It is some time since we last updated the website. Despite the global impact of Covid-19, much has been going on at Masterpiece Models and we have been extremely busy preparing and delivering locomotives to customers, as well as working on the current builds of the Western Diesel, 28XX/38XX 2-8-0 tender engines, as well as Halls and Modified Halls.
Current Build – Class 52 Western Diesel
As we are unable to visit Korea at present we asked the builder to send over a sample Western Diesel pulled from the current production run so that we could check it for details as well as finalising the design and fitment of the sound and lighting. Following our assessment of the previous pre-production model all the necessary changes have been made to ensure the cab shape, roof and front windscreens are correct. The whole locomotive now looks spot-on! The underbody detail is also simply wonderful and all six axles are driven by the largest, most powerful Swiss motor that we have used in a model to date. The model has been approved by our technical experts Bob Meanley, Adrian Knowles and Bryan Robertson, all of whom are passionate about Westerns. Please note that the windscreen wipers in the photos will be replaced with better ones parked in the correct position, while the 'Bardic' lamp brackets (which were bent in transit) will only be applied to late period blue models.
Unfortunately, the shipper UPS managed to drop the package and the Western was badly damaged on one end. We managed to partly repair the damage and the locomotive has now been fitted with lighting and sound. Our sound engineer Bryan Robertson has performed heroically reconfiguring the decoder and fitting lighting in the headcode boxes, side lamps, cabs and engine room. The locomotive now sounds and looks superb. We have separated the electrical circuits to the fans so that it is possible to run the locomotive with only one set fans working and then start up the second engine to make the second set of fans operating. We think the electronics take this model into a new league as far as British outline 7mm scale diesel locomotives are concerned.
Bryan carried out running tests of the locomotive and we can confirm that it will operate on 6ft (1.83m) radius curves. It may be possible to go slightly tighter but this would need to checked.
In Korea work continues to prepare components for painting
If you have not yet made a reservation and you want a Western in a special livery other than:
• Green with small yellow ends
• Maroon with small yellow ends
• Blue with full yellow ends
Please contact me as soon as possible as otherwise it will be too late.
Current Build – 28XX/38XX 2-8-0 Freight Locomotives
We also shipped over three samples of 28XX/38XX from South Korea for checking by our technical expert Bob Meanley. He has identified a few minor changes that will be requested to be carried out by the builders.
We have discovered a major issue with the six 28XX square frame locomotives ordered with no top feed. We have been investigating as many sources of material as we can find. Very little has been written and what is in the public domain is not accurate or very helpful. Thanks to the goodwill of one of our key suppliers we have managed to access some private papers with crucial information.
We now believe that no non-top feed locomotives with the No 1 boilers were ever painted in GWR plain green. After 1918 when the engines were in GWR plain green, it appears that all engines had top feed already fitted. So, we have a dilemma. Either we cancel all the build of non-top feed engines, or we try to make them as accurate as possible. This means that the non-top feed engines would have to be painted in GWR lined green with lining on the tender body and chassis, as well as polished fittings on both the engine and tender. The tender needs to be changed to the Churchward flush-riveted short-fender version with the garter arms. The only engines that we can build were numbered from 2820 to 2829 and were delivered in 1907. So, we can only provide engines with these numbers as earlier engines were delivered with Dean tenders and later engines were fitted with top feed. As a result of all this we have decided to offer the non-top feed engines only in the lined green 1907 configuration.
Unfortunately, this work will incur both an additional cost and delay production of these six engines as new tender bodies need to be made. The locomotive bodies will also need some changes and new modified tender chassis for these engines will now have to be built.
The existing tenders that have been completed are all Churchward 3,500 gallon long-fender snap riveted versions. None of these tenders ran with the lined green non-top feed engines. We plan to increase the price by £200 for these six models engines which only partially covers the additional production cost. Thus the current price will rise to £3,500 for these six locomotives. The top feed plain green GWR and black engines will remain at £3,300. Buyers who do not wish to pay the extra cost can elect to take plain green or black top feed engines at £3,300.
There are still some 28XX models, both BR and GWR square frame and curved frame available, but there are very few unreserved 38XX engines left. So, I you want a 38XX please let me know as soon as possible, especially GWR engines; if several engines are required this requires a reshuffle of the build. There is very little time left to undertake this change.
Current Build – Collett Hall and Hawksworth Modified Hall
We shipped over two samples of the Hall and Modified Hall for checking by our technical expert Bob Meanley. He has identified a few minor changes which will be requested to be carried out by the builders.
As previously reported we increased the number of Collett Halls to 54 locomotives with a few slots left, both GWR and BR. These are mainly 49XX and 69XX types (BR).
