Friday, 21 April 2017

News from the 16mm AGM

We had a good day at the 16mm AGM. We had a chance to display our wares and talk to old friends and new. Most importantly we had a chance for feedback – the information and suggestions which are the life-blood of our partnership. So here is some feedback.
One of our sharp-eyed customers noticed that we gave contradictory emails in our catalogue. Well spotted! There are two emails which will reach us:
The safest one to use is our gmail address. We apologise to anyone who used any other address. Please try again with the
A preserved Péchot bogie wagon. In recent years, these have been released by the French army to preserved railways around France. Malcolm's 16mm models have therefore become very popular. 
 Other feedback concerned our War Department and Péchot (French military) bogies and wagons. These have proved to be very popular and have been the subject of many enquiries. Unfortunately, Adrian Swain who was the source of high quality castings, has definitively retired. We wish him many long and happy years.
Malcolm has been looking for new ways to fulfil demand. There are WD bogie kits available from other manufacturers, though not in white metal. As ever, we heartily recommend Binnie glass-fibre resin wheels for your WD bogies.
Swift Sixteen are producing Péchot wagon bodies in resin.  Malcolm and Mr Bushell of Swift Sixteen are going to collaborate to make Péchot bogies available in a combination of resin and laser-cut parts. We are going to collaborate with South East Finecast to produce bogie parts. Watch this space!
We have released a 16mm scale slab truck kit, based on the ones which were used in the salte quarries above the Talyllyn railway. Price £18 Components are laser cut Perspex, metal and wheels in glass-fibre resin.

New for the show! Slab truck 16mm kit. Photo Malcolm Wright
A number of customers asked us about progress on our 'Wrens' These are going ahead, though there has been a hitch. Our original supplier of etches is moving out of the enthusiasts' market and we have to transfer the phototools to a new supplier and update the technology. Since Malcolm always has something on the go, he is producng a small 'catch-crop' of Bagnall 'Excelsior' locomotives.
A Wrightscale Bagnall 'Excelsior'. Malcolm is producing a small batch of these. Photo Malcolm Wright
We made a new friend, Pauline Hazelwood of Saddletank Books.  Her aim is to introduce a new generation of young people to narrow gauge steam. Rev Awdry with his ‘Thomas’ series still sells well, but Pauline concentrates exclusively on locomotives which have been rescued and appear on preserved railways. She has written about Peter Pan (Kerr Stuart Wren 0-4-0T) and Alice (open cabbed Hunslet  0-4-0T), to name but a few. Perhaps one day, she will write a book about the 'Excelsior' story.
Pauline Hazelwood has written five books for the younger enthusiast. The 'Alice' class quarry Hunslet  features in two of them. By kind permission of the author
In her career, Pauline moved from portraits to commission to book illustration and then to writing and illustrating her own books.  Each story in the Saddletank series is based on a narrow gauge locomotive – its original purpose, the rescue once the line closed and its new purpose on a preserved line or as a museum exhibit. There has to be a ‘happy ending’ to attract children. Her aim is to educate as well as to entertain; her motto is ‘if you draw, you see more’. She is particularly keen for girls to get involved. Who knows where a mechanical bent could lead them?
A 16mm Wrightscale cabbed Hunslet pushes a slab truck, as was used in the slate quarries served by the Talyllyn railway. Photo Malcolm Wright
I can’t tell the story of the Talyllyn railway with the charm of Pauline or the Rev Awdry, but it is an interesting one. The railway ran from 1866 until 1951, the purpose being to transport slate out of Bryneglwys quarry down to the port of Tywyn (Towyn as it was then called). It was 6 miles 50.75 chains long (6 5/8 miles/10.4km approx) with heroic gradients and bends. It survived closure several times but at last in 1951, all seemed lost. Then a group of volunteers took it over as the first preserved railway in the British Isles. Its original locomotives, Dolgoch and Talyllyn, were joined by two from the Corris railway, Sir Haydn and Edward Thomas. They can still be seen today.  
"Dolgoch" 0-4-0 T was built in 1866 by Fletcher, Jennings & Co., but to a very different design to that of "Talyllyn". Photo courtesy Talyllyn Railway
The scenic little railway provides a delightful prototype for the 16mm modeller. Alright! I know! Dead-scale models would not, strictly speaking, run on 16mm scale track because the gauge of the Talyllyn is 2’3” rather than 2’.When it comes to modelling, people are happy to stretch a point. (For example 2’ gauge is used almost interchangeably with 60cm though it is ½” wider.) So Malcolm has produced a slab wagon which would be an addition of character to your 32mm gauge railway, especially if it runs through a scenic rockery.
 Edward Thomas, 0-4-2ST, was built in 1921 by Kerr, Stuart & Co. Ltd. for use on the Corris Railway. It was transferred to the Talyllyn when the Corris closed. Photo courtesy Tallllyn Railway.