Accurascale Review of 2021
2021 has been another interesting year for many reasons. Most of these are not likely to be fondly remembered as COVID19 continued to affect us all. However, at Accurascale 2021 was also our biggest year yet, with a wealth of newly tooled models arriving in stock, expansion of our team and an award or two picked up along the way.
So. grab a cuppa and perhaps a mince pie and let's look back on the last 12 months!
New Model Arrivals
2021 was a big year for newly tooled models arriving in stock with us, with six brand new wagons coming to market for the first time, along with our very first locomotive with our sister brand, IRM.
JSA Steel Wagons
Our first arrival was our highly anticipated JSA family of steel wagons. We offered the original British Steel welded hood and subsequent VTG riveted replacements, both faithfully replicated in our models. However, they are the same wagon essentially, and for the purposes of our review we won't count them as two separate wagons.
However, the most modern variant, the VTG open JSA coil carriers, is a completely different tooling to the covered wagons and proved a very popular addition to the range indeed.
These wagons went out our doors almost as quickly as they arrived, selling out within months of release. Perhaps another run in the near future shall be considered...
KUA Nuclear Flask Carrier
The KUA has proven to be our most hotly anticipated wagon to date, and it's easy to see why. This twin pack beast arrived with us in June following a delay due to the "Evergiven" Suez blockage (oh what fun that was!) and soon became a big hit with modellers, with them appearing on layouts across the land with a flurry of photos and videos of them in action being sent into us.
Another sell out success (though you may still get a pack from some of our retail partners!) this also became an award winner, bagging the "OO Gauge Rolling Stock Of The Year" award in the 2021 Hornby Magazine awards. Thank you to everyone who voted for us, and who bought a set too!
BR 21 ton Mineral Wagons (MDO and MDV)
Another large gap that was filled in British wagons in 00/4mm scale was our family of 21 ton mineral wagons. Our aim was to bring both the unfitted MDO and the later vacuum braked MDV (complete with top flap doors) to market following announcement in late 2020.
Both wagons featured completely different bodies and brake gear, making them two separate wagon projects in their own right, but an essential gap to fill in the market and had been for many, many years.
Once again these have been very popular indeed since their arrival in October, with all MDOs sold out here at Accurascale, and most MDVs too. A few packs still remain, so if you fancy some be sure to grab them now before they sell out by clicking here!
Coil A Wagons
Our final arrival for Accurascale for this year was also our first announcement of 2021; the Coil A hooded steel wagons. Built on the platform of the MDVs, both in prototype and in this model form, we brought a steel carrying wagon that was desperately needed for transition era modellers, which also operated up until the early 1990s. After all, we love our modernisation era stock!
Again our Coil A wagons have gone down very well since their arrival in October, with two of the three packs now sold out. For diminishing stocks of the final pack, click here.
IRM A Class Locomotives
Did you know that we landed our very first locomotive this year? Okay, so it wasn't under the Accurascale banner, or British outline (though the prototypes were built in Britain by Metropolitan-Vickers in the mid 1950s!) but it was another milestone for us as a company.
In October, the Irish Railway Models (IRM) A Class locomotives arrived in stock. It was our representation of the most numerous Irish diesel locomotive ever and it has gone down rather well with modellers of the Irish scene, and those who fancy something unusual too.
As is the Accurascale/IRM way, we represented these locomotives across their operational lives, catering for a boggling array of detail differences between their initial construction and final rebuilt condition. Featuring similar specifications to our forthcoming Accurascale diesel and electric locomotives, this video by Andy York will give you a glimpse at the As performance and what you can expect from your Accurascale locomotives in 2022.
If you fancy a bit of strange (and we all like to try something different every now and then, right?) you can browse our range of A Class locomotives here.
IRM Tara Mines Wagons
Our most recent arrival within the last few weeks has been a new run of our IRM Tara Mines wagons, featuring the as delivered blue livery with original hood as well as some additional wagons in the current red oxide livery. Perfect wagons for your new found A Class fetish as the Metrovicks were almost exclusive motive power for these wagons for almost 20 years since their delivery in 1977.
You can order Taras here.
