First a big thank you to everyone who came to our stands at Telford and Swindon. It was very good to renew contacts and obtain your views of what we are and should be doing. Those of you who came will have had a chance to take a look at the Panniers and the first 68XX Grange and 47XX models. We even had a few Panniers available for delivery. It was also a chance to examine the improvements in technology that we have made on the bigger engines.
I have just returned from a long trip to Incheon, South Korea to inspect progress on the 57XX/8750 Panniers and the 47XX 2-8-0 and 68XX Grange 4-6-0 tender engines.
57XX and 8750 Panniers
After very many changes the Panniers will at last be ready to be shipped at the beginning of September. We will have a few representative production models for display at Telford and Swindon, so that you can all see what the models look like. As soon as the shipped models are here in the UK, we will make arrangements to get them distributed as fast as possible.
Overall there is still quite a good choice of models still available, although we have only a few riveted 57XX early cab engines left. There are comparatively few Scale 7 engines left. We managed to find one extra S7 London Transport engine that is now available for sale, but otherwise LT engine availability is now essentially limited to O gauge finescale (6 engines).
We are sorry it has taken so long but the delay is essentially down to the build complexity with over 50 different types, just too many variations. In future we will have to simplify the build programme as such a large number of variations is virtually impossible to build and police. Who told us that Panniers are simple standard engines to build?
47XX and 68XX Grange
These models have been painted and are now being assembled. They look very impressive and are expected to be ready for shipment by November. So we hope to be able to make a number of deliveries in time for Christmas.
You can see a production sample of each locomotive on our stand at Telford and Swindon. They do look wonderful in their different ways. The 47XX is really a giant of steam with its huge boiler and firebox; virtually a King on a 2-8-0 chassis. The 68XX Grange, which has a small Churchward 3500 gallon tender, looks very dainty and delicate. Smaller wheels, low- pitched boiler and a tall chimney contrast well with the low sided tender. Cab detail on both models is exquisite. It feels like one could walk into the cab of each engine, and given it was in sufficient steam at the time, drive-off in it! They look very good together. So do please come over to our stand to take a look at them.
28XX and 49XX
Directly the 47XX and 68XX are complete, the builders will switch over to the 28XX and the 49XX Hall. Many of the parts are already made so we are hoping for a faster build than the earlier programmes. We are limiting the 28XX to 60 models in three types with a build profile currently looking like 15 early square frame 28XXs, 27 later curved frame 28XXs and 18 38XXs (2884 class with the Collet side windowed cabs). On the 49XX we expect to make only 50 Collett Halls and 10 Hawksworth Modified Halls.
If you are interested in either a 28XX/38XX or a Hall (whether Collett or Hawksworth) now is the time to make your reservation as there are not many slots left and we will soon have to freeze the production programme. Most of the available Collett Hall slots have now been reserved, so please let us know what you would like. So if you come along later on you will end up with what is left which may not meet the model specification that you want. The Halls are a very complex build as there are a huge number of variations in both the Collett and Hawksworth engines. A Collett early 49Xx is very different from a Collett 69XX. So you have been warned!
Class 52 Western
We met the builders and the design engineer to explain the changes that we want to the front windscreen, the hood over the front windscreen, the cab shoulders and the cab details. These will all be changed and approved before the build starts. The bue-painted pre-production sample will be on view for the first time. Even allowing for the changes it is a lovely model.
Standard Class 5
The first sample model will be made during the next few weeks and we expect to have it on view by December. It might make the Reading Show at the beginning of December.
Rebuilt Royal Scot, Rebuilt Jubilee, Rebuilt Patriot and British Legion
Detailed design work is planned to start shortly. These engines will follow on from the completion of the 28XX and the 49XX Hall. We expect to make about 120 engines. The current breakdown is likely to be:
• Rebuilt Royal Scot 65 models
• Rebuilt Jubilee 15 models
• Rebuilt Patriot 30 models
• Rebuilt Fury (British Legion) 10 models
Our top designer is enthusiastically working on the case!
29 August 2018.
At the end of June at very short notice I made a short visit to Incheon to check on the production of the 47XX, 68XX Grange tender engines and the 57XX and 8750 tank engines as well as the Western diesel hydraulic locomotive. This report updates you on where we are in all of these projects.
47XX and 68XX 'Grange'
All the locomotive chassis and tender chassis have now been painted and these are now being assembled with the wheelsets and valve gear. The tender bodies are all complete and are at the painters waiting for the locomotive bodies to be completed. To make sure that we get the painting absolutely right we want to paint the bodies of the locomotives and tenders at the same time.
We are introducing some new technology on these engines that represents a substantial additional investment. This technology makes the models much more user friendly for layout operation. This change requires some design and additional production has resulted in a further delay of two months in completing the engines. It was a difficult decision to make, but we decided the change was so revolutionary it was better to delay the engines to have the improvement rather than to turn them out to the original equipment plan without the technology change. There will be no increase in cost to customers who have ordered the locomotives for the change as we propose to recover the extra cost of a range of new models.
