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Hornby goes Steampunk in 2020


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11 minutes ago, Talltim said:

No-one has commented that the starter track pack isn’t a circle/oval!

 

It's a pretty smart concept, and I think it would be a good addition to the main range. A lot of modellers don't want or don't have space for a whole oval. It's kind of ironic, this range isn't aimed at "serious" modellers and yet it has a starter track pack that's highly suitable for a "serious" micro layout.

 

8 minutes ago, Glorious NSE said:

Hands up who thought Smokey Joe was fast enough already without streamlining it. :laugh:

And, rhetorical question of the day - is a diesel really steampunk?  :devil:

Seriously - an interesting range, will watch with interest.

 

 

There is such a thing as dieselpunk, although that tends to be more streamlined and Art Deco. Think Metropolis or the recent BBC adaptation of His Dark Materials.

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49 minutes ago, HonestTom said:

 

 

- Use already-existing tooling as the basis of the range. For instance, the Dean and Caley Singles. These are already steampunky. Maybe give them a more brass-and-steel livery or an elaborate Victorian livery. If possible, perhaps reintroduce the Triang Davey Crockett. For coaches, the 4-wheelers are okay, but I'd consider the old Rocket coaches, the clerestory coaches or, again, the Triang Davey Crockett coaches. For wagons, anything that could pass for pre-Grouping - I'd suggest the Hull and Barnsley van and the old 5-plank for starters, and I've always thought that 4-wheeled car transporter wagon that Hornby did in lurid orange had the look of a carriage wagon.

 

 

 

 

The singles would work well, but many of the toolings you list there were weighed in by the previous management.

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Although I have never been a punk, of the steam or any other variety, this is an interesting idea and I hope it succeeds for Hornby. I do wonder what kind of outlet there is to sell this range, given the lack of High Street stores selling model trains these days ?

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3 minutes ago, papagolfjuliet said:

 

The singles would work well, but many of the toolings you list there were weighed in by the previous management.

 

I wondered if that might be the case. Shame, I thought quite a few of the old Triang wagons could be made steampunky with minimal modification. The pickle car, for instance. And I'm sure plenty of the Battle Space wagons have potential.

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Steampunk? Not my thing from a model railway perspective, but I can see why it might be popular, and why people might enjoy it.

 

Bassett- Lowke? Have these people got no knowledge or sensitivity!?!? W J B-L effectively invented model railways, and using the trademark/name that modern Hornby own for this particular purpose is crass in the extreme, and I can't see that it will help sales in the way that it might if applied to an 0 or larger gauge range.

 

Please, for goodness sake Messrs. Hornby, rethink this branding. You do have a sense of history, otherwise you wouldn't be commissioning a range of No.1 Tender engine replicas for your centenary.

 

If you don't know what to do with the TM for the time being, license it for a nominal fee to one of the several parties who could use and would treat it with dignity.

 

This is real BL steampunk, with plenty of brass. From the very early years, while WJB-L was still guiding German toy makers towards scale proportions.

 

 

2C9B93EF-AF71-4E4D-9AED-14FC807018D8.jpeg

Edited by Nearholmer
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Use already-existing tooling as the basis of the range. For instance, the Dean and Caley Singles. These are already steampunky. Maybe give them a more brass-and-steel livery or an elaborate Victorian livery. If possible, perhaps reintroduce the Triang Davey Crockett. For coaches, the 4-wheelers are okay, but I'd consider the old Rocket coaches, the clerestory coaches or, again, the Triang Davey Crockett coaches. For wagons, anything that could pass for pre-Grouping - I'd suggest the Hull and Barnsley van and the old 5-plank for starters, and I've always thought that 4-wheeled car transporter wagon that Hornby did in lurid orange had the look of a carriage wagon.

