Blog

 

Home
Buying and price list
Loco and tender kits
EasiChas
RTR detailing kits
Etched windows
Rolling stock
Track details
Accessories
Gallery
Exhibitions
Useful sites
Contact us

This blog will be updated on a regular basis with Brassmasters' developments and in particular will show how we are progressing with the Martin Finney acquisition, new product development and anything else we think will be of interest. It is in date order, with the latest items first.

Date

 

16-05-17

Following on from Expo EM, we were surprised by the number of purchasers of the LSWR ex-Martin Finney kits, which exceeded the expressions of interest for them, to the extent that we haven't yet supplied everyone who had expressed an interest but couldn't attend the show. Fortunately, we have parts back at base to produce a few more of each kit, so will anyone who did not come to Expo and still wants a kit please contact us.

Bachmann G2 EasiChas - the drawing work is almost finished which leaves only the job of how to squeeze all the components onto a sheet of brass - our least favourite part. Just to remind everyone, the EasiChas will cover all Belpaire-boilered G1, G2 and G2A variants once the standard roof was fitted. It includes the brackets and linkage for the improved brake gear and things like replacement cab doors, direct and indirect valve gear reach rods etc. Available separately will be a replacement set of outside frames, footplate and buffer beams for the tender, similar to the ones we produced for the Bachmann Deeley and Fowler tenders. There will also be a set of Whale frames for those who want a slightly different loco.

Bachmann Stanier Mogul front steps - the test etch for the replacement front steps for the Stanier Mogul to help you all get round the curves with the footsteps on needs a few minor amendments, although several people were happy to buy it at as it stands. The final production etch will be available shortly.

Mitchell Castle sander operating linkage - following a request from a professional loco builder for a set of operating linkage for a Mitchell Castle he was building, we have a few etches left. They are quite small but do add something extra to the loco. Price is £3.50 per etch. Please email us if you are interested.

LMS pattern leading and cab footsteps - these are now available again, having taken the artwork of the side of another kit and produced a separate phototool. Price £1 each

Finney Churchward 3500 gal tender
- it has been brought to out attention that a few of the riveted tender tank overlays now included in the kits, did not have the the rear face etched. This will probably only cause a problem when you come to push through the rivets for the two rear steps and fit the handrails in the back corner. We now have a supply of correctly etched ones so, if you would like to check your kit,  if you have a defective one, we will replace the etch for you on receipt of the defective one (the very early ones and current sales are all ok).

01-05-17

As we were packing the LSWR ex-Martin Finney kits we couldn't help noticing that these later kits have far more lost wax fittings than the older GWR kits which mainly had whitemetal castings. However it is the selection of wire that amazed us! The lovely T3 kit has no less than 48 small components, 28 of which are unique and all have to be sourced, cut, counted and bagged up. There are 5 different diameters of soft copper wire, 11 different types of brass or nickel silver wire as well as tube, 6 different types of nuts and bolts etc etc. As one of us spent three whole days doing this we wondered if any other range of kits provided such a comprehensive (and prototypically correct) range of fittings? Also at the back of our minds was the fact that due to declining demand for these sophisticated kits, this would almost certainly be the last time we would ever be packing some kits – what a shame.

We will now be able to take credit card payments on both days at Expo EM.

25-04-17 Packing is well advanced on the ex-Martin Finney LSWR/SR kits and we aim to have all of the locomotive and tenders kits on sale at Expo EM next month. Prices and details will be on the website in about two weeks time.

Also available at Expo EM will be an etch for replacement front footsteps for the Bachmann Stanier 2-6-0 and stocks of our LMS locomotive footsteps, separately for the front and cab steps..

We are working on a range of etched doors for the Scalescenes buildings and are waiting for the first test etch. There will be around twenty different doors and they will feature separate frames so that the doors can be modelled in the open position. If the test etch is successful we will have the first one on sale at Expo EM.

