Couplings - we have added two
types of fine scale couplings to our range. Firstly,
3-link couplings incorporating
really fine chain links, which we are selling in packs of six pairs with
our etched hooks and pockets. Secondly, lost wax
screw couplings for
locomotives, sold in pairs.
GWR castings - If you
want to purchase a large number of individual
castings at Scaleforum please email
us before the show with your requirements so we can pack your order
because it is difficult to do this during the show itself
Bachmann G2 EasiChas
- we will have the assembled model including all of the additional
details at Scaleforum. The kit will be on sale in late October when we
have completed the instructions as we assemble the production etches. We
have added more pictures
showing the building of the test model.
Finney kits - we have packed another batch of
Martin Finney kits for GWR,
LNER and LSWR/SR
prototypes - they will be on sale at Scaleforum.
To be certain of getting the kits you want please email us beforehand
GWR castings -
Many years ago Martin Finney sold the castings from his kits separately
but he withdrew this service as it was difficult to manage. We have
stocks of many of these fittings which are common across most GWR
classes and are making these available separately. These include the
excellent cab backhead details, some of which are suitable for non-GWR
locos. There are photos of each component
so you can select the items you need for your project and also
details of which of our kits each casting is used in. We are afraid
we will not be able to enter into correspondence
over these items (so no “can I have the fittings for a River class cab
details as running in 1903” type questions please!). This will not be
the entire range as some stocks are very low and therefore will be
retained for full kit packing, and some of the parts are in short
supply, so it will be a case of when ‘out of stock’ they may remain so
for some time. There are nearly 100 of these lostwax and whitemetal
castings as used in the GWR kits. At this time we are
selling the individual castings for the LNER and LSWR/SR kits, but may
do so in the future.
Bachmann G2 EasiChas
- we had hoped the kit would be on sale by Scaleforum, but it has been
delayed for various reasons over the summer. However, the final artwork
has gone to the etchers and, fingers crossed, we should have the
production etches back a day or so before Scaleforum. This means that it
will not be on sale until after the show, when we have completed
our full test build. In the meantime, there are some
photographs of the
test build to whet the appetite. Further information will be
available on the next blog, in the week before Scaleforum.
Bachmann Stanier Mogul front steps - the
replacement front steps for the Stanier Mogul, to help you all get round
the curves with the footsteps, are now available; it
includes a drilling jig for the front lifting holes. Price £3.
Coronation - progress has been slow
over the summer because of illness. The artwork is now finished and the
patterns for the resin parts (firebox, boiler and smokeboxes) are almost
Finney kits - we have packed another batch of
Martin Finney kits - most will be on sale at Expo EM North, except for
the LSWR 4-4-0s which will be ready for Scaleforum.
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
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 (leading and rear)
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
1F EasiChas is complete and
should be available for Expo EM North. Further photographs and
instructions will be uploaded in the next few days
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.
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
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.
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.
The test etch for the EasiChas for the Bachmann MR 1F 0-6-0 has gone to
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.
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
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
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.
R&E Models Great Central wagon kits are progressing and will be ready
for Scalefour North at Wakefield.
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.
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
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.
We are checking through the test etches for the Coronation kit and hope to have
revised artwork completed by the end of March.
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
The test etch for the Bachmann 1F EasiChas kit should also be going to
the etchers shortly.
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
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.
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
Re-introduction of more Finney kits –
Stella, 3232, Atbara, City and 2251 – which will complete the range of
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
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 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.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have updated the
4F EasiChas instructions section dealing with the Fowler tender and
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.
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’
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
updated the instructions for the replacement splashers for the Bachmann
4F. These can now be
downloaded as can those for the
good to meet many of you at ExpoEM this weekend - it is always a useful
source of ideas including the introduction of this blog!
retrospective entries below cover some of the things discussed with
those who visited our stand at Expo EM.
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
and to do this you need to use a mini-drill and burr.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EasiChas instructions - an
version of the instructions has now been loaded onto the site.
contains additional pictures and minor corrections. A
page of the pictures has been added to the
be a further update by the end of the month
the Fowler tender.
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!
were unhappy with the size of the holes in the brake hangers which were
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
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
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
us to register and ensure you are alerted as the kits