF Wildenrath back in 1979. There was some clever engineering there, for sure, but that could not make up for the combination of plastic gas tank, low pressure cylinders and HUGE drivers.... Stopping production was seen as a favour to the poor thing.

As you say, the coaches were, and still are, very fine models, and are sought after to haul behind properly-built 3.5" gauge models. My pal Dzhon here has three of them for sale it you ever feel the need.....
tac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hi there:

Would either of you gentlemen remember who the other manufacturer of the 3 1/2" gauge Rocket model was during the Hornby Rocket model production time period? The other manufacturer's Rocket had a wood tender and a wood clad boiler. Expensive, very detailed and accurate model.

Thank you for informing me of the Hornby Rocket model performance. I was considering buying one again but will now pass. There is a You Tube video of a Hornby Rocket pulling two coaches. The hobbyist gave a gentle push to the two coach train at start up and once during the run while on level track!

Norman
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
The Japanese company O.S still make this live-steam model, but it is five inch gauge, not 3.5". As you note the tender is all wooden-built, including the water-barrel, which comes as a bundle of teeny planks of wood. If you have ever built a full-size barrel, then you'll know what I'm talking about. If, like, me, barrel-building is not one of your native skills, then a hard time is guaranteed, and it was at that point in the construction that I decided that building it had been the hardest thing I had ever done, for 'fun', in my life up to then. Nailing soup to fog was easy by comparison.

I ran behind one at Susuno, at the multi-gauge track of the Japan Garden Railway Society, a couple of years back. It hauled me on a little car, and I'm near six-foot tall and built like a refrigerator, so they do work.
Take a gentle hint from somebody who knows better now - if you really want one, buy it ready-built. You'll easily recognise the seller - he's the guy with bald patches where he has torn his hair out by the roots in frustration.

tac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi Tac:

Cooper profession barrel building:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_(profession)

I viewed a TV documentary on cooperage a while back. This is a trade that takes many years to perfect. Hence, your "enjoyment" in building the Rocket tender barrel.

Last year the OS RTR Rocket was around 3,500.00 US. Expensive but realistic. Today, following currency fluctuation pricing adjustment by OS, the RTR Rocket is around 5,500 US. Too expensive for a novelty locomotive.

The Rocket model I refered to was produced in the 80's and definitely was 3 1/2" gauge. It was a limited release, advertised as museum grade, natural wood finish, black stack and would probably be so expensive that I would be hesitant to steam it.

Thank you
Norman
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
Yo Norman - sorry to say that no 3.5" gauge 'Rocket' comes to mind, and I lived in the '80's, too.

Are you remembering a model built in UK or where?

As for the O.S price, well, the $$$ price last year was still less than the £££ price here, so I reckon you're still doing pretty well even at $5,500.

tac
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top