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For most ‘O’ Gauge enthusiasts, Telford is one of the modelling highlights of the year, and 2016 was no exception, be it in terms of announcements, trade support or layouts. Full marks go to the organisers within the Gauge O Guild for all the hardwork, as to me it was well organised, well laid out, spacious and with plenty of stewards wandering around, and on hand to help.

I should comment from the start, this is not intended to be an in-depth review of the event, nor is it an in-depth review of the news and announcements made, just purely an opportunity to share information, provide an overview and help to fill-in, and perhaps answer some questions from those who couldn’t attend over the weekend, or were too busy buying, selling and watching layouts to catch up on everything! I have therefore split this page into three sections, news updates, layouts and some video footage. I will openly apologise to all layout owners and operators, I did not quite get the amount of time I expected at Telford on the Saturday, so didn’t manage to observe all layouts. So if you have been missed, my apologies, I just was not able to get round everything! But all that I saw and heard from other people suggested that the standard of the layouts was better than exemplary!

Throughout this report there are various images, all of which can be clicked on for a bigger picture - once you have the bigger version visible, then clicking on the left or right hand half of the picture will allow you to cycle through that selection. Each part of the report is grouped into sections, where the images are concerned. I have included some video of the layouts at the end of the blog, apologies to both viewers and layout owners that I didn't have more time to cover all the layouts, or more than just a couple of shots.

It is perhaps also right to point out that in talking to manufacturers, I was talking purely as a keen and interested modeller, and the information detailed below was given freely and not under any “keep it to yourself” clause! With all of the following news reports, I have no association with any of the companies mentioned, other than as a general modeller. Right, lets get on with the report, and these are in no particular order.


CONTENTS:     News   ::    Layout Images   ::    Video

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Covered in this news review:

Minerva Model Railways

Two of the highlights of the show came from Minerva. The two Chris’ were not only showing off two of the three painted demonstration models of their new steam locomotive which is being released in the next couple of months, but also released news of next year’s model.

The samples of the new Kerr Stuart ‘Victory’ both painted and unpainted were on show. Unfortunately, because of the style of lining on the maroon versions, it has not been possible to complete in time, if I recall correctly, this is to do with the printing of the lining which is more difficult on the maroon. The black (unlined) and green versions however looked superb. What was particularly stunning to me, was the level of cab detail inside the models. Very difficult to photograph, but looked very crisp, clean and well modelled. Again, another tick to Minerva, that just shows the level of work and detail that has gone into producing their second model. On the current prototypes, the connecting and coupling rods, along with slide bars, crosshead and wheels are showing silver coloured, these, along with the buffers, will be chemically blackened on the finished models.

With the second almost here, it is also time to look towards the third. Its been announced that the 2017 model will be a departure for the company away from the industrial scene, being a Great Western 5700/8750 0-6-0PT. This I can see being very popular, even though Dapol have announced a similar model (see below), Chris tells me that work is well advanced on their version and the company is aiming to have them ON SALE, not pre-order or find out more, but ON SALE at Telford in 2017. That will be one major achievement if they can deliver, and given the previous experience with their other locos, there is no suggestion they cannot. Delivery in September next year will also mean that the Minerva model is likely to be out ahead of the Dapol version. The ‘5700s’ were seen all across the GWR network, with several making it into industrial use and even being utilised long after the end of BR steam on London Underground. It is likely to prove a popular model, and one that will be made in the same factory as the company’s previous industrial locos.

There is to be four different versions, all of which are available with or without top feed, and all in early or late GW liveries, and early or late BR crests in black.

  • 8700 Class late cab, with late pattern injectors.
  • 5700 Class early cab, with welded tanks and late pattern injectors.
  • 5700 Class early cab, with riveted tanks and late pattern injectors.
  • 5700 Class early cab, with riveted tanks and early pattern injectors.

The Minerva 5700 is being priced at £230 in a DC version, the ability to produce larger numbers has allowed the price to be set lower. There will also be options for DCC-fitted and DCC sound-fitted examples, prices yet to be announced. Minerva have confirmed that early orders will be entitled to a discounted price, but the details on this, or when orders will open, has yet to be announced. Like the previous models, they will only be available direct from the company.

While some people may see this as yet ‘another’ GWR model in the ready-to-run (RTR) field, as an LNER man, I’d probably echo those comments. But creating RTR to run models is an expensive business, and it is only natural that those markets with the biggest draw are likely to see the initial results. We need to remember these are businesses, that need to make a profit on their investments, if only to fund the next model!

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Dapol

The obvious question to ask was what really has happened with the ‘08’ model and will they actually be here in October? The guys on the stand both said that the problem has been caused because the factory mixed up two models, and ran the ‘Terriers’ first, which has delayed the ‘08s’. However, Dapol’s representatives quite clearly said “they are being built and produced this week, it’s a 3-4 week boat journey to the UK, then around a week to us (Dapol)” – and when asked so October has become something of a definite delivery date, I was told “Yes! Definitely October!”