20-02-17

Work is nearly finished on the etch design for the G2 0-8-0, and the tender is now being progressed. The locomotive features the major components to model any Belpaire boilered G1, G2 and G2A. The tender will feature as well as the normal inside EasiChas frames, replacement outside frames, footplate, drag and buffer beams as on the 3F and 4F models. There will be two types of replacement frames, the last Bowen Cooke with oval holes and the slightly earlier D shaped ones that go with the Bachmann tender body.

Progress on the Coronation continues with the footplate fitted to allow work to begin on the boiler/firebox pattern.

23-12-16

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year from the Brassmasters team. We have a number of projects in progress which we hope will materialise during 2017.

In addition to the EasiChas kit for the Bachmann G2 0-8-0, we have been working on kits for the Bachmann Fairburn 2-6-4T and the BR Standard 2-6-4T. These are at the test etch stage, but we don’t have a projected release date because a few issues are not yet resolved – these two prototypes are not as simple as an inside-cylindered 1F 0-6-0T! John Brighton is also developing an EasiChas for the Black 5. This is still in the early drawing stage at present.

We are looking at releasing the remaining loco kits from Martin Finney in the spring, all LSWR prototypes.  If everything goes to plan there should be enough stocks of whitemetal for small batches of the M7, T3, T9 (Narrow and Wide cab versions), Radial Tank and L11 4-4-0 plus the appropriate tenders. Unfortunately, there are no working moulds for the whitemetal castings and although the masters are safe, it is very doubtful if the demand will justify the expense of new moulds. Therefore, this will be a case of producing the kits 'while stocks last' of the whitemetal castings. The etches and lost wax castings are not a problem because there are no set-up costs and production runs are much smaller.

Although we had hoped to have the Coronation kit ready by now, the artwork and test build has taken longer than anticipated. We have now completed all of this and are starting work on the patterns, both large (boiler/firebox) and small (oilboxes, etc). As we have said previously, this is one kit we will not be rushing but we would be disappointed if it is not on sale by the Autumn show season.

We have been frequently asked if we can supply chain to accompany our etched coupling hooks. We have sourced some excellent fine chain which we will package with chemically blackened versions of the hooks. We are also going to sell some nice lostwax screw couplings.

Looking longer term, research and development is underway on further complete kits. Carrying on with the Great Western theme of the Martin Finney kits, we are looking first at the 2361 class, commonly referred to as an 'outside framed Dean Goods' but actually an 0-6-0 version of the Stella 2-4-0. After that, would follow the Wolverhampton large 0-6-0 tanks, classes 645/1501/655. It is hoped to be able to produce saddle tanks for these as well as the pannier tanks. These kits are still a long way off, although having located the frame plans for the 1501 class at the NRM has made this project easier. If anybody knows the whereabouts of any detail drawings/frame plan etc. of the 2361 or its tank version, the 1661 class, then we would love to hear from you.

12-12-16

Work is progressing on the EasiChas for the Bachmann G2 0-8-0. The basic frames for loco and tender have been completed and work is ongoing on the tender side frame replacement. 

The kit will include, as well as the basic EasiChas, provision for both single brake cylinder and double cylinder brakework, and three part and jointed coupling rods. Other options are still being looked at for inclusion on the final production etch.

24-11-16

After a quite severe ‘possession’ of the kitchen table more packing of GWR and LNER kits has taken place. For those of you not associated with kit production, an insight into the high tech world of ‘small suppliers’ is not amiss; little pots, bowls and saucers are all laid out on the table each with one component for the kit in them, some with additional labels saying ‘x2’ et. It is then a matter of going around with a target pot and collating the required components for that kit. The time-consuming bit is filling the pots as there are over 600 small components for Martin Finney kits, many common across several kits, and so there is a check list for each model.

Small batches of the castings and wire ‘bits’ for the 2251 and Stella 2-4-0 classes have been produced and the etches etc are already in stock. While sorting out the 30 odd whitemetal and lost wax castings for these kits we realised that we would probably not be doing another lot of these two until 2018 or even 2019.  It does concentrate the mind somewhat as to how quickly time flies by!

14-11-16 After requests from a number of customers, we will have available for the Warley NEC show separate etches for the Bachmann MR/LMS 1F and Jinty coal rails.

