Exceptional museum quality model locomotives for modellers, enthusiasts and collectors

News update 19 March

COVID-19 Virus
The Covid-19 virus has now been declared a world-wide pandemic and it is now affecting all countries in the world including South Korea, Europe (including the UK) and America where the outbreak is very serious. Flights are being banned and governments are in the process of applying population lockdowns to try to slow down or eliminate the spread of the virus to protect as much of their populations as possible. In the UK isolation measures are in force from Sunday 22 March that last 12 weeks and we at Masterpiece Models are in this category of the vulnerable. So effectively I am gated (isolated) at home until the middle of June. Events are moving quickly and we cannot be certain as what path the virus will take, so planning what we need to do in these conditions is difficult and our approach therefore needs to be flexible and practical and subject to change taking into account unpredictable events.

How is it all affecting Masterpiece Models?

Production in Korea
South Korea has been badly affected by the Covid-19 virus. This has caused some dislocation in the industrial sector, but so far has not caused a major impact on our activities. In South Korea work is proceeding on the Western Diesel which has transferred production from the burned-out factory to a new factory. Production is currently concentrated on replacing the items that were destroyed or badly damaged in the fire. Staff working on the project are limited as major concerns remain on catching the virus.

In the second factory where work is being undertaken on the Halls, Modified Halls and the 28XX/38XX freight engines work is being confined to a small workforce in-house to reduce the risk of getting infected with the virus.

The virus pandemic means that there are no flights from UK to Korea. As the country is on the Foreign Office danger list, health care insurance is no longer valid, so there is no immediate possibility of a visit by me to Incheon to oversee production. We are trying to put in place electronic communication to take the place of the visiting that would otherwise occur.

The consequences of the virus means that although work is progressing reasonably well, it will take more time to complete the models.

Supply of Existing New Models
45XX/4575 Prairie Tank Locomotives
We still have about 10 models available for sale. Many of these are in O gauge type 3 packed rear buffer beam engines in Great Western Green with the GREAT WESTERN emblem. We also have very limited supply of Type 4 and Type 5 4575 some in GWR and others in BR. The engines are a mixed assortment of Scale7 and O gauge. At this stage it is not practical to change the gauge of the locomotives.

57XX and 8750 Pannier Tank Locomotives
We have a good choice of GWR green engines with early (57XX) and late (8750) cabs. We also have some BR black engines including some BR lined black 8750 locomotives with the BR Lion over wheel emblem which are very attractive. There are 4 London Transport red 57XX panniers out of the new batch of 11 that we had made in Korea. There is a £100 premium for these models which we are supplying at below the additional production cost. Scale 7 engines are only available on two models: one 8750 and one 57XX. We could switch chassis for your choice except the LT Panniers which are now only in O gauge.

47XX 2-8-0
We have a good range of engines left mainly in GWR Green and BR lined Green. We also have one BR plain black engine left. All tenders except one GWR GREAT WESTERN Churchward tender are Collett 4000 gallon tenders. Most engines are O gauge, but we do have a few engines also in Scale 7.

68XX Grange
There is a good choice of BR lined green engines with a choice of Churchward 3500 gallon and Collett 3500 gallon or Collett 4000 gallon tenders. We also have a few BR plain black and one BR Lined black engines.

70XX Castles
We have a few double chimney engines and still a good selection of single chimney engines in both earlier and later configuration. Collett and Hawks worth 4000 gallon tenders are both available. There is also a good range of names that are available.

If you would like to know about the availability of engines in any or all of the above categories please email or call us by phone.

Delivery of Models
Our approach has been to supply hand delivered models wherever possible as our models are very delicate and do not respond well to couriers dropping packages. With the current UK population lock-down hand delivery is no longer possible so we are back to using couriers.

I have been in contact with our courier DHL who have now agreed that we can use wooden boxes to transport the trains. Previously it had refused to accept this form of packaging. We believe to wooden box approach is much more robust than conventional out cardboard sleeves placed over the existing train packing boxes.

