Hornby Class 08 (TT:120)

11 July 2023
Howard Smith examines the most versatile release yet for TT:120 from the manufacturer.

Compact industrials have sold well for model manufacturers recently in 4mm:1ft scale / OO gauge. It's odd that we've seen so few produced for 2mm:1ft scale from model manufacturers given today's motor technology, but at least we're treated to a small prototype in Hornby's new TT:120 range from the outset – the Class 08.

Arguably one of the most – if not the most – useable and useful prototype chosen, the manufacturer treats us to both original and later-build variants of the Class from delivery of the first batch of models. 

Released in three liveries as its first run – with hopefully more to follow – we find BR blue for the 1970s to 1990s era modeller, and DB Schenker red and GBRf/HN Rail for the 2010s era. I’d argue that at a BR green livery wouldn’t have gone amiss upon launch, however, given the wider appeal to steam-era modellers. If it's character and detail that you want, this model has it in plentiful supply, future-proofing it for the foreseeable. 

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Hornby Class 08 TT:120

Reviewed for the August 2023 issue of BRM, out now digitally, here are five things we love about the model:

  • The connecting rod bolts are scaled-down perfectly. Hornby's new conrod spanner (TT8038) is designed to remove these with ease should the need arise.
  • Both early and later builds are represented. 08489 features square cab windows with a single door handle, with HNRail 08818 featuring the later rounded-style, with two handles, making cab access for crews easier when entering.
  • Correctly, later builds also feature different ‘whistles’, revised battery box location with the addition to the left-hand side, and reduced air grilles.
  • All locomotives are smooth runners, with six-pin decoder interfaces, and livery-wise are almost perfect – we noticed a minor wobble to the tampo-printed cab wasp stripes across a running light owing to its placement.
  • I’m told that this wasn’t from Hornby’s first tooling of the model for the scale, and that it had to go ‘back to the drawing board’. What has resulted is arguably the best-looking model of the prototype, regardless of scale.

With many liveries to choose from, this is surely a mainstay in the new range, yielding great models for years to come. With a small number of the prototypes being shipped to the continent, I wonder if there's appetite for these niche variants, too?