Dapol have taken a lot of stick for delayed products, I don’t know the reasons behind a lot of it so maybe some is justified, maybe its not. But full marks to them at Telford, they were being honest. So October is looking good for the first batch of 08s, with the green versions following in November.

On querying about future plans, given that the first ‘08’ is the early version, the response was that there is a road plan for the next four to five years, and as part of that plan, Dapol intend to run through different versions of the model. Next year’s model will be a slightly later bodyshell, while others will follow in the future. While there is always likely to be a blue and green liveried example within the range, it was explained that other liveries, such as EWS etc… will likely make an appearance, and its possible that in the not to distant future, the models may arrived in an unfinished condition in the UK, with final assembly taking place in Chirk – there by allowing the potential for smaller numbers of more specific variants of a model to be created. This it should be stressed is all ‘potential’ at the moment, but bodes well.

I also raised the issue of locos being released un-numbered, openly acknowledging there are arguments on both sides. Dapol are aware of the interest in unnumbered models and confirmed that a small batch of '08s' have been released to dealers un-numbered, but that very few retailers have chosen to publish or run with them.

Looking further ahead, Dapol also suggested that while it may be a few years before they start looking into ‘bigger’ models, suggesting that they are not looking to tread on Heljan’s toes in the O gauge field in the short-term, reading between the lines, it does appear that the odd one or two “larger than you might expect” models could appear over the next two to three years. As a friend commented to me, its an exciting time for O gauge at the moment!

For the DCC among us, it was also confirmed to me, by Dapol’s ‘representative’ that not only are the 08s fitted with a standard 21-pin plug, but are designed to use any OO gauge (yes OO, not O) DCC decoder, be that standard motion only, or audio. So the cost of DCC sound has also just dropped. I queried about the power draw and was told its easily handled by a OO decoder, and the ‘08s’ do not need O gauge chips. That sounded excellent news to me! The other interesting comment was that the locos are easily fitted with DCC. The roof over the engine compartment has been designed to easily ‘pop off’ to allow the modeller to remove the existing blanking plug, replace with a 21-pin decoder and go!

Staying with the modern image for the moment, I also asked what the current state of play with Dapol’s proposed HAA and HEA hopper wagons was. These are looking at the moment like being January/February 2017 by all accounts. They are to follow the current two-axle BR 10-foot wheelbase steam era wagons, which have just been released, through the factory, so for those looking to recreate the Merry-go-round scene, with the release of Heljan’s Railfreight Coal-liveried Class 37 early in 2017 as well, it could get expensive!

Moving onto steam traction, and the latest Terriers were on display, and looked superb. Much has been talked and spoken about these, so I concentrated more on the announcement of next year’s models. Dapol have announced two versions of the GWR Pannier tanks. One of these will be a further run of the former Lionheart GWR 6400/7400 Panniers, with a price reduction of around 25%. The other is a new model of a 5700 Pannier. This latter model will be going head to head with the same Minerva product, but potentially, from rumours I am hearing, it will be the second of the two to come out. I will point out though that Dapol were very ‘on the fence’ about delivery being just in 2017.

Their model will be produced in GWR green, GWR green with ‘Great Western’ writing, BR Black with a late crest and London Transport lined maroon. Hopefully the variety of liveries will mean that there is space in the market place for both manufacturers, especially given both are in the same price point, with Dapol’s RRP being £235, although no doubt some model shops will discount this somewhat. Also coming out from Dapol is a rerun of the Lionheart Autocoach vehicles, again at price discounted from the original Lionheart RRP.

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Heljan

The big announcement from Heljan was its new range of DMUs, although surprisingly little of them was on show. In fact it was quite easy to miss the Heljan stand thinking it was simply a model railway retailer!

The company has announced that a range of two and three car Diesel Multiple Units will be produced in 2018, which are, in my view, very competitively priced. First up is an O gauge version of the Class 128 Parcels unit that Heljan have previously produced in OO. Six versions are available portraying five examples, and all are expected to be released mid-late 2017. These will be in BR green with whiskers (W55991), BR green with yellow end gangways (W55992), BR blue with full yellow ends (W55994 and W55995), the same again but weathered (W55991) and finally in Royal Mail red (55993). Joining the company’s previously released parcel vehicles, this model opens up some superb options. Pricing is around £579 per vehicle.

Next up, and scheduled for early 2018, is the Class 120 two and three-car DMUs. These will be available in BR green with whiskers, BR green with small yellow warning panels, BR green with yellow front and BR blue/grey with yellow front. There are eight options in total with all four liveries being available in both two and three-car varieties. The BR green with whiskers option is a limited edition with Tower Models, Blackpool, I believe. Prices are very competitive at £800 for the two-car versions and £1100 for the three-cars, although Tower are advertising discounted pricing of £640 and £875 respectively.

Also announced as a three-car Class 117 in BR green and blue liveries, but also with a Network South East option! Like the three-car Class 120s, pricing is £1100, but showing at £875 at Tower Models. Release is expected during 2018.

