Thursday, February 21, 2008

A nice niche

This is the first post in a proposed series on narrow gauge suppliers: first up is Worsley works.

Firstly, let us be clear here, without a supplier like Allen Doherty's worsley works, it would be very hard to model many railways, in particular the more modern varieties (such as the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland!). Everything would have to be scratch built as the other manufacturer'skits that are available tend to be very heavily biased towards war department and earlier stock only.

For the sheer number of carriages I require for Rhyd Ddu, the task of scratchbuilding without a kit would be a mammoth undertaking - enough to probably put you off even trying! Some have done it of course - David and Rob Waller of Dduallt and soon to be Bron Hebog fame scratchbuild FR and WHR carriages from plasticard strip and make an excellent job of it, but that is not for me, or indeed for most modellers out there.

So, worsley have a nice niche in the marketplace - they provide excellent quality etches of sides and ends plus (usually) the floor and bogie frames and they do so at a reasonable price (considering the low quantities the market demands of the more esoteric kits and the cost of brass). A normal carriage costs between £15 and £20 which is good indeed.

Allen has a decent range of FR and WHR kits available incorporating most of the heritage vehicles (although in some areas actually duplicating other commercial kits). As mentioned above, the real benefit is in the more modern carriages and with the exception of a few items such as the new FR observation saloons 100 and 102 (I'm on to him about those - don't worry!) he covers most of the fleet. The oddities and weird are also well provided for - take the
Dacauville Aine, Petit Bourge, Paris stock or the Campbeltown and Machrihanish coaches for example.

One major issue is keeping up with the ever changing policies and designs of Boston Lodge/Dinas - beading changes, window lines alter and all that means multiple versions of the same kit. In fact few at Boston Lodge could tell you when what was altered!

Obviously, you still need to build up any interior detail you need, add a roof (pretty easy on most FR/WHR kits), add door details such as handles and glazing etc but all those elements are pretty easy to find - just spend an hour wandering around a big show.

Some images of his products are below - so I urge you to give them a go, they are pretty easy in the main to solder up (in fact they make good learning items) and the etched detail is really well done.

The latest kits that I picked up at Shepton Mallet are the 3 WHR(C) saloons - the new 13m long ones completed in 2007 No.s 2043-5 and the Romanian Coach 2060 - now available so get your orders in!

Oh and he does some locos too, notably the FR and WHR(C) funkeys! Keep up the good work Allen!


1 comment:

zabdiel said...

I like the idea of this series. I'm just getting into modelling again after not doing anything for years. This will be great for me - keep it up. Any chance you could add tag your posts with "suppliers" or similar to make it easier to find the whole series when you've written more?