A brand new Southern EMU is announced in the form of the Class 395 ‘Javelin’ whilst wagons fans will be pleased to see the OTA timber carrier and two further engineers’ vehicles in a programme that sees Hornby ‘tighten its belt’. However, more good news may be on the way…
IT IS A difficult time for the big manufacturers at the moment, with production delays in China and uncertainty over the economy. However, Hornby showed a positive and upbeat face at its annual presentation to the press even if its plan of new releases for the next 12 months can be best described as conservative – at least as far as post-steam interest is concerned.
A considered approach, especially during these difficult times, but maybe a sensible move. Simon Kohler was happy to reassure RAIL EXPRESS Modeller, and its readers, that should Far Eastern manufacturing issues be quickly resolved, we can confidently expect to see several more brand new ‘modern’ items announced in the coming months. The Kader acquisition of Sanda Kan, which makes many of Hornby’s models, was described as a welcome development since the company has an established reputation in the field and will be familiar with the market. The purchase removes much uncertainty.
Alas, 2009 will not be the long-awaited ‘year of the diesel’ and having been somewhat spoilt by the recently released HST power cars and Class 153 DMU, this was not unexpected. Prompted by the continuing popularity of the ‘Pendolino’ and good feedback from the new HST, Hornby is again headlining with another high-speed project – the Class 395. The release of Hitachi’s ‘Javelin’ EMU in model form is scheduled for the autumn, to coincide with the prototype’s launch into shadow service. Hornby obviously has an eye on the future here and the high-profile role the trains will take in transporting visitors to the 2012 London Olympics. A four-car unit is to be sold as a train pack with the additional two vehicles, to make up the correct six-car formation, provided as separate items. This model will, like the Class 390, be pitched at mid-market level but will incorporate what is described as a ‘notch up’ in detail.
Three new modern wagons
Another brand new item that will be welcomed with delight is an OTA timber-carrying wagon. This will be joined later by two further engineers’ vehicles in the form of the ZCA ‘Sea Urchin’ and ‘Sea Horse’ spoil conversions. All will employ the same former OBA/OCA running gear despite Hornby being rather confused by the chassis variations relating to this complex subject matter – the image shown during the presentation featured an ex-VDA underframe! More information is awaited but what is known is that considerable effort is being expended on the ‘below solebar region’; numerous separate parts will be fitted, including a full representation of the brake gear. Three running numbers on each wagon are proposed but it is not clear at this stage if this will incorporate different colour schemes, end styles and stanchion positions on the OTA.
The only brand new coaching stock that will be of any use to readers is a delightful representation of the ‘Devon Belle’ observation car that saw limited use behind diesels in Scotland towards the end of its life in the late-1960s.
New liveries cut back
The limited number of new colour schemes on existing products is a further sign of the times. Two new sound-fitted diesels are lined-up in the form of Petroleum sector Class 31 No. 31302 and ‘Dutch’ Class 50 No. 50015 Valiant, whilst the Class 60 is to receive Army-branded all-over maroon as The Territorial Army Centenary and the ex-Lima Class 59 receives the latest Aggregate Industries paint. First Great Western features prominently on the HST power cars (Nos. 43017 & 43192 in the plain MTU version) and a Class 142 in the hybrid FNW/FGW ‘gold star’ livery. Class 153 No. 153382, in the attractive black ‘gold knot’ Devon & Cornwall scenic railways scheme, also makes an appearance having been delayed whilst the artwork was sourced. A Class 09 is offered in BR green as No. D3721 whilst the Class 08 gets a re-run in EWS as No. 08676 Dave 2.
Passenger stock comprises Mk. 3 HST trailers in FGW ‘neon’ (to partner the power cars) and further blue/grey runs to satisfy demand. On the wagon front, ‘Shark’ ballast ploughs in olive green, yellow/grey and Loadhaul are being made available in weathered finishes.
The ‘Skaledale’ range of resin buildings continues to expand with notable additions in the form of an oil storage depot, bunded storage tanks and a brick-built garage, all of which could find a place on a diesel era layout. A new Pump Escape (fire engine) and two BR yellow vans, based around the Bedford TK cab also captured our interest in the ‘Skale Autos’ listing.