I would like to thank all of you who came to our stand at the Reading Show. As usual we were very busy for most of the morning and early afternoon and we had a late flurry of visitors just around closing time. As we were a little thinner than planned in terms of manning the stand I hope that this did not result in too many of you giving up without having had a chance to discuss your current topics of interest with us at the show. If there are any important issues you can still call us or email us with your concerns and questions.
It was with considerable regret that due to the bad weather (snow and black ice) we had to cancel our attendance at the Kettering Show. So apologies to all of you who attended and were unable to see us there.
In addition to the current production 57XX/8750 Panniers, ‘Granges’ and 47XX, we have been working on three new projects, the Class 52 Western Diesel, BR Standard Class 5 and the 6959 Modified ‘Hall’.
Class 52 Western Diesel Hydraulic
The original prototype model has returned to Korea for modifications and corrections. We went through the list of changes with the builders in detail to make sure that they understood all the changes that were required. We have asked them to build a second pre-production sample incorporating these changes which we hope to have available for the ALSRM Reading show in May.
BR Standard Class 5
As with the ‘Western’ we have been providing further information for the builders of the details of the Standard Class 5 – in both the Walschaert’s and the Caprotti valve gear versions. The designer has now produced detailed drawings of both types that have been sent to our experts for approval and commentary. We have passed on the experts’ comments to the builders to incorporate the necessary changes in the detailed drawing to prepare for the first pre-production sample model.
We received a number of requests for the 6959 Modified ‘Hall’ and we have now passed some detailed information to the builders to draw up plans for this locomotive design. The last few Modified ‘Halls’ fitted with mechanical lubricators seem especially popular with you and we are very keen to offer the Modified ‘Hall’ as a variation on our ‘Hall’ build.
There are three options available to us to build the Modified ‘Hall’. First, we could incorporate the Modified ‘Hall’ into our existing Collett ‘Hall’ programme which would mean limiting the conventional Collett ‘Hall’ programme to 40 locomotives and building that last 20 as Modified ‘Halls’. If we carry out this programme, the current Collet ‘Hall’ build would be virtually sold out as we could accept very few additional orders for this type. The second option would be to increase the ‘Hall’ programme and offer 20 to 40 additional locomotives as Modified ‘Halls’. The third option would be to offer the Modified Hall as a separate programme which was our original intention.
To assist us in making the best decision we would like you to contact us as soon as possible if you would be interested in a Modified ‘Hall’. Please also tell us which option best suits your needs. If we select Options 1 or 2 the Modified ‘Hall’ would come out at the same time as the Collett ‘Hall’. If we go for Option 3 there would probably be a delay of at least two years before the Modified ‘Hall’ would enter production.
57XX/8750 Pannier Tanks
There has been a spate of reservations for pannier tanks over the last few weeks and although we have a large number of engines still available, the choice in some variations has become tight or non-existent. As regards the London Transport locomotives we are only making a total of 20 engines, of which 10 are Scale7 and are already sold out. We only have four LT 0 gauge engines left. Looking at the engines built by Kerr Stuart which had riveted tanks and the earlier style of cab, we have sold out of GWR-liveried examples and there are only a few BR-liveried engines left.
On 8750-series engines with the later style of cab, we have very few BR engines left with small whistle shields and not many BR engines available with top feed. Choice of GWR engines is still good. We have very few Scale 7 engines left. So if you want a Scale 7 version please do let us know as soon as possible as otherwise it may be too late. We did consider putting the availability on the website, but due to the large number of variations and options this is not a practical proposition. So if you would like a Pannier please contact us and we will do our best to provide a locomotive that best fits your specification.
The engines are now well into production and the only options we are a change of number and possibly the emblem as the configuration is now complete. We expect to receive the finished models in June.
As with the Panniers, the 68XX are all also well into production and are now at the painting stage. The only option we now have is on BR versions for which we can offer a change of name and or tender. As well as BR lined green there are a few BR black and BR lined black locomotives still available. On the GWR version a change of name would now mean repainting the numbers on the buffer beam. We expect the locomotives to arrive in the UK in July. We have some GWR and BR engines still available. Please let us know if you would like to make a reservation. Scale 7 availability is still good.
47XX 2-8-0 Mixed Traffic Locomotive
Most of the engines have now been reserved but there are still some GWR plain green and some BR plain black and lined green engines available. The lined black BR engines (4702 only) have now all been sold. Scale 7 availability is still good. As with the ‘Grange’, 47XX variations are now very limited to change of numbers. The locomotives are now at the painting stage. We expect the locomotives to arrive in the UK in July.
We still have a few ‘Castles’ left, including some in GWR and early BR livery. There are also some Scale 7 models available. Please enquire if you would be interested in a reservation.
45XX/4575 Prairie Tanks
As with the Castles we still have a few 45XX and 4575 locomotives left including a few in Scale 7. Please enquire if you would like to make a reservation.
