I write this note to you just having returned from an extended visit to the builders in South Korea. The weather was very kind to me there and we had dry days except at the end, with moderate temperatures from +5 to +12 degrees C. The flight back took more than 13 hours, of which the last half an hour was spent trying to find a parking stand at Heathrow Airport. The aircraft – a Boeing 787 – was superb, but the ground operations on arrival rather spoilt the experience. Having worked for many years professionally in the airline industry it is incredibly frustrating to find that the airport/airline management at Heathrow are still unable to find a single parking space at Terminal 5 for such a long period. So upset passengers wait on the ground with aircraft engines running unnecessarily polluting our atmosphere because of complete disorganisation. This is not a good advertisement for civil aviation at a time of great concern for our environment.
The builders have finished the chassis and central underframes and these have been sent to the painters. They have made an exquisite job of all the underside detail with fuel tanks, valves and pipework under the central section. This is shown in the picture below that compares the original brass chassis section with the new black painted section.
The underside of the Class 52 'Western' diesel is now fully detailed with tanks and pipes (left)
The bodies are largely assembled and the cab ends are now being finalised. The bodies will go to the paintshop in January and final assembly will start in February.
57XX LT Version - Additional Models
Such was the interest in the London Transport variants of our 57XX pannier tanks that all of the initial batch have now been sold or reserved. We have subsequently been asked for LT panniers by a number of customers, so rather than leave them disappointed we decided to make a further small batch of 11 new LT 57XX panniers, finished in the distinctive maroon livery with all the LT fittings (modified cabs and rainstrips, trip cocks, reporting number frames, LT lamp brackets etc.). They are all in O gauge and no more Scale 7 engines are available. If you would like a model please contact us as soon as possible as these are the last models we will make of this version and when they are gone they are gone. Due to the short run we had to pay a significant premium to the builder, the bulk of which we will absorb with only a portion passed on to buyers.
We still have some GWR and BR Black models left, mainly engines with back-feed, not top-feed. Please contact us if you want a particular model as stocks of some types are now very low. We have received a number of orders requiring extra finishing, change of numbers etc, and these are now being processed by Colin and I. One customer requested a 67XX dock shunter that is now being specially made in Korea.
28XX and 38XX
All the Churchward 3,500 gallon tenders have been built, both bodies and chassis. They will be sent to the painters next week. The basic locomotive bodies are built, but most of the detailing parts still have to be added. The chassis cylinder blocks are built and chassis main frame assembly has started. The detailing on the engines is impressive with castings made to an exceptional standard. We have limited the run to 62 engines, most of which are now booked. If you want a particular locomotive and have not ordered one please let us know as soon as possible as we are going to fix the numbers and changes cannot be accommodated, especially on GWR engines with buffer beam numbers.
Collett Halls 49XX, 59XX and 69XX
This build is proceeding at the same time as the 28XX/38XX and the progress is at a similar stage. All the small tenders (Churchward and Collett 3,500 gallon) tenders are complete and ready for painting. The build of the larger Collett 4,000 gallon tenders is virtually complete and they are now finishing off the Hawksworth 4,000 gallon tenders bodies. All the tender chassis are finished ready for painting. The locomotive bodies are assembled and now need detailing while the chassis are being assembled. We are making two models of 4948 Northwick Hall with the shutters in the cab roof. One is sold but the second is available in BR form to any lucky would-be customer.
Hawksworth Modified Halls
We are now making 24 Modified Halls – 12 with cab sight glass lubricators and 12 with mechanical lubricators. The work is at the same stage of progress as the Collett Halls and the 28XX/38XX. The models we saw in the factory were exquisite. In the past the Modified Hall to me always played second fiddle to the Collet Halls. Having worked on the design and details and now seeing the execution of the work, I have to say the models will be absolutely superb and are now clearly in first fiddle position! The Modified Halls will be completed at the same time as the Collett Halls.
The Modified Hall bogie is a work of art with both vertical and lateral springing
47XX 2-8-0s and 68XX Granges
The 47XX and 68XX Granges were rapturously reviewed in the December edition of MODEL RAIL 268. If you would like a model of either of these types please do let us know as we are running out of some variants, so future choice may be limited.
We still have a few Castles left, all 70XX models except one 50XX – Tresco Abbey fitted with a double chimney in late BR configuration. Thanks to our chief engineer Bob Meanley and the builders, especially Mr Kwon, we think they really capture the look of the real engine. In an independent review the July edition of MODEL RAIL (No. 262) there is a detailed review of O gauge and S7 ‘superwheel’ Castles by Richard Foster and Dave Lowery. This covers not just the appearance of the model but also its running performance. I quote: “You buy a model like this because you want the very best.”
Winter Festive season
I would like to thank everyone for their patience in accepting the delays in delivery of many locomotives and especially all of you who have been waiting so long for the Halls, Modified Halls and 28XX/38XX engines. It just takes a long time to get these models made, especially as we have raised the standard of detailing and mechanical and electrical development. The wait will be worth it.
In the new Year we will endeavour to deliver all models that have been ordered as quickly as possible.
As I write this message on Christmas Eve looking forward to hearing the Christmas Carols from Kings College Cambridge this afternoon, I would like to wish you all, wherever you are, a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2020.
24 December 2019