On the 68XX Grange opportunity was taken to check out the oil covers there are 4 different BR types and 1 GWR variation. We are offering all 5 variations.
The plan is to complete the 60 x 47XX and 60 x 68XX models by the end of December with the objective of getting deliveries of existing orders out by Christmas 2018.
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.
28XX and 49XX, plus 6959 'Modified Hall’
This build starts as soon as the Grange and 47XX are finished. We are looking at producing a small range of 6959 Modified Halls at the same time as the 49XX models. On the Modified Hall there are noticeable differences on the front end footplate and smokebox saddle, the cab has the smaller front windows and there is a plate frame front bogie. Most of the engines also had improved draughting higher superheat boilers with ID chimneys that we have made for the 68XX Grange.
If you are interested in a Modified (Hawksworth) Hall do let us know as soon as possible as we need to size the production in the next few months.
On the 28XX the most popular model is the curved frame footplate model with the early Churchward cab. The 2884/38XX (curved frame footplate and Collett cab) and 28XX with the square frame and Churchward cab (perhaps the most interesting version) follow behind. Fortunately there is enough demand to make all 3 versions.
57XX/8750 Pannier Tanks
This ia a sample engine from the pannier tank production run that we brought back from Korea to be photographed. This is a special configuration, also in Scale 7, ordered by a customer.
The 170 models have been built and painted. They are very attractive machines with lots of detail and full working inside valve gear. The LT versions in red and the GWR versions in green are exceptionally attractive locomotives, but even the GWR and BR black engines also are desirable . However there are some changes that still need to be made to get the build correct where hardly any two engines are alike – this is a painstaking exercise.
As ever, we have discovered some new information at this stage of the build which necessitates some additional modifications. So we are taking time and making the effort to get all this work done in Korea rather than having to undertake the changes in the UK. So much for those who told me that this would be a simple build! The builder is busy with this work programme now and we hope to get the engines into the UK in time for Telford.
Class 52 Western Diesel Hydraulic
The surprise from my visit was the discovery of the second painted sample of the Class 52 Western Diesel Hydraulic locomotive painted in BR Blue with full yellow ends. The builder has done a great job of incorporating most if not all of the changes that we have requested.
The engine room detail shows brilliantly through the engine room windows and also through the side grilles. There are still several minor changes still to make and it seems that there are some visual differences between the Swindon and Crewe-built locomotives that we need to discover and implement in the build programme.
We have compared the model to other production models from other sources and our expert advisers say that there is something about our model which sets it apart from anything else in term of fidelity to the realism of the model to the real locomotive.
We now think the changes that are required are so few that we can now commission the production of the locomotive. So we have pressed the production button this week and the builder hopes to finish the run by the end January 2019. Based on prior experience we think it might be prudent to add perhaps two months to this timetable. The production programme is now being set in terms of locomotive versions and liveries.
The Western, although a simpler build in terms of variations than the 47XX or 70XX 'Castle', still has some limitations dependent on time and individual locomotive. For example we have to make a decision on how many engines from the build are fitted with safety catches on the lower side doors. These were fitted during the Blue Period, but not when the engines were green and maroon, so we are taking a guess at how many cutomers will like early or later liveries. Once the models have been built there cannot be complete interchangeability between all periods. So, if you would like a particular model in a particular livery, I would urge you to consider deciding what you want now, as later in the build the programme will become fixed in term of variations that can be offered and your choice may not be still available.
Commentary on the build programmes
Finally, I would like to thank you all for your patience in waiting for the models to be built. We base our production time estimates on what the builders tell us and we then add a little extra time, typically 2 to 3 months. The problem has been on each build we discover new information during the building phase. Sometimes this is new information on the technical details of the locomotive and other times it is new technology that will improve the operation of our locomotives. A good example is on the 68XX 'Grange' where we discovered that we needed to make 3 different chimneys and 5 different oil covers. The available information on oil covers was very limited which made them very difficult and time consuming to incorporate in the build. We have to make the difficult decision on whether to incorporate the information into the build or make locomotives more quickly that do not fully meet our new information base. Our policy is try to incorporate the new information wherever possible. So although this delays the build, we at least offer a more accurate range of locomotives.
We ask for your continued patience so that we get the builds as accurate as we can.
11 July 2018.
The regulations come into force this week and we will be making contact with you individually to inform you what data we hold on you and how we store it. We will also be requesting your permission to retain this information to use only appropriately as may be required to communicate with you. We can confirm that we only retain any minimal data on you that you have voluntarily provided to enable us to supply you with model locomotives or carry out rectification/repair work. Any data we have in our system is only used by ourselves in relation to transactions in progress or to advise you on current or future projects. No personal data is ever made available by us to third parties.
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.