Anyone who wants to purchase a Finney GWR or LNER kit, either at the NEC or at Manchester the following week, please let us know beforehand so we can make sure we have the kit with us. This also applies to anyone who wants a large quantity of the same item, eg windows or Cleminsons or bogie units.

10-10-16 The building of the first test etch for the Coronation is almost complete. The last obstacle was the cab which proved much more difficult than we had anticipated. After throwing away the first two attempts, we finally managed to build it as the picture shows. The outcome was some re-design and a decision to use brass rather than nickel for this part of the kit - the latter is too hard to form the complex curves needed in this area without a great deal of effort.

We have also been looking at various options for the running plate - punching through rivets is difficult and tends to bend the footplate, although it can be done. We will be adding in an etched overlay which has all of the rivet detail and will probably be the choice of most builders - we will leave it up to you.

We are now looking at the patterns and have decided to use 3D printing to produce the smaller items such as the oil boxes and lubricators. We may include them as resin parts in the final kit or merely use them to produce masters for lost wax castings.

We will not hit our original target of having the kit ready for Christmas 2016. With a kit of this type it is better not to rush things to hit an artificial deadline but we hope to have a release date some time during 2017.

09-09-16

The 1F EasiChas is complete and should be available for Expo EM North. Further photographs and instructions will be uploaded in the next few days

The LNER Martin Finney kits for the A1/A3,A4 and V2 plus associated tenders will be on sale at Expo EM North and Scaleforum. A small batch of each kit has been produced - they will be allocated firstly to customers who have pre-ordered.

We have been asked to produce a set of etches for the Heljan (Hattons) Class 14 'Teddy Bear' diesel hydraulic. The prototype rods were designed and built at Swindon works in true 'steam era' tradition. The rods were thin and shapely, flaring to huge bosses for the crankpin bearings. One boss was 6" thick! The rods on the Heljan model are thin stampings that really do not capture the proportions of the prototype. The Brassmasters nickel etches are built up from layers including overlays for the bosses. Some degree of filling with solder and filing back is required to get the flare into these bosses. Like the prototype, these rods are hinged with pins and do not articulate on the crankpins (as do the Heljan ones). These rods are designed for use with the excellent replacement wheels made by Ultrascale, although for OO or EM modellers they may be used with the Heljan wheels which have good detail.

06-07-16

The test etch for the 1F EasiChas is back from the etchers and has been checked. The final changes to the artwork are being made this week and the revised artwork is almost ready to be sent off.

The assembly of the Coronation test etch for the chassis is almost complete. Pictures of the bogie have now been added and the cylinders/motion are on the way as is the running plate and cab.

Work continues on the re-release of the LNER Martin Finney kits for the A1/A3, A4 and V2 plus associated tenders. Orders have been placed for the etches and castings with the aim of having the kits on sale for the September show season.

28-05-16

The summer is the traditional quiet time for modellers with the Railex show being the start of the summer for many.  Work has started on the re-release of the LNER Martin Finney kits for the A1/A3, A4 and V2 plus associated tenders. There are new moulds to be made for the whitemetal castings and our casters have done an excellent job of turning these around in record time.  The limiting factor on these, and the LSWR/SR kits, will be the castings that are ‘bought in’ from a well known supplier and caster who is unfortunately very unwell at the moment.  The hobby owes much to Adrian and let's all wish him a speedy recovery to good health following his operation and treatment.

10-05-16 The test etch for the EasiChas for the Bachmann MR 1F 0-6-0 has gone to the etchers. The kit includes, apart from the EasiChas frames, replacement coupling rods and brake gear, ashpan, two different types of balance weights, the correct brackets for the front and rear sandboxes and two different types of replacement coal rails. The test etch also includes a separate etch for the 1F splashers and also the Class 14 diesel coupling rods.
03-05-16 The building of the first test etches for the LMS Coronation 4-6-2 is well underway, starting with the chassis. Even for a "rough" build, it is starting to look impressive.
13-04-16 The five former R&E Models Great Central wagon kits for the GCR/CLC horse box, GCR/CLC 10T van, GCR refrigerator van, GCR bogie fish and GCR bogie brake, are now available.
08-04-16 The last five Martin Finney GWR kits, for the Atbara/Bird, City, 2251, 3232 and Stella, are now ready. If you have already reserved one of these, please contact us to complete your purchase. We have produced a small number of the earlier kits, including the Bulldog and Duke.

