Hornby (Railroad) Caledonian Pug Review

Having recently completed a review of the Hornby terrier, I was a little disappointed to have it sitting at the bottom of the list of models reviewed, especially as despite it not being a great model, I enjoy running three in my collection.  There are many models that I’ve owned in the past that were not as good as the Hornby terrier, but few remain now.  An exception is the Hornby Pug, one of which remains in the locoyard collection, albeit with several hours of work put into improving it; resulting in it being both DCC chipped and super-detailed.  With my extensive experience with this model and pictures of one long-since departed example and another since transformed; I’ve conducted a review of what is quite possibly the most common 00 scale model to be found.  To see how this compares to other models, click here for Loco Model Reviews Page.

Class: Drummond Y9 / NBR class G / Caledonian Pug class 264; 0-4-0 saddle tank

Use: Shunting

Region: Scottish

Era: 1882-1962

Preserved examples:

NBR 42 / LNER 9042 / BR 68095 – Owned by the Scottish Preservation Society at Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway

 

Manufacturer: Hornby

Motor: HP motor

Power: Unclassified

DCC options: None (although some shops sell DCC fitted versions)

Locoyard Review

Detailing:

2/5

Some details are present.  The cab backhead, although nowhere near model standards is moulded reasonably well.  Other moulded details include a brake handle, lights rear lights, whistle and safety valve.  The smokebox face lacks a smokebox door dart, but looks surprisingly OK.  It has no handrails, which is most noticeable at the back of the cab.  Moulded details such as coupling hooks and buffers are very poor.  The valve gear is incorrect too.  Very little detailing overall, but then it is a toy first and model second.

Outline/Looks:

2/5

It can just about be recognised as a Caledonian pug, but it is very stretched to say the least.  This is to fit on Hornby’s generic 0-4-0 chassis, which is also very poor looking.  The buffers are tiny and do not represent any of the prototypes I’ve seen pictures of.  That said, it is one of the better entry-level child-friendly models and the vague attempt to make it look like a real prototype can be appreciated, if only just!

Finish/Decoration:

3.5/5

The simple finish is a little better than most other aspects of the model and the bright blue lined Caledonian livery is attractive, whilst Smokey Joe has become something of a model legend!

Running Qualities:

2/5

It has no problems with 1st radius curves and stays on the track most of the time, though having a short wheel base makes stalling frequent over points.  It has three speeds – still, very fast backwards and very fast forwards making shunting almost impossible!  Having a Scaletrix motor was never going to create an easy to control model.  Hardwiring a DCC chip does help get some control back.  As a toy, it is very exciting for younger children, but as a model it is difficult to handle.

Relative Power:

2/5

The prototype was classified as a 0F by BR; so the model didn’t need to be that strong to have a good relative power score.  Unfortunately it would need twice as much power to make shunting with the model more of a possibility.  The model’s high geared motor doesn’t help with traction. It is comfortable pulling a few 4-wheel carriages or trucks, so it is adequate as a train-set model for children.

Specification:

2/5

Few and poor details, no DCC options, an uncontrollable high geared motor.  Better than some of the very-much older Triang models, but only just!

Value:

5/5

There is no denying that the Caledonian Pugs are very cheap!  They are tough too, made largely from metal and should last.  They are so numerous that they can be purchased second-hand for single figures online and unlike many other generic cheap-as-chips models; at least you are purchasing something loosely based on a real prototype.


 

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 2.6

As expected, the Caledonian Pug manages to hang on for a three star rating by the skin of its teeth!  It doesn’t look a lot like the prototype, has very little detail and no real features to speak of.  The generic chassis  will beat any other 00 scale model in a drag-race which is both very unrealistic and fun!  It is great for children, being tough and colourful.  It can be improved substantially by investing time and money, as I have done (click here to read more); so when the children have out-grown all their fictional models, they may well hang on to this one beyond their childhood.  And if they don’t, at least it didn’t cost too much to begin with!

Detailometer 2, Outlineometer 2, Finishometer 3.5, Motorometer 2, Powerometer 2, Specometer 2, Valueometer 5, Locoyardometer 2.6

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