It was generally received with much acclaim when Hornby, at long last (some of us have known it was on the cards for a few years now), announced last December that it was not only going to be producing a Southern 2Bil EMU but that it was already at an advanced stage of production meaning it would be available in the first Quarter of this year. This was considered as good news on a number of counts firstly as it would be a popular model and secondly that some of the supply chain issues that had been a challenge for Hornby over the last few years were being resolved.
One of the issues with the model being produced before any announcement to the market has been made is that production volumes are based totally on estimated figures. Some of the 2Bil train packs have been available at full RRP via Hornby’s concession store Modelzone in advance of other stockists. This appears to be either a new policy or an experiment by Hornby and has unsurprisingly not been popular amongst the other retailers. It now transpires that those other retailers are being told that the quantities that they originally ordered will not be met. In some cases retailers will only receive as little as 50% of their original order. This will likely mean that a number of customers pre-orders will not be able to be fulfilled. We can only surmise from this that Hornby have under estimated the demand for these models.
On a positive note Hornby have to their credit reacted to this and announced a further run of the Train Packs referenced R3162A and R3162AX (DCC fitted version), running numbers TBA, expected to be available in June.
I shall be reviewing the 2Bil models on this blog in due course, and whilst not wanting to steal my own thunder I can say that with the exception of some minor niggles (roof top lighting conduits for one and the trailing car outer bogie another) it is generally a splendid representation of the prototype but more on that later…