Exceptional museum quality model locomotives for modellers, enthusiasts and collectors

Western C-C Diesel Hydraulic


Late on Tuesday afternoon – in considerable trepidation – we received from DHL a package from Incheon. It contained two production samples of the Class 52 Western diesel hydraulic, D1048 Western Lady in maroon and D1002 Western Explorer in green. Shipping via an express courier is always fraught with risk, but as we are unable to visit Korea at present it was essential that we should take a close look at these models in order to identify any last necessary tweaks to be made in the final stage of production.

The first sight of each of our new builds is rather like one’s first child being delivered. Would the Westerns come out of their packaging intact? Would they justify the huge effort that we have put in over the last four years to get every detail right?

On opening each box and carefully peeling away all the protective wrappings, we knew immediately that we had something very special here. Not only had the models survived their trans-global journey without damage, but they are actually stunning – far better, in fact, than even the photos received earlier from Korea had suggested.


The first impression is that they are HUGE! They also have a weight, gravitas and realism that somehow is only possible to achieve with models built from sheet metal rather than plastic, resin or any other purely moulded material. On diesels this really shows up as a huge improvement. Once seen, it’s difficult to go back to over-thick materials with high porosity which simply don’t take paint in the way that metals do.

Hand-on-heart I can say that these were (and are) as good a model locomotive as I have ever seen – the best models that Masterpiece Models has ever had made, either in Michael Brooks’ time or since I have taken over the helm.

I telephoned my technical colleagues Adrian Knowles and Bryan Robertson to tell them the news. Also we wanted to get the locomotives as quickly as possible over to Wiltshire for photography and then to Oxfordshire to check out the electronics.

08As a result of these travels we now have some pictures for you see and enjoy. We will put some more photos in the section of the Western for everyone to find and enjoy. To create a little more realism we have taken the pictures of the Western locomotives outside our Swindon A Shop diorama and also in our Scale 7 brick cutting.

For more information, availability, or to place an oder, CLICK HERE.

We hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we do.

John Borkowski 19 February 2021


Class 52 Western Diesel Hydraulic


We recently received some pictures of the Western Diesels painted bodies. We would like to share the good news of these developments with you so that you can see the progress that has been made in recent weeks. The pictures cover all the main livery variants:

• Desert Sand
• Maroon small yellow buffer beams
• Maroon small yellow ends
• Green small yellow ends
• Golden ochre small yellow ends
• Blue full yellow ends.


The bodies still need to be fitted out with opening doors, windows, windscreens, the illuminated headcode boxes, external lighting, cab interior details, lighting and engine room details. We also have the two crew members, a driver and a second man to fit into the cab at one end.

Engine room detailing comprises:
• Sliding windows
• Doorways into the transverse corridors connecting the cab doors
• Longitudinal and transverse walkways
• Lighting
• 4 radiator panels
• 2 diesel engines and the train steam heating boiler plant
• 4 individual radiator fans which can be operated in groups


In addition, we have the very large drive motor and flywheel, two flexible coupling drive shafts and two gear boxes connecting into the 6 individual helical gearboxes driving all 6 axles, plus the decoder and two loudspeakers. These items are hidden from view by the detail of the Maybach engines and cooling groups. A huge amount of sophisticated equipment has thus been ingeniously accommodated in a comparatively small space.

Everyone assumes that a model diesel locomotive has masses of spare space inside the body. This is not true of the Masterpiece Models Western diesel that scarcely has any spare body space so packed is it with equipment and components!


The underside of the body also has all the fuel tank and pipework detail which really captures the feel of the prototype.

The chassis units have now all been assembled and, once the body assembly has been completed, the bodies and chassis can be united to make up complete running locomotives. We hope to get the work completed over the next two months.

John Borkowski
29 January 2021


It is with great regret that we start the New Year with the announcement that the proposed merger between Masterpiece Models and the Lee Marsh Model Co will not now be able to go ahead.

We have taken this difficult decision in light of the consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic, as well as the resulting economic uncertainties affecting not only our customers but also the production facilities in South Korea. While there is no threat to the Masterpiece Models now in production, we felt it unwise to expand the scope and size of operations of the business at this critical time.

As we enter 2021 we are fully committed to Masterpiece Models customers and we are concentrating on our core product range including the current build programmes (the Western Diesels, GWR Halls and 28XX freight locomotives) and we will be channelling all our efforts and resources into these existing and future programmes.

Customers who have reservations for Lee Marsh Model Co products and projects (including Castles, GWR Passenger Brake Vans, A1/A3s, 850s, Manors, Lord Nelsons and BR Standard Class 4 80XXX locomotives) should contact Lee Marsh directly on these models. We have therefore removed the pages relating to these models from our website, but you can still refer to progress with these projects on Lee Marsh Model Co‘s own web site, www.leemarshmodelco.com .

We have long been admirers of the great work on both locomotives and coaches produced by Lee Marsh Model Co and we wish it every success for the future.

