2018 - What a year!
Greetings and welcome to our special review edition of The Engine Shed – your inside look at the Hornby Development team. It has only been a week since our last edition, in which we shared all the latest samples and did our best to get everyone into the Christmas spirit (including a special Engine Shed competition).
As long-time readers will know, our review edition of The Engine Shed is a little different to a normal instalment of the blog. Today we will look back through 2018 and pick out the key parts as they happened during the year. We can often forget just how far we have come in twelve months, and just how many projects we have seen come to fruition.
In certain respects, the review edition is one of our favourites, being able to look back before we continue looking forward with a brand-new range in 2019.
Speaking of which, if you managed to miss the news, we will be announcing our entire 2019 range here on the Hornby website on the 7th January at 10 o’clock. An Engine Shed edition will follow soon after, once we have given you a chance to digest the news.
Well then, let us cast our minds back to the beginning of the year…
2018 Range Launch
Perhaps rather unsurprisingly we kicked off a new year of The Engine Shed by looking at the Hornby 2018 range launch and picking out a number of the new tooling projects. It was already clear at this point that there were plenty of popular models, all of which had captured the imagination of collectors.
The Streamlined Princess Coronation, Lord Nelson, J36, Toad Brake Vans and the TTS Vent Van were all picked out and definitely made an impression throughout the year. Offering the first few bits of information on each in January was a real treat and watching as that information spread across the world wide web was hugely fascinating.
As we are sure many of you understand, there can be just a pang of worry when announcing new projects. After all, the team have been working on them for some time before they are revealed and while the team often feel confident, there is no substitute to seeing the news out there with the model railway community.
2018 really set a high bar in this regard as, from what we saw, each project was well received, and we know 2019 will have quite the task to top this year’s offering.
You can be sure that our next edition of The Engine Shed will be looking to get the ball rolling in just the same way following our 2019 range launch and we are hopeful we will see another popular year.
Lord Nelson Class
Following our ‘STOP PRESS’ edition of The Engine Shed, which contained small bits of information on each project, we felt it was only right that we followed up offering some more detail. As mentioned, the projects have already seen so much work it is only proper to try and explain as much of that as we can.
The first project we focused on was the Lord Nelson class, the star of the 2018 catalogue’s front cover. You may remember that there was some fun investigative work going on back at the start of 2018 as a good number of modellers were frantically searching online to see if they could confirm which painting we had used for the catalogue. By using various censored versions of the catalogue found online, some detectives soon started making discoveries.
We massively enjoyed seeing the hunt take place and felt it was a great way to showcase not only the catalogue cover itself and the fantastic piece of art created by Malcolm Root FGRA, but also what was in the catalogue.
Covering the history of the class, the research trips we undertook and showing off the first sample, this edition at the end of January really hit all the hallmarks of an Engine Shed instalment and there was still plenty more to come.
Image courtesy of Hornby Magazine
It was a similar story in February with details of the history, research trip and first sample for the J36. With the Engineering Prototype, and plenty of other Decoration Samples from the 2018 range, many fans of Scottish railways would have been pleased to see this project taking shape.
Streamlined Princess Coronation Class
You may have forgotten but the Streamlined Princess Coronation Class was discussed in detail all the way back in March. Having only just recently shown you the last few samples, back in March we had the Engineering Sample with a stand-in tender and a lot of information.
With so much history and new detail to discuss there was so much to cover and who can forget Stephen Millership’s fantastic artwork too?
TTS Vent Van and the Toad
The pace did not let up as the following month saw us release the first few sound files from the TTS Vent Van. An item that had piqued the interest of many collectors, it was clear right from the outset just how many people were keen on hearing just what this little model had to offer. With the first few files, that were still very much a work in progress, we were able to offer something quite unique here in The Engine Shed as we got to see just what you could expect with the TTS Vent Van on your layout.
The reaction was hugely positive, and it truly reinforced our suspicions that this Vent Van was something very special indeed.
From looking at our new tooling locomotives, we also had our first look at the Toad Brake Van, with a selection of Engineering Samples. We do try our best not to be too overly focused on locomotives and the Toad Brake Van offered us the chance to show all the work the team had put in.
