In 2012 Hornby first announced the Northern Belle Trainpack along with a class 47 in the RailRoad range and a coach pack to go with the trainpack itself. Whilst the RailRoad 47 was released last year (2013) due to factory problems the trainpack wasn't released until 2014 (the year it is as i right this as you could be reading this in 2015 or 2025) and that is 2 years after it was announced.
2 days ago the Northern Belle trainpack and coach pack were finally released but what do i think of the items or in this case item as this is focussing on the trainpack.
During the year it was announced i was excited about this and was considering to get it but now im glad i didn't as i changed my mind drstically why you may ask well.... where do i even begin?
First off theres barely any pictures of what the trainpack actually looks like in the flesh (if you get what i mean) This is the only pic i could find to do with the pack. Not sure what the coaches look like but they've been released before in the past in a trainset and the coaches look half decent. My problem with the pack is to do with the locomotive.
However the reason why i have a problem with the loco is well HAVE YOU SEEN THE PRICE OF THE TRAINPACK? Its not a very good value for money!
The price on Hattons is £134 other shops have it listed for £140 including Hornbys website and one or two places are asking for £108 this pack by all means should not be either of those prices as its a ludicrous amount of money as everything you get in the pack is basic and that includes the class 47 that comes with it.
At the prices of £132 or even £142 and £108 we expect the model to be super detailled because then it is worth it for the locomotive even if the coaches aren't premium ones. But the fact is the locomotive is not super detailled and what annoys me is Hornby stated on their website in the year it was announced they said it would have extensive detail and i see nothing anywhere that looks like any extensive detail of any sort.
Okay they have not used the RailRoad tooling which is poor tooling compared to newer models now as for one thing with the RailRoad 47s is not only do the bogies hang when holding it in the air but the bodyshell is too thin. The Lima tooling they've used is abit better than Hornbys but its still not a perfect model.
However this is by far not the first time this tooling has been released by Hornby
in either 2007 or 2008 (i forget the year... Typical) the Hornby Blue Pullman trainset was released with pretty much the same tooling of the locomotive and coaches. I forget its exact price but i do remember it being no where near as much as £142 or £132 if i remember rightly it was £50 or £65 its now discountinued but for what you get it was well worth it which isn't the case with the Northern Belle trainpack as thats a different kettle of fish altogether.
What stopped Hornby from using a super detail model? Hornby haven't bothered for whatever reason to retool the class 47 instead they keep churning out the ex Lima ones and the old 1980s 47s. Hornby could've introduced an all new form of tooling for the class 47 to make it fit the price or upgrade the Lima tooling by giving it wire handrails, mesh grills, sprung buffers, working lights etc but no they haven't even attempted to change the model what they have changed is the couplings. The original tooling and when it first came out from Hornby used the big fat chunky tension lock couplings that most people dislike (me not one of them) and replaced them with slim tension lock couplings.
What im saying is this. If Hornby could change the couplings on the model why couldn't they change the detail?
Infact lets compare it to another pack.
Here is the Hornby Heritage Rail Express pack that features a model of 71000 Duke of Gloucester and three MK3s. The model of 71000 is pretty much super detailed for as its a new model. The coaches are the new Hornby RailRoad range ones but the loco more than makes up for it. For its price it IS worth it. You only get basic coaches but they look half decent and you get a super detailed model.
With the Northern Belle trainpack you get basic coaches (though decent) and a basic locomotive. Given how basic that pack is it shouldn't be at the cost it is. Giving it comes with a basic model and coaches too it should be a RailRoad model.
The RailRoad range has seen a trainpack in it before infact a few i should say.
Heres one example of those said trainpacks. this is the Silver Link pack which is a RailRoad model. Its okay being in the range as the coaches (which are the wrong ones) are basic and so is the loco. Don't agree on the £160 price giving the other packs in the RR range are NOT that expensive but thats just me.
Basic models belong in the RailRoad range. RailRoad models lack detail because they are made for kids so why they appear in the main range (the premium range) is beyond me because they don't belong in the said range in my opinion. The Northern Belle pack in which case SHOULD be a RailRoad model since it lacks detail from the loco to the coaches.
But to those that are wondering how much it should be priced i'd say about £40 or £50 hell maybe £60 atleast that would be a more resonable price for what you get.