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Rainham model railway enthusiast has 'iconic life moment' as Hornby creates his steampunk designs

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 January 2020

Laurie Calvert's first Executor design made in 2012. Picture: Laurie Calvert

Laurie Calvert's first Executor design made in 2012. Picture: Laurie Calvert

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A Rainham model railway enthusiast has had his futuristic steampunk designs patented by the British railway brand Hornby.

The Leysdown Manstonia is the demonstrator model for Hornby in the UK and USA. Picture: Laurie CalvertThe Leysdown Manstonia is the demonstrator model for Hornby in the UK and USA. Picture: Laurie Calvert

Laurie Calvert, a member of the Romford Model Railway Society (RMRS) has designed a range of innovative railway models which were released this month.

The long-established company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Laurie made his first steampunk model in 2012 and took the idea to Hornby in October 2013.

He told the Recorder: "Model railways is a wonderful hobby but it's dying out with the older generation.

Model, Susie being scanned by Jamie in Maidstone Kent, for the model railway figurines. Picture: Laurie CalvertModel, Susie being scanned by Jamie in Maidstone Kent, for the model railway figurines. Picture: Laurie Calvert

"We need to let people know and inspire them to give it a go.

"But how do we do that when there are so many other forms of futuristic entertainment now in the mix?

"It was that thought that led me to create my first science-fiction steampunk locomotive in December 2012.

"I figured that we needed to get imaginations going, and most of all to show the hobby is fun."

Laurie Calvert's steam punk model railway designs have been patented by Hornby. Picture: Laurie CalvertLaurie Calvert's steam punk model railway designs have been patented by Hornby. Picture: Laurie Calvert

Steampunk is a sub-genre of sci-fi that blends the Victorian age with the future.

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After gaining traction with his designs at model railway events, Laurie finally had confirmation that he would work as an external designer for Hornby in March last year.

Laurie was invited to Hornby HQ and he designed three locos - Leander, Fearless and Rogue - six buildings, two coaches and four wagons for the brand's steampunk set.

Laurie Calvert's Cato Pass underground rocket complex design. Picture: Laurie CalvertLaurie Calvert's Cato Pass underground rocket complex design. Picture: Laurie Calvert

He, and nine other friends, were scanned in Maidstone, Kent in June, so that their images could be transformed into figurines for the set.

Laurie was delighted to be immortalised as the Hornby foreman figurine Cornelius Chuddery.

He has also produced a second demo layout of the town Leysdown Manstonia for the American market.

Laurie said he was "speechless" when the first pre-production models were bought to his home in July.

"Sci-fi and in particular steampunk can bridge the generations. Families can make these together, not just youngsters," said Laurie.

"Perhaps ironically by going back in time to old-style science-fiction our hobby has a new hope for the future.

"I felt really proud to be involved in this project and honoured that they made my locos for me.

"It is one of those iconic life moments."

Visit this website to read the story of Laurie's steampunk world.

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