What appeared to be a complete and original Bassett-Lowke live steam LMS compound sold on e-bay this week for £1,567. Admittedly one can’t really tell its condition from a couple of e-bay photos but these are rare, it was complete and looked good, so we think the price was very reasonable. Other 4-4-0 models made by Bassett-Lowke included a GER Claud Hamilton, one of which sold for £2,150 a year or so ago, a GWR County and an LNWR Precursor, neither of which we have seen for sale for many years. Earlier they made an LNWR outside-cylinder 4-4-0, but that was a different sort of model altogether, more like a toy.
We have still not seen any Gauge 3 rolling stock for sale anywhere at all, even the Vectis sales having been devoid of any for a couple of years now.
A well respected former Gauge ‘0’ kit manufacturer has stated his intention to make and market a live steam LNWR tank locomotive sometime next year. This is the most exciting news we have heard for ages and confirms the general feeling we get that more people are discovering Gauge 3, it is gaining in popularity, and at an increasing rate.
Our LNWR timber (bolster) wagons are now on the market and we have sold some already. They are pretty little things. We have a batch of twenty of these, and customers mainly seem to be buying them in pairs, which means it takes only ten orders for us to sell out completely! If you are interested we suggest you order soon. The price is £85 + £5 p&p each, or a pair for £160 post free.
We are always looking at ways to improve our products and this includes listening to customers’ comments. It was necessary for builders to drill out our cast buffer guides to accept the turned steel heads and coil springs, but by making a special PTFE bung which is inserted into the mould, our latest buffer guide castings will be the correct sizes inside as well, with no drilling out to be done at all. Adrian Swain (ABS Models) does the whitemetal casting for us and we are grateful for his design and hard work on this.
Gauge 3 seems to be appealing to a variety of people and just recently we have come across somebody who normally models in 5in gauge, scratch building a single Gauge 3 carriage because it was easier to carry around than a large model; somebody who manufactures and sells top quality kits in Gauge 0 wanting a single Gauge 3 model wagon for his mantelpiece; and somebody else who recently moved from Gauge 0 to Gauge 1 but now thinks that Gauge 3 may suit him better.
Another excellent modeller who changed to Gauge 3 a few years ago is Barry Lane, whose fine models of an L&Y horsebox and 4-wheeled carriage won the prestigious Rickards Trophy for Passenger Rolling Stock at the Manchester Model Railway Society exhibition last year. Barry is helping to put Gauge 3 back on the map.
In spite of all this, whenever we take models to model railway gatherings the most common question we are asked, even from very experienced modellers is “What scale is that?” Maybe that is part of the appeal of Gauge 3, but we must somehow increase public awareness of us.
Several nice Gauge 3 incomplete live steam model engines have sold on e-bay and also some for sale by Vectis this week for good prices. Good Gauge 3 models really do seem to sell quickly. At the time of writing there was also a complete and ready to run battery-powered Sentinel shunter for just £30 – what a bargain! So, secondhand Gauge 3 engines of all types are to be had from a variety of places, but one very rarely sees rolling stock. Why is that? Perhaps modellers prefer making engines and can’t be bothered to scratch build a whole train when for the same time/effort that could have another loco or two. Well, that is where we come in with easy to build wagon kits!
One manufacturer not on our links page is Orion Models. Their web site outlines plans to market quality and detailed kits and completed models of GWR live steam engines in Gauge 1 and Gauge 3. We have not added a link because their plans seem somewhat open-ended and they don't seem to answer e-mail enquiries, but maybe you will have more success with them than we did.
One of our links is to the National 2½in Gauge Association. On their site will be found a list of Alan Headech's Gauge 3 wheel castings. His range includes no less than 54 types, and if you don't feel capable of turning cast iron wheels yourself I am sure Alan will find somebody to do the job for you. Before buying though you may want to check with GRS which wheel types are now available from them. Unfortunately their web site is (very) out of date, so you'll need to give them a call.
With Easter coming up the traditional garden railway season is about to start. We hope that more people with look into Gauge 3 as it is absolutely ideal in the garden, being chunky enough to cope with the odd leaf or puff of breeze, but small enough to stand back and enjoy the sight of a full length train meandering through the countryside.
So far as our own kits are concerned, the first samples of the LNWR bolster wagon came back from casting this week and go together well, so this kit will be available in about two months. Almost 1,500 passed into LMS hands in 1923 and they had a very long life. Would look good with a log or girder load, or even lengths of rail chained down to two or three of them coupled together. A low sided open wagon could be added to the formation as a runner. A dinky little wagon at just under eight inches long, we will sell them as complete kits for just £85 and that includes wheels, couplings and even transfers. A bargain!
The widespread ignorance of Gauge 3 is astounding sometimes. On the web site of the prestigious North London Society of Model Engineers they give vital statistics for the major scales, describing Gauge 3 as “a new gauge ?” Amazing, when we have been going for well over 100 years!!
|© 2004- Williams Models||Updated: 6th October 2014|