Hatton's A3: First Look


Hatton's exclusive commissions of these 'Pacific' icons have arrived with the retailer and customers. Tony Wright was on-hand to capture the atmosphere.

On Friday November 8, Hatton’s HQ in Widnes was the centre for the official launch of the firm’s O gauge RTR A3s, produced by Heljan. These splendid models have been commissioned by Hatton's and have been built in China. With the bodywork made in plastic, it’s the first time a large steam-outline RTR O gauge locomotive has been available in this form, and, at the price of £750.00, the models represent outstanding value for money. There are all-metal RTR alternatives, but at a considerably higher price.

The individual locomotives are available in a range of different liveries, ranging from LNER green, LNER black, BR blue and BR green, with or without smoke deflectors (as appropriate) and with a non-corridor, high-sided tender or 1928-style corridor tender (again, as appropriate). Single or double chimneys, plus round or streamlined domes are also available – all correct. All are left-hand drive.

Hattons A3

The first customers were invited to collect their models and were shown how to ‘release’ them from the substantial (and necessary) packaging (and shown how to put them back!) and then were invited to run their brand new A3s on the test track provided. All ran superbly (the locomotives, not the customers!) and every new owner I spoke to was highly-delighted. Richard also offered guided tours of the premises as well, which were very well-received.

All in all it was a most-successful day, and my thanks must go to Richard and his staff for putting on such a well-organised event and for making my wife and me so welcome. I’ve helped in a very small way with the development of these new O Gauge A3s, and I’ve been invited up again to discuss the forthcoming RTR O gauge A4s and the Gresley carriages, examples of which were in the shop’s display cabinets.

Hattons A3

There are exciting things to come from Hattons, aided with the confidence coming from a first-class business. I consider it a privilege to be invited to assist, in a small way, with future projects.