If you haven’t heard about this seemingly science-fictional way of making models, then you surely will do. Not so long ago this technique was the realm of NASA and the like but now desktop machines are available so any hobbyist with a few hundred pounds to spare and an ability with Computer Aided Drawing or CAD as it is known, can create anything that they can draw in three dimensions. This has obvious benefits for railway modellers as it is now possible to have a plastic model of any obscure prototype that you like. One UK based exponent of this technology is Chris Ward Railways who have just invested in a very much more expensive, leading edge 3D printer. We have stocked their products for a couple of years now but their latest model is for the W^D 4-6-0 Baldwin of the type which the WHRs 590 was. This new model is very detailed, even including backhead detail in the cab. It comes with no mechanism which is up to the builder to source and fit.
Another small company making good use of 3D printing technology is Narrow Planet. Their approach is to print a basic shape and then provide a brass or nickel silver etch to add detail parts. This mixed media approach exploits the strengths of both techniques. We already sell etched nameplate sets from Narrow Planet and their kit for a RNAD 99hp Baguely-Drewry diesel which fits on the KATO 11-104 chassis. Coming soon is a kit in a similar style to use the Minitrains Krauss chassis which represents an Ornstein & Koppel 40hp steam loco similar to Eigiau which visited us for Quarrypower a few years ago.
We continue to stock ROCO HOe models and they have recently re-released their delightful 0-6-0 tender loco the DR 99 4651. These locos have outside frames and a full working valve gear which is a sight for sore eyes as they move; they are very good runners and will crawl along. We also have the smaller 0-6-0 steam locos and the 6 wheeled diesels in stock along with a selection of the famous skip chassis size wagons, the origins of which go back to the 1960s and the much missed Egger-Bahn range.
Developed from the Egger-Bahn models are the current Minitrains models. This German company is not to be confused with the 1960s company of the same name. Although some of their models are superficially similar they are completely new with mechanisms which are smooth and powerful. Mostly their locos are freelance in design but they released a nice model of the German WW1 Brigadelok this year which has proved very popular. They are promising new models to be announced in the new year which will be worth the wait.
PECO have finally released their lovely L&B wagons in ‘un-liveried versions’ which means that you can now have a closed van or an open wagon in either brown or grey with just the tare weight printed on. Ideal for the freelance modeller. They have also released their L&B coaches with new running numbers for both L&B and Southern Railway variations. In 2015 we can look forward to some freelance liveries for these coaches too, the details of which are yet to be announced.
Excitingly PECO have also just announced that they have a variety of new 009 ready to run items of rolling stock in the pipeline. Hopefully in time for Christmas there will be flat wagons and bolster wagons, both of which will be packed in pairs. In 2015 we can expect to see an L&B bogie open wagon in both L&B and SR liveries which will add nicely to their coaches; most L&B trains ran mixed. Also available in 2015 will be a pair of Glyn Valley Tramway four wheel coaches, an enclosed version and an open sided one; these will be accompanied by a freelance but compatible brake composite. Tantalisingly, they have also said that this may not be all from them next year in 009.
Heljan have announced the liveries which their forthcoming L&B Manning Wardles will be released in, there is still no confirmed release date for these locos but they are expected next year now.
There has never been a better time to start modelling in 009; the old bug bears of not being able to get it to run properly and having to build everything from kits or from scratch no longer apply. There are still a large number of kits available and this is also a very nice way of creating your unique railway. We will be stocking everything mentioned above as soon as it is available and we already have a large range for sale. Watch this space for more news about these items and more.