 

I think you've hit it on the head for me... I applaud Hornby trying to move into a new market, and frankly I'd consider myself a fan of the genre (and have built Steampunk stuff in the garden scales), but I really get uneasy with the 'it's Steampunk if you glue some unnecessary watch parts on anything' attitude.  Smacks of exploitation of the genre.  As the above poster said, a blinged-up livery for the Single with a rake of vintage-looking, elaborately lined carriages perhaps, something more subtle, might have been better.  Still, maybe this is just the attention-grabbing launch and something more advanced or subtle will follow.  

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To me Steampunk is about exaggerated functionality, mixing Victorian heavy engineering with Art Deco style, and what does all the stuff stuck on the outside do? While the clothing is supposed to mirror the metal and mechanisms the mechanisms themselves are supposed to be functional to me ;) 

Great idea but why try something so basic, what happened to exciting? It didn’t need to be much more expensive to be truly exciting. 

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2 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

To me Steampunk is about exaggerated functionality, mixing Victorian heavy engineering with Art Deco style, and what does all the stuff stuck on the outside do? While the clothing is supposed to mirror the metal and mechanisms the mechanisms themselves are supposed to be functional to me ;) 

Great idea but why try something so basic, what happened to exciting? It didn’t need to be much more expensive to be truly exciting. 

 

The aesthetic here looks to me more Mad Max than steampunk. In a sense, it feels like the opposite of the Victorian aesthetic. The Victorians took functional machinery and designed and decorated it to look beautiful. Think about the pumping engines at Kew Bridge, whose cylinders have for no apparent functional reason been designed to resemble Roman columns. Or the sewers of London, with their magnificent vaults that would only be seen by a handful of toshermen. Or, more relevantly to this hobby, the elaborate liveries of pre-Grouping locomotives. Whereas what we see here is machinery that's been made to look less elegant, more thrown together.

 

The thing is, I don't want to attack Laurie Calvert - I think his layouts are a lot of fun - but I don't think his work is a good example of the steampunk aesthetic. I'd say a better example would be something like Steamboy or The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (terrible movie, great design work). Or, better still, go back to the source and look at real Victorian and Edwardian machinery. As I said above, it seems bizarre to me that they're ploughing all this money into steampunk trains when they've had Victorian stuff in their range for over 50 years.

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I will be interested to see what retail outlets this range ends up in. Probably not for steampunk purists but great crossover with fantasy/warcraft/roleplaying/Dr Who/Jules Verne type of thing. 

 

Definitely an intro to this world rather than for steampunk rivetcounters. Buildings and wagons are perfect for fettling and messing around with. A good idea, lets see if it works... 

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20 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

To me Steampunk is about exaggerated functionality, mixing Victorian heavy engineering with Art Deco style, and what does all the stuff stuck on the outside do? While the clothing is supposed to mirror the metal and mechanisms the mechanisms themselves are supposed to be functional to me ;) 

Great idea but why try something so basic, what happened to exciting? It didn’t need to be much more expensive to be truly exciting. 

It is toe in the water without significant investment - and the paint and other add on sets are there to facilitate modelling with these items as a base. My guess is there will be some form of associated media content with ideas on what can be done. 

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This to me hits wide of the steampunk mark, as already noted its more Mad Max. No need for Victorian functional elegance, just ram on any old guff and it'll do, that's Steampunk afterall innit...

 

No, stick an oversized Westinghouse pump on the Single, maybe some condensing pipes and jazz it up with an ornate Victorianesque livery and do a similar job on the clerestories. Simple, and you can imagine the function the Westinghouse serves. Or even resurrect the Triang Davy Crockett and doll it up like the Docs time machine from Back to the Future 3 for heavens sake, that's more steampunk than this! Its not just about sticking pointless pipes all over everything and calling it job done! If they're intent on going this route, they're missing a trick...where is the beard oils and wax? Or at the very least some rancid coffee that's been through a civets backside! Its about the same level of wide of the mark generalisation afterall.

 

I think I'll stick to my steam turbine and manifold (actually just a cosmetically restored truck turbo and tubed headers, but it fits the look) displayed in the front room alongside the bottled 'medical samples'.

