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.
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.
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.
Rebuilt 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.