Clever Subbuteo fan uses Hornby pylons to create 1960s floodlights

Probably the best thing about Subbuteo stadiums are the innovative ways people create a certain feel and atmosphere around the stadium and one fan has come up with a clever way to recreate an iconic stadium from over 60 years ago.

Derek Astbury has revealed a clever use of some Hornby train pylons and a cheap Hobbycraft addition to create realistic-looking 1960s floodlights for his superb Sealand Road ground – a nod to the stadium once graced by Chester City in the 1960s.

He has used the Hornby pylons to create the tradition floodlight style, which works well because they are shorter and wider than traditional Subbuteo floodlights. To complete the effect he has picked up some sticky jewels from Hobbycraft to replicate the bulbs in the floodlights.

While not working floodlights they look fantastic and add a real old-school feel to Derek’s superb hand-built stadium that also includes a stunning Kop terrace made from stacked rows of plastic.

Derek says: “So I’ve decided to add the floodlights to my Sealand Rd Stadium to prepare the club for the swinging sixties.”

On the famous Chester floodlights, he says: “The contract for the lighting was awarded to the Edinburgh engineering company, Miller and Stables Ltd, who undertook to have the lights in place and operating by mid-September. The Drench lighting system was considered to be the best available, due to the height of the towers, which were 126ft tall instead of the usual 80ft and it was estimated that the ball could be kicked 50ft in the air without players the players losing sight of it.

“The intensive lighting easily exceeded the requirements of the Football Association and were considered future proof. The system had first been introduced seven years ago with the first set implemented at Easter Road, Hibernian. Since then they had been installed at Celtic, Newcastle United, Queen of the South, and Windsor Park amongst others while systems at Raith Rovers and Motherwell were completed just before Chester’s. Chesters’ first match under the new floodlights was against Leyton Orient in Oct 1960.”

You can get the pylons in packs of three for about £17 on the Hornby website, making them slightly cheaper than the official Subbuteo alternatives. However, the pack of three is an issue if you want one in every corner of the ground.

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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