You can see all of these things at the Hornby Visitor Centre! This is a strange place in the middle of an industrial estate (opposite Halfords and B&Q) tacked on to the side of the Hornby Models HQ. It is weird, but strangely fascinating. On the day I visited a coach trip arrived – hmmm, not exactly the sort of place you’d expect coach trips of elderly people (mainly women) to visit!
Hornby are famous for their model trains, many a small boy has coveted a Hornby train set over the decades, and equally many much bigger boys now play, no sorry I mean collect them. Oddly, for all it’s expertise in making model railways the layouts they had on display were really disappointing. I have visited a few model rail enthusiast exhibitions and can honestly say that at any of these there have been better layouts on show both in terms of modelling, and technical expertise. So the trains were disappointing, how would the Scalextric area hold up – well, unfortunately it was probably the most boring track I have seen. A single loop with some buildings and 2 cars. No bridges, cross-over track, no loop-the-loop, not even digital cars! Oh Sad Face! 😦
What was interesting was the museum part of the Centre. In a side room there was a short film running about the history of Hornby with lots of archive footage and around the walls there are cases containing specialist Hornby products including an N Gauge German Train and Carriages plated in 9ct Gold
and James Bond Aston Martin models. Behind the side room is a gallery space dedicated to Hornby collectors models as well as 3 cabinets dedicated to Wallace and Grommit!
My favourite model was the fabulous orange Bond Bug 3 wheeled car from the 1970’s. I used to know several people who owned these weird little cars powered by a Reliant 750cc engine, 2 seater fibreglass moulded cheese wedge-shaped body shell with lift up roof canopy. They were always a head turner wherever they went and of course could be driven without L plates on a motorcycle licence.
The Bond Bug model.
All in all it’s a fairly cheap way of spending an hour if you like models, or if you have kids (even grown up ones) that might enjoy playing with the slot cars. There’s a large tea shop which sells nice cake and importantly, the loos are clean!
“You’re a Wizard Harry”
The Hogwarts Express
Cracking models Grommit!
We all live in a Yellow Submarine
James Bond (again)
yet another superhero – Spiderman
The Fab Four
You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off….. Italian Job mini coopers
To the Bat Cave Robin…urrrr Robin……..
Batman (without Robin)