As Hornby is a public company, it has to innovate and produce new items with at least one big or interesting project a year to satisfy shareholders.
Thomas the Tank Engine, Hornby Live Steam, Scalextric Digital, Scalextric Sport World, Hornby DCC... just wait around a bit. Sooner or later, they'll come up with an N-Gauge range. As you say, with the Arnold moulds, they have the means to get the project off the ground.
I suppose, partially at least, it depends on whether they have the interest/motivation too. The tiny N gauge just might not appeal to them . . . in which case, I wonder if they would release the Arnold resources to another company, for a reasonable sum . . . and then we have to wonder who else might be interested . . .
So many unknowns and I guess it's very early days yet!
Worth asking the odd question though - you never know who might have heard a whisper.
A few hours later . . .
I dug out a pile of stored N gauge rolling stock and surprised myself!
My excavations reminded me that, while Hornby didn't manufacture any of it, they were at one time involved with N gauge! I have maybe a dozen goods vehicles that are boxed with a HORNBY MINITRIX label on the case. I had completely forgotten about this period, which I would guess was about mid to late 1970s. The vehicles are clearly stamped underneath the chassis "Made In Western Germany" and some have DB markings while others have been tampoed with British Rail markings. I don't think that association lasted very long but it is rather interesting that it came happened at all and then quite suddenly disappeared.
I would guess it was a convenient way for Mini Trix to market their small British range via Hornby's excellent distribution system in UK. Sadly, the only locos I remember were rebodied DBs, at least one diesel and an A4 and my returning dim recollection is that they were fairly horrible to look at! But the goods rolling stock was fine. Actually, Mini Trix was usually considered somewhat inferior to Fleischmann and Arnold but I should save that for a non-Arnold post, on another day, although the linking connection here is, of course, Hornby!
There were some good items in the British outline Minitrix range, and some awful ones. The 27 was a hideous lump, but the Warship was OK. The mk1s were never great, but they made some nice Gresleys. They also made a decent 47 with the early style radiators grills, which the mech was good on also. Freight wise there was a 21T brake, and other odds and sods, most notably an HAA which were fetching silly sums on ebay prior to the introduction of the Peco model. For my money their A3 Pacific is a far superior model to the much later Farish one!
I would love Hornby to enter the N Gauge market, as the '66 wars' have shown the improvements competition results in. Perhaps a 9F and Britannia would be a good start, as the Minitrix versions, though not perfect, are much sought after. And then for the diesel fans, either an outside framed 08 or a quality 37 to supersede the Farish lump. Some joined up thinking with regards to appropriate accompanying rolling stock would be great too, such as 21ton mineral wagons for the 9F, and some modern freight stock (eg bogie steel carriers) for the 37. These are only examples, but it gives the gist. For instance, what in the Dapol range are the Collet/Hawksworth (which are they again?) coaches meant to go with? They're an odd partner for the 14xx!
Hornby International announced at the Ontracks Continental Open day that they have now only recently reconciled 100% of the Arnold product line. The parts were reconciled using the floor at the Margate factory premises and almost 30% of the factory area was utilised for this process!
They basically had a big bag with about 10000 parts in to sort through!
Expect upgraded Arnold N gauge models to appear in 2006.
Now the real question of course is whether any of the parts will cross over for use in British outline N gauge?
That would make it very easy peasy wouldn't it.
PS the image above makes N gauge almost look like HO/OO gauge!
More upbeat, that Maffei S 3/6 is gorgeous!
Although, on checking, it seems to have lost some of the real copper and brass pipework and lamps. It's probably a variation on the two shown in my English language catalogue, which is admittedly a touch out of date, being marked 1977/8!
Amusing to read the description of the lovely purple and cream coach set -
"Rheingold, the train which is worth TWO leaps of joy!"
I always promised myself one of these, but could never quite steel myself to the cost of the whole set. Maybe I'll have another chance one day.
