Not so much a rant, more of a moan.....

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Hornby.

in the last couple of months I have paid out a fair few pounds on a couple of Hornby train packs, and needless to say I am pretty disappointed.

Virgin Charter Relief EWS Class 90 &Mk3 DVT Train Pack. RRP £153.25
I was very much looking forward to getting this open as it was DCC Ready, working lights etc, and I was keen to see what improvements Hornby had made to the Class 90, as I have the Caledonian Sleeper version from a few years back. Well I could not have been more disappointed, the Class 90 is identical to the old one I already have, apart from it having a DCC sockets fitted, and a whole load more screws to remove to get the body off. No working lights, same body shell with very little detailing, especially on the roof.
The DVT looks a hell of a lot better than the 90, much better detailing and working lights, but its again a little fiddly to remove the body, with numerous screws and the actual base inside of the DVT is very flimsy, much more so than and any other model I have seen before. Once DCC fitted you get directional lights and a cab light, the cab light is extremely bright and with the cab detail being very poor it just does not work at all for me.

Virgin Charter Relief Coach Pack. RRP£88.54
These are standard Hornby Mk3 stock, but I do like these, they run really well and have a clean crisp livery. I don't see where Hornby get their RRP from, I can't imagine anyone paying that kind of money for those.

I wanted to complete the set with an additional First and Standard coach, but was disappointed to find that they only did single pack versions of the coaches that are already in the Coach Pack, i.e. the same coach letter. Now I know its only a small letter and number on the side of a tiny coach, but it is a little slack in my opinion that they can't produce additional stock with different running numbers, especially when they are asking the price they are!

I have also found the class 90 will climb the inclines on my layout quite easily, either pulling or pushing, but sometime the motor wheel will ride up, leaving only 2 of the 4 wheel on the line, additional weight will more than likely sort this problem, but again I feel this loco is pretty poor in the first place and Hornby should stop producing these in new liveries unless they plan to update the loco itself.


My more recent purchase has been the West Coast Pullman Train Pack RRP £204.99 and Coach Pack RRP £87.75.

This again was something I was really looking forward to getting, mainly because I have travelled on this train in real life, so it holds some memories for me, but again it has proved to be a massive letdown.

The 'Black 5' is pretty good if I am honest, although as with most steam engines it lacks any real power, and inclines are out of the question when pulling anything more than a couple of coaches. I only own 3 steam engines, and putting this alongside my Bachmann 4MT it is nowhere near as good. The Bachmann one runs a hell of a lot smoother, especially at start up and slow speed, with the Black 5 being a very jerky starter. The Hornby website claims the Black 5 has extensive detail, but there is nothing more on there than the 4MT, which makes no such claim. But overall I am happy enough with the Black 5 and together with the 4MT it makes a lovely double header.

Here is the big letdown though, The coaches. They are just a repaint of what seems like the coaches Hornby produced back in the 80's, with this horrible bogies that spin a full 360 degrees, with the wide coupling bars fitted. The Black 5 has the slim couplings, so why not the coaches? The coaches are also very heavy, compared to some of the ones available now, and the rake is only pulled on my layout by my ViTrains West Coast 47/37 as, even double headed the steam locos will not get them up the inclines. (I did expect this when I bought them and had planned to have them 47/37 hauled anyway).

But over £200 RRP, and I have seen model shops charging this, for a standard Black 5 and some old Hornby Mk2's seem very very steep to me. I only mentioned the RRPs to show what Hornby are charging, I paid nowhere near those, and would advise nobody else to either!


This all leads onto the 2012 Hornby Range. I am pretty much a modern era modeller, with any steam being used as charter specials etc, but I do own the odd early diesel, which I would class as preserved today (Fragonset 31's, Railfreight & Large Logo 37's etc), but what improvement have Hornby made to some of the train packs I have got my eye on? East Coast Flying Scotsman, Northern Belle and the Wrexham & Shropshire 67 & DVT? These are all things that have caught my eye but with recent experiences with Hornby I am not holding out much hope of them being any good, I have an EWS 67 fro Hornby and its a very poor model, I am just hoping they have improved it for the W&S set?


I really am finding myself steering away from Hornby more and more, I am extremely impressed with what Bachmann do, detailing is superb and you get much more for your money. Also ViTrains and Heljan rate highly, but it seems Hornby get most of the pick of the modern era stuff and do a half arsed job of doing it.

Just to finish off, I have been a member of the Hornby Collectors club for a few years now, but I am not going to bother in future, The free loco is standard rubbish, and the magazine gets worse, I would much rather have the Bachmann one every 3 months than the Hornby offering. I find it all a little disappointing from Hornby, a brand that I grew up admiring but seem to have been overtake by everyone else, whilst charging the same as the competition.

I am sure there are some differing views out there, please feel free to comment.......

Thanks (If you managed to read it all) CSK
 
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sprinterguy

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Yeah the Hornby air-con mark 2s were originally an Airfix model that goes right back to the late seventies or early eighties. Hornby only acquired the moulds at the end of the nineties when they gained a large number of different items from Dapol (Class 56s and 155s, J94s, and various other things). The mark 2s haven't been updated since their original release.

