Exceptional museum quality model locomotives for modellers, enthusiasts and collectors

News on all the projects (1 December 2017)

A lot has been happening at Masterpiece Models over the past few weeks and months, keeping us so busy that updates to the website have been somewhat neglected. To bring you up to speed on the significant progress being made on many projects, here is an update.

We are also hoping to see many of our customers at the Reading Trade Show on 2 December – please do come and see us to discuss your models and future interests. We will bring a limited number of models for sale and for delivery for customers who have requested them. For those of you who cannot get to Reading I will do my best to make deliveries to you before the year end.

47XX 2-8-0 and the 68XX 'Grange' 4-6-0
All the chassis for both of these engines are now made and all the 'Grange' bodies are complete ready for detailing. The 47XX bodies are also now being assembled. On both models this also necessitates assembling the detailed components such the superheater header/tubeplates, steam pipes and other smokebox and cab interior parts. The firebox backheads for both engine types are complex assemblies that require concentration and effort to make as well as fine metal work and soldering skills. A few pictures taken at the factory at the beginning of October show some of this work underway.

You all probably want to know two things:
• When will the engines be completed ready for delivery?
• When will you be asked to pay the second instalment (for those who have not already paid)?

The answer to the first question is that the builders say the engines will be ready by the end of February. Based on our experience with the 'Castles' we think it would be more realistic to plan for March or April delivery. The answer to the second question is that we will be writing to you all over the next two to three weeks to request second payments as they have now fallen due.

57XX/8750 Panniers
As with the tender locomotives, the Panniers are well underway in production. The chassis are complete and have been painted and the bodies are now being assembled. We have been making some changes in the production programme as we recently received a large number of orders for GWR locomotives in early configuration.

We have tried to introduce as much flexibility as possible in the production programme but the number of early GWR non-ATC locomotives available is now limited. The Pannier build has been by far the most complex that we have undertaken due to the enormous number of variations.

The locomotives are planned for delivery in February, but we think this date will slip to March or possibly April for final shipment. Ensuring that the myriad of details are correct simply takes a long time, but we are determined that these should be the most accurate 57XX Panniers ever produced.

The request for payments on the Panniers will be made over the next few weeks.

Class 52 Western Diesel
Two sets of parts are now being assembled to make two pre-production engines and we hope to receive at least one locomotive for assessment in January 2018. The objective is to put the engine immediately into production if possible after completion of the Pannier Programme. This is subject to the number of changes that may be required to meet the specification, but we are aiming to have the production completed before the end of 2018. Here's a picture of the Western bodies and an underframe at the factory.

Class52 Body 1

28XX 2-8-0 and 49XX 'Hall'
Preparatory work is being undertaken to get these engines into production as quickly as possible after completion of the 68XX 'Grange' and 47XX 2-8-0 mixed traffic locomotives. They will be built concurrently with the Western Diesels and target completion date is the end of 2018. Both these builds are far more complex than the 'Grange'/47XX. We are effectively building three different types of 28XX/38XX and the 'Halls' were the subject of a huge number of variations and changes in their lifetimes. We have decided not to make the very late 69XX 'Halls' that had mechanical lubricators fitted on the footplate. So far none have been ordered. However, we will make the early 49XX 'Halls' that had ATC fitted behind the front buffer beam and had compensated springing on the front two driving axles. In later days these engines were converted back to the later 'Hall'/'Grange' individual springs. So if you order an early 'Hall' in GWR livery you need to decide if you want the early or later spring arrangement.

Standard Class 5 4-6-0
We continue to gather detailed information on these engines including the Caprotti types. The plan is to start production of these engines in 2018 if at all possible. This will depend on how we progress with delivery of the 57XX Panniers and the Western diesel.

A3 and A4
Production of these engines will follow the 28XX and 49XX 'Halls'. We are gathering detailed information following the laser scanning of 60009 'Union of South Africa' at Didcot. We still have not yet decided whether to make these locomotives together or in a staggered programme. The plan is to include the Thompson rebuild of 'Great Northern' – the unique A1/1 – in this A1/A3 programme. That means 'Great Northern' will be available in three variants: the original Gresley A1, its later condition as Gresley pacific and then as the Thompson rebuild. We will make the A1s and A3s in early and later LNER configuration, and also in BR configurations with single chimneys, double chimneys and double chimneys with German deflectors as most of them were configured in their final BR days.

The A4s will be available with and without valances, with single chimneys and double chimneys as appropriate to their operating era.

