BRISTOL SHOW: If you have ordered a 47XX, 'Grange' or pannier tank and you would like to collect it at the Bristol Show on 27 January please contact us as soon as possible so that we can ensure we have your model available. The number of models we can bring to the show is limited and any models which were subject to a late choice of name/number take time to prepare, so early notification is essential!

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End of January update

Bristol Show
First, I would like thank everyone who came along to our stand at the Bristol Show. It was very good to see you all and to discuss current and previous models, and as always, to learn about your aspirations for new models. If only we could produce them faster we could meet at least some of your wish-list rather more quickly. As it is, we are working on a record number of models: Pannier, Grange, 47XX, Hall, 28XX, Class 52 Western Diesel and Standard Class 5. The builders are working hard on the production of the Panniers, Grange and 47XX, all of which are now heading towards completion. We expect that we will have the models here in Europe by March or April on current predictions.

Payments: Panniers, Granges and 47XX
We have been running behind on requests for payments mainly due to our pre-occupation with the review and testing of the Western diesel which has taken up a huge amount of time since its arrival on 28 December. So, over the next few weeks, we will be writing to your requesting payment for the Panniers, Granges and 47XX models for which second payments are now well overdue. If you have not yet made these payments nor have been asked for your deposit, please don’t panic we will get round to contacting you in February. If however you do not receive a request for payment (that is due) in February would you please contact us to check that your reservation is in place.

49XX Halls, 28XX and BR Standard Class 5
These are the next engines for production and development. On the Halls and the 28XX the models are ready for production as most of the parts and components have already been made. However, we need to complete the Grange and 47XX programme before embarking on the 49XX and the 28XX programme which is quite a complex build. Halls had numerous variations and there were three types of 28XX if one includes the 2884 (38XX) side window cab version.

For the Standard Class 5 we are preparing the detailed drawings for the first pre-production engines and also for the BR1F high-sided tender for the BR Southern Region named engines. On this build we also have the complexity of the Caprotti valve gear engines in which there has been an exceptional customer interest. The likelihood is that we may increase the number of Caprotti engines in the production programme. On the Walshaert’s engines the BR Southern locomotives have proved popular, particularly the named engines and other locomotives that ran on the Somerset and Dorset line.

Class 52 ‘Western’ Diesel Hydraulic
Our first pre-production sample is an excellent first model of a Western Diesel. The difficult shape and complexity of the prototype has been well captured by the model, which also runs exceptionally well with all six axles driven by a centrally mounted single motor. Some of the detail – for example underneath on the roof, around and inside the grilles, the bogies and inside the cab is phenomenal. For the past four weeks we have had the model extensively assessed by experts and we have now notified the builders in detail of all the changes that we require.

We also carried out rail tests of the locomotive to assess its performance on a large layout and as well as low speed movement. Its slow speed performance on DC has been the best that we have ever recorded on any locomotive that we have ever built at Masterpiece Models. Our objective is to have a locomotive that runs well at all speeds up to the maximum normally run of around a scale 100 miles per hour (161 kph) with a reasonable load. We also want a model that is more powerful than our current Castle steam locomotive model reflecting that the starting tractive effort of a Western that was more than double that of a Castle.

Everyone who has seen the model so far, both customers and experts, has expressed a high degree of interest and the wish to acquire the model or its production successor! Our objective is to try to get the production completed by the end of 2018, if at all possible, which will be quite a challenge.

John Borkowski
31 January 2018