The Class 31 is released in the classic red-stripe livery.
TAKING ITS CUE from the red solebar stripe applied to the Class 58s, Railfreight red-stripe livery was an attractive Thornbay-pioneered variation of the standard grey and yellow paint scheme. Common on the Brush Type 2s, Hornby has released its 4mm scale model of this A1A-A1A loco type in this paint job.
Based on the refurbished ‘skinhead’ body, it represents Class 31/1 No. 31105 (Cat Ref. R2754, RRP £108.5), which wore this livery from late 1987 through to early 1992, when it gained Civil Engineer’s ‘Dutch’ grey/yellow. Happily, his locomotive is still running on today’s railway, in Network Rail yellow, just six months shy of its 50th birthday!
Unfortunately, as is too often the case with Hornby, the company has made a bit of a hash of the livery application. The bodyside grilles are black, when they should, of course, be Railfreight grey. The cab door window surrounds are also black, when they are clearly yellow on the real thing. There is also a question mark over the Railfreight symbols on the cab sides – the lettering/edging on these was white, not silver.
The final issue is more than just a niggle and has plagued similar releases from Hornby in the past. The red used for the lower body colour is dark and dull and nothing like the bright flame red it should be. None of these errors are acceptable, but taking into account the RRP which is close to £110, it is simply not good enough.
What is worse is that some of these errors have been taken straight from the incorrect ‘PhotoShopped’ catalogue entry for this locomotive and had already been commented on.
On the plus side, this is the first example of the refurbished ‘skinhead’ body that Hornby has produced without the vertically-slatted bodyside radiator grille and sealed beam headlight (as sported by the ‘Dutch’ 31110 in the first run), so it opens up a few more repainting options for modellers.