Friday, 11 November 2016

A Train Set for Christmas and other gift ideas....

It's that time of year when we start looking at the Christmas market and the obvious place to begin is with the classic gift, the train set. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a set for someone but it helps to know what they like when it comes to railways and what they'd be looking for in a starter set.

Kicking off with the above pictured set Military Manoeuvres by Bachmann. I've made no secret in the past of how great I think this set is. For a first time railway modeller the great plus point of this set is it comes with a siding as part of the set so instant 'play value' as shunting can begin straight away without the need for additional track. However, the set being based on Military practice does make it a bit specialist for some modellers especially those who are just starting out....

If you want something a bit more traditional then The Midlander Express gives you exactly that. A very classic set, featuring an LMS Jubilee and two Maroon Mark1 coaches. In BR livery, it represents the period that is still the most popular amongst most modellers as it was the time when both steam and diesel ran side by side. Although as we've touched on in a different blog, the preservation layout offers the same benefit and the chance to mix regions. One negative of this set is it's very much an oval of track and a one train formation, even if there was a siding included it wouldn't be the kind of set you'd want to go shunting with anyway. (As a side note, I remember when I was a kid a friend having have a HST set that came with 2 sidings and a goods shed but looked completely ridiculous with HST coaches being shunted into them by the HST power car!) 

The last Bachmann set we are going to feature is The Permanent Way, a bit different to the other two this one comes complete with Digital Sound fitted to the loco and the entry level Bachmann digital controller. The liveries are very much set in the 90s so only really suits those who want to model the more contemporary scene. Like The Midlander Express it also features just the basic oval of track. Although there is a degree of shunting options that would be available here and being a class 20 it would be well suited to hauling and shunting wagons.

Some good points that all Bachmann sets have to offer are:
  • High quality products, the locos, coaches and wagons are all as good as the best products the range has to offer.
  • Good quality, durable, control systems. We have been using the same Bachmann controller on our test layout for the best part of a decade and it works just as well as a new one. One word of caution regarding the basic Digital Controller is that it only accommodates nine locomotive addresses and can be easily outgrown. Having said that it is also a good quality, durable controller.
  • Excellent value for money for the contents included.
Military Manoeuvres RRP 169.95, Our Price £145.
The Midlander Express RRP 209.95, Our Price £178.50
The Permanent Way RRP 274.95, Our Price £220.

Other sets in stock (not featured):
The Western Wanderer (Pannier Tank and 2 wagons) RRP £99.95, Our Price £85.
The Thames Clyde Express (Midland Compound and 3 Coaches)
RRP £174.95, Our Price £149.
Rural Commuter (105 DMU) RRP £99.95, Our Price £85.

We're not very keen on Hornby Sets here (even though they are the brand name most people are familiar with) but we have got The Postal Express in stock. Which with it's working mail coach and siding offers a great deal of play value and is great for the younger modeller, although we don't recommend it for the serious modeller... Sadly Hornby don't tend to offer their highest quality products in sets, usually it's products from their RailRoad range. Their controllers aren't the most robust of items either... This set RRPs at £119.99 we have it on Special Offer at £80.

Although we don't keep much N gauge in stock we do have two Graham Farish sets available, being made by Bachmann they are of similar quality to the Bachmann sets.

We have The Night Mail for modern image fans featuring a Class 47 with 2 mail coaches and a basic oval of track, RRP £199.95, Our Price £170.

For the steam fan, we have A Day At The Races (not pictured) featuring a BR Std 3 tank engine and 3 horseboxes in BR green. This set also has a siding with it.
RRP £189.95, Our Price £162.

Both sets come with the excellent Bachmann Controller that the OO sets also come with.

That's the sets end of the market looked at, now a time for a look at the other end of the market for 'stocking fillers' and 'cheap' gifts.

 Starting off with the excellent range of Oxford Wagons, at the time of writing all of the single 4 wheel wagons from Oxford come in at under £10 each. Wagons from Bachmann generally range from £12-£22 so there's a significant saving buying Oxford wagons even if the range isn't quite as big.

Another ever popular gift are the Metcalfe range of cardboard building kits, easy to put together and of solid build quality they are popular with those new to the hobby and experienced modellers alike. Prices on these kits ranges from £8 up to £20. We also keep a small range of N gauge Metcalfe products in stock.

Another suitable avenue for the cheaper gift is the pack of figures. We have stocked (and still do stock) the excellent range of figures from Bachmann and Modelscene. But recently have taken delivery of a new range from Woodland Scenics which feature many different scenarios to those we have seen before including Golfers, Fishermen, Cyclists and much more. Prices range from £7-£12.

