Oh what a year!
…and what a year it has been. Merry Christmas and welcome to this very special festive edition of the Engine Shed. Looking back, it’s really been amazing to see how much work has been going on despite the various changes that have had to be made to the way people work. The Engine Shed has also experienced change having been passed between three different writers this year. With the Hornby development staff enjoying a well earned Christmas break, now is the perfect time to take a look back over what has undoubtedly been an incredible centenary year here at Hornby.
W1: Hush Hush
The W1 ‘Hush Hush’ has been one of the most exciting products Hornby has developed this year. This unique locomotive is unlike anything else in the Hornby range. The locomotive was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as a testbed for a high-pressure steam boiler, the likes of which had proven successful in marine applications.
Right from the beginning of the modelling process we could see the W1 was going to be a very special model. Unlike other locomotives, modelling all the variants of No. 10000 throughout its life involved creating two hugely differing bodies, firstly for the distinctive experimental boiler and then another for the later rebuild of the locomotive featuring A4 style streamlining.
This running sample was featured in the mid-August edition of Engine Shed alongside a few other unbuilt samples. These are used to create a report for the manufacturer containing any changes that need to be made either to aesthetics or the running mechanism. The running sample is fine tuned to ensure the best possible running with recommendations being incorporated into the report.
The class 91 has been another regular this year and I know it has also been a favourite among our readers. Research for this project began all the way back in 2016 with the first engineering samples not arriving until earlier this year. This is a great example of the huge amount of time and effort that goes into a project like this.
All our designs begin with an extensive research period which gathers all the information that our designers will need to create 3D CAD files. The CAD files must incorporate any design variations we expect to model in the foreseeable future and also have to account for the moulding techniques our manufacturers use so it is not just simply a case of re-producing the real thing in 1:76 scale.
The next stage of design involves creating a prototype model which we can use to identify any changes that need to be made. Often small details and curved surfaces look substantially different in the light of the real world compared to a virtual environment.
A running sample of the class 91 locomotive was displayed in the September edition of Engine Shed.
Our latest running samples showing off the Class 91 in beautiful GNER and LNER liveries. Last month’s Engine Shed also showed the stunning ‘For the Fallen’ bodywork which marks the contribution and lives lost of the regiments up and down the East Coast Mainline during the First World War.
The Thompson Pacifics, especially the A2/2s, were a natural choice for Hornby to expand their range of Pacific locomotives. Having already released the popular LNER no. 2001 ‘Cock O’ The North’ as part of the Railroad range modelling the A2/2s allowed us to depict the second half of the locomotive’s life but incorporating greater detail.
An initial stereo prototype was featured in the January edition of Engine Shed along with a view of the CAD images of the cab interior.
The Thompson A2s have significant differences that needed to be represented on the model including multiple tender variants.
Just-in-time for last month’s Engine Shed, the A2/2 and A2/3 production samples were a main feature in the blog. After so many months of research, design and testing it’s become clear than Hornby’s latest set of Pacifics are some of the best we have ever produced with brilliant attention to detail and exemplary running.
The APT-P was one of the key announcements of 2020 and was proudly featured on the front cover of Hornby’s 2020 catalogue. Ambitiously it was decided Hornby would produce all the coaches necessary to introduce a full length rake with or without the development coach.
The First glimpse of the APT-P in the form of stereo models came in January after the launch of the 2020 range.
The engineering sample followed, featuring in the September edition of Engine Shed.
The November edition of Engine Shed showed off a running sample of the APT-P demonstrating the tilting mechanism. We can look forward to seeing this model progress further in 2021.
At the end of Hornby’s 100th year we couldn’t miss a chance to shine a light on our celebratory centenary range. 2020 was not just a landmark year for the company because of its special anniversary, but also the 2020 range proved to be one of the most extensive in our history. The reintroduction of the Hornby Dublo brand led by the supreme diecast bodied ‘Duchess of Atholl’ raised the bar in terms of model locomotive quality.
Arguably the most exciting part of this year’s centenary range was the newly tooled model of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’. The distinctive 0-2-2 wheel arrangement and bright yellow paintwork being a favourite among railway fans, it was crucial that this model met the highest expectations. A new model of ‘Rocket’ was chosen to pay homage to Hornby’s Tri-ang years highlighting the return of one of Hornby’s most loved models of yesteryear. With ‘Rocket’ representing not only Hornby’s past but also the origin of intercity rail travel, expectations for this model were high.
One of the greatest challenges the design team faced when designing the new ‘Rocket’ was the small size. The body of the locomotive was just about large enough to hide a small motor while the water barrel on the tender was ingeniously used to both hide and provide easy access to the digital decoder for DCC running. Additionally, tension lock couplings would have looked ungainly and out of place on such a fine model and so it was decided to create new ‘chain’ couplings between the tender of ‘Rocket’ and the accompanying coaches.
Message from Montana:
What a month, what a year! December has been full of Advent fun and festive Christmas Grotto features – hopefully you have all been checking in on the advent calendar giveaways and competitions. The competition behind door no 15 is one that should not be missed, so if you haven’t already seen, do check it out!
We’ve also created lots of festive themed videos over the last month and have a dedicated Christmas section on our YouTube channel, covering a whole host of different features – head over to YouTube to check them out and don’t forget to subscribe for all the latest news! In addition to the Christmas videos, we have also produced some handy ‘How To’ videos, demonstrating how to easily build a model railway layout, so if you’re looking to build your first layout over Christmas or know someone who is, then click here.
And so, we have reached the end of Engine Shed for this year. It is always great to hear from our readers so feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, it would not be right to finish without saying a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Engine Shed this year and a further thank you to you the readers. I hope you have found this year’s blogs both interesting and enjoyable and I can assure you next year is going to be even better!
The next Engine Shed will be on January the 5th and will be a special edition covering the 2021 range announcements.
We wish you a merry and safe Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
The Engine Shed team
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