Masterpiec­e Mod­els ‘Cas­tle’ 4-6-0

Model Rail (UK) - - Reviews -

◆ 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.

EX­QUIS­ITE DE­TAIL

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.

SU­PERB PER­FOR­MANCE

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)

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