Hornby's all-new Class 67 model breaks cover

A first look at the all-new Hornby Class 67 featuring a heavy die-cast chassis and etched grilles.

A NUMBER OF HORNBY 2012 products have seen significant delay but we are pleased to report that the brand new 'OO' gauge Class 67 is not one of them, possibly due to its long gestation period having been mooted many moons ago. The first to arrive in our hands is this Wrexham & Shropshire example - R.3038 No. 67012 A Shropshire Lad. Pre-orders for this particularly locomotive have been despatched but we are still taking orders for the R.3040 EWS maroon and gold & R.3039 DB 'Maple Leaf' red examples at £95.99 plus £3.95 P&P (DCC/sound options also available) - please visit our online shop or call 01780 470086.

The model is a clear improvement over the previous Lima offering, featuring a heavy die-cast chassis and some lovely etched grille detail. The distinctive angular shape of the 'Skips' has been well captured and we were particularly impressed by the see-through effect at the cooler group end and the small but chunky silencer. The W&S silver and grey livery is well reproduced although the grey does appear to be a little darker than it should - perhaps a deliberate move to match Hornby's WSMR Mk. 3 DVT.

The roof is all important on a model, since we typically spend most of our time looking down on a model railway. The new Class 67 excels here with an impressive cooler group including an etched black protective mesh (although this sits a little high and is overscale). Those who prefer a more realistic trackside viewpoint will not be disappointed by the underframe with its intricate air reservoir pipework and separate metal fuel tank that has space to house a 20 x 40mm speaker (sound apertures intentionally provided in its base) and the day/night lighting switch.

Separate nameplates are provided to cover the awkward printed reproductions. Careful alignment of the metal chassis and plastic body is required to ensure the dividing line, obvious in this view, is minimised. The interaction between the two materials is not always the best and it is worth checking to ensure the cab interior unit is seated properly without any flash or moulding pips. We are surprised there are no body to chassis securing points under the cabs to prevent potential bowing.

The silencer is nicely moulded and adds interest and depth to the angular roof section, being painted in a realistic gunmetal shade with a large blackened exhaust outlet. Perhaps we are asking too much, but the finer bodyside grille, to be found on the other side of the No. 2 end in this view, is a disappointment being rendered as part of the plastic body.

The front end is probably the weakest aspect of the new model exhibiting the problems of mass production and lack of attention to detail. The air horn grilles are printed, not etched detail, and the red/clear lenses exhibit poor finishing. The separate TDM cables are nice and fine but have glue evident. The auto-coupling linkage is moulded as part of the metal chassis.

The brake pipes, provided in the detail pack and moulded in slippery Delrin, are awkward to fit into the glossy looking bufferbeam; the painted ends don't want to locate in their holes and tend to twist. Likewise, the coupling hook (or dummy buck-eye) is a loose fit in its aperture. The ETH cable and plug neatly fits on the right, its lower end locating in the optional lower half of the bufferbeam. Behind this piece, which is secured by four pins, is the NEM coupler box and its swinging mechanism integrated into the chassis floor. An ETH receptical is also provided but there doesn't seem any location hole to fit it below the left buffer.

The locomotive broken down into its three main parts. From the front, we have the hollow metal fuel tank and battery box unit, the die-cast chassis and, behind, the plastic body. The chassis includes see-through interior detailing behind the grilles and the PCB, mounted above the motor and flywheels, with its NEM652 8-pin DCC socket. The body contains cab interiors and LED lighting units. Four long screws secure the body. Interestingly, the whole locomotive comes packaged in a new way very similar to Bachmann locomotives. A nice addition to the Hornby range that is let down only by attention to detail during assembly and some poor decoration.

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