RoyalScotRebuilt BR/LMS 7P/6P 4-6-0s
With the help of Bob Meanley we are gathering more detailed information on these locomotives to ensure that we get the build as correct as possible. Sadly, there are no preserved locomotives from The rebuilt 'Jubilee', rebuilt 'Patriot' and 'British Legion' types that are significantly different in detail from the rebuilt 'Royal Scots', two of which are preserved. The Stanier two-window cabs are the main distinguishing feature of these locomotives with the rebuilt 'Patriots' having the fixed front window version broadly similar to that fitted to the later conventional Black Fives. 'British Legion' had a longer non-standard boiler than the other locomotives and outside steam pipes that sloped backwards which were later encased in larger fairings. The smokebox projects further forward. This gives the engine quite a different appearance compared to its rebuilt 'Royal Scot' half-sisters. 'British Legion' was the only 7P locomotive to have had a single chimney as well as a double chimney. We will make it in three basic forms: LMS red as built, LMS red with double chimney and straight pipe fairings, and BR green with smoke deflectors.

Post-Guildex report, September 2&3, Telford

First, thank you very much to all of you who visited our stand at Guildex over the weekend. We were especially pleased to greet customers from overseas – Australia, Canada, USA and Germany. We hope everyone who came had a chance to look at all our latest products at the show. We were very busy talking to many customers for virtually all of the two days, so if we didn’t manage to speak to you please accept our apologies. The enthusiasm that we receive from our customers sometimes makes it difficult to disengage quickly in conversation without appearing to be rude!

We were very busy at Guildex and had on show pre-production samples of the Pannier (both the 57XX and the 8750), the 68XX ‘Grange’ 4-6-0 with the Collett 3,500 gallon tender, the 47XX 2-8-0 with a Collett 4,000 gallon tender and a 49XX ‘Hall’ 4-6-0 with a Hawksworth 4,000 gallon tender. Also on display were single and double chimney ‘Castles’, including our flagship 7022 Hereford Castle with S7 Superwheels and 45XX/4575 Prairies in GWR green, BR Black and BR lined green.

We were also able to deliver a number of 45XX/4575 and 70XX locomotives to customers, so thank you very much to all of you who have been waiting patiently for your locomotives. We did bring a large number of engines for customers, some of which were not collected for various reasons and have since returned to our warehouse. We will endeavour to make other arrangements with customers to deliver these engines as soon as we can.

We were privileged to have Bob Meanley, Managing Director of Vintage Trains Tyseley, on our stand on Sunday afternoon. I know he was delighted to speak to a number of you about the complications associated with the detail of our models and all the research and effort that we have put in to try to ensure the fidelity of our models. We would like once again to pay tribute to all the work that Bob has put in to the design and execution of our builds and to thank him for giving up his weekend time to come to see us on the stand at Telford. Without Bob’s involvement we could never have made models to the standard that has been achieved.

Our Surprise at Guildex - The LNER BR A4 Pacific

60009 Didcot

In our last message we said that we would have a surprise for you at Guildex. Those of you who came will have noticed a new additional banner on our stand (although or two did not see it until we pointed it out to them!). This comprised a magnificent photograph of A4 60009 Union of South Africa taken the previous week at Didcot. Thanks entirely to my Masterpiece Models’ colleague Adrian Knowles, arrangements were made to laser scan 60009 on Friday 1 September, which fortunately was a sunny day. We did not want to make any advance announcements in case it was pouring with rain which would have delayed the scanning. This scan has been made with the latest Leica scanning technology so that we can have a highly detailed 3D image for every fraction of a millimetre of the length, breadth and height of this locomotive and its tender. A big vote of thanks is due to Adrian and Shelby Green of the Severn Partnership for getting this A4 initiative under way and completed at very short notice, as well as locomotive owner John Cameron for allowing it to be done.

Several of our good customers with detailed knowledge of the A4 body cladding modifications have come along with additional help warning us of changes that were made to reduce the boiler cladding height since the surviving A4s were taken into private ownership from British Railways to enable them to run on the modern main line. We are also aware of modifications to A4 locomotives and tenders since their departure from BR service. So, while we believe there is enormous merit in scanning the locomotive, we will also be referring to works drawings and thousands of photographs to ensure the most accurate result to date.

Why are we planning to make the A4? Several models have been made before in 7mm. None of them we feel have fully captured the elusive shape of the locomotive. We are already committed to make the A3 which shares many components with the A4 (especially the chassis and some of the tenders). We have now decided to offer both the A3 and A4, either on the same build, or if this proves too difficult for the builders, we will offer them as consecutive programmes.

We will shortly be opening the reservation schedule for A1/A3 and A4 locomotives so that we can plan the most appropriate programme for both locomotive types. We will also offer the A1/1 Thompson 60113 Great Northern locomotive in this programme for which we have received a huge interest.

Pannier Production
The Pannier is now in production, but as we reported last time we are still discovering new information, which we are incorporating into the build. As an illustration, one area in which we discovered anomalies is the routing of the injector overflow pipes; we found photographs of locomotives still fitted with GWR injector pipes when they were withdrawn in the 1960s and scrapped in this condition. This makes the build far more complicated than we hoped, as we now have to make some BR engines with GWR injector overflow pipes.

The Scale 7 models – with a wider, more realistic chassis – are selling out fast and we are limited to only 30 engines all fitted with the wider chassis. This means we have to pre-allocate the Scale 7 models and we no longer have the ability to retro-fit models with alternative gauged wheels as was possible with the 45XX Prairies and 70XX ‘Castles’ programmes.

At present there is a rush on Scale 7 London Transport models (there are only 20 LT models in total) and the Scale 7 allocation has already gone. So we are now busy transferring Scale 7 chassis from 57XX models to the LT run, which also involves the addition of all the LT modifications. If you want a Scale 7 model in any form (GWR, BR or LT), please don’t leave it too long as soon they will all be gone.

The Pannier completion date is still under discussion with the builders. We hope to have the models available by the end of the year, which probably means delivery starting in late January 2018.

68XX Grange and 47XX Production
We have had a rush of new orders for the 68XX ‘Grange’, which is set to be an outstanding build for a superb 4-6-0 miniature locomotive judging by the quality of the sample model. We think it looks especially interesting in three guises:

1. GWR plain green with either the Grange or Hall chimney with the Churchward tender

2. BR Black or lined Black with the Collett 3,500 gallon tender

3. BR Green (Grange or ID Chimney) with either the Collett 3,500 Gallon or 4,000 gallon tender.

Several customers have made contact wanting to switch names and in some cases also key features such as chimneys. So far we have been able to accommodate all of these changes but we are now reaching the stage where further switches are becoming more difficult, except by juggling unsold engines and tenders. We did order some extra ‘Grange’ name and number plates so there is still some flexibility in the system, but this may disappear soon as further customer selections are made.

We will post the available names and allocations of BR and GWR engines still available for both the ‘Grange’ and 47XX Models.

Reportedly, the ‘Granges’ were the best GWR two-cylinder 4-6-0s as far as enginemen were concerned and it’s a great pity that none were preserved. To support the replica 6880 Betton Grange project we are allocating a Scale 7 example from our production to the Betton Grange Trust.

We are also supporting the programme to make a replica of a 47XX being undertaken by the GWS by donating a Scale 7 model finished as 4709.

We feel that is important to support efforts by preservation groups to restore or recreate key missing locomotives that failed to be preserved after they left service with BR.

Our expectation is for delivery of both models probably in late January 2018 at the same time as the Pannier. We will keep you informed of developments as the programme moves ahead.

John Borkowski
5 September 2017

Telford 2017 & project news

We are looking forward to seeing you at Guildex, Telford, on 2 & 3 September where we will be making a surprise announcement. Make sure you drop by our stand to hear the latest exciting news!

We will bring all locomotives that buyers have requested to collect at the show except the Scale7 Superwheel Castles which are not quite ready yet. So, if you have not fully paid for your model, would you please bring your chequebook or cash to complete the transaction when you come to our stand. We will try to bring a few extra locomotives for sale at the show, but due to space and weight there will be limited choice. If a locomotive that we don’t have at the show takes your fancy, we will arrange to deliver it to you afterwards.

Delivery of Models 45XX/4575 and 70XX ‘Castles’

Over the past few weeks we have been delivering both the 45XX/4575 Prairies and 70XX ‘Castle’ models. Some models have been switched from O gauge to Scaleseven and vice versa due to customer requests for particular locomotives. This has kept both me and the UK engineers working on our models very busy indeed, switching chassis and bodies and changing wheelsets. This has particularly affected Scaleseven Superwheels on ‘Castles’ where we are behind schedule due to the fact that the wheels were not fitted by the builders on the locomotives in Korea. We are concentrating on getting the models to you in correct condition and meeting your gauge requirements. We also have had a number of modellers who have switched from DCC/Sound back to basic DC locomotives. On the 45XX/4575 this means dismantling the body and chassis and also in some cases changing the wiring which has delayed some deliveries.

What we have found is that both models are quite delicate due to the high level of detail provided. Consequently they are vulnerable to shock and if dropped by couriers they can and have suffered considerable damage. This means that the damaged locomotives may need to be returned to the builders in Korea, which is time consuming, bureaucratic, difficult to achieve, and expensive. We are delivering the models as fast as we can, so we would ask you to contact us if you have not yet had your model so that we can arrange deliveries in an orderly way. For many of you we still do not have postal addresses, so this makes it very difficult for us to arrange personal delivery. The approach we are adopting is to organise deliveries to collection points – mainly railway stations – and asking you to make a short journey to meet us there to collect your model. For those of you who are not able to travel to make these journeys we will try make sure that we deliver models in person to your postal address, but this necessarily sometimes takes more time to arrange. I hope that you will understand our situation.

If you would like to collect your model at Guildex please let us know as soon as possible so that we don’t miss the opportunity to make the delivery. Those of you who have already contacted us do not need to do so again.

We still have a few 4575 and 45XX Type 3 models available in O Gauge and one or two others in the other types, mainly in Scale7. On the 70XX ‘Castles’ we still have some interesting engines available both in O Gauge and S7. We can also provide some more ‘Castles’ with Scale 7 superwheels if required, as we have made up an extra set of wheels.

57XX/8750 Pannier Production

The pannier is now in production but we are still discovering new information, which we are incorporating into the build. One of the areas that is most difficult to replicate is the cab interior detail as it varies considerably by individual locomotive. So, while we cannot economically make 170 different cab layouts, we are paying a lot more attention to ensuring that the cab interiors are appropriate for the individual types. We have now finalised the production types as we don’t have the luxury of waiting any longer. We have determined the production on the basis of the reservations that we have had so far. This is always a risky approach as we have made mistakes in the past on the Prairie build when we made too few early models (Types 1 and 2).

We are also making the Scale 7 models with chassis to realistic scale width rather than using the same chassis as 0 gauge, so this means we have to pre-allocate the S7 models and no longer have the ability to retro-fit models with alternative gauged wheels as was possible with the 45XX Prairies and 70XX ‘Castles’. This means that we will be making just 30 S7 models, so if you want one please don’t leave it too long, especially if you would like a GWR locomotive. In fact, we have already sold out of LT Panniers in S7, so if you want one in LT we have to switch a chassis off another type of locomotive (plus adding all the LT fitments)!

The high degree of interest in the London Transport version of which we are making 20 models is quite remarkable. We feel that there is something special in the LT engines – partly the livery, but also the work they undertook for LT and their longevity beyond the BR locomotives into the 1970s. This view is clearly supported by other modellers and collectors. So if you would like an LT Pannier get in quick as they are selling fast.

The Pannier completion date is still under discussion with the builders. We hope to have the models available by the end of the year, which probably means delivery starting in January 2018.

47XX and 68XX ‘Grange’ Production

Both of these models are well into production now. This has been quite a feat of juggling, especially with the 68XX ‘Grange’, which is available with four different tender types. Many ‘Granges’ started with the Churchward 3,500 gallon tender and then progressed to the Collett types, both the 3,500 intermediate tender and the larger, better known 4,000 gallon tender, sometimes switching back to Churchward tenders. To accommodate potential customer choice we plan to make a few extra tenders of different types, especially in lined BR Green livery. If you would like a ‘Grange’ in BR lined or unlined black very few models are available, so please do not wait too long as the provision we have made will be gone and then it will be too late to change the colour once painting has started.

The 47XX is also available in BR lined black for 4702. This was the only locomotive in this livery and has proved to be very popular. There are only four models allocated in this livery and three have already gone so there is only one left. If you would like it, move fast!

Our expectation is delivery probably in January 2018 at the same time as the Pannier tanks.

'Granges', 47XX 2-8-0s and 57XX pannier well advanced in production

Our next beautiful models – the ever-popular GWR/BR 68XX ‘Granges’ and the 57XX/8750 pannier tanks have now passed the pre-production stage. The builders have been instructed on all the necessary changes and modifications and the locomotives are currently in production.