We have not yet started work on the LNER or LSWR kits. We will be looking at the LNER castings next month - this will give us a good indication of when the LNER kits will be back in production.

The former R&E Models Great Central wagon kits are progressing and will be ready for Scalefour North at Wakefield.

01-04-16 We have finally received the etches for the GWR Modfied Hall and the GWR coupling and connecting rods. We have also reworked the Finney GWR lamp irons which have not been available for some time.

After requests from several customers, we have produced a separate etch to modify the later pattern of Bachmann LMS Fowler tender into the early type without coal doors.

20-03-16 We have finally received supplies of the castings for the former R&E Models Great Central wagon kits and have ordered the etches. All five kits, horse box, 10T van, refrigerator van, bogie fish and bogie brake, will be available in April at Scalefour North.

The last five Martin Finney GWR kits, for the Atbara/Bird, City, 2251, 3232 and Stella, are almost ready, and again these will be on sale by Scalefour North.

14-02-16

The detailing kit for the Bachmann Modified Hall should go off to the etchers early next week after a final detail check of a prototype engine. The kit now includes a front frame spacer for the bogie.

Research (primarily several hours crawling over 4965 and 7903 at Tyseley Railway Museum followed by much checking of prototype photographs) has clarified what changes would need to be made to the existing Martin Finney Hall kit so that it covers the later batches from loco 5921 onwards. It would appear that a new cab and footplate would be required, plus a fire iron tunnel. The altered coupling rods are already in the Brassmasters' range.

The test etch for the Bachmann 1F EasiChas kit should also be going to the etchers shortly.

We are checking through the test etches for the Coronation kit and hope to have revised artwork completed by the end of March.
10-02-16

The next and final batch of GWR kits is progressing well. Martin obtained his lost wax for his second-ever kit, the 3232 class, from an obscure caster but luckily they are still in business, and have been able to find the masters and produce the required castings - although expensive, they are very nice too!

As you will know we asked for initial 'expressions of interest' (not orders) for all the Finney kits in order to decide the release sequence. This last batch of GWR kits (2251 Collett Goods, 3232 2-4-0, City 4-4-0, Atbara/Flower 4-4-0 and Stella 2-4-0) appear to be the least popular of all the GWR prototypes according to your levels of interest. If indeed this is a case, then we are unlikely to produce a second run of these until there is sufficient demand to re-order and pack a reasonable quantity.  

From the data we currently have, this could be at least 5 years away, and perhaps longer! Therefore, we would advise potential customers to reserve now so we order enough to satisfy demand. Prices are not yet finalised but they will be similar to the other Finney kits. We hope to have the kits on sale by around the end of March.

01-01-16

Looking forward to 2016

Firstly, best wishes to everyone for 2016 and especial thanks to those who supported our re-launch of the Martin Finney kits.

Our plans for the first half of the New Year are currently

 

·         Detailing kit for Bachmann GWR Modified Hall

·         Re-introduction of more Finney kits – Stella, 3232, Atbara, City and 2251 – which will complete the range of GWR locomotives

·         GCR rolling stock kits (the five kits formerly produced by R&E Models)

·         EasiChas for Bachmann MR 1F 0-6-0T

·         More lostwax and whitemetal components from the Finney GWR kits and the whitemetal castings from the GCR kits

20-12-15

Order your Christmas present (for 2016) now. Work is well underway on the production of a kit for the ultimate LMS locomotive, the Coronation 4-6-2, and has reached the test etch stage. The kit will allow any of the de-streamlined or non-streamlined engines, except for 46256/7, to be built. It will have our usual resin cast smokebox/ boiler/firebox with both semi and round-topped smokeboxes. We hope to have the kit on sale by Autumn next year, but there is much work to do before we can firm up a release date. In the meantime, watch the blog for news on its progress.

