If you’re of certain age, and even perhaps if you’re not, the eye-catching imagery on this recent Hornby Eurostar train set will be instantly recognized. If you were thinking this was a fantasy paint scheme, it is not. British Rail Class 373 and are early 1990s French design and also part of that country’s TGV fleet. While this OO-scale release provides two end or power cars with two coaches, the prototype trains in the U.K. were of two general consists. A trio of “Capitol” sets included power cars with 18 cars between the end units, and north of London sets which included 14 cars with two end units. The trains received a 21st century update in 2004 with new interiors and other enhancements. This Eurostar remains in the pool of train sets operating via the Chunnel connecting the U.K. and Europe by rail, and other routes. This amazing Beatles “Yellow Submarine” livery came about in 1999. Band members Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison participated in the creation of a wrap for Eurostar 3005/3006 train sets featuring artwork inspired by the 1968 “Yellow Submarine” motion picture. This high-speed billboard helped generate awareness for the reissue of the movie and a new remixed compact disc release. The wrap project cost more than 100,000 pounds and required four months to complete. The vinyl sections, under the supervision of Apple Corporation’s Art Director, Fiona Andreanelli, took two weeks to print and most of a week to apply to the exterior of the train cars. In this appearance, the train operated for three months between London, Paris and Brussels. This was reportedly the first time an advertising wrap was used on this equipment. The prototype “Yellow Submarine” wrap saw application across 18 passenger cars in the 3005/3006 train sets.
ABOVE and BELOW: The animated 1968 “Yellow Submarine” motion picture served as the inspiration for a 1999 Eurostar Class 373 train and this amazing Hornby OO-scale model train set. This is one of the end driver cars provided with this release. Each side of all four models in this set feature unique artwork. You’re looking at both sides of the non-powered driver car model with the famous submarine, four Beatles, and their “Nowhere Man” friend (above), while the opposite features John Lennon’s character and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (below).
Hornby’s OO “Yellow Submarine”
For its reproduction of this interesting prototype, Hornby utilized existing tooling for its OO-scale Eurostar equipment and applied the wild and colorful murals across power end car and coach car models. Hornby states its effort is inspired by the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” prototype and not intended to fully replicate the longer and more extensive actual train of 1999. This review presents Hornby’s train set offering, which one of several releases for this series. The release is a starter set with everything necessary to begin operating model trains. The provided consist includes a powered end car, non-powered end car, and two coach cars. Each model includes unique decoration on both sides.
Those collectors or operators wanting the train set models only have an option to purchase Hornby’s “train pack” set (R3829). I looked and found TrainWorld (trainworld.com) listed this track pack set for a bit more than $100. While browsing TrainWorld’s site, I also found a OO-scale Hornby-made Beatles “Yellow Submarine” wagon (R60011) available for reservation ($21.99) for an expected spring delivery. Checking Hornby’s website (us.hornby.com), I find there’s two-unit coach “car pack” (R40001). The OO wagon is a stand alone model, but features the design elements and I’m picking it up to go with this set; the car pack I consider a “must have” to expand the four-unit Eurostar train set.
ABOVE: Both end cars include the same base tooling and both come equipped with a pin connector to mate with the articulated center coach car models. This is the powered end car, which operated smoothly and attained scale speeds of near 200 mph. The chassis (below) is plastic with twin black die-cast metal weights. Note the inclusion of an 8-pin socket for apparent DCC control. This model includes no lighting (either for car interiors or headlight on the power driver cars), a future project will be to install LED headlights in the nose and a decoder for digital operation.
The powered end driver unit weighed in at a bit more than 11 ounces. Two screws secure the body shell to the its base. I removed those screws and the shell easily slipped off revealing wires running from the lead truck back to a center board with what appears to be a dummy plug for Digital Command Control (DCC). On both sides of the center electronics board are two solid metal weights. The drive mechanism is mounted in the rear truck with the motor providing direct direct to the geared axles on the rear trucks. Check the provided By The Numbers data and you’ll see that high-speed service is well within this power car’s ability. Low-end speed was average, but a train like this demands some wide-open throttle running and this model did fine racing along my track.
Watch a video from Hornby discussing this train and related releases: