Masterpiece Models ‘Castle’ 4-6-0
◆ GAUGE/SCALE ‘O’/’S7’ ◆ MODEL Masterpiece Models WR ‘Castle’ No. 7007 Great Western, BR green late emblem; No. 7032 Denbigh Castle, BR green early emblem ◆ PRICE From £3,432 ◆ AVAILABILITY Masterpiece Models Tel 01737 242073 Web www.masterpiecemodels.co.uk
Some people are very lucky. They have the funds and resources to buy their favourite locomotive. But even these people can’t have their locomotive inside their own home, where they can gaze at it lovingly any time they wish.
What if you could have your favourite locomotive, with almost all of the functions – save being able to light a fire in the firebox – of the real thing? And it would fit inside your house?
That’s what Masterpiece Models produces. These aren’t model locomotives; they’re scaled-down
replicas of the real thing.
Masterpiece began in 2007 and, in the last 12 years, has brought us superb, museum-quality models of Stanier ‘Duchesses’, air-smoothed and rebuilt Bulleid ‘Pacifics’, and BR’S ‘Britannias’ and ‘Clans’. But it’s Great Western designs that have dominated Masterpiece Models range.
It started with the ‘Castle’, followed that with the ‘King’ and has since gone on to produce the ‘Grange’ and ‘47XX’, along with the ‘57XX’ panniers, ‘Small Prairies’ and ‘14XXS’.
What we have here is Masterpiece’s latest, well, masterpiece. This is the post-war ‘Castle’, the ‘5098’ series introduced in 1946 with three-row superheaters and, from No. 7000 onwards, mechanical lubricators. No. 7008-7037 weren’t even Great Western locomotives as they were built by BR.
Henry Royce’s famous quote about remembering the quality long after you’ve forgotten the price rings true here. Yes, they’re undeniably more expensive than a mass-produced model from a Chinese factory, but that’s not why you buy a model like this. You buy a model like this because you want the very best.
We were given access to two Masterpiece ‘Castles’. Here you can bask in the glory of No. 7007 Great Western, with its double chimney, post-1956
BR emblem and, given this was the last ‘Castle’ built by the GWR in 1946, the Great Western’s crest on the splasher. Then there’s No. 7032 Denbigh Castle, with single chimney and ‘cycling lion’ emblem.
They both beautifully capture the elegant lines of the original. They look right from every angle and, if there are any flaws, it would take the most expert of ‘Castle’ aficionados to spot them. The exquisite looks are complemented by the finish. Being made of brass, the paint has real lustre and the lining is very fine.
Look closer and you’ll find
You buy a model like this because you want the very best
more surprises. All the pipe runs are spot on and even the coupling rod joints mirror how the real thing was built. Talking of motion, the rocking levers which link the inside and outside cylinders and valve gear move, and a look at the underside reveals working inside valve gear. Some poking and prodding reveals just how extraordinary these models are. The smokebox door opens just like the real thing with a miniature dart and locking bar. Inside is the blastpipe, steam pipes and tubeplate.
Turn to the cab and aside from all the fixtures and fittings that have been beautifully replicated, the firehole doors open and the seats can be posed in the up or down position. The tender is just as good as the locomotive and the tool boxes open too. You even get a complementary box of miniature fire irons, lamps and a bucket.
These are truly testament to the skill of the artisans in Masterpiece’s South Korean factory.
But these models aren’t just for mantlepieces – they’re designed to work. The motor is what Dave Lowery describes as “the most powerful around”. Denbigh Castle performed superbly on Dave’s layout, handling heavy trains of brass rolling stock with ease. Dave was unable to test No. 7007, for it is fitted with ‘Scale 7’ (33mm gauge) wheelsets, which costs an extra £600 but creates an even more accurate finish.
As befits a model of this quality, the ‘Castles’ come fitted with DCC decoders and sound speakers. There’s no need to dismantle one to access the DCC socket for, under the tender tank filler, is a button that enables you to select ‘DC’ or ‘DCC’ mode. Could we dare hope that such a feature finds its way on to mass-produced models? It would certainly make life a lot easier!
Museum-quality ‘O’ gauge is arguably the pinnacle of model railway manufacturing. So why not just spend a few minutes taking in the majesty of this miniature marvel? (RF)