The home of Hornby, Bachmann and Heljan user reviews
Hornby Class 20


Graeme Watson



R2762, GHYE (Green, Half Yellow Ends)

Headcode discs (NOT Included)

DCC Ready: 8-pin (Sold Seperately)

Running Number: D8053

Motor: 5 pole skew wound

Made in China



When I first purchased this, I was not too concerned about prototype as I am now, particularly as this is a favourite class of mine. Reasonably captures the look of the Class 20 body, but perhaps a little too much space between the bogies and the central underframe. Paintwork finish is good, but a tiny little bit of paint bleed on the half yellow warning panels, front and back. This model is based on an old Lima tooling; essentially, a Railroad model, but not sold or priced as such. The roof is perhaps too dark a grey; though paint variations within Class in the BR Green diesel area were common.



This features side railings, but no ladder. Cab and body detailing is moulded, as are roof grills. There are rudimentary cab seats present, and nothing more inside. The bogies are bereft of white trim, and yellow wheel axle paintwork. This is certainly less detailed than the Bachmann equivalent. Though this model features a headcode disc arrangement, no discs are included in the box, contrary to the practice of the old Lima models. They look a little "naked" without discs (closed or shut). There is no cab lighting; no "lenses" are included. The lights themselves are painted on.



This loco runs far superiorly than it's Lima ancestor. Performance is its strong point. Despite having the same Lima bodyshell, the motor and chassis are completely re-done. It is smooth, but can run a little too fast for prototype (but that's up to the operator)! It has a good weight to it, and hauls pretty much whatever without a chore. I find it tackles scale gradients and points with ease. Unlike the Bachmann version, there is no "slower" shunting gear in DCC operation.



Wheel cleaning. I find it rarely gets clogged up with the usual "muck". To access the chassis, I removed the buffers; they slide out (don't lose them!). The body is retained by smallish pegs present either side in the central underframe; the body must be gently eased apart and lifted to overcome the extent of these pegs (straightforward). Fitting an 8-pin decoder was a doddle; pop it in, bags of room for the chip to be stored.



A pretty sturdy model, that performs better in operation than it does in detail. At around £50 these days, it's hard not to consider the Bachmann Class 20 instead. The Hornby version reviewed here is more sturdy, and resilient to accidental damage. As it is based on the old Lima tooling, it is ideal for using it as a chassis donor to your old Lima Class 20s, particularly if you have one in a special livery which you wish to see perform well on a digital layout. You may also find it a good project for a respray, and for detailing skills, by adding the missing paint trim on the bogies, and perhaps a simple cab light for DCC operation.


Overall ranking

8/10 Scores an extra point from 7, simply for its performance and reliability.

Review Hornby Bachmann 
Copyright © 2011 RailwayReview.co.uk All Rights Reserved
View the RailwayReview.co.uk Privacy Policy