It has been some time since we’ve reviewed a new Hornby product on locoyard. This is mainly due to the production problems the firm have experienced, but also because the prototype’s have not been on the top of my personal wishlist. This, I believe, is the first of the firm’s “design clever” models that I’ve looked at in any detail. For those who have not heard of this term, it basically refers to a new method of production that Hornby have introduced, which uses good quality mouldings rather than separately fitted details to reduce production costs. This has not gone without criticism in their “high spec” models, but in the case of this mid-lower range relatively cheap model it is a different matter… so here is the verdict!
Class: BR Standard 8P
Use: Express Passenger
Regions: Midland & Scottish.
Unique Member of class – 71000 Duke of Gloucester – The 71000 (Duke of Gloucester) Steam Locomotive Trust Limited
Model Reviewed: Hornby R3191 BR 4-6-2 Standard Class 8P Duke of Gloucester Special Edition
Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive
DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready/sound (click here for DCC Fitting guide)
This model is a special edition version of a Railroad spec model and has etched nameplates (not fitted in these pictures), better smoke deflectors with handrails, livery improvements and cab spectacles. You can appreciate the “design clever” principle, with moulded pipework, lamp irons and smokebox door being reasonably good with relief, especially when viewedfrom a distance. The tender’s moulded handrail is not quite as good, but the remainder of handrails are separately fitted. It has no cab details picked out, but in my opinion it is not a big deal in an enclosed cab, I expect the only time I’ll notice this lack of detail is whilst taking the above picture! Moulded buffers can be cosmetically reasonable, but these were a bit chunky for my liking. Although it is a very different standard to the 7MT, it is not a terribly detailed model, just not as refined.
71000 Duke of Gloucester is a big and impressive locomotive and this character has been conveyed very effectively. The Caprotti valve gear uses plastic components, but they look good all the same. The smokebox door dish is slightly too low, but otherwise I’m very happy with the look of this model. Essentially the shape is very good, meaning it has great potential as a super-detailing project.
This is quite a generous score, all things considered! Details have been picked out nicely in this special edition and the lining is good, as are the axle boxes. Other good marks are picked up for the good font on the nameplate and the transfers are reasonable too. But why such a pale shade of green? Bachmann consistently paint their model’s in a deep Brunswick Green and Hornby have come close to that standard with the reviewed 7MT in 2012. But this is not nearly as good and therefore the model drops a mark!
This is a smooth, reliable and quiet model. It is pretty much as good as the 7MT from my tests, although I say this with a little note of caution as there have been reports of problems with the valve gear locking. I’ve had no such issues and I’m very impressed, it is a good solid runner.
The Duke of Gloucester was rated as 8P – which basically means it is powerful! I’ve given this model 6-7 carriages on 2nd radius curves and it does not slip or have any problems. I’m sure it could take more, especially if you have wider curves. It’s a tough beast!
Hornby really know how to complicate things for reviewers! The model lacks the high level of detailing many of us look for in a modern model, it lacks sprung buffers, has some moulded handrails and smokebox door dart. But, you can get it fitted with DCC sound!
This is a model of a big powerful express locomotive and it will perform like one on your layout. The Railroad version is very cheap, this special edition a little more, but for a brand new model of a one-off prototype, this is very good value whichever spec version you get. I remember seeing kit-built versions selling for around £300 and they were not DCC ready – you could literally buy four Hornby railroad version’s for that! I would not usually compare kit-built models with ready-to-run, but this is a one-off prototype, something rarely seen in mainstream models.
Believe it or not, there’s a simple spreadsheet behind these reviews that works out the final score, so I was genuinely surprised given the doom and gloom surrounding Hornby of late, that this model so nearly got a five star rating. If Hornby had painted it a darker green, it would be a five star model! This model works well, it is big, powerful, characterful and has a presence that it shares with the real machine. It is very good value for money, especially the Railroad version that retails for little more than a J94. This is no 7MT, but it runs as well and is a lot cheaper. It is an ideal basis for detailing too, so much so that I can predict a future project on the Locoyard horizon…
Detailometer 3.5, Outlineometer 4.5, Finishometer 5, Motorometer 5, Powerometer 5, Specometer 3.5, Valueometer 5, Locoyardometer 4.4
To see how this compares to other models, click here for the Loco Model Reviews Page.