Wednesday, February 15, 2017


SOLID PROGRESS ON THE Hornby Group turnaround plan is proceeding well, according to the company’s latest report.

SMN report: Structural changes to the business have been carried out, and key European operations will be transferred to the UK in the coming months.

Importantly, product ranges have been thinned down. 2017 brochures have been printed, published, and distributed. And they have earned enthusiastic reactions from trade and customers alike. 

Hornby property in the seaside town of Margate, Kent, has been sold, the company now aiming to lease part of it, so the Hornby Visitor Centre can continue.

Hornby CEO Steve Cooke reported: “…Our improved financial position is evidence of the success of the first stage of the turnaround.  Hornby is well positioned to continue its transition to profitability and higher cash generation."

So it looks like familiar names like Airfix kits, Hornby trains, and Scalextric slot cars will continue, though what will happen with European brands, such as Jouef and Rivarossi, remains unclear.

So far as SMN is concerned, that’s all good news, because new and upcoming Airfix releases look to be among the best the company has ever produced. Click here for previous SMN news on Hornby.

Hornby's roots go back to 1901, when founder Frank Hornby gained a patent of Meccano, the metal-and-screw model construction system. Hornby trains were first produced in 1920, being powered by clockwork (below) and made largely of tinplate. Even so, they achieved decent standards of accuracy and are hugely popular in today's collector market.

Colourful art and design marked out this edition (below) of The Book of Hornby Trains and Meccano Products.

Details of the metal bridge detail (below) were painted with style and panache by an illustrator of the time.

The biplane (below) was depicted as a Meccano machine, which looked great even if was a definite non-flyer.

The sports car and speedboat (below) were part of the Hornby 'reproduce anything in miniature' philosophy.

The 1959 issue of the Book of Trains (below) adopted a more realistic illustration approach, as befitted the accuracy of trains and equipment in the expanding Hornby Dublo range.

The Hornby Visitor Centre is a must-visit for any SMNer who can make it to Hornby's base town of Margate, UK. Appropriately enough, Margate is known for being a family-style vacation spot, making the Visitor Centre a prime local attraction. 

For art fans, the nearby Turner Contemporary gallery showcases contemporary and historical art. Well worth a look, even if the modernist seafront building is not exactly the cutest building in the world.   

Click here to visit the Hornby Visitor Centre, Margate, UK.