Deltic Update September 2020
As the factories in China return to normal post COVID19 shutdown, we are able to bring you the latest updates on our announced projects.
This time it is the turn of the Class 55 Deltic, our first Accurascale locomotive project.
When we launched the Deltic at Warley in late 2018, we knew it would be a major task to recreate this locomotive in 4mm scale offering a wide selection of detail difference and variations across the class. This was never attempted before on a 00 gauge Deltic, and we were determined to cater for all eras, from their first day in service up to the present day in mainline preservation. In doing so we have produced 11 different body configurations and in our first run will produce a staggering 18 distinctly different detail configurations across our first release of locomotives, something never done before.
While we have successfully managed this task, it has proven to be a massive learning curve for us in time and testing. Locomotives and powered models really are a whole different ball game when it comes to development, and whilst we knew this at the beginning, we did underestimate just how long it takes to develop a locomotive from scratch and cater for these detail differences.
One example are these hatch doors. We're doing three different types as per the real thing! (Two are not in their actual positions, just shown alongside each other for demonstration purposes!)
Of course, we have learned as we went, and when we received the first samples there were several areas we were not happy with. While we were pleased with the shape, we were not so impressed with a number of cosmetic elements that were poor to say the least. Elements like the fans, the fan grilles, windscreen wipers and hatches required a lot of redesign and refinement.
The fans and fan grilles were very disappointing. These have received a lot of attention, as can be seen below. There is also two different types of fan grill, and we are doing both!
The worst offender of all though was the sealed beam headcode box. If your stomach is turned easily, then we advise not to scroll any further below, it was that bad!
Thankfully, these elements (and a lot more besides) were refined, retooled and corrected as you can see below. Ahhh, that’s better!
Of course, with nothing being standard, ever, there are three variants of the plated over headcode box. Yes, we have done all three types!
We also have tweaked the sound following feedback from customers with ESU, which is also nearing completion. As you can hear in our previous video, it sounds very good already (if you can ignore the white noise coming from the camera microphone, the loco itself is crystal clear. The frame rate of the camera isn’t the best either, as it is a silky-smooth runner!)
So, there has been lots of changes to this model. And things were on track nicely for the revised November 2020 delivery date. Then COVID19 came into play.
Making the above changes meant that the tooling had to go back to the tooling shop. Of course, we could've put the locomotive on the market six months ago with these errors, but we want to make the best Deltic we can, and we wanted to be different to other manufacturers who plough on regardless. However, the pandemic disrupted the tooling shop and factories for a number of months which has caused delays to all projects. This means correction work was halted and delayed on the locos for several months.
The good news is the extensive tweaks we have done to the tooling have been completed today and soon we will get parts to approve and sign off. The bad news is there is an inevitable and unavoidable delay. Once we are happy with these changes the decoration masks for decorated samples can be created. This work can only be done on the newly approved tooling, so had to wait for the tooling tweaks to be finished. Decoration samples are now due in early January 2021. Once we are happy with these it is into production for a delivery date of Q2 2021, accounting for Chinese New Year.
We are very sorry for this delay, and we are very disappointed to bring you this news. These mistakes should not have happened, but this has been a learning curve on our first locomotive and the COVID19 situation has exacerbated delays on all projects. We also have learned from others not to release a model to market until we are fully satisfied that there are no issues with them. However, we are on the home straight now and progress between now and delivery should be smooth sailing (touch wood!)
We would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your patience and support on all our projects including the Deltic to date. It's been a long journey, but the destination will be well worth the trip!
If you would like to order one of these highly personalised, massively detailed locomotives you can do so by clicking here and securing your order with a £30 deposit, with the balance due when the locomotives arrive in stock!