6853 1

68XX ‘Grange’ 4-6-0
Although we are only producing 60 ‘Granges’ – 48 as BR locomotives and only 12 GWR engines, thus reflecting the preferences expressed in orders received – the engines are available in all configurations. As the models have moved to production we have had to decide on names, numbers and details, but for a limited period we can still cater for almost all the possibilities: In addition to the standard ‘Grange’ chimney, many in later BR days were equipped with taller Improved Draughting (ID) chimneys, while the ‘Hall’ type chimneys were comparatively rare, but we can offer all these. You can see images of the chimneys HERE.

All four tender types used by the ‘Granges’ – Churchward 3,500 gallon, Collett 3,500 gallon, Collett 4,000 gallon and even the Hawksworth 4,000 gallon are available. Liveries are GWR Plain Green, BR Black, BR Lined Black and BR Lined Green. So if you would like to order a 68XX Grange, especially in ScaleSeven, please don’t leave it too long as your choice of engine will become much more limited as we move forward with the production.

47XX 1

47XX 2-8-0
We are making two basic versions of the 47XX, one in GWR configuration from 1930 until 1948 and the second covering the BR period. The standard offering is either the Churchward low sided 3,500 gallon tender or the high-sided Collett 4,000 gallon tender.

Both the 47XX and the ‘Grange’ will incorporate the new technology and improvements that we introduced with the 70XX ‘Castles’, such as split axles, horn-block pickups, as well as our superb new motor and fully enclosed gearbox with ball or roller bearings on all shafts. There will only be 60 models of the 47XX and a very large proportion has already been reserved, so if you want a particular configuration, please don’t leave it too late – once we have fixed the production we have very limited scope for changes.

57XX 457XX/8750 pannier tank
Building on the acclaim accorded to our super-detailed 45XX prairie tanks we are introducing a further innovation with the 57XX/8750 pannier tanks which will now have separately-designed chassis for finescale 0 gauge and ScaleSeven, to the exact correct width. Only 30 ScaleSeven models will be made, so if you want one you need to order it as soon as possible. The models will also have fully detailed cabs and smokeboxes, highly visible working valve gear with a double crank centre axle, split axles with hornblock pick-ups, together with a totally enclosed helical gearbox and a powerful coreless motor.

Production volumes are now fixed and we are producing 80 57XX engines with the earlier style of cab and fittings (including a few Kerr Stuart examples with riveted tanks), and 70 models of the 8750 engines with the later cabs and other differences. Also available are 20 London Transport 57XX panniers; we have gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the livery and detail differences for these engines will be correct.

Liveries for the main production will be GWR Green, GWR Black, BR Black and BR lined Black. With more than 800 possible running numbers across this class we are leaving number selection open as long as possible, but the deadline for choosing is 1 September, so don’t delay if you want to be sure of your favourite!

John Borkowski
11 July 2017

Reading and Doncaster

It was good to see so many of you at the Reading show. It was a busy day on the stand until late afternoon and it was good to be able to meet you all and discuss issues of interest and importance.

The delivery cycle for the 45XX/4575 prairie tanks and 70XX ‘Castles’ continues but is inevitably a slow process. We are determined to deliver the models to you in pristine condition and our experience of the poor treatment of packages in the hands of couriers and in the post has made us resolve to deliver all models personally to our British clients if at all possible. With customers scattered widely across the UK and 250 models to deliver, this is a mammoth task. Of course, even when we plan a delivery trip that looks likely to encompass many deliveries, there are inevitably customers who have prior or more important commitments that reduce your availability to see me.

One way of speeding things up is to hand models over to customers at exhibitions. At Reading we were able to hand over quite a few models to customers who had notified us of this as requested on our website. Sadly, however, several customers came along hoping to collect their models, but because they had not let us know in advance we did not have the models with us. We have capacity to take about 50 models to shows, but we cannot bring them all.

About 15 customers have already asked to collect their models at the Gauge 0 Guild summer Show at Doncaster next Saturday – IF YOU WOULD ALSO LIKE TO COLLECT YOUR MODEL AT DONCASTER IT’S VITAL TO LET US KNOW BY THURSDAY 1ST JUNE AT THE LATEST. That way we can ensure your model is packed.

For the future we plan to arrange to arrange regional collection points around the UK (possibly in a hotel or other meeting place) where we can hand models to customers without having to visit everyone individually. This should mean that most people will receive their models much faster with no risk of damage.

John Borkowski