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53 minutes ago, James Harrison said:

Um, yeah. No. We steampunks have a term for this sort of dross. Chasing the brass pound. Also, not entirely steampunk is what they think it is.

 

I did (gently) make the point about 'brass pound chasing' and mentioned that steampunk was rather more free-form than one-man's interpretation  (fun though Laurie's stuff is, it's not 'my'  steampunk).

 

But if it gets steampunks thinking about incorporating model railways into their creative makes then that's a good thing, likewise if railway modellers become 'steam-curious' and take an interest in steampunk off the back of this range, then it's a win-win, surely?

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I was conversing with my 12 year old nephew whilst at Warley and sending him photo's of layouts I was seeing. Most of them he was pretty blase about but when I sent him one of  the Steampunk layout he was blown away  - very interested and wanted video and full description. So its safe to say that this certainly appeal to a younger audience (and potential market) at least). 

 

Note to self - keep the layout room door locked when he next visits lest he gets in and converts my Duchess to something unearthly in my absence  lol

Edited by MikeParkin65
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This lazy idea of sticking cogs on things and calling it steampunk was the reason I dropped out of steampunk after few years (having been there at the first three "Asylums" in Lincoln).

But that was more than half a decade ago. Surely Hornby have their finger closer to the pulse than this?

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3 hours ago, HonestTom said:

 

 

As an example of someone who I think does steampunk railways right, I'd recommend Chris Walas. He borrows heavily from the work of Wells, Verne, Lovecraft, Twain and other Victorian and early 20th century writers, as well as messing around with his own ideas to create a coherent (and fun) mythos of his own.

 

 

Chris Walas' models are brilliant!

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As I say, I love the idea of a steampunk range.

 

I welcome the diversity of imaginative layouts, be they steampunk, sci-fi or from the pages of Tolkien or Pratchett.  There is a rich vein of fantasy that has barely been tapped. 

 

But, what is the steampunk aesthetic as applied to railway equipment?

 

The field is diverse, and, somewhat bedeviled by the fact that US outline stock follows such a different aesthetic from British outline.  The picture is varied and confused.

 

Here are some of the many examples for those befuddled by the genre ....

 

train-car-steampunk-steam-locomotive-train.jpg.698580bc83de2cfe479c22528e8e2acc.jpgimgbin-steampunk-train-motor-vehicle-steam-locomotive-VAer15yZQCjAJdkrX3SutS1kD.jpg.c4dc9518dde28c3e6dac89c4b1f4055a.jpg

ao_frontsite_2609.jpg6AFD6AAF-5694-4399-9488-C9A625C87DD1Zoom.jpg.896bbd76182ba1faf0cfb3a1cd085b33.jpg

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Quite a varied bunch, though what I think they have in common is some exaggeration of forms, which results in something more profound, distinctive and coherent than is achieved by merely sticking bits of random junk to trainset  equipment.

 

Here Hornby seems to have equated steampunk with the work of Laurie Calvert.  That is a somewhat limited interpretation and not necessarily the best choice.

 

I probably do lean more towards the Victorian sci-fi end of things, and I'm afraid that my Steampunk locos would probably come out looking like Cramptons (an essentially outlandish type by any standards) or something fearsome by Beattie for the South Western!

 

Clyde-2-4-0-loco-Beattie-London-and-South-Western.jpg.cd1e95e132ff11233b7d084988c14aa2.jpg

 

So, it's not one readily definable look and not one easy to capture.  Yet, in a round about way, what I'm saying is that I do not really like the Scrapyard Appliqué aesthetic Hornby has chosen, and prefer something a little more elegant.  But, each to his own. 

 

  vUWV2Tm.jpg.b90812dce73f0ad024cc98a21b54ff49.jpgjeff-wayne-jeff-waynes-musical-version-of-war-of-the-worlds-the-new-generation-23-cd.jpg.5fb759addd725a51963eaa47a003e27e.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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