Production of Hawksworth Modified Halls has been increased from 15 to 24, so there are a few extra slots. Half the Modified Halls will be fitted with mechanical lubricators which provide interesting extra detail. Please note that the cylinder covers and chimney in the photos of the Modified Hall are not the correct type as the loco was not complete when the picture were taken and these items were simply fitted to give it a more finished appearance. The correct items will be fitted to all Modified Halls delivered to customers.
Witherslack Hall is proving to be the most popular locomotive name followed by Wolf Hall and Lady Margaret Hall.
Possible Future Build – Brighton and GNR/LNER Atlantics
We continue to receive requests to build these locomotives, but we have not still received quite enough requests to proceed with the build. So, if you want a model of one of these locomotives and you still have not made a reservation or expression of interest, please contact us urgently as we still need more support to proceed with the project. If this project proceeds it will have to start from scratch with a complete redesign of the locomotive chassis to make the wheelbase as accurate as possible. The Scale 7 models will have the full scale sized wheels, but the O gauge versions will be forced to have reduced diameter (worn) driving wheel tyres as otherwise the flanges will touch each other and short circuit.
We are very keen to make these models and the current plan (subject to sufficient reservations) will be to make about 90 models (expected to be 55 Southern H1s/H2s and 35 GNR/LNER Atlantics). The cost will be probably around £3,300, but could be more due to the smaller volume and any currency and duty/VAT changes post the final UK departure from the EU Transition Period on 31 December 2020.
Models in Stock – Small Prairie Tank 45XX/4575
A recent flurry of sales has exhausted our stock of O gauge models. We have several 45XX/4575 sold but still due for delivery. We also have one 45XX and one 4575 awaiting conversion to O gauge (both sold). So, the remaining stock is down to two Scale7 BR 4575 (sloping tank) locomotives in BR lined green with the earlier lion-over-wheel emblem. When these are gone we will have run out of all stock. There are no more spare O gauge wheel sets, so no further conversions other than the two that are booked are now possible. Please note that there are no more models available at the factory or our warehouse, so when these last two Scale7 models are gone, sadly they have all gone.
Models in Stock – Pannier Tank 57XX/8750
We have a good stock of 57XX especially in Great Western liveries (green and plain black). We have a few BR riveted 57XX engines left and two London Transport 57XXs in the very attractive LT red. We can now only supply LT engines in O gauge.
8750s are available in GWR (green and black), BR mostly back feed engines and two top feed locomotives in the attractive BR lined black as used on empty stock working at Paddington etc. We are down to our last Scale 7 locomotive: one 8750 chassis.
Models in Stock – 70XX Castles
We can still offer a double chimney 70XX Castle with the mechanical lubricator in the forward or standard position (behind the RHS steam pipe). There is a good choice of single chimney 70XX Castles in most configurations and BR liveries. We can no longer offer 7005 Sir Edward Elgar as the set of nameplates was recently sold on a single chimney engine. Sadly, no more full sets of plates are available for this engine. Very few Scale 7 gauge locomotives are now available.
Models in Stock – 47XX 2-8-0 Tender Engines
A reasonable choice of GWR plain green engines is available, but choice of BR types is now more limited. Some BR plain black engines remain, but BR lined black 4702 now all now sold. Very limited choice of Scale 7 locomotives now left.
Models in Stock – 68XX 4-6-0 Grange Tender Engines
All GWR plain green engines now sold except one model in S7. All BR lined black engines now sold. We have a few BR plain black engines and a good choice of BR lined green engines available including some in Scale 7. Many great Grange names are still available. Please check on the phone or email with your request.
Covid-19 - Impact on Korea and the UK
The Covid-19 Virus has again spread back into the Seoul area in Korea which includes Incheon where our models are built. New measures have been imposed by the Government to control the new outbreaks. This has further slowed down our production in Korea. Travel to Korea (with flights and travel insurance still unavailable) is not possible despite the fact that I urgently need to go there. We now also have quarantine issues at both ends, so no visit has been possible this year. We expect the restrictions on travel to continue for long haul flights for the rest of 2020. So, an alternative plan to get the builds completed is essential.
Covid-19 has made activity here in the UK also very difficult. Both my UK engineer (Colin Dowling) and I are still in isolation. Since our last report we managed only one short meeting to prepare three locomotives. This limitation makes business activity very difficult, as all preparation has to be undertaken by me. We have despatched a number of locomotives to customers in the UK and elsewhere and more deliveries are expected to take place next month.
I hope that you are all well and are continuing to take all necessary precautions to avoid catching this dreadful disease. Please continue to be careful and look after yourselves and anyone you meet by following the rules that are in force.
John Borkowski 27 August 2020.