14-12-15

Progress on the detailing kit for the Bachmann Modified Hall continues and the transformation is startling. We are finalising the production artwork and hope to have the kit on sale by the beginning of February.

11-12-15

The second batch of Finney kits are going quickly and we have already sold all of the straight framed Bulldogs and are down to the last couple of Dukes and curved frame Bulldogs. We are now running short of some of the whitemetal castings which means that, although we have etches for a few more straight framed Bulldogs we cannot complete them or any more of the other two kits or the 47xx and 51xx kits until we have new castings. These require new moulds to be made so the delay will be at least a month but until then there remain just a handful of the kits from both batches. If you want any of the kits for Christmas please get in touch this week.

23-11-15

We have completed the work necessary to re-introduce more of the Finney range. There are five more locomotives and another tender: GWR 28xx 2-8-0, GWR Hall 4-6-0, GWR Straight framed Bulldog/Bird 4-4-0, GWR Curved frame Bulldog 4-4-0, GWR Duke 4-4-0 and the GWR 3,500 gallon tender which can now build either the plain or the snap-headed riveted version. The later cast brake hangers are also now included in kit. The riveted overlay for the 3,500 gallon tender and the cast brake hangers are available separately for those who may have bought a flush riveted version and want to build it as the later type.

We already have expressions of interest for nearly all of the kits we have packed, so in fairness to everyone we will have to make these available on a first come, first paid basis. If you can collect at Warley or Manchester, then please let us know and if possible send payment before the show - we will confirm your reservation and make sure the kits are there for you.

We know some of you didn’t manage to get hold of kits from the first batch so we have produced a small number of these kits too.

The Hall kit was designed to cover the range 4900 – 5920 but we have found that the coupling rods were jointed in the rear rod rather than the front rod from 5901 onwards. To ensure that the kit can cover the original number range, we have produced a new set of rods for locos 5901 – 5920 which are also available separately.

We have been researching why the Hall kit did not cover the locos from 5921 to 6958 and the only reason we have been able to discover is that they had a fire iron tunnel on the left hand side behind the splashers and that the coupling rods were jointed in the rear rod rather than the front rod. We will shortly be producing an etch to add the fire iron tunnel but if anyone has any more information on any other differences, please contact us.

13-11-15

Packing is well underway for the next batch of Martin Finney kits.  The new lost wax castings have been delayed but will be ready next week, so fingers are still crossed. To be fair we did mess around with the quantities so the delay is justified. A large quantity of boxes was delivered yesterday and several hundred etches have been chopped up and wrapped ready to drop into them along with the instructions which have been printed.

The morning has been spent pressing out 4mm GWR washout plug covers from shim brass, not the highly automated process you would expect from a well equipped machine shop, but one at a time on my lathe adapted to be a vertical press –the failure rate is high as and is accompanied by much bad language! The next job will be cutting all the little lengths of tube, wire and all the other bits. This will be followed by ‘taking possession’ of the kitchen table to lay each component out in little dishes, then it is a case of “1 of these, 2 of those, 4 of this” until the components for that particular kit is packed. It is surprising how many different components are in each kit, and how different the components are between different kits.

.........and the website pages are ready but we won't tempt fate to launch these until the castings arrive!

11-11-15 The first enhancement to one of the Martin Finney designed kits is now in hand. A test etch for a riveted overlay for the GWR 3,500 gallon tender has now arrived and is being checked against the framework of the original tender. Apart from a couple of minor adjustments this has worked well and the production drawing should be updated and sent off this week. Similarly, an etch for the later cast version of the brake hangers is being produced.

A set of test etches has been produced to modify the front end of the Bachmann GWR Modified Hall. This will allow the correct level footplate between the frames to be modelled. The etches also include the covers for the side of the smokebox saddle, dummy frames for below the footplate and the brackets behind the buffer beam. Still to be trialled are the replacement curved footplates with the correct detail and a replacement smokebox footstep. (see photo)
26-10-15 The white metal castings have arrived, the etches are due this week and the lost wax castings are promised for next week for the second batch of Martin Finney kits. So fingers crossed, we should have the kits on sale by the Warley NEC show.