The final model, again for sometime in 2018, is the Class 121 bubblecar, in six liveries. Like the ‘120s’, BR green with speed whiskers is a limited edition to Tower Models I believe. Other liveries are BR green with small yellow warning panels, BR green with full yellow end, BR blue with full yellow end, BR blue/grey with full yellow end and Network South East. Again, priced at £579 per vehicle.

On the steam front, little in the way of information, but one future model will be a Churchward 4300 Class Mogul. Heljan are already progressing with the CAD design on this one, but no word on delivery timescales, or livery/number options as yet.

Talking to the guys from Heljan about potential future plans, the comment was passed that while the Class 60 model has sold reasonably well, it has not sold in the quantities of other models, such as the ‘Warships’, and hence further modern, Modern Image examples are perhaps less likely. That could be bad news for those of us looking (or should that be hoping!) for Heljan to produce a Class 56. It is a ‘never say never’ topic though. I also raised the possibility of re-running the ’47’, which was described by the Heljan guys as being an option. However both the modelling world and Heljan have moved on since that was first produced, and the company themselves admit that if it was re-run it would be a new model, redesigned and new style bogies etc. We had an interesting discussion about the various types that could be produced and whether it could be done with or without the ‘skirts’ on the bufferbeam. Again, nothing concrete but I gather it is a comment that frequently comes up, so could be a future option.

On display were the prototype centre-headcode Class 37 (due Jan-Mar 2017) and the split headcode Class 45 (due Apr-Jun 2017) in BR green, both of which looked superb, along with the Class 05 (Jul-Sep 2017) and Prairie (late 2017) samples and further /telford16/images are attached. Nothing was on show of the Class 03s, and the given leaflet is simply showing the model as a future item that is under development. However, it was noted that both conical and 'flowerpot' exhausts will be produced, and there is the potential to develop the chassis for use as an '04' at a later date.

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Little Loco Company

No new announcement from LLC, but a big star attraction was the apperance of the first decorated prototype on the 82G layout. The loco only arrived a week or so before hand, and does not have full lining or numbering. My thanks go to the 82G operators for allowing me ‘backstage’ to photograph it, and then running out on the layout purposely so I could do some pictures and video of the model.

The /telford16/images do not do the locomotive justice, it really is superb. Very smooth running as you can see from the video. The sound doesn’t really show up very well because of the ambient noise and the large venue, but I can guarantee it sounds good! Having been born well after the originals vanished, I cannot say how life like the engine sounds, but something about it rings true! Congratulations go to LLC, having seen it today, it really will be something special in my opinion. Further details are on www.littleloco.co.uk

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Just Like The Real Thing

Plenty of interest in Pete Waterman’s stand as ever. Despite a hope that the new Class 47 kit would be available for sale at Telford, it appears that the timescales have slipped slightly, and the company are now saying Christmas this year. That potentially means its one for those modern image modellers heading to Reading!

The sample on display, which I think has been seen before, looked superb and equally up to the standard of JLTRT that we have come to know and admire.

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Buzz Models

Concluding our round-up of bits and pieces, was a quick call into the Buzz Models stand, who had a number of different modern image wagon kits on show including a FNA, HAA, MEA, MFA, MHA wagons and FFA/FGA freightliner flats, along with 20’ and 40’ containers. These are all produced using 3D printing, and I have to say presented a very attractive finish, as well as looking superb. In the case of the freightliner flats and MHA wagons that I looked at in some depth, the containers/bodies are 3D printed, while the underframe are either white metal, or in the case fo the FFA/FGA are etched brass, to give them weight when running. There was also a model of a IWA cargo-wagon style vehicle which also looked good. Prices were very attractive at £37.50-£50 for the majority of the vehicles, the FNA nuclear flat came out at £75, as did the FFA/FGA. The IWA is priced at £95. Im assuming full details are on their website at www.buzzmodels.co.uk

The containers also looked very realistic and are made out of one piece resin. These are ready for personalisation and creating any required 20’ or 40’ ISO 8’ 6” high containers, priced at £25 and £30 each. For a slightly lower price £20 and £27.50 respectively, the same containers can be purchased as a resin kit with the ability to have opening doors. The company also produces container transfers for MSC, OOAL and P&O, for a little less than £3.

I suspect most of these have been available for some time, but are new to me.

Also on display was an early sample, 3D printed, of a potential new kit/product from Buzz Models, in the form of an Irish Rail 071 Class locomotive. Only produced in course material to start with, because of costs, but the early prototype bodyshell and bogie frames looked very good. Could this be the start of a new field of Irish O gauge modelling?

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82G

Arakoola

St Michaels Bridge

Runswick Bay

Matthews Yard

Porters Lock

St. George's Quay

Coopers End

Lancaster Green Ayre

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Written by Marsh Lane, © Marsh Lane 2016. If any manufacturers are aware of any inaccuracies in this report please do contact me through rmWeb (Marsh Lane) or email marsh.lane@outlook.com