As for adapting Arnold to British N - I imagine much of the motive power could be used and certainly their excellent digital system would be a candidate. If there were to be any upgrades, I'd like the motors to be looked at - they were/are COLOSSALLY powerful but manically too fast and a little noisier than Fleischmann's more refined units.
I'm not personally concerned about their North American range but I do hope most of the European products make it back. Although, just kind of thinking out loud, I suppose from Hornby's perspective, the N American range could be of very high priority as an 'IN' to the large American market potential which could never be realised with their traditional OO British products.
I've only just discovered that the ex Lima Arnold stock is actually available from Ontracks - 177 items. Arnold 'Clearance'
Despite being described as 'clearance items', they are desperately expensive - these really aren't clearance prices at all. Full-length coaches seem to run around £30 apiece, yet in USA you can buy Arnold's equivalent USA coaches in sets of three for as little as $40US the set - that is £8GB each! NScaleSupply.com
The other problem is that I can't match the listed item ID numbers to my old catalogue and there are no pictures to do it visually.
Hornby's suggested RRPs are still 20 - 20% lower than those announced in the summer!! I suspect they were presented with an over-valuation by the receivers when they first started stock-taking..... I can, in part, understand their need to recoup as much as possible from the bankrupt stock. Many of the items are only available in tiny quatities and when they've gone, they've gone.
I have checked the Hornby codes against the last Arnold catalogue and apart from the addition of the prefix "226A" the codes are the same (for Europe, anyway).
Thankfully the last inventory seems to be accurate and stock ordered from it is turning up in the UK within a week to ten days of order.
Yes, the codes probably do match up fine - just that my Arnold catalogue is 25 years out of date!
I hardly ever go there but, yesterday I took a look round Ebay, just to see how Arnold prices looked. As luck would have it, I fell over two 5-car Rheingold coach sets with just 1 hour to go! So I swiftly lost my Ebay virginity and am now wondering what I will actually get for my roughly £120 . . .
Later on, I discovered that KATO had made some 5-car Rheingold coach sets. Luckily, they seem to be totally sold out and, for a stress free life, I guess I should try to forget they ever existed - they are sure to be better quality than Arnold and very likely a good deal cheaper too!
I'm finding it quite difficult to catch up with all the developments since various companies have been amalgamated and/or redistributed and have been doing a lot of web surfing to try to refresh myself. I seem to remember seeing somewhere, only in the last day or so, that the Minitrix Rheingold coaches/cars boast individual illumination in each table lamp - is that really true? Would you rate the Minitrix S3/6 loco ahead of Arnold's as well as the coaches/cars?
How would you feel about a comparative review for our delectation and edification?
Incidentally with regard to Gary's comment that the Arnold S3/6 looks almost like HO gauge
It does until seeing something like this Roco HO version - it's really excellent!
My experience is that Fleischmann locos are great runners but Minitrix win out on detail as long as you don't mind the motor in the cab. As far as cars I prefer Minitrix, Fleischmann, and Arnold in that order. Yes I heard that as well. This is the latest generation of the Rheingold cars but not mine I'm afraid. Hey I can barely afford one example of each, it just happened that I love the Rheingold cars.
I just got back from 10 days in China.
You have to understand that Arnold's examples are earlier generation. All these companies keep getting better and better. I would not buy an Arnold locomotive if there was a Fleischmann or Minitrix model available no matter how cheap it was. After a while you'll stop patting yourself on the back and wondering why that model doesn't run as well as your other stuff. It's a lot harder to retrofit in N Scale.
I see that Ontracks' Hornby International Page is now advertising a very limited range of Arnold items for 2006, presumably the first to be officially re-released since the Horny acquisition. Although it is a pre-order situation at present,
it's great to see the resurrections starting at last!
Amongst these items is a Simplon-Orient-Express luxury train 5-unit coach set, at around £98 - not too badly priced for such items in good old UK.
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