Hornby produce a number of locomotives that share the 0-4-0 chassis – the Caledonian Pug, class 06 diesel shunter, and three side-tank models; a fictional ex-Thomas the Tank engine the Class D and the GWR Holden Tank, the subject of today’s loco review.
As with the Class D; the GWR Holden tank is based on a real machine and a very unusual one at that. Only one was ever built and it was an experimental locomotive; (originally) an oil burner. Throughout its very short life, the locomotive was modified much and was converted to coal burning. It worked at Swindon as a works shunter and was scrapped in 1911. So next time someone say’s to you that Hornby will never produce a model of 71000 Duke of Gloucester as it was a one-off, point them to a Hornby Holden tank and say “anything is possible!”
Class: GWR Holden 101 class
Era: 1902 – 1911
Motor: HP motor
DCC options: None (although some shops sell DCC fitted versions)
In common with similar 0-4-0 offerings from Hornby, this model has few details, though it is better than the class D in having moulded detail that include whistles and a cab. This helps the overall look which is also better than the class D. Hornby’s Holden tank’s similarities with the prototype are vague, especially under the chassis. The finish of these models varies between variants, but in the main they are simple coloured plastic and fictional.
It shares all the performance characteristics of the models that share its chassis – it is too fast, difficult to control and prone to stalling, though it has no problems with 1st radius curves and stays on the track most of the time. 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. It does not have much pulling power but is comfortable pulling a few 4-wheel carriages or trucks, so it is adequate as a train-set model for children.
These models are very cheap to buy. They are fairly robust, if not as tough as Hornby’s metal bodied Caledonian Pug. They have been around for a long time and can be found second-hand for £8-£15. As with the class D, the Holden tank is not a generic model but shares the problem that most of its model versions produced by Hornby are fictional. However, it is an ideal base to experiment with detailing and painting, so it has a little more longevity for the younger enthusiast.
Running Qualities: 2/5
Relative Power: 2/5
Overall Locoyardometer Score: 2.5
The Hornby Holden scores just enough to give it a three star rating. For those looking for a non-Thomas the Tank engine starter model for a younger enthusiast, you can do worse. It’s in a similar league as Hornby’s Caledonian Pug and better than either of Hornby’s class D, or generic 0-4-0 tank locomotives.
Detailometer 2, Outlineometer 2, Finishometer 3, Motorometer 2, Powerometer 2, Specometer 2, Valueometer 5, Locoyardometer 2.5