Modifying your Hornby Austerity 

It seems like a long time ago now, and in fact it was, but readers with long memories may remember back in February my post showing my Modified Hornby Austerity.

I left that post promising some more on how the modifications were made, if people were interested… well, happily they were (well at least one person was) so the aim of this post is to explain these modifications and how I did them.

Before we go any further please be aware that, as with all OTCM projects the following criteria apply: a) none of it is in any way professional. b) this was made up as I went along so there’s probably a better way of doing it if you actually think about it and. c) there will be at least 3 bodges before the finished result is achieved.

So, with the smallprint out the way, let’s look at what we have and what we are looking to improve upon – the Hornby Austerity, ex Dapol, is a lovely model, especially for its age, but a couple of features really show their age, most noticeable are the incorrectly profiled chassis and the seam between body and chassis which runs along the side of the saddle tank. These are the 2 areas the newer model from DJM has really improved on, so will be the 2 I focus on improving in this post!

The inaccuracies of chassis and saddle tank seam stand out on this (almost) straight from the box example, I don’t think the body is actually screwed to the chassis here so it looks more obvious than it actually is…

First thing is first, remove the body and weight – I also removed the motor to ensure nothing got into it that shouldn’t while I was chopping in that area… that leaves you with something like this:

Next up is to chop along the saddle tank moulding behind the lower handrail – this should then give you a nice piece of saddle tank separate from the chassis. 

Note as a result of this you chop straight through the screw hole for the weight mounting. Don’t panic about this too much, we will overcome that challenge later!

First job now is to attach the weight to the body rather than the chassis – to do this I used a good blob of Araldite and put the body and chassis back together while it set to ensure correct alignment.

The newly separated lower saddle tank sides can now be offered up to the body shell, and providing they fit well, which they should, glued in place – I used a generic superglue for this task…

With the tank now complete as it were, it’s time to add some filler. At this stage it’s worth taking note the main handrails are positioned incorrectly and as such, it’s probably worth removing them and filling the holes they leave at the same time! There’s also a couple of additional handrails and footsteps that shouldn’t be there on a non BR member of the class so these got the chop too… These locos didn’t have conventional handrail knobs and so I replaced with some 0.45 wire cut over length to start with…

After spending some time sanding down the filler to ensure all is smooth, you can do any other bits that you may wish too – I’ve replaced the smokebox door fittings, chimney and handrails as can be seen…

With these bits done the cab was reconnected to the saddle tank and it’s all starting to look the part…

Providing everything is done, the body can now be primed and painted…

Next step is to look at the chassis profile – this is a pretty simple job using a razor saw and some plasticard – you need to build up the chassis ends a bit to allow a straight edge to be achieved then hack away! Although the outcome is probably in no way dimensionally accurate, it definitely evokes the look of an Austerity and therefore is more than good enough for me.

Watching a video of the real thing spanking up Foxfield bank on your iPad in the background is obviously not an essential step but certainly helps with motivation!

Once you’ve done all this, you end up with something looking like this, which, to my eyes at least is a massive improvement on what you started with, while also having kept you entertained for a good few hours and given you a sense of achievement to boot.




5 thoughts on “Modifying your Hornby Austerity 

  1. I’ve noticed two different patterns of handrail stanchion used on Austerities which varied with the builder, conventional rounded knobs and the straighter type.
    Its worth replacing the dome and water filler with RT Models items, as well as the coupling rods.
    There’s a lot to be done to these older models, but the results are worth the effort.

    1. Cheers Paul, and I totally agree – one of the best bits is being able to do as much or as little as your budget and enthusiasm dictates when it comes to additional parts! I have to say I’d not noticed the differences in handrail knob designs – will have to have a more thorough look at that now!

  2. Thanks for posting this guide. I’ve wanted to do a 50550-esque loco using your earlier guide and was torn over using a Hornby model as a basis or splashing out on the new one. Now I know fixing the Hornby one isn’t so scary I think I’ll go with that!

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