Mid-Year Range Announcement
There was not too much time to wait for another ‘STOP PRESS’ edition as we went live with a selection of new models in May. Covering the unbelievably popular ‘Paddington’ Class 800, there was also new Pecketts and the return of several old favourites. A massively popular line up, these additions offered a special mid-year announcement and some more good news in a year full of fantastic offerings.
A4 'Bittern' Arrives in Margate
We were back in June with all the latest samples, bringing you back up to speed with everything we had received over the previous few weeks. However, June’s edition contained details of a special event we were incredibly excited to be invited to. Locomotive Storage, who have converted the old Hornby site in Margate, had arranged for the A4 Class engine ‘Bittern’ to be stored in the warehouse. Returning to our old location, it was a hugely enjoyable day seeing the hard work culminate in this famous engine coming to rest in its new surroundings.
Widely covered on our social media channels, we did our best to give you a taste of just what the work involved and how ‘Bittern’ looked in the warehouse. The arrival was so popular we have since been back to Locomotive Storage several times to see what else has been stored there.
DCR Class 56 Co-Co 56303 (R3660)
The samples kept on coming as we moved into the next month, with all the latest news from the Toad Brake Van, ‘Paddington’ Class 800 and new Pecketts, to name but a few. However, July also saw a new product announcement with the DCR Class 56 joining us only a few weeks later.
Another pleasant surprise for The Engine Shed saw what is almost certainly the quickest turnaround from announcement to arrival we think we may have ever seen, and it was absolutely fantastic to be involved in the announcement.
As the second half of the year continued, samples definitely began to dominate as we saw a fairly steady stream of new samples arrive. We have often remarked on just how important it is for us to include them, and we certainly hope you can see why. However, during August we discussed the Class 87.
Rather unfortunately, or perhaps ironically, we were unable to include the lastest samples for the Class 87s themselves in an edition of the blog bursting at the seams with samples, but it still felt just as good to see two of the Class 87s approach release. In the end we ultimately included the photographs on social media (which we have included here too) and the photos were incredibly popular. A great way to celebrate their arrival, both in The Engine Shed and outside of it too.
It is definitely fair to sum up the end of 2018 here in The Engine Shed by talking about final looks. With more samples streaming into Hornby HQ, we dutifully included them but there was certainly more and more finality to them. Of course, no sample is perfect (which we often refer to as ‘The Engine Shed’ disclaimer) but each instalment saw another Signed Sample, the last we receive ahead of release. In the last few months before Christmas we covered the final samples from the TTS Vent Van, J36, Toad Brake Van and the Streamlined Princess Coronation, as well as many more.
To finalize so many of these projects towards the end of the year clearly feels very fitting and we are sure a few of these models may have found themselves under the tree just recently too, offering a lovely 'book end' to what we started right at the start of the year. Quite a journey from the 12th January, we hope you agree!
Throughout the year we have also tried our best here in The Engine Shed to look ahead, and back as necessary, on all the events our team attended. From Glasgow to Peterborough, we have checked in with some of the biggest events in the UK, and each has offered that vital connection with Hornby collectors.
We have often mentioned it here in our blog but discussing Hornby models with the people that they are produced for is a special experience and one we are incredibly fond of. After all, that is what we are trying to recreate here in The Engine Shed, albeit through the internet instead of being face-to-face.
We hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane as we have looked back over 2018. We think there is something very special about seeing just how much ground we have covered and reminding ourselves of just how many developments we have seen over the year.
We like to think The Engine Shed is a window to really see just how much work goes into Hornby models, and this year we have almost certainly achieved that. Between all these projects, all the different samples and then the release, each of these models are the result of hundreds of hours of work and we hope, like us, you have enjoyed what we have been able to bring you during 2018.
By our count, The Engine Shed has now been going for 82 editions (including this one) and we see no end in sight. There is still so much going on and so much to tell you about, we may even be a little more excited than you are for the 7th January!
We do hope you will be joining us and also that you have been enjoying yourself here with The Engine Shed.
We will be joining you again very soon and until we see you again,
The Engine Shed team
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