We still have a number of models that have been ordered and have not yet been delivered. Some of these models are to be delivered to areas badly affected by the virus and so these are now off limits to the couriers. Others can still be delivered, but payments are still due on these models. If you have ordered a model and have not yet paid for it and would like your model to be delivered by DHL, assuming that this option is available in your area, please contact us by email of telephone so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

GNR/LNER and Brighton Atlantics
We can now confirm that other than the Umber H1 prototype, all the Atlantic models were completely destroyed in the factory fire.

If we are to consider starting the project again from the beginning we need a reasonable level of interest in the project. So far we have received expressions of interest for between 30 and 40 locomotives. Interest is roughly 2:1 split between Southern and GNR/LNER engines. While this is encouraging, it is not nearly enough to put the project back into production. If we do decide to proceed we would make some considerable upgrades to the specification of the models in a number of important areas. This would include split axles, our insulated horn-block pickups, Masterpieces Models’ proprietary gear box, the Masterpiece Models’ patented coupling between locomotive and tender, switchable DCC/DC and a Scale 7 option. We would also like to make a model of Hartland Point as the Bulleid H1 Leader experimental engine. So if you are interested in an Atlantic and have not contacted us, I urge you to do so now as otherwise this project will not proceed in the near future.

Exhibitions and Shows in the UK
We attended the Kettering show on March 7th, where the number of people who came to the stand was heavily down on the attendance in previous years. Although no announcements have yet been officially made, it is our expectation that the model shows coming up in April, May and June will be cancelled. We were also planning to go the Scale 7 Show at Albury on April 23 but this has now been postponed to a later date yet to be fixed. The cancellation of all shows in the next 3 months means that we may not be able to display our models in public for some time. We hope that the Swindon Show in September will remain in place, but it is much too early to predict how things will work out.

To make up for the lack of exhibitions we will see if it is possible to feature some of our existing stock as special article features on the website. This will allow you to at least have some electronic images of what we have to offer.

In conclusion we will have to go through some difficult times, I am confident that we will get through it and come out the other side still being able to offer a good choice of the best British outline 7mm scale (O Gauge and Scale seven locomotives) that money can buy.

Please look after yourselves and take care of your health at this time of great concern.

John Borkowski  19 March 2020

Gauge 0 Guild Kettering Show, Saturday 7 March

We are looking forward to seeing our many friends and customers at the Kettering Show on Saturday 7 March. Sadly last year we were unable to travel to Kettering due to the exceptional winter snow, but this year we will be there as usual. Please come over to see us to look at what we have on the stand and discuss your modelling interests.

We look forward to seeing everyone there on Saturday.

 John Borkowski

News update 11 February 2020

The Factory Resumes Production of the Western Diesel

New factory

We are pleased to tell you that the production of the Class 52 western diesel-hydraulic locomotive has restarted in a new factory. The bodies, the cab interiors and the outside bogie frames were recovered virtually intact from the fire and work has started on replacing the items damaged or destroyed in the fire. There remains much work to be done. We need to think in terms of a delay of up to 6 months in the production programme. We hope to have the engines finished by the end of the year (2020!).

Recovered Items from the Fire
We had two 14XX/58XX engines and our special demonstrator 45XX Type 1 plus 6 LT 57XX Panniers and one 67XX Pannier special dock shunter in the factory at the time of the fire. It is believed that all of these engines can be repaired from the smoke and fire damage. We also believe the Umber Brighton H1 Atlantic sample locomotive featured in our advertisement on the back cover of the latest Gauge 0 Guild Gazette can also be recovered which is excellent news.

Atlantics Programme
So far we have had about 30 enquiries / expressions of interest in the GNR/LNER and Brighton Atlantic Programme. While this is encouraging and supportive of resurrecting the build, we would still like to hear from you what you would us to build in terms of Atlantic type and livery so we can work out a revised programme to evaluate as a build. So far the ratio of Brighton to LNER/GNR engines is 2:1. We think there must be more demand out there for the LNER/GNR engines, so if this is what you want please contact us and tell us what you would like. If not your engines may never feature in the programme. If you want a Brighton engine either an H1 and an H2 or even the engine used by Bulleid as a testbed for his Leader class (Hartland Point), please also let us know.

