Hornby Gresley N2 Class Model Review

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563

A rather unplanned and surprise locomotive model review this week!  This is a review of Hornby’s 00 scale version of Gresley’s successful N2 class – a popular model train subject since Hornby Dublo days.

The current model is a tweaked version of the model produced by Mainline and then Dapol.  The most recent release of this model has been the first DCC Ready version to-date.  It is part of a hideously over-priced “London 1948” train pack.  Many shops are now splitting the set and it can be purchased very cheaply, so today we ask whether it is worth snapping up!

Class: GNR/LNER Gresley N2 class

Use: Suburban Passenger

Region: North Eastern

Era: 1920 – 1962

Preserved example:

GNR 1744 – Great Central Railway

Manufacturer: Hornby (ex-Dapol)

Motor: 5 pole loco-drive

Power: Middleweight

DCC options: Latest versions DCC Ready- click here for DCC fitting guide

Locoyard Review

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563 (cab)



This ex-Dapol/Mainline model is a mixed bag.  It has sprung buffers, nice handrails and some reasonable moulded detail, although the chimney is crude.  The cab (above) has no interior with the mechanism visible and the running plate is flat and devoid of lamp irons.

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563 (bunker)

Outline/Looks: 3/5

The shape is reasonable and the character of the prototype has been captured well.  The lack of details as mentioned above detracts from the look of the model, with the lack of a cab interior being a major gripe.  Frustratingly, Hornby did not consider shifting the mechanism out of sight when they overhauled the chassis.  There’s plenty of space in the body to accommodate a hidden mechanism – Tut tut Hornby!

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563 (top)



The reviewed model is nicely finished in simple unlined black, if slightly shiny and devoid of a works plate.  The top of the smokebox and boiler has a nasty moulding seam (see above).  The model is of a Scottish-based locomotive, so it is an interesting and poor choice to be selected as part of a London train pack!  Previous BR lined versions have been nicely finished, as has been a GNR version (see below).  Preserved GNR 1744 is planned to be produced in 2013.

Hornby GNR Gresley N2 class - 1763

Running Qualities:


A modern, smooth and fairly quiet mechanism.  Pick-up’s are ok, if a little more sensitive than it could have been.  Overall, it is a very nice runner though.

Relative Power:


It can handle 4-5 bogey carriages around tight second radius curves with minimal slippage.  This surprised me somewhat, as the press have marked it down considerably in this area.  It is true that it is not an amazing hauler and not relatively as strong as the prototype, which was classified by BR as 3P2F.  It has none-the-less proven to be a useful model here at Locoyard.

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563 (smokebox)



It has a few good things going for it, such as sprung buffers, handrails, and a decent DCC Ready mechanism that’s easy to add a decoder to (click here for more).  It has no NEM couplings, does not have the best detailing and the motor is visible in the cab which makes the model look dated.

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563 (4)


2/5 (5/5*)

Unquestionably the RRP for the London 1948 train pack and the yet-to-be released GNR 1744 is far too high.  In reality, this model should be sitting in the Railroad range with a proportional price tag.  Fortunately, the public seems quite aware of this and have not bought many of the train packs!  *The N2 at £30-£40 represents very good value for money

Hornby Ex-LNER Gresley N2 class - 69563

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 3.1 or 3.5* at £30-£40

This not a fantastic model – the real big gripe being that the motor being is visible in the cab.  Hornby should have pitched the N2 as a Railroad model, but instead priced on par with Bachmann’s fantastic BR Standard 3MT, which blows the Hornby N2 out of the water in every department.  But as of January 2013; retailers are heavily discounting the Scottish locomotive and splitting it from the 1948 London train pack.  This model is worth £30-£40 new and at that price it is just a 4 star model that’s worth considering.  Otherwise, it is a 3 star model.

3 Star

Detailometer 2.5, Outlineometer 3, Finishometer 4, Motorometer 4.5, Powerometer 3, Specometer 2.5, Valueometer 2, Locoyardometer 3.1

3 thoughts on “Hornby Gresley N2 Class Model Review

  1. It’s interesting that they’ve numbered it as a Scottish engine, Dave. None of the Scottish-based locos had condenser gear and also had reduced height boiler fittings to accommodate the more restricted gauge north of the border at the time. That said, these models can be made rather nice if you do finescale like I do.
    I’m tempted to go for those coach packs though! Just one or two to recreate an early ’50s look!


    • Thanks for the comment!

      The coach packs are very nice indeed, Hornby have created the teak look very well! I can imagine the N2 being a good basis for a detailing project, the shape of the model is reasonably good.




  2. The N2 as is forms a reasonable basis for detailing for finer scale use by the more discerning modeller. Shame about the motor in the cab. That chimney and snifter valve are in this day and age – pretty rubbish, with no squared lip on the chimney like the real thing. I have detailed an older body as a Scottish loco – pared off the condensing pipes,squared the chimney lip a little, fitted a cast snifter valve, added hand rails to the tank sides, and sprung GN buffers, as well as screw couplings. So it’s starting to look more like a proper N2. Pity that Hornby, like some larger model producers in the States, insist on bringing out models without consulting authoritative sources in relation to prototype details and numbering too. They probably thought the Scottish N2’s needed condensing gear to negotiate the tunnels out of Glasgow Queen Street, or under Edinburgh’s West End to Haymarket!


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