Ten-part series goes behind the scenes at Hornby to show ‘A Model World’

Hornby: A Model World airing on the Yesterday channel (Image Hornby/Yesterday)

A new TV series will be going behind the scenes at Hornby.

The 10-part series will air on Monday nights at 9pm on Yesterday, from October 11 and all episodes will be available for catch-up on UKTV Play.

Hornby opens it doors to show the lengths its team of designers and engineers go to in scaling down locomotives, cars, aircraft and more to produce replica models as near perfect as possible.

Photo John Horton

Viewers will see Britain’s best model layout builders creating miniature masterpieces in lofts and sheds with enthusiasts spending hundreds of hours building perfect replicas of towns, villages and landscapes for their locos to travel through.

From century old steam engines to cutting edge racing cars, each programme follows the process from drawing board to perfect mini replica. The series observes the ups and downs of the design process as the teams attempt to get the all-important detail spot on, whether it’s perfecting the sound of a 1930’s steam loco or the stitching on a First World War fighter plane.

Simon Kohler from Hornby

In the first episode, the Hornby team go back to their past when they decide to launch a metal diecast replica of a 1940’s steam locomotive, the Merchant Navy, General Steam Navigation. It’s a passion project for Development Director Simon Kohler who talks of his brother getting one for Christmas as a child.

The series isn’t the first time film crews have been at the Margate-based firm.

James May at Hornby Photo John Horton

In 2019 Hornby Hobbies featured in a two-episode documentary by former Top Gear presenter James May.

James May’s Big Trouble in Model Britain, introduced and narrated by the model train enthusiast followed a year inside Hornby Hobbies.

It looked at a company as it faced massive financial challenges and chatted to model train and plane obsessives, both inside and outside the company, all of whom desperately needed the company to survive.

Hornby marked the return of office staff to its historic Margate site in 2019 with the opening of its new showrooms.

Hornby moved distribution to Hersden in 2014 and office functions to Discovery Park in 2015, ending more than 60 years of work in Margate.

But the Scalextric and model train giant returned to the Ramsgate Road site and now has expansive trade showrooms and a range of new products.


Yesterday is on Freeview 26, Sky 155, Virgin 129, Freesat 159, BT/Plusnet/TalkTalk/YouView 26.

Yesterday +1 – Freeview: 74, Sky: 255, Virgin: 200


  1. Readers might be interested to know that 35011, the REAL General Steam Navigation locomotive still exists and is being restored to its original, air-smoothed condition near Swindon. I believe she features in the first episode.
    See Website for Society details. http://www.35011gsn.co.uk.
    Also on Facebook.
    New members would be very welcome.

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