The inside motion crank castings have also arrived.

08-10-15 Orders have been placed for the white metal and lost wax items for the second batch of Martin Finney kits. Our casters are quiet at the moment so a very heavy parcel will be winging its way northwards in the near future.

The lead times for the other components are a little longer, especially so for the inside motion crank castings, so don’t get too excited yet. However reservations are of course welcome!

30-09-15 Following requests for riveted overlays for the Churchward 3500 gallon tender, work has nearly finished on producing the necessary drawing. The outstanding issues are simply researching which of the various odd items need including and where, based on preserved examples and photos of tenders in traffic.

Also being looked at are etches to reproduce the replacement cast brake hangers for all the early GWR tenders.

22-09-15 The first batch of Martin Finney kits has almost gone with only a couple of kits left. If you missed out on one of these please let us know ASAP.

All except two of the final few Princess Royal kits were sold at the weekend. It was great to see on Sunday afternoon no less than four almost finished models - 10% of those sold!

We delivered around 30 patterns for GWR fittings to our lost wax caster last week. As soon as these are ready we will be able to produce the next batch of GWR kits which we hope to have on sale by the Warley NEC show. These will be for the 28xx, Hall, Duke and Bulldog (both types) and the Churchward 3500 gallon tender.

10-09-15 As promised several months ago, we will be selling the first batch of kits from the Martin Finney range at Scaleforum. We are starting off with five locomotives and three tenders, all for the GWR. Final packing will take place during the quiet periods at Expo EM on Saturday so anyone going there may be able to purchase a kit towards the end of the day.

Please be aware that we will be producing the locomotive kits in small ‘batches’, and when a batch is sold out there may be a break of about 12 months before the next batch is available.

We have taken the opportunity to include in those kits with inside motion, the etches for the inside motion which allows construction of a non-working ‘dummy’ inside motion.  An additional kits are available to convert this to working inside motion - these include; lost wax axle cranks, turned brass eccentrics, rivets and detailing parts and instructions.

For those disappointed that their choice of kit is not yet available, don't worry because we aim to release another group of kits before the end of the year.

04-09-15 Things are progressing well on the Martin Finney range and we should have five GWR locomotive kits and three tender kits on sale at Scaleforum this month.  Following a small, heavy and very expensive delivery of brass, steel and thin walled brass tube two entire days have been spent cutting wire and tube to the required lengths, and forming mud hole covers in the press tool for the first batch of kits.

Look out on the website in the next few days for announcements on what will be in the first batch of kits.

19-08-15

Spent a couple of days sorting the new whitemetal castings into individual parts and then pre-packing them for the first batch of kits to be released. These will only be a few of the extensive range and only GWR at first (sorry everyone else!). We have concentrated on the kits for which there were the most ‘expressions of interest’ and these will come first.

The first batches of lostwax castings have arrived so we can now confirm which ones go in each kit. Production quantities of these and the etches for the first kits to be released were ordered lat the start of the month.

The flexichas bearings are the next problem to solve - the previous supplier cannot make them because the old machine they used is now broken. We are hopeful these can be sourced from another firm they have put us in touch with who supply other manufacturers in the model railway trade.

25-07-15

A small, heavy and expensive parcel arrived today – the GWR whitemetal castings!  They were the first spin for approval from the new moulds and they have come out very well. We have ordered many spins of all the GWR components we need and await another even heavier parcel….……

The new lost wax GWR castings are the limiting factor now. We have made the decision to cast in lost wax some of the more awkward smaller components that either have undercuts, thin long sections or are tiny as these were the most difficult to cast in whitemetal. We have had discussions with our caster and will sprue these up in the next week or two - there are about 30 very small but superbly mastered patterns to attach to very fine tube etc.

09-07-15

Another trip around the M25 today, just for variety clockwise delays meant we had to go anticlockwise on the outward journey and come the other way on return. Oh the joys of the British road system! At least the A roads of Sussex were clear. The purpose was to drop off the masters for the new whitemetal moulds for some of the GWR locos. They are still tiny wee castings and we hope they can be cast ok. One of the guys removing the castings from the old moulds was honest and said he could not see the tiny little components that were coming out, just the feeds!

