Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Small Is Beautiful

We're only a week and a half into 2018 but already we've had what I believe will be one of the highlights of the year - the announcement by Bachmann of a second series of ready-to-run 009 locomotives.

This time the subject is the iconic Quarry Hunslet - the so-called 'Alice class' small ones including the FR's Britomart.

This is phenomenal news for 4mm narrow gauge modelling.

I had heard from very good sources that this was in the offing, but I dared not believe it until I saw the confirmation which came at the weekend.

Rather strangely, you might think, this provoked intense debate on some 009-focussed social media groups.

Not because of the choice of prototype but just the fact it was happening at all, which I have to say I found very puzzling and also rather regrettable.

To me this news cannot be seen as anything other than a good thing.

How could we possibly object to 009 getting exposure and support from one of the big four beasts of the UK model railway scene?

(By which I mean, in no particular order, Hornby, Bachmann, Heljan and Peco - please don't write in.)

This is what many of us have been crying out for.

I suspect for a lot of us we hardly dared to believe it was possible.

Yet now we find that people are complaining that it is a bad thing, that it will damage 009, that it will stop people modelling.

I'm afraid I cannot follow the logic in that argument.

No one is born into this world scratch-building or constructing intricate etched brass kits.

Every single one of us started our love affair with model railways somewhere and I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that for the vast majority that began with a ready-to-run train set - and probably a OO one at that.

We have all followed our own paths and 'play with trains' in a way that makes us happy.

Some of us will have gone down a road that leads to us making our own kits or building from raw materials and others won't.

And that's all there is to it, when you boil it down.

It is a hobby for goodness sake!

As a group - as 009 modellers - to complain that we don't get any manufacturer support, and then when, at long last, we do, turn round and say it's a bad thing makes us look for all the world like a spoiled child who whines that they're hungry and then when they're presented with food turns their nose up at it.

I'm not aiming this at any individuals. Before anyone sets the comments section ablaze, this is not aimed at you.

However, being January, Burns Night will soon be upon us and I think it would be wise to take inspiration from Scotland's national poet:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

(If ye cannae understand that then just Google it!)

Of course, I suppose if anyone had legitimate reason to be peeved by the announcement and curse his luck it would be Himself.

Months after completing the very intricate task of painting and lining out our kit-bashed Brian Madge Britomart we could have waited and saved ourselves the bother.

But that would take the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

We're delighted about Bachmann's move and will undoubtedly be buying more than one of the new models - the variants without cabs - because both of us would like to have models of some of the other wee engines which have made guest appearances on the FR and WHR over the years, but with Brian Madges kits having become like the proverbial hen's teeth it was not looking like a realistic possibility any time soon.

Now all that has changed.

So we say thank you Bachmann!

I hope you will too.


  1. I could not agree more with your sentiments here, this is a fantastic announcement and Bachmann should be praised for it!

    I have always been put off getting into 009 due to the near total lack of RTR and my inability to kitbuild locos. Now I am finally able to get into a scale I have always loved thanks to the new RTR products.

    I also don't agree with some peoples attitudes that if you don't kitbuild or scratchbuild locos/rolling stock you are not a modeller. For example, you may buy a RTR ROD Baldwin and wagons, but if the wagon loads, buildings, vehicles, scenery, etc. are put together by you that makes you a modeller! And anyway, I cant see the kit market dying anytime soon.

  2. Indeed, hear hear Rob.

    Of course these RTR models will create new opportunities for variant and detail kits to be launched (like those for Skarloey). Indeed wholesale new locos could also be possible using the 0-4-0 chassis these will come with - a huge array of modelling opportunities and the 'hard' bit - the chassis - is done for us.

    Brilliant news. I have ordered two already.

  3. Can't understand how this is anything but brilliant news. If you dont want one, don't get one. I can't wait.

  4. This is wonderful news. Where can we place orders for these?

    1. As they say, available at all good model shops. Have a Google and you'll be able to pre-order.