Halls, Modified Halls and 28XX/38XX 2-8-0 Tender Engines
Tenders for these engines are being sent off to the paint shop while the loco bodies and chassis are still being built. This build programme is not affected by the fire.

John Borkowski 11 February 2020.

Fire In Korea Update

Our builders have now spent a week recovering as much as possible from the burnt-out factory in Incheon. It seems that the Western Diesels have miraculously escaped with mainly smoke damage . One or two small parts awaiting fitting were lost, but they can be re-cast fairly easily and the models will be completed as soon as feasible. Next week the production will be transferred to a new factory in the Incheon area and work will restart.

The fire damage to the Ex-Kemilway LBSCR/GNR Atlantics was so severe there is nothing left except twisted, burnt metal. Realistically, if the Atlantics are to be built we will have to start again from the beginning, but we will first prioritise the Western Diesels.

We realise this is a big disappointment for all of you who have reservations with Kemilway Models and those who have more recently sent in expressions of interest. We have to be realistic and make a recovery from our existing situation before we embark on a new model programme. We ask you to be understanding of our position and be patient with us.

Shortly before the time of the fire we were considering taking over the Atlantic programme from Kemilway. The deal depended on three conditions being met: (1) a clear itemisation of the customer and supplier debt position at Kemilway on this programme; (2) modification of the production programme to accommodate the Brighton H1 and H2 models, also adding BR livery and configuration; (3) acceptance of a phased programme by the builder. None of these conditions had been met at the time of the fire and they have now all been overtaken by this event with the total destruction of the stock.

The fire has been a big setback for us but at least no one was injured. We will recover from this situation, even if it takes some time.

Bristol Show

We will be in the Scale7 Village part of the show and in addition to our usual stand we are planning to have two dioramas for you to examine and enjoy. We will have both O Gauge and Scale7 models on display, so please do come and see us on our stand. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

John Borkowski/24 January 2020.

Fire in Incheon Factory

It is with great regret that we have to announce that a fire broke out in the Incheon (South Korea) factory of one of our builders earlier this week. Thank goodness it appears that no one was injured in the fire, but extensive damage was caused.

Although it’s too early to be absolutely certain, it seems that the cause of the fire was a fault in the electrical system. Fire swept through part of building destroying virtually everything in its path. In addition there is water damage from the firemen fighting the fire.

The only Masterpiece Models affected by this are the ex-Kemilway LBSCR and GNR ‘Atlantics’– the build of which we had been hoping to take over subject to assessment – and the Class 52 ‘Western’ diesel hydraulics.

Fortunately the Class 52 ‘Westerns’ were in a part of the factory which mainly suffered from smoke damage rather than the full effects of the fire, so we understand they were not seriously affected. Very sadly, however, all the ex-Kemilway ‘Atlantics’ have been completely destroyed, together with a full set of Gauge 1 German outline coaches being made for one of the builder’s other customers.

Atlantics fire damage

Terminal fire damage to the ex-Kemilway 'Atlantics'

Insurance claims are now being filed to recover the losses, but where does this leave us – and more importantly our customers who have placed orders for these models?

Well, the outlook is not as bleak as it may seem. The ‘Western’ diesels will be moved as soon as possible to a new factory where the builder was planning to relocate anyway in February. This may result in a slight delay to the production while the builder gets back on his feet, but barring any complications we are still optimistic that the models can be delivered in 2020.

As regards the ‘Atlantics’, we had already put a considerable amount of work into the programme having received a very positive response from potential customers after we announced the possibility of taking over the Kemilway build. As a result, we are now looking at restarting the ‘Atlantic’ programme from scratch, which means that we would be able to build the models to full Masterpiece Models standards from the outset.

The Halls, Modified Halls, 28XX/38XX and rebuilt BR/LMS 7P 4-6-0s are not affected by the fire as they are being made at a different factory on another site. The Standard Class 5 is also not affected.

These are early days and a full assessment of the fire damage is ongoing. We will continue to update you when and as we receive further news of developments. Our intention is to proceed with all the builds for which we have made commitments.

John Borkowski 17 January 2020