28XX and 49XX ‘Hall’
These are scheduled to go into production as soon at the 68XX and 47XX are completed.
Class 52 Western Diesel Hydraulic
This is scheduled to go into production as soon as the Panniers are completed.
We are running behind on requests for payments! We will endeavour to catch up over the next few weeks.
4 April 2018.
The extreme weather conditions and the risk of travelling with high value models mean that we have reluctantly decided that Masterpiece Models will not be attending the Gauge 0 Guild Spring Show at Kettering on Saturday.
We apologise both to the Guild and the many customers who were hoping to meet us at the show. If you have a specific enquiry please do get in touch in any case.
Our next scheduled exhibition will be the ALSRM show at Reading on 12 May.
At the time of writing this note (Thursday evening) there is some snow here in SE England, which varies considerably area-by-area. The journey to Kettering via the M25 and M1 is normally about 3.5 hours, but in unpredictable winter conditions could take much longer. The weather forecast is not good. We are not equipped with a 4 wheel-drive off-road vehicle, so travelling in heavy snow conditions is a non-runner for us. We will review the situation carefully, but the likelihood is that we will probably not be able to attend the show as the risk of injury or being stranded is too great. So in the event of our non-attendance we offer our apologies and hope to see you at the Reading Show in May.
Visit to Korea February 2018
The visit to Korea turned out to be very busy in spite of the partial clash with the Chinese New Year Holiday period when Korean families traditionally visit the tombs/graves of their ancestors necessitating travelling back to their home towns and cities. Our builders very kindly gave up much of their time to see us and discuss a wide range of issues.
47XX and 68XX Grange
There were a number of detailed issues on both of these locomotive types including ATC fittings and pipework on the 47XX and chimneys and oil box covers on the 68XX. There will have to be some additional changes on both locomotive types to get all these details correct. The oil covers on the Grange are a very difficult topic with many variations. There were at least 7 different types that were juggled around frequently when boilers were changed. We are taking a huge amount of effort to get these items as correctly modelled as possible.
It would also be true to say that although the tenders are built, there is still some way to go on the locomotive bodies and the cab and smokebox interiors. The builders think the engines will be ready by May for shipment. We think this is very optimistic and that July or August (2018) is a more likely date.
28XX and 49XX Hall and the 6959 Modified Hall
We spent a huge amount of time reviewing the 28XX and 49XX programmes. This included going over the differences for the base 28XXs as well as the 38XX (2884) side window cab versions. We have asked the builders to produce a new second sample of the 28XX for review before we start production of this model.
The 49XX Hall is ready to go into production as soon as the Grange and 47XX models are complete.
We have also asked the builders to look at the possibility of building some Hawksworth Modified Halls (6959) locomotives to add on to the conventional Collett 49XX Hall programme. We have now provided numerous drawings and photographs to the builders to design these locomotives. Subject to securing the appropriate output drawings from the builders, we intend to make between 30 and 40 of the Modified Halls. Hopefully this will at the same time as the 49XX/59XX/69XX locomotives production. So if you are interested in a 6959 or later engine please let us know.
We reviewed the programme and shuffled around a few locomotive configurations to accommodate late customer changes. The chassis are all now painted, but the bodies still have some way to go and are currently being assembled. The body painting programme will take place in late March with final assembly in April. The builders have promised to deliver the engines at the beginning of May. We are doubtful that they will meet that date and think June or early July (2018) is more likely. Basically this is a very complex build and it just takes time to get it right.
On the sales side we are down to our last five London Transport locomotives and all the S7 LT versions have now been sold.
Class 52 Western
We went over all the changes that we have requested (that we observed ourselves and also helpful suggestions from customers). We have asked for extra detail to be fitted to the Scale7 models, which unfortunately cannot be accommodated on the O gauge versions due to space considerations. The prototype was tested on the track at the factory with some internal changes. Its top speed is rather above prototypical. So we are making some changes to the gearboxes to improve the performance with the objective of having a locomotive capable of operating very well at both high and low speeds and having a high tractive effort. Remember the starting tractive effort of a Western was more than twice that of a Castle. The builders will make a second sample, which they hope to send over to us by the end of April. Meanwhile we have to make do without the sample model for the time being. Thank you very much to all of you that have made reservations.
Standard Class 5
The builders now have a huge amount of information for both the Walshaerts and Caprotti versions of this locomotive. Preliminary pre-CAD drawings have already been made. We studied the drive mechanism for the engine, which requires a narrow extended gearbox inside the narrow firebox driving the centre axle. We want to use the same motor as we used in the 70XX Castle, which has been a proven runaway success. This will need yet another design for a new gearbox! We discussed some of the locomotive details especially the valve gear and cylinders on the Caprotti locomotives. The current plan is to make 140 to 150 locomotives including at least 30 Caprotti versions. This is a most exciting project raising huge customer interest. Thank you very much for all your reservations. It is good to see so much interest in the Caprotti versions.
01 March 2018.
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.
31 January 2018