The wizards at Hornby spring a Toy Fair surprise


We thought we'd seen everything in Hornby's recent announcements, but for the London Toy Fair it sprung a final surprise, a Gauge 1 Harry Potter train set.

Produced in conjunction with classic American train maker Lionel, the set features 'Hogwarts Castle' and a pair of coaches. Battery-powered, a remote control handset works the speed and direction of the model and operates a selection of sounds including phrases from the famous films. Plastic track forming an oval 73" by 50" is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Price for the set is expected to be less than £200.

While on the stand, we took the chance to have a good look at some of the recently-announced models.

The O gauge tinplate 0-4-0 is a 3-rail model aimed at collectors and a celebration of Hornby's earliest days.

Staying with heritage materials, 'Duchess of Atholl' is a real heavyweight thanks to a newly tooled diecast body. Supplied in a Hornby-Dublo box, it's sure to spark some nostalgia for people's first model train.

Children from the 1970s will like another classic, the 9F in year-appropriate packaging. As a bonus, the model includes a replica plate commemorating 'Evening Star' as the final steam locomotive built for British Rail, a miniature of the plate fitted to the real locomotive.

A similar replica words plate will also be included in the Peckett also appearing in the 100 year collection.

Moving to road vehicles, there is a classic Dinky delivery van very much in demand on the second-hand market and now it's back in the Hornby range along with other "classic" vehicles of interest to the modeller and collectors alike.

Humbrol weathering powder supplies have been limited in recent months, but this situation has been resolved with the powder set to appear in new packaging.

Airfix can look forward to tie-ins with the new 'Top Gun' film this year, examples of which were on show. There were also early samples of some 'Quickbuild' items, including the Ford pick-up truck aimed at the US market.

Appropriately enough for a company celebrating an important birthday, there was cake and chocolate. Maybe if anyone could resist eating them, these are collectables for the future?