So, that's what we delivered in 2021. But what about our other outstanding projects? Well, let's take a look!
Project Progress Reports
So, what's been happening on the big projects we previously announced that have yet to arrive? Well, while progress has not been as fast as we desired, partly of course due to the current state of the world, there has thankfully been significant progress on these projects over the past 12 months where they are now edging closer to delivery. Let's take a look at each one!
Class 55 Deltic
The big one! Our beloved Deltic locomotives are now entering final assembly stage at the factory ahead of shipping to us at the end of January of 2022. The factory is currently working around the clock to get them finished before the Chinese New Year deadline. Shipping means they will arrive in stock with us around mid March of 2022 before being packed up and shipped out to you!
It's been a long wait, and we will certainly do better in the future, but we had to get them up to the standards we desired, and that proved to be a learning curve for both us and the factory. However, when you see details like this, you know the wait will be worth it.
Not long now! Several are sold out, but we still have plenty to go round. Pre-order right here!
Our first electric locomotive made massive strides in 2021, with decorated samples arriving in late August and production commencing late in November of this year. Getting the pantograph technology, as well as the bewildering light package combinations proved to be a fun challenge on these, but we're now set.
With production now underway, albeit at an early stage, we can confirm that these will land in quarter 3 of 2022.
Remember, the price increase kicks in on January 1st, so if you want the bargain of the century, order yours with just a £30 deposit direct via our website before then and we will honour the current price! Click here to browse the Class 92 range and get your order in!
Mark 5 Coaches
Another project which is now finally making great strides is our Mark 5 coaches in TPE and Caledonian Sleeper formats. We received decorated samples of the sleepers in late summer, with the TPE causing major headaches in the tampo printing department.
As reported this week, our corrections are underway and production begins post Chinese New Year, with delivery in summer of 2022.
Again, these can only be ordered direct via our website, so click here if you fancy some!
Our Class 37 locomotives went down a treat when we showed off all the different tooling combinations we are featuring in the first run earlier this year. We also enjoyed a number of days up close and personal with the real things, taking several trips to preserved lines across the country to record the sound for our DCC sound fitted models, capturing the unique little differences between the different subclasses.
In January our decorated samples will arrive for assessment, so keep an eye out for them. Production will commence soon after with delivery slated for Q3 2022.
Pre-order your 37 via your local stockist, or here, including Accurascale Exclusive 97301 in Network Rail yellow (only available direct via Accurascale)
HYA/IIA/Cut Down HYA Wagons
Our next arrival is once again a trio of wagons never produced ready-to-run in 00/4mm. This is of course our family of modern HYA coal hopper wagons, the IIA biomass hopper wagons and HYA cut down aggregate hopper wagons.
Demand for these wagons has been so strong that we had to twice increase the size of the production run and it is now our biggest wagon production run to date (though the HAA production run will beat that, they're just not quite finished yet!)
These wagons have now left China and will arrive with us in late January of 2022!
New Announcements in 2021
While new models arrived in stock and progressed through their various stages during 2021, we found time to announce our next batch for delivery in 2022 and early 2023 too.
The Coil A and cut down HYAs were announced this year, but we've talked about them already, so let's have a look at the other new tooling items announced over the last 12 months!
GWR 78xx Manor
We did the unthinkable. We only went and did a steam locomotive! Some people branded us as "mad". Others even went further, mourning the loss of the company from the more modern scene forever, with one particularly amusing comment stating "they'll never make newer stuff again now due to their new staff and their backgrounds. I'm done with them." The reaction was quite amusing to say the least.
Hyperbole aside, we have really enjoyed working on a steam locomotive project for the first time, and the vast, vast majority of people welcomed our announcement on Accurascale's third birthday back in February of this year. (That's right, we're operating in the British outline market for less than four years! A lot has happened in that time).
We recently showed the first two decorated samples of our Manors, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with some excellent constructive comments and suggestions coming to which have really helped us out, and we thank you for that.
More of our decorated samples will arrive in early January 2022, and we are feeding amendments and tweaks back to the factory. We also recorded the sound during the summer, and will preview the set up in the new year, