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Hornby International 2019

John Chandler

JOHN CHANDLER takes us through this conglomeration of continental manufacturers and their surprising ranges.

Hornby International is a brand conceived in 2004 and realised in 2006. It forms a conglomeration of no less than five well-established European model railway brands, some with a long history. Whereas the individual brands had their own particular areas of specialism, under the new banner this has been somewhat rationalised. Arnold, for example, one of the forerunners in commercial N Scale with predominantly North European outline models, now has coverage of all the brands' N and TT Scale requirements regardless of geographic origin. Jouef concentrates on HO French outline whilst Rivarossi centres mostly on HO Italian outline with a few surprises. Electotren covers the HO Spanish outline models whilst Lima HO now seems to be more trans-European cross-border orientated.

How the five companies became one from their humble beginnings is summarised in the 'family tree' below:

Hornby International Brands

Whilst these names are no strangers to the Gaugemaster platform as retail products, Gaugemaster is now proud to have been granted distribution rights to the Hornby International brand of families at the 2019 Nürnberg Toy Fair, so let's see what each brand has to offer.

Note that models may be available in several variants, i.e. DC, DCC, AC digital, AC Sound etc. The Hornby International numbering system is logical in that a suffix is added to the core part number to indicate each variant, so whilst HJ2358 is the basic model, HJ2358S (+S) is the DCC Sound version and HJ2358ACS (+ACS) is the 3-rail DCC Sound version. Suffices include:

+D – DCC Fitted

+S – DCC Sound Fitted

+AC - 3 Rail DCC Fitted

+ACS – 3 Rail DCC Sound Fitted

HO Scale

We'll start in the HO Scale.

Hornby International New Items

In the Lima Expert range, the FS Class 610 is well represented with basic 4-car sets and corresponding 3-car addon sets. Typically, HL1672 and HL4672 combine to form a 7 car set in the Cisalpino livery. Frecciargento, SBB and Trenitalia Cisalpino liveries are also offered.

Remaining in Italy, Rivarossi remains a major force with a wide range of mostly Italian but some cross-border stock and a good old classic.

Hornby International New Items

Let's start with the yard shunter, HR2784. This ingenious unit is for one person operation with the coupling hooks raised and lowered by a handwheel beside the cab! It is offered here in camouflage livery.

Hornby International New Items

Another 'old favourite' is the DRB rail gun, here offered in camouflage livery as HR6452.

Hornby International New Items

Crossing to Austria, an ÖBB Diesel railcar from Class 5407 is offered in a set of regional liveries; HR2782 (+S +ACS) is typical.

Hornby International New Items

Border-hopping into Switzerland, we find a trio of the iconic Re4/4 locomotives of the BLS. These workhorses are often found hauling passenger and freight traffic through the Simplon Tunnel between Switzerland and Italy. I nominate HR2736 (+S +ACS) to represent this group, it being the single arm pantograph version.

Hornby International New Items

Crossing back into Eastern Germany, one of the many offerings from Rivarossi is worth a mention. Starting with the 5-car 'Heinschell-Wegmann' set, a streamlined train which ran between Berlin and Dresden from June 1936 to August 1939, usually with a streamlined DRG Class 61 steam locomotive at its head. The coach set is offered as HR4267.

Hornby International New Items

From Czechoslovakia, also offered is a typical double-decker set comprising four articulated coaches under HR4294.

Hornby International New Items

Finally under the Rivarossi banner, let's cross 'The Pond' to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Transcontinental Railroad with HR2753, the Union Pacific Class 4000 'Big Boy' here represented by no. 4014. Note this model is DCC Sound only!

Hornby International New Items

Hopping peninsulars, Electrotren concentrates mostly on Spanish outline with a wide variety of TALGO (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol, Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated train) trains on offer. HE2327 (+D +S) proposes a Diesel TALGO 2008 locomotive, 'Virgen de la Soledad' whilst HE3272 offers a collaborative RENFE/SNCF Tren Hotel 'Elipsos' often seen in Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Zurich and Milan. Additional coaches are offered to match this livery.

Changing gauges and heading north (a regular feature of the Spanish TALGO trains!), we cross from Iberian Gauge to Standard Gauge as we head into Jouef territory.

Hornby International New Items

First off the buffers is the SNCF 141; HJ2381 celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Jouef brand.