John Borkowski

Update 23 December 2020

This is normally a time of good cheer and great expectations just before we enter the Christmas Holiday period. It is an important time for Christians like me awaiting the celebration of the Nativity of Christ over 2,000 years ago and for others who look forward to a well earned break to meet up socially with their families and friends. 

Sadly, this year in the UK, and also in many other parts of Europe and elsewhere in the world, we face an unprecedented Christmas lock-down situation with severe restrictions or complete prohibition of any form social mixing with our friends and family. In the UK we also face a period of continuing uncertainty with the EU and the UK deadlocked on the last stage of the trade negotiations and the current disruption to the movement of people and goods between the Continent of Europe and elsewhere due to fears of a new variants of the COVID-19 virus, that are believed to be far more infectious than earlier strains. So we may end the year without our normal Christmas and New Year celebrations, being forced having a quiet time in solo households. Conversation may have to be limited to electronic communication: the telephone or by internet channels. Whatever prevails we must try to make the best of a difficult situation.

You may ask what have we been doing at Masterpiece Models over the last few weeks. Here is a brief description of much of our work. First we have been talking to each other daily within the team (except for the occasional weekend day) on a new way of working with our builders whereby we will become much more directly involved in the design and production processes of future models. There are five objectives here:

  1. To make more accurate models
  2. Improve the technical exchange between us and the builders so that we can work together much more efficiently than we do at present working largely from pictures and commentary.
  3. To ensure better quality control and less corrective work here in the UK after models have left the factory.
  4. To shorten the build time of the models.
  5. To establish a production plan with the builders so that we and they have clearer view of how to make the models and the sequence and timing of operations and activities.

We want to make better models more quickly to try to reduce the long waiting times.

Second, we have been in constant touch with the builders to encourage them to finish the Western Diesel and the Halls (Collett and Modified), as well as the 28XX/38XX freight locomotives. 

Third, we have also been in touch with many customers, especially those in EU Europe, to despatch as many models as possible before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 assuming, as the UK is currently demanding, there is no further extension.

We hope you all have as good a Christmas as possible and that you are able to keep some contact with your friends and family over this important holiday period.Thank you all very much for your continued support, encouragement and custom. 

 Best wishes and please keep safe,

John Borkowski 23 December 2020

80XXX and 82XXX Standard Class Tank Locomotives

We are looking at priorities for our future build programme, especially tank engines. One possibility that we feel that we could offer is an attractive proposition of a single simultaneous build programme of BR Standard Class 80XXX 2-6-4 and 82XXX 2-6-2 tank locomotives. 155 80XXX and 45 82XXX locomotives were built by BR.

These locomotives ran on a wide variety of routes in the UK mainland. The 80XXX tank locomotives were active in Scotland, the Southern, London Midland and Eastern and even the Western Regions. On the Southern they ran out of Victoria and London Bridge on the trains to Sussex and on Reading-Guildford-Dorking-Redhill-Tonbridge trains. On the Eastern Region they operated the London, Tilbury and Southend line out of Fenchurch Street where they were popular on heavy trains of suburban BR Mark 1 coaches. On London Midland Region many were based at Bletchley running suburban trains into Euston.



The 80XXX locomotives were worthy successors of the earlier LMS Fowler 2 cylinder and the Stanier 2 and 3 cylinder tank engines, as well as the later Fairburn shorter wheel base 2-6-4 tank engines. In the North East they were based at Whitby. In Scotland they worked out of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Beattock banking duties and – famously – on the Killin branch. 14 engines have been preserved with a number restored to running condition on private preserved railways. The 80XXX 2-6-4 locomotives were all painted BR lined back with the earlier Lion-over-Wheel or later Totem.

80XXX diagram


82037 2

The 82XXX locomotives were active mainly on the Western – especially on the Cambrian section – and on the Southern including empty stock working out of Waterloo down to Clapham Junction. 82XXX operated in the South West at Exmouth Junction and at Newton Abbot. In the Midlands they were based at Wellingborough, in the Birmingham area at Tyseley, and in the North West at Patricroft. In the North East they operated at York and on Darlington to Penrith trains. Unfortunately no BR 82XXX engines were preserved, but a replica is being built at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway.

The 82XXX were outshopped originally in BR lined black and later in BR lined green and even later in BR plain green.

82XXX diagramWe feel that both of these engine types are highly attractive to the eye, and as they were extensively used on the BR system, they have a strong appeal to a wide range of modelers and collectors alike. We would like to measure your interest in this project, so we would like to invite you let us know your expressions of interest. This gives you all the opportunity to secure the production of these models that are of particular interest to you.

If you have already reserved an 80XXX engine we already have your details, so there is no need contact us unless you want to do so.

80XXX and 82XXX expression of interest
Please click the buttons below let us know which versions of the 80XXX and 82XXX interest you most.

We look forward to your response with great interest.

John Borkowski/5 December 2020