Last up in our selection are the excellent range of road vehicles from Oxford Diecast. The range includes, cars, buses, lorries, farm vehicles, emergency services vehicles, even Ice Cream vans. A lot of the vehicles are represented in real life corporate colours (including all the railway companies) plus TV and film colour schemes too, the Anglia (top right) is in the same colours as Vyvyan's in The Young Ones! Prices range for £4 for a single car up to £25 for certain lorries & Gift Packs.

And for the man who has everything......

The stunning Bachmann Midland Pullman, which we have featured heavily in a previous blog. A truly magnificent model but costing an eye watering £509.95 (with discount!) it certainly doesn't come cheap!

These are just a few ideas we have for suitable gifts for Christmas. We do, of course, stock a comprehensive range of Locomotives, Coaches, Wagons, Buildings and Scenic accessories to suit all budgets and tastes.

Plus of course, if you're really stuck for what to buy we still do the good old Gift Voucher! 

Thanks for reading this, hope you enjoyed it. Please contact us if you require any advice and what to buy for the Railway Modeller in your life! Keep enjoying your modelling guys, Tony :)  

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

November Events and New Releases

Hi all, sorry we've been a bit quiet in recent times (all I seem to say in these blogs of late!) but here's the traditional month opening blog regarding our upcoming events.

We only have one event to bring you news of this month, but it is a VERY big one!

November 26th/27th, Warley National Model Railway Exhibition, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. 9:45-18:00 (9:15 for advanced ticket holders, 17:00 Sunday) Admission: Adults: £15.00 (£13.50 advance) Junior (5-16): £8.50 (£7.00 advance) last advance ticket orders 11th November so act fast to save money. Available from the NEC box office 0844 5810737 or

Our debut at the what is still the UK's biggest model railway show, in it's traditional venue of Hall 5 of the NEC. With 90 layouts to see and 150 trade stands there is a lot to see. Plus support from the majority of major manufacturers, there is nearly always a 'big' announcement made by one of them! As you can see from the picture we are stand D17, hopefully if you come you'll find us ok! Full details at

New Releases

Bachmann have dropped out a few new releases including a much anticipated new tooling.

 At long last the first of the new Bachmann Wickham Trollies have appeared, 32-992 in yellow. Still to follow are 32-991 in BR Maroon and 32-993 in yellow with wasp stripes.

We had one out on our test track to see what it was all about on Monday and they run very sweetly. Although we found it struggled with the long insul frog Hornby points. The unit drives off one axle on the wagon, which is fitted with a traction tyre (Bachmann kindly supply a spare pair of tyres). At the present time we are yet to find a solution as regards chipping, Bachmann have stated it isn't possible. My first instinct says that the best bet is to build up the load in the wagon to accommodate a very small chip (like the Gaugemaster DCC22). I will be keeping an eye on the usual forums and in magazines for other solutions.... RRP on this one is £79.95 our price £68.

Bachmann have also released another item in their Network SouthEast 30 collection. The Capital Commuter Train Pack comes with:
Class 416 EMU in NSE livery
Low Relief Art Deco Station with NSE decals
2 x Platform sections
Network SouthEast Publicity Postcards
Reproduction NSE 'Network Card' and holder (in the name of G.J Churchward!)
Certificate of Authenticity

Bachmann have also reissued the ever popular 9F, this time in weathered black livery with double chimney and the large 1F tender. As we have touched on in a previous blog weathering can be a bit hit and miss but this one has turned out very nicely, with some lovely subtle tints and a non uniform look to it. A very smart model. 92189 has been given her 40E Colwick shedplate so it's quite possible she performed on the legendary Annesley Runners from time to time

Continuing the weathered theme (and the reissue theme!) Bachmann have brought the popular little 64xx back in the same three liveries they carried last time around. 31-635a is in GWR, 31-636a returns in BR black early crest and 31-638 (pictured) appears in BR green late crest but this time weathered. Personally I'd rather have seen a bit more variation. Possibly shirt button crest on the GWR version or Early Crest on the BR green version (whether they carried Early Crest in BR green during their service days I'm not sure) but they certainly have in preservation. Maybe the weathering would have been better applied to the black version?

Prices: Capital Commuter: RRP £209.95, our price: £178.50
9F: RRP: £164.95, our price £140.50
64xx Pannier (GWR & Black clean): RRP: £95.95, our price: £81.60
64xx Pannier (BR green weathered) RRP: £105.95, our price: £90.10

And finally! One last arrival, we don't usually feature Second Hand models in the blog but we are selling a SanCheng brass King on behalf of a customer. It could do with a slight touch up but underneath it is a beautifully made all brass locomotive. We are asking £1,000 for this one :)

Thanks for reading, hopefully see some of you at Warley and hope some of the above items are of interest to some of you! Keep enjoying your modelling guys, Tony :)

Ps, more blogs coming soon, I promise! ;)