Hornby International New Items

France is well-known for its railcars, often just single cars but sometimes seen as a two car set. HJ2359 (+S) typifies Class X2450 with this example being based at the Marseille depot. For the more modern version, HJ2390 (+S) represents the type X73500 Autorail.

Hornby International New Items

Breaking into high-speed cross-border operation, Jouef proposes a model of the Thalys PBKA train which regularly operates between Paris, Bruxelles, Köln and Amsterdam. HJ2358 (+S +ACS) provides the basic four-car set with HJ3000, HJ3001 and HJ3002 available to extend the set. (To represent the full 8+2 car set, 2 of HJ3000, 1 of HJ3002 and 3 of HJ3001 are required!) This train complements the other offerings in the TGV family from Jouef.

Hornby International New Items

SNCF class B36000 is well represented with Jouef's offering representing BR36016 in the shape of HJ2365 (+S) being chosen here as the representative. Similarly, HJ2367 (+S) is chosen to represent the older style of type 2D2 locomotives.

Hornby International New Items

SNCF participated in the TEE Group of high speed, High Luxury trains which, some 60 years ago, provided the pinnacle of European International travel. France had two 'internal' trains in this group, 'Le Capitole' and 'Le Mistral'. Jouef propose a set of coaches celebrating 'Le Mistral' in its unique Satinless Steel body with red lining livery. HJ4122, HJ4123, HJ4124 and HJ4125 allow a full train to be assembled in miniature.

Hornby International New Items

To close with Jouef, let's stay with cross-border, prestige travel by looking at coach set HJ4127. Part of the CIWL family (Companie Internationale des Wagons-Lits), this set represents part of the famous Flèche d'Or (Golden Arrow) train which linked London's Victoria Station to Paris Gare du Nord, often taking the coaches on the train ferry from Folkestone. This set is fully licensed by CIWL and is fitted with interior lighting suitable for use on both DC and DCC.

So, with Lima, Rivarossi, Electrotren and Jouef, all in HO Scale, now considered, this only leaves the oldest member of the family, Arnold. Formed in 1906, this brand has been associated with many scales until in the late 60s, early 70s when it majored on the then new N Scale under the Arnold Rapido branding. (It is interesting to note that this legacy lives on with the standard N Scale coupling still often referred to as the Rapido Coupling!). In keeping with this background, the brand within the Hornby International family is now given to represent primarily N Scale but now has been extended to include TT Scale.

N Scale

A large proportion of the Arnold range offers N Scale versions of the other family members; Electrotren's TALGOs, for example, are well represented here. However, there are some unique offerings.

Hornby International New Items

Whilst the Arnold N Scale brand is primarily at 1:160, since their amalgamation into the Hornby International Family, they have ventured into British N Scale at 1:148 with their model of the Brighton Belle Pullman set. This is continued with a basic two-car set comprising the driver coaches (HIN3006) with a three-car add-on set (HIN3502) to form the full five car 5BEL unit.

Hornby International New Items

Reverting to 1:160, an international train in the form of BR406 ICE3 of NS/DBAG, HIN2417 (+S) is offered as a full 8-car set prominently carrying the NS logo.

Hornby International New Items

In keeping with their international remit, Arnold propose a triplet of Swiss Krokodil locomotives from various Epoch. HIN2432 (+D) represents this triplet as a Be6/8" example of this iconic locomotive.

Hornby International New Items

We now turn to The Netherlands to see an example of Dutch passenger workings. Arnold offer HIN2434 (+D) for haulage and HIN4268 and HIN4269 for passenger accommodation.

TT Scale

Whilst the Arnold range in N Scale is vast, covering RENFE, SNCF, DB, DR and SBB, they have now diversified into TT Scale.

Hornby International New Items

Two offerings to consider include the DR ASF28 Battery Shunter, HIN9039. This would not look out of place in any sidings. The other is the DR double-decker set comprising two articulated coaches under HIN9507 with a corresponding four coach set under HIN9508. You may have seen something similar under HR4294!

That concludes my look at the Hornby International family. Whilst not exhaustive, it does cover some of the many and varied offerings from the five brands and will, hopefully, whet your appetite to explore the rest of these comprehensive ranges.

Arnold New Items 2019


Electrotren New Items 2019


Jouef New Items 2019


Lima New Items 2019


Rivarossi New Items 2019
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