I have, however, been impressed with the standard of these mark 2s previously, at least until I had seen the impeccable level of detail depicted on Hornbys' recent pre-nationalisation rolling stock releases. I was also impressed with the free running properties of my mark 2 rake, so I'm surprised to hear of issues with shifting a few of these carriages (and my baseboard has some peculiar undulations in it that represent something of a gradient).

Additionally, the carriages in Hornby's West Coast Pullman trainpack are inaccurate for the train they are supposed to represent: The actually West Coast Pullman is formed of the former Manchester Pullman mark 2 stock, that was introduced five years earlier than the production air-con mark 2s and is quite different in appearance: They have much taller windows and the doors don't wrap around the vehicle ends for a start. Check out a picture of one of the vehicles that Hornby are supposed to have "modelled" here: http://www.cs.vintagecarriagestrust.org/se/CarriageInfo.asp?Ref=1104
This all leads onto the 2012 Hornby Range. I am pretty much a modern era modeller, with any steam being used as charter specials etc, but I do own the odd early diesel, which I would class as preserved today (Fragonset 31's, Railfreight & Large Logo 37's etc), but what improvement have Hornby made to some of the train packs I have got my eye on? East Coast Flying Scotsman, Northern Belle and the Wrexham & Shropshire 67 & DVT? These are all things that have caught my eye but with recent experiences with Hornby I am not holding out much hope of them being any good, I have an EWS 67 fro *Hornby and its a very poor model, I am just hoping they have improved it for the W&S set?
At least the Northern Belle trainpack should be a bit more accurate as the Northern Belle actually utilises production mark 2s, although the model will feature the same "basic" ex-Airfix mark 2s.

Hornby have done a lot of work on the ex-Lima class 67 (which wasn't that bad of a model IMO) recently, which means that the detailing on the Wrexham & Shropshire loco should match the excellent standard of the mark 3 DVT.

I'm not aware of Hornby having done a retool on the class 91, so the East Coast Flying Scotsman pack is going to be same old, same old.

Your views on Hornby seem to tally with mine: If I want quality or detail, I turn to Bachmann or Heljan!

I was a member of the Hornby Collectors Club from when it started up in 1998, but I haven't bothered renewing my membership after it ran out last year, and I don't intend to: The quality of the magazine, and the quality of the complimentary loco both seemed to be in a state of decline: The first few annual locos they produced were actually models of prototypes, and locos in liveries that could be envisaged as being prototypical, but now it really seems as if they are running out of ideas.
 
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hairyhandedfool

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There is indeed supposed to be a new 67 for 2012, you'll probably be paying for rotating fans that you can't see working, opening cab doors that you are unlikely to need and sprung buffers that never need to spring (unless you are planning to change the couplings).

Tbh, I think there are many models more deserving of a new model than the 67, but I rather suspect anything electric will not be released before the sales figures for the Bachmann 85 become clear.
 

BestWestern

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I have to say that I have never really rated Hornby a great deal. Although things have got better in recent years, much of what they do still smacks of a kid's trainset to me. Bachmann kit is far, far superior, in terms of detail and mechanics, and Lima were always streets ahead as well. Many years ago I bought Lima's 37 and 47, and even as an easily entertained young lad the poor standard of the equivalent Hornby offerings was apparent. Been put off ever since really.

The missus bought me Horby's 'Royal Train' box set a while back bless her, and the MKIII's look bloody awful, nasty light grey bogies and underframes and some other pretty dubious 'detailing', and of course it comes with the ludicrous 'track mat'. Bearing in mind that these things aren't cheap, why include something that is utterly useless unless you're an eight year old?!
 

Nonsense

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I have to say that I have never really rated Hornby a great deal. Although things have got better in recent years, much of what they do still smacks of a kid's trainset to me. Bachmann kit is far, far superior, in terms of detail and mechanics, and Lima were always streets ahead as well. Many years ago I bought Lima's 37 and 47, and even as an easily entertained young lad the poor standard of the equivalent Hornby offerings was apparent. Been put off ever since really.

That was my experience too. I had a Hornby class 37 with class 47 bogies :shock: , and my class 08 was a joke along side the equivalent Lima class 09.

I had two DMUs in my collection, a 142 and a 156. One of them was a reliable runner gave many hours of pleasure, the pacer rarely left the sidings.


As for the prices. I wouldn't dream of buying new, especially Hornby, but even some of the exchanges on ebay keep my wallet firmly shut.
 
Joined
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Great replies everyone, thanks.

On price, I tend to limit myself to what I have to spend at any given time, and don't tend to go mad, but when it came to the West Coast Pullman I did shell out a good whack, (to Hattons) and as I mentioned before I was very disappointed.

I am currently awaiting arrival of ViTrains West Coast 47 'Roy Castle' at a very nice £52 from Hattons to double head with my other ViTrains West Coast 47.

I do like to buy new, but I won't pay over the odds, well I try my best not to, but saying that I would much rather pay a bit more for quality, Bachmann, Heljan, ViTrains etc...
 
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