Time is ticking on now if we are to get anything available for the autumn, but at least the casters say it is a quiet time of the year for them.

07-07-15

Well our casters have had a good attempt at casting from the old moulds (that are designed to spin the wrong way), but the result was a failure.  There are too many items that simply fail to come out and the ones that do are unreliable.  This means the investment in moulds was a waste of money.  The way forward is of course to make new moulds for all the whitemetal castings, and even transfer some to lost wax. There are some items where we have sufficient stocks of whitemetal to ‘see us out’ for all future production of that kit, however what it will mean is where there is low demand for a kit the full cost of producing new moulds (both time and effort) has to be spread over a low number of customers.  

When we do finally manage to get a kit available, we would strongly advise customers to “get it while you can”, the barriers to re-issue might be very high.
19-06-15 We have updated the 4F EasiChas instructions section dealing with the Fowler tender and also the 4F detailing kit for the Fowler tender. We strongly recommend that anyone with the original instructions should download these because there are many changes and a large number of photographs not available on the first version of these.
17-06-15

Another fun day travelling around the M25 and rural ‘A’ roads delivering moulds for the Martin Finney whitemetal components to our casters. Of course I could have posted them but I do not want to risk the movement of moulds nor masters through the postal system, whatever the service paid for they would still have the risk of them getting lost or destroyed.

Martin's previous caster is retiring from the business and lead times had become unpredictable, so the only choice was to move to alternative casters. The choice of professionals willing to cast whitemetal is decreasing every year and I can see a situation in a few years time when no-one is performing this time consuming and skilled function. It certainly is not a ‘young mans’ profession! 

One ‘feature’ of Martin's caster is the moulds are spun in the opposite direction to everyone else! Thus the feeds for the whitemetal to flow no longer work with conventional casting machines. This means each mould has to be hand re-cut and even then there is a risk they will not work. Only time will tell. Otherwise it is a complete new set of moulds which of course is even more time and expense.

If we said the moulds had ‘evolved with time’ it would be kind to the manufacturing process. In the perfect world one mould produces all the whitemetal for one particular kit, so one spin gives say a Stella, or a 3000 Gallon tender. Not so with these moulds! There seems to be a random selection of components on each mould depending on which components cast well, the demand for them and the date of production. Thus if there was a shortage of GWR steam ance cocks, curved spring tender axleboxes and buffers, then these would be on the mould for the latest kit plus a couple of spare backheads etc. No record of what is on each mould seems to exist so the next job, assuming the casting works, will be to audit the output from each mould and see we get from ‘Mould No1’  - most were not even numbered or identified until yesterday!

Better news on the lostwax castings - our supplier has started to produce our first order which was for one of each sprue so we can confirm what is on them - we don't anticipate similar issues from these. Once we receive the samples and have checked them, we will place a production order which should mean we have them in plenty of time for the Autumn shows.

09-06-15

The last week almost every spare hour has entirely been taken up sorting and counting miscellaneous Martin Finney whitemetal castings. If you imagine a bag of mixed castings that could be for any GWR kit, there are 300 masters cast in whitemetal and any (but not all) of these could be in that bag. It is basically a 300 way sort! Those of you who have built one of his kits will know that some of the castings are tiny (the A4 brackets hold the record as these are about 1.5mm x 0.5mm) but what you probably are unaware of is that several are ALMOST identical. loco springs with 6 leafs or 7, sandboxes of similar dimensions, some with some without relieving holes etc, etc.  

The process has been slow and tedious. Stock levels are interesting, there are hundreds of some components, zero of a few and less than 20 of many. The next stage is to examine the 20 odd moulds and attempt to work out what comes out of each mould.

