Hornby Lord of the Isles Review

Good evening,

As seeing Dave is having laptop issues and my wife has taken my son out for the day I thought today would be the perfect time to do something LocoYard.com hasn’t done this year, a model train review. The locomotive I am looking at today is an old model but the real life locomotive it is based on for me is the most beautiful steam locomotive class ever built. So without further adieu

Hornby Lord of the Isles Review

Part of the Hornby R2560 00 Gauge Train Pack ‘Lord of the Isles’

Normally with my reviews I begin by looking at the history of the real life locomotive class but as regular readers will know I posted a huge post last year about the locomotives history and its development from a broad gauge 2-2-2 locomotive to a standard gauge 4-2-2 which can be found here.

Class: GWR 3031 Achilles Class

Use: Express Passenger

Region: Western

Era: 1891-1916

Preserved examples

None: However there was a static replica built in 1982 and is currently on display inside Windsor Station, Didcot is also believed to be considering the possibility of building a new one once projects like the Lady of Legend are complete.

Manufacturer: Hornby

Motor: 3 pole Loco-drive

DCC options: 8 pin dcc ready

Locoyard Review

Outline/Looks: 2.5/5

First impressions of this locomotive are actually quite good as it does capture the overall look and outline of the locomotive class quite well. However on closer inspection you will notice this model has molded handrails on both the locomotive and tender which for a model released in 2001 is unforgivable. Another example is the amount of day light you can see above the front bogie which is very noticeable when looking at it side on. All these stem from the locomotives tooling which is the same one used on the original Tri-ang model released in 1961!

Detailing: 1/5

There isn’t much of it. Apart from the tool boxes on the sides and the domes the locomotive is one giant piece of plastic with next to no detail and not a single rivet. To prove how bad the detailing is you don’t even get one of those black vacuum pipes to go in the buffer beam you get with even the most basic models such as Thomas the tank engine or even Smokey Joe.

Finish/Decoration: 3/5

The paintwork and finish on the locomotive are not bad and is probably the best thing about this locomotive. Although it’s not up to the new modern high detail standards, Hornby have managed to improve upon the 1960s version with a livery that’s far more crisp and clearer.

Relative Power: 3/5

This is a hard one to judge, in terms of a single wheeler locomotive it out performed the Hornby Caledonian single but the performance still wasnt great. I wouldn’t suggest giving this locomotive more than 3 or 4 coaches if you want to get a smooth and reliable performance out of it.

Specification: 2/5

When I saw the tooling of this locomotive I wasnt holding much hope for this section but she does have a few surprises the first being that she is actually DDC ready. But the biggest surprise is the actual chassis and motor which are the same one that is used on the Hornby Emily from the Thomas the Tank engine which features picks up in the front bogie which makes this a far more reliable locomotive then its 1960s relative which was prone to stalling on points due to having only 1 set of pick ups. However it does lack things we now take for granted on models such as NEM couplings and sprung buffers.

Value: 1/5

This is the nail in the coffin for this locomotive as when it was released it was selling for around £80 (I actually  bought mine in a train pack) and it’s not even close to be worth that amount. I would go as far as seeing she isn’t even good enough to be part of the Hornby Railroad range when you compare her to models like the LMS Patriot, LNER A4 and Southern Schools classes which are in that range.

Overall Locoyardometer Score: 2.4/5

If I am being honest I am actually surprised it scored so high overall I most have been more generous than I should have been with the review. I wouldn’t recommend you purchase this model even for the biggest GWR fans, that being said if you can get your hands on one of the older ones on eBay for a good price they can be easily upgraded with new hand rails and adding some details. A  couple of years ago thats what I did with the Dean Single on the left having new handrails fitted  (on the boiler, cab and tender), whistles, door darts and some lamps. This does improve the overall look of the model massively and is a great project.

Detailometer 2.5, Outlineometer 1, Finishometer 3, Motorometer 3.5, Powerometer 3, Specometer 2, Valueometer 1, Locoyardometer 2.4

3 thoughts on “Hornby Lord of the Isles Review

  1. Pingback: Good evening, As seeing Dave is having laptop issues and my wife has taken my son out for the day I thought today would be the perfect time to do something LocoYard | David and JC's Trains and Railways

  2. well you are right any improve
    ments could have been done by Hornby, if it still is the same engine as I have since the mid sixties ,but it is still running : I indeed did put some power electricty pick-up wheels in the tender and it is still running some specials on my lay-out as it is one of the first engines I could buy as youngster I still like it very much.


    • I have 2 models, 1 which is the standard Hornby verison and a second one which I am upgrading to make it the best it can be. My next step is to install a second motor I found on the internet whcih can fit perfectly inside the front bogie. A guy has done the same thing on the RM fourm and it increased its power by 50% and hides the gap between the bogie and the body a bit better 🙂 Thats the great thing about this hobby there are always little things you can do to improve things 🙂


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