Update 29 September 2020
Unfortunately the website went down for a short period yesterday, but we are now back online as normal. Thank you very much to all who phoned and emailed us about the problem. Your actions enabled us to fix it more quickly.
Since we last updated the website a month ago much work has been done on finalising changes to the current builds, as well as working on the ‘Atlantics’. The return of more Covid-19 restrictions has prevented me from meeting up with my colleagues to conduct normal work and we are also behind on preparation of a number of orders. We ask you to continue to be patient with us as we are doing our best in the very difficult Covid-19 situation.
Class 52 Western Diesel
The Western production sample is being shipped back to Korea this week together with new reference material for the builder to replace what was lost in the factory fire earlier this year. We are also sending new British outline O gauge and Scale 7 track to replace track lost in the fire so that the builder can test the models in conditions as close as possible to the UK.
We have carried out extensive layout tests to assess the tightest radius that the production locomotives could negotiate. They were just able to negotiate 5 feet 6 inch (1.676 metres) radius curves at moderate speed, but that was close to the absolute limit for an O gauge locomotive. We think the Scale 7 performance would be similar, but it might need a slightly larger radius. It might be best to plan for 5 feet 9 inches (1.753 metres) in Scale 7 as the brake gear will be factionally wider on these versions.
We have finalised the Western painting schedule to accommodate customer preferences. We are making at least 135 engines and it is simply amazing how many people have reserved engines with the same names and numbers. The livery selection has been adjusted to reflect the numbers of each livery that have been reserved.
There are 3 engines in maroon with the early yellow small buffer beams with no names allocated. If you want one of these locomotives you can choose from 10 engine names/numbers:
D1001 Western Pathfinder
D1005 Western Venturer
D1006 Western Stalwart
D1007 Western Talisman
D1008 Western Harrier
D1009 Western Invader
D1039 Western King
D1040 Western Queen
D1041 Western Prince
D1042 Western Princess
All the other locomotives have liveries and names allocated. So, if you have not yet reserved an engine, your choice may be limited to what we have left. Everyone who has made a reservation (even if you have not yet made a payment) will be able to receive the engine of their choice. Fortunately we still have a very good choice, except for D1015 Western Champion in Golden Ochre livery, for which only one engine is left. The following names are sold out:
D1012 Western Firebrand
D1018 Western Buccaneer
D1026 Western Centurion
D1031 Western Rifleman
D1045 Western Viscount
D1072 Western Glory
The number of models in each livery in our final production schedule is:
Desert Sand, red buffer beams: 6
Green, small yellow ends: 19
Maroon, small yellow buffer beams: 4
Maroon, small yellow ends: 62
Blue, full yellow ends: 41
Golden Ochre small yellow ends: 3
This split has been based on current orders and the level of interest shown thus far in each livery. It is now too late to add any other livery combinations.
Crews and Headcodes:
Based on our initial discussions with the builder we had expected that the cab interiors and headcode panels would be user-accessible. However, the intricacy of the build, combined with complex wiring for the cab, headcode and marker lighting, makes this virtually impossible. Once the models have been assembled in the factory, any attempt to dismantle the cab by the customer would be highly likely to result in damage.
However, many customers have said they would like to have crew in the cabs as the large windows make the interior very visible, so how are we going to accommodate this? Having considered all the options, we have decided to factory-fit a driver and second man in one end, with no crew in the other end. This means that depending on how it’s positioned, the model can still look authentic whether running at the head of a train, or stationary in a MPD. We are planning to commission special laser-scanned figures from Modelu. Study of many photographs shows that drivers seldom wore their uniform caps while driving – the part of the uniform that really differentiated the pre and post-1967 appearance – so we will have the same figures in locos of all periods – a driver in jacket and tie but no cap and a second man in shirt sleeves, no tie. The Modelu figures will be hand painted to a high standard before fitting.
Regrettably the addition of crew figures will incur extra costs. Normally we would have tried to absorb this within the price of the model, but we have already suffered a large cost overrun on this build due to the factory fire and devaluation of the pound. Regrettably, therefore, we will have to pass on the cost of the two painted and fitted figures, so the price of each model will be increased by £50 + vat (subject to final estimates from Model U and the builders in Korea).
The headcode boxes present a similar problem as all the cab fittings and partitioning need to be removed for access which, as noted, could easily result in damage to the internal wiring. With this in mind we have decided to pre-fit suitable headcodes with fairly universal appeal.
Although the Westerns were often used on freight, parcels and – in latter years china clay workings etc – they were primarily express passenger locos and were thus most often seen displaying a headcode starting with 1. The second character was a letter denoting the destination, ‘A’ being an up train bound for London Paddington, and ‘C’ being a down train for points west between Plymouth and Penzance etc. Some of the letters, such as V, M and S were used to indicate an inter-regional workings. The final two numerals are the number of the train from the working timetable, which told the signalman exactly which train it was.
On that basis we will fit 1A48 to one end (the ‘up’ Cornish Riviera Express), and 1C88 to the other end (the ‘down’ Golden Hind). To serve more intrepid customers who would prefer a different headcode, we will supply a sheet of headcode characters and numerals on a translucent material with each loco so they can fit their own – on the understanding that this will be STRICTLY at their own risk!
The virus is back with a vengeance, so do please follow the Government guidelines and regulations and please keep safe.
29 September 2020