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New Hornby Class 56 breaks cover

7608 Views 31 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Brian Considine

Just a couple of days too late for Warley, what were they thinking!

Just appeared on the Hattons website in the past few minutes, the BR Blue Class 56 R2645.

See the Hornby website for more info:

A little over the odds at £80 perhaps (Hattons' price) , but I've just ordered one in excitement. Just past the 2pm cut off for guaranteed next day delivery, but fingers crossed!

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 7 Dec 2007, 17:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not forgetting the internet.

Does launching a new model or product really have to be done at a large show, be it Warley or wherever ? Accepting that Warley is one of the largest in terms of gate numbers the big shows still only reach a fraction of modellers. Many of this forums members that I now "know" attended but, I cannot think of one single friend or regular customer that did attend Warley.

Personally, I think there is far too much hype surrounding the big shows & what may or may not be launched.

***Actually, I don't believe the shows have EVER been the real release point. To me the model is really "released" when the announcement to make it is made.... and re-released when its time for the "majors" to be sold.

As soon as "proving" models are created, an intelligent marketer will have held quiet meetings with the major companies both resellers and retailers well in advance and reconfirmed their orders which should have been tentatively placed at time of model choice... Thus ensuring the key bulk business is in place well before actual production... with general retailer business following, in preparation for the public "unveiling"

Then there's the timing for seasonality - if the retail trade in general is to take proper advantage and pre order to meet public release, they must know months in advance in order to plan their own sales season and cashflow....

So... when is the release the "real thing" - when the brands sales are made, or when the consumer pays for it??


I think that the brands should be evolving this process - its a great way for one brand to stand out vs another if they were to actually make an effort to properly pre-market a product instead of the same tired old procedures.

After all, in this day and age it could be done much better by initial release, teasers, hyping up anything special and generally creating a buzz in the months ahead of time... And by embracing the electronic medium instead of treating it as a partial enemy. (Doesn't the saying go "hold your friends close and your enemies even closer" after all. It'd take balls but thats what a good marketer is paid for - intelligent strategic planning + courage and committment)

If I was in the chair at least 6 months prior to the actual sales date I'd be taking beauty shots of the test loco's and showing only part of them - perhaps a loco semi-hiding behind an embankment on a layout, or a rake of new coaches at that typical "railway photo angle" that prototype steam loc's were so often shot at, which captures them in maddeningly long perspective to give a tantalising peek.

Then.... Weekly or as things/details become reality I'd then be talking to the modelling press and E-groups and forums and hyping up the added detail or special features one week then showing tempting preview shots of them the next .... leading up to a bit of a speculation about how good it might be as the full "parade" of liveries and beauty shots were made ready to show.

FInally I'd not release a bland sideways shot - I'd include such things as the mechanism detail if its worthy of looking at, interest generating details like the revolving fans, and have shots both professionally weathered and in the raw.... That'd get any group of modellers talking their heads off and the Fora with lots of hot topics... and the order books full at the retailers, which is the objective after all!

But then again, its not up to me :)


PS: Think of the buzz and email generation if Hornby had the courage to break the traditional timing and approach and said ""We'll release a new model at each of the following small regional shows this year, with the full line-up on parade and we'll have additional "secret" exclusive liveries for initial sale at Warley at the end of the year... The press would attend a wider band of shows, the public would travel to more of them and the retailers local to each of those events could reap the benefit.... with Warley also a winner as there's still a "special release event" happening.

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The manufacturers have stopped releasing pre-production shots because they were seeing the model being torn to bits on internet forums and certain elements of the press for months on end over percieved inaccuracies which didn't make it into the production model.

Hornby have actually been quite clever with this release - they've snuck under the radar and got it out without months of heated threads about whether the cab roof is right or wrong or whether its angular enough , complete with declarations that the (unreleased, pre-production) model is a disgrace/"damages the hobby" and the poster won't be buying any after seeing the photo etc etc etc

Relaistically there is a huge gap in gate between the 5 big shows with attendances from 10,000 - 19,000 and the next band down with gates from 1500-3000. Hornby and Bachmann normally only do the very big shows and simply are not going trundle out every weekend to Spalding, Taunton, Leamington , Shipley, Southwold , Wigan etc etc etc [ I believe Hornby do Folkestone as it's on the doorstep, but not York and Bachmann do Hull through a connection]

As far as I'm concerned a model is released when modellers can get their grubby mitts on it

So what are the views on the model . Have they got the cabs right? Is it as good as the 60? How does it run?
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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 7 Dec 2007, 11:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... And by embracing the electronic medium instead of treating it as a partial enemy. ..
There is a major problem here, and one that is more severe than the existing problems with print media.

Looking at a photograph is not the same as looking at the object, naively comparing a photograph of the prototype to a photo of the model is not a wholly valid method. This is because at every stage in the process, errors, both geometric and in colour value, occur. At least in a print shop it is possible to compare model and printed photo-reproduction. Once an image is on the net, you are at the mercy of unknown equipment for the final reproduction. How many people actually attempt any assessment of their PC screen for geometric errors and colour reproduction? Very few indeed: most are unaware that such things actually influence what they see. I laugh out loud when I read posts comparing a livery colour between this and that on-line images. It is as soon possible to assess the flavour of two different oranges by looking at their photographs.

The principle of embracing the net is one I heartily support, but it has to be done intelligently. If to include photographs, at least provide image pairs of prototype and model from the same perspective. Address criticisms made of previous products by explaining how it was done differently (hopefully better) this time. Be up front about uncertainties in exactly how a livery (or indeed the whole item) really looked if there is no longer an extant 'genuine ' prototype. Explain frankly where a production technique limitation has forced compromise on some aspect of the model's appearance or performance. Likewise describe any aspects where the need to get the model round a 2nd radius curve has required variation away from the prototype appearance. In short: as far as possible tell the whole story.
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QUOTE (34C @ 7 Dec 2007, 22:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The principle of embracing the net is one I heartily support, but it has to be done intelligently. If to include photographs, at least provide image pairs of prototype and model from the same perspective.

Embracing has to be done literally - show fear or reaction and it'll backfire, but I didn't suggest a whole model in clear profile early, I suggested lots of teasers. Intelligent reaction in the positive and ignoring the negative works fine - but one "bite at a bad rection ad its a death of a thousand cuts.

As to the colour reproduction - Nada. My pre-model business history was as marketing director of a large exceptionally successful Japanese brand and these things can be made to work for you not against you. Ducking the issue is no way to show leadership.

QUOTE (Ravenser @ 7 Dec 2007, 22:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hornby have actually been quite clever with this release - they've snuck under the radar

There is nothing clever at all about avoiding publicity instead of managing it properly. As to the shows I was thinking spreading them geographically to the better regionals such as York, Nottingham etc etc, not the church hall events.

Release = real world presentation closely followed by being on the shelves.... As to the marketing work its all over and done with before it hits the stores if its done right. Marketing is the things that take it from evaluation of potential thru initial concept thru hopefully clever presentation to the point of acceptance... Distribution into a willing market is just the final "sales" chapter of the strategy.

As to the model, I couldn't care less so to speak - I was commenting on the lack of vision and proactive strategy + P-poor marketing presentation I see from the Model railway brands, not what is probably a very, very good but slightly imperfect model, as most of their "fully new" products of late have been....

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Ravenser is making a valid point about the model sneaking in under the radar as Hornby have not advertised this model at all in any of the magazines. It has simply appeared without any fanfare and before any magazine has had the chance to get their hands on a review sample. This could be a new low cost marketing strategy that Hornby are trying to see if marketing money actually needs to be spent promoting new models. If it is seen that there is no percieved benefit in spending ££££ to promote a new model then Hornby will chanel the marketing budget into other areas. I consider Hornby are experimenting and who knows, they might even try a few of the tricks mentioned here in due course!

Happy modelling
Wasn't it reviwed in the last Hornby mag?

You are right. The new kid on the block did offer the first review and basically said it was Hornby's finest D & E loco and maybe even the best ever UK D & E loco!

Happy modelling
Hello Gary

I dont think they would ever sneak it in under the radar deliberatly. they run the serious risk of their new product not making a big enough impact.

I must also admit to being completly underwhelmed buy the prorotype. to mee its another box on wheels and this one is too close to the better looking 47.

The fact that they have continued production of the old one so that both are in the same catalogue shows me it must be a good seller for them.
So has anyone else seen one in the flesh and what do they think of it ? Does anyone apart from Hornby magazine think this is the finest ever British D+E model? Do people agree with HM it is better than the 60 (and presumably therefore better than the Bachmann 66) and if so why.

How many will it pull?

I still can't believe we are a week after the first sight of the production model, the things are winging their ways to modellers and nobody has an opinion on whether it is good , bad or indifferent

This is a new 4mm RTR Type 5 diesel, for goodness sake - it punches all the hot buttons . By this stage in the proceedings we should have had a couple of major flame wars on several forums as to its merits and the launch of several personal D+E feuds as a result result of them... Instead its like someone has unplugged the hobby at the wall

I happen to share some of pedro's views on the real things - its a 47 on steriods, and I'm most unlikely to get one personally for that reason . But still this must be the first new diesel loco in over a decade to arrive without comment
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I gave some limited first impressions in post 19 of this thread, since then due to a family crisis I've not had the chance to chip it, but it has just done a few more laps in analogue mode.

The sqeaking has got much worse and before I run it much further I need to find my oil, which has been misplaced after a move. Reading threads on other forums this squeking is a common problem, which suggests that they have either forgotten to lubricate the entire batch, or are using a new lubricant that quite frankly hasn't travelled well.

The Model Rail review in the January issue also had the squeaking problem with both locos that they tested. Some have had problems with the headlights, but mine was not affected.

I am trying not to let the squeaking colour my overall opinion of the loco, though clearly out of the box it does not match the near-silent smooth running qualities of the 50, 31, and 60. Many less experienced owners are also going to have problems successfully re-lubricating the model, so it probably is going to be an issue for Hornby.

Physically as a model it does look superb, it possibly is the finest OO diesel yet. Twin working roof fans, opening doors, nice directional lighting. On the downside, all the handrails are plastic like the Class 60, and the lighting is a slight retrograde from the 50 for example, in that the forward marker lights and th centrail 'laser' headlight appear to come from the same bright white LED. Personally I think that the lighting is more effective when the marker lights are yellow LEDs and the 'laser' headlight is a bright white LED, like on the Hornby 50 and most Bachmann 37s.

How does it compare to the Bachmann 66. Well this week I also received a new Bachmann 66/9 in Stobart livery. This has several fine tweaks from earlier versions, not least yellow LED cab lights, which in DCC mode can be operated separately from the main directional lighting. These are very effective, but you cannot operate each individual cab light, they are either both on or both off. The finish of the loco is superb, as is the running quality straight out of the box. The Stobart livery is exciting too, in my opinion. Not quite as much fine detail as the 56, but then they are models of two different prototypes. The main problem with Bachmann 66s, in my opinion, is that only 2 of the three headlight/marker lights are lit. On this version only the centre top and bottom left on the no.1 end. No longer switchable between night and day, instead a switch underneath enables or disables the tail lights. The Hornby 60 forward lighting is better, with the dimmer 3rd headlamp lit.

Hope this helps, I will post pictures when the family situation improves.

Best Regards
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Some time ago there was some discussion on "factory lubrication".

The manufacturer,be they Hornby, Bachmann, Fleischmann, Roco or whoever are in a diffecult position, no matter where the models are made. If they provide enough lubrication in the factory for, say 20 hours running they run the risk of the lubrication contaminating the body/detail during transit. If, however they err on the side of caution then the end user will have to do the lubrication. Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

Roco, for example emphasise that the end user is responsible for final lubrication (& also light running in) before any use other than initial testing. In my opinion, that is the best way all round - the collectors do not have to worry & the end user can use their favourite lubricant - this does. of course depend on how diffecult it is to gain access to the relevant parts.
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