Following the recent relaunch of the Hornby Hobbies Collector Club, former South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SE&CR) H Class 0-4-4T No 263 is now available to pre-order as the exclusive club model (#R3648); available at £99.99 (including P&P), delivery is expected October'18.
The Collector Club relaunch was widely expected to be announced at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition'17 when No 263, preserved on the Bluebell Railway, was in attendance but failed to materialise.
The H Class has proved extremely popular having been introduced as part of the 2017 range - the initial release consisted of three versions with the SE&CR (No 308 #R3538) and British Railways (BR) Late (No 31518 #R3539) having sold out and the pre-order allocation for the Southern Railway (SR) (No 1324 #R3540) variant likewise. No 263 will be a limited edition of 1,500.
Making No 263 the exclusive club model is a clever ploy, certainly I wouldn't have joined otherwise - a quarterly magazine, 0-4-0T locomotive, etc (at a cost of £28.00) may appeal to a younger audience, but it's difficult to see why older generations would deem it necessary otherwise. As well, the delayed relaunch of the Collector Club has meant that more experienced modellers wanting No 263 will likely have already renumbered and modified No 308 #R3538 to fit their requirement.
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