Hornby’s latest version Brighton Belle now available
Hornby’s latest rendition of their mostly excellent Brighton Belle model (R3606 power cars pack and R4871 trailers pack) in umber and cream with small yellow warning panels, unit 3053 in 1967 condition, is now on sale. There are some differences to previous production runs. At last there are curtains at the windows! The roof boards now come ready fitted and the unit is no longer coupled with electrically conducting handed couplings. One bogie on each car now has electrical pick-ups for the table lamps, which illuminate whenever track power is on with both DC and DCC. This creates additional drag, though the power car can cope with this. The models, which now have NEM coupler pockets, come factory fitted with continental type interference couplings, which I have found as fiddly and prone not to couple correctly as the previous electrically conducting couplers. Slim tension link couplers are provided as an alternative but they do not couple the cars so closely. I feel substituting NEM fit Kadee couplers coming on. However, this new coupling arrangement does allow them to be loco hauled in a VSOE/Belmond Pullman fashion. These models continue to be let down by cheap stick on headcode stencils which are too big for the headcode boxes and the numeral is not positioned correctly. Otherwise a stunning Southern EMU model from Hornby.
The version with a small yellow warning panel is, I know, not to everyone’s cup of tea, in fact some think it is a travesty, but it is my favourite so I am glad Hornby have at last produced it. Opportunities to run this realistically with another of Hornby’s 5Bel models do not exist because the paint dates do not match to run it with their early 1960s version unit 3052 and their later blue & grey livery version is also of unit 3053, so they cannot co-exist. There is still a large gap in Brighton Belle existence, namely from January 1937 to their refurbishment in 1955/6 (admittedly for some of this period they were in store during World War 2), and then the short gap until the early 1960s, to be modelled that I know some modellers are eagerly waiting for.
Please view our review of previous Hornby Brighton Belle production (opens in a new window). For the history of these units please view the comprehensive Blood and Custard website 5Bel page (opens in a new window).
Colin Duff. Modelling Officer.