With starting a new job last month, the annual Hornby new releases announcement slipped my mind. This seems quite appropriate though, as the range seems somewhat forgettable this year. It seems to be another year for 'Steam Modellers' whilst the Diesel and Electric releases seem somewhat light.
In terms of 'all new' then Hornby have announced a Class 71 electric which should be available in 2016. This model of course had already announced several months back by DJ Models.
So whats good...
EWS Class 67's
It's been 2 years since Hornby released a 'Skip' in EWS livery. Sadly then the number chosen, 67001, was a loco that had since been painted into Arriva livery, therefore limiting it's period of operation. 67016 and 67024 are the choices this time around and they are certainly wise one's as both still carry the livery 15 years after introduction.
Class 08's in BR Blue and FGW Blue.
The Class 08 in BR Blue has been in short supply as of late, with both Hornby and Bachmann not having any available for sometime. Olivia's trains are likely to be pleased as well as they have suffered from the shortage of blue 08's for conversion in to Class 13's.
The FGW livery is a good choice as well, with plenty of rolling stock available to put this Gronk to use with.
Class 92 in EPS grey with EWS Beastie logo.
Perhaps the model is not up to today's standards in many ways, but the Hornby 92 isn't too bad a model and this livery choice is different but common.
Class 66 in Freightliner 'Powerhaul' livery.
Not a model I thought I'd ever recommend, the ex Lima Class 66 was a good model back in it's day. Totally eclipsed by the Bachmann model (which itself is far from perfect) released in 2005, the Lima model (which once commanded high prices on auction websites) seemed confined to the scrapheap. However with Bachmann slow to release liveries (no EWS/Freightliner 66's (Bread and Butter items) in it's latest catalogues, it is somewhat pleasing that Hornby have decided to produce this livery. It may not have today's modern features such as directional lighting and separately fitted parts, but the price of the item reflects this and offers great value for money.
Released last year, these small shunters have proved popular and have sparked an increase in small shunting/industrial layouts. Liveries such as Balfour Beatty and Wabtec will surely add to this.
Also pleased to see another Network Rail Class 31 appear, and although the real thing may be coming to the end of its Network Rail career in 2015, these models will provide years of pleasure for modellers. Network Rail items have generally always been strong sellers.
Not phased by the Bachmann's summer announcement of an all new Class 90 electric, the veteran Hornby tooling gets a run out in DB Schenker livery, and again I think this livery will sell well.
So whats missing?...
Class 60 in DB Schenker 'Traffic red' and Colas
The obvious omissions this year (at least for me) are no more obvious than Class 60 Diesels in both DB Schenker Red and Colas Rail Freight. Lets start with the DB example. DB Schenker is currently the UK's biggest rail freight operator and runs a large fleet of diesel and electric locomotives. Over the past couple of years it has invested heavily and put numerous Class 60's through heavy overhauls. The majority of these overhauled locomotives have been released in DB Schenkers 'Traffic Red' livery and is currently the most common livery on the active fleet. There is probably an argument for Hornby to have released a couple of different number options on this livery but I would have settled for at least 1 in this years catalogue.
Again, Colas have in 2014 become an operator of overhauled Class 60 locomotives and for modern day modellers would have seemed an obvious choice.
Where the hell is the Hornby Pendolino? Last released in a train pack about 5 years ago, it was offered both DCC ready and DCC fitted and flew off the shelves. Sure it has been released in a train set since, but people shouldn't have to fork out for a complete set when it seems perfectly obvious that Hornby would not struggle to sell them in a pack.
Not a single one in the release programme this year. There are several liveries that could be produced still, Dutch and Transrail, two that stand out. In terms of liveries already produced, Romanian BR Blue Class 56's fetch silly prices on eBay so justification could have been given for another one. What is to come from last year is two versions of Colas Rail, one standard and one sound fitted. Also the long awaited BR large logo, on the wishlists of modellers for a few years. Despite the relatively high prices of these models, these should be popular releases for D+E modellers.
I have to say that I believe Hornby are missing a trick slightly this year. It might sound mad to say, but I think the Hornby 86, 87 (ex Lima) and maybe a couple more versions of the 90 would have been a good move. What you have with the Hornby 86 for example is a model that is below todays standards, but has a price that reflects this. With Heljan seemingly not to give the model another run, the Hornby 86 has a market. A couple of years back, Hornby released 86637 in Freightliner Powerhaul livery (R3058) and priced around the £40 mark proved to be a good seller. From a personal point of view, a Freightliner grey liveried 86 (as far as I know never produced?) and another version of the Freightliner original green would be good.
The 90 is perhaps a bit more understandable, with the Bachmann version to be released in the near future you can understand Hornby perhaps not diving in. But again, with a relatively low RRP reflecting the limitations of the model, Hornby have a chance to produce liveries unlikely to be produced the Bachmann for a number of years at a reasonable price. Liveries off the top of my head include DRS, EWS, Freightliner Grey (again, never produced?) and RFD European.
Electrics have never perceived to be great sellers, but as I've said above, my own view is that at a reasonable price that reflects the standards of the models, there is a market there.
Intercity Swallow HST
Well, every modeller is different, for some this will be a great range and seen as a good year, for others it wont. My own personal view is of disappointment. As I've pointed out, there are some good releases in there and I will certainly be buying a few of the items announced. My issues with the range are highlighted above, the omissions I have mentioned and just a general lack of 'va va voom'.
"Hopefully next year will be better...."