In previous years Hornby have produced a full size, detailed catalogue containing pictures and details of all of their currently available products, including all the rolling stock, track, accessories, controllers and also the ‘Skaledale’ range of buildings. However they have confirmed that for 2016 (and, presumably, future years too) they will NOT be producing a full catalogue. Instead they have produced the ‘Hornby Handbook 2016’ [Hornby Item No. R8153].
This is a ‘bookazine’, roughly the same size as the monthly Hornby magazine, and a ‘softback’ rather than a hardback book. It runs to 140 pages, and does contain some details of all the new releases for 2016, but not all the items which were introduced in previous years but are still available.
It does also contain various articles, including some on subjects like building baseboards, laying track and ballasting which would be useful for beginners, so it may be a worthwhile purchase in itself; but it has caused a storm of protests (not least on the forum on Hornby’s own website!) because many people consider that it’s a poor substitute for a full catalogue.
To add insult to injury, at the Model Rail Scotland exhibition in Glasgow in February, Bachmann were giving away free copies of their full 2016 catalogue (normally selling for about £8) but Hornby were still charging for their Yearbook! (I don’t know whether the same applied at more recent exhibitions.)
Many modellers have built up a collection of Hornby catalogues spanning many years, so they are disappointed that there won’t be one for 2016. Old Hornby catalogues in mint condition can fetch a good price on eBay (even more so for original Triang, Hornby-Dublo or Triang-Hornby catalogues)!
Hornby have now produced a much smaller ‘catalogue’, in an “easy reference pamphlet style” [Hornby Item No. R8151]: A5 landscape (approx. 21cm x 15cm), 114 pages.
This only shows details of the new models released in 2016. This was originally intended to only be available to dealers, but they do seem to have listened to the complaints and it is now available to the general public: it can be ordered from Amazon here or various other dealers, although apparently some dealers are giving them away free.
So it remains to be seen whether Hornby will relent and produce a full catalogue for 2017, or just a ‘Hornby Handbook 2017’ and a ‘mini-catalogue’ of new 2017 releases…