Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Each year as companies such as Hornby and Bachmann announce their intentions a whole host of reaction surrounds every single proposal for the year ahead. Often it's comments about what they should have done and someone thinking another comment about their wallet hurting is as amusing as it was last year. I try and steer clear of the general, almost, hysteria which can be generated but one announcement is very interesting.
Hornby's intention to produce a Ready To Run (RTR) model of a Sentinel diesel locomotive. These locos were the result of Rolls Royce's take over of Sentinel. For modellers these locos have many possibilities given the wide range of homes and uses. Judith Edge has listed one for some time and, I read, is one of their best sellers.
Whether this has had a bearing on Hornby's decision or not, we'll probably never know, but it is a very significant release; we have a new generation RTR industrial which is not also a mainline loco. The 'J94' in Hornby's range can represent many industrial locos but it is in full J94 mode so requires LNER and BR additions to be removed - of course only those which passed into LNER/BR stock can really be called J94, the fact that all the Austerity tanks tend to be branded so is one of those rather unfortunate references of which enthusiasts are completely ignorant, which I always find a shame...
Non-mainline industrials are nothing new in the Hornby range but they have been freelance or very loose interpretations of real locomotives - they have sold well too I think. They have certainly provided motive power for for countless train sets over the years. Maybe this loco could too? What it can certainly do is fit into all sorts of prototypical schemes - from collieries to oil refineries, steel works to quarries. If it runs at a nice slow and steady pace with ease then 'serious' modellers will lap it up while collectors and many other modellers and enthusiasts will loco the attractive liveries which they carried. If it can be easily converted to P4 then a coouple may well find a home on my new layout - British Steel had similar locos in use at their Skinningrove site. My only concern is they become too common and every man and his dog has an example on their layout!
I hope this quite new and bold move pays off for Hornby - from my own observation of discussion online, its announcement and even the price (around £55 RRP) has met with a very positive response. Certainly far better than their new 'design clever' philosophy which sees a return to moulded handrails and other similar details on a number of new models. So we'll see just how easily it can be converted to P4 next year!