03-06-15 We have obtained the remaining stocks of the Finney accessory etches and sundry lostwax castings and these are now available for sale. We have arranged them separately under GWR, LNER and LSWR/SR - they include a few rolling stock items and miscellaneous items. Note these do not yet include those included in the locomotive and tender kits which will be available later in the year.
26-05-15

Work has started on documenting the Martin Finney masters. Most are truly wonderful pieces of craftsmanship. The aim of this exercise is to fully record them before they disappear off to the new casters, this way we should all know what we are talking about when we talk about GW Four Cone Ejector versus the Single Cone Ejector, etc. Have a look at these examples - GW Tapered Chimney, GW Combined Ejector & Brake and GW Sandbox. We have just short of 300 masters identified and photographed with just a handful still to locate.

22-05-15 Another trip to deepest Dorset to see Martin Finney. The aim was to collect the 4mm GW and LSWR masters and some miscellaneous items. Most masters were collected and are in excellent condition. A few masters were still at the casters who have become rather attached to them! Hopefully these can be extracted in the next few weeks.

20-05-15

We have updated the instructions for the replacement splashers for the Bachmann 4F. These can now be downloaded as can those for the Bachmann 3F.

18-05-15

It was good to meet many of you at ExpoEM this weekend - it is always a useful source of ideas including the introduction of this blog!

The retrospective entries below cover some of the things discussed with those who visited our stand at Expo EM.

We have had feedback on the 4F EasiChas which confirms our own thoughts - the Bachmann chassis design, which is different to their 3F chassis, does not take readily to EM or P4 wheels because for some reason they have put a cast mazak filler insert into the splashers which means there is no clearance for the wider wheels without gouging out a large quantity of metal. We have devoted almost a whole page to this in the instructions and to do this you need to use a mini-drill and burr.

The good news though is that our final pre-production model in P4 ran perfectly around a layout for over 3 hours and pulled 35 wagons including about a dozen cast whitemetal vehicles.

17-05-15

We have now checked all the Martin Finney phototools and are ready to produce etches from them as soon as we require them. Our major issue is with the whitemetal castings where we have only today taken possession of the first moulds which cover some of the kits. We hope to pick-up the other moulds in two weeks time, after which we will be in a position to see whether we need to have any new moulds produced to put individual kits back into production.

It is still our intention to try to produce the GWR kits first but we may sneak in one of the other kits as well if the components are available.

16-05-15

A number of people have been in touch asking whether we will be producing EasiChas kits for any of the prototypes in the Finney range. The answer to that is no, but we do intend to make the chassis etches available for those who want to convert one of the Ready to Run models to EM or P4.

Candidates for this are the GWR Hall, 2721 Pannier, 41xx/51xx/61xx and 28xx, and the SR M7 and T9.

Perhaps the Adams Radial is another possibility for the future?

Most of the full kits include chassis parts on the body etches so this might be a little ‘messy’ and therefore they will not be a cheap replacement, but as you know the quality is superb.

If you are interested in any of these please drop us an email.

15-05-15

4F EasiChas instructions - an updated version of the instructions has now been loaded onto the site.

This contains additional pictures and minor corrections. A page of the pictures has been added to the site.

There will be a further update by the end of the month with minor amendments and more photos for the Fowler tender.

13-05-15

There was a minor glitch in the etches for the 4F EasiChas. One of the tender axleboxes inadvertently "disappeared" between the final test etch and the production etch so the latter only has five axleboxes!

Also, we were unhappy with the size of the holes in the brake hangers which were under-etched.

To correct these two issues, we have produced a supplementary etch which is available for those who purchased a kit at Scalefour North and which is now included in the kits - please contact us and we will post the etch to you.

03-04-15

Following the announcement from Martin Finney of his retirement, Brassmasters are pleased to announce that we have acquired the 4mm range of Martin Finney kits. These high quality kits have been admired by ourselves and fellow finescale modellers since their introduction, and this will ensure their future production.

It is our intention to make some of the castings and sundry components available as soon as possible and, in the longer-term, to introduce further kits.

Martin is working with us to ensure a smooth handover and when this is completed we will set out our future plans.

However, it is unlikely that any of the existing kits will be available again until the Autumn.

We will provide regular updates via the website. If you do not already receive our newsletter, please email us to register and ensure you are alerted as the kits are re-introduced.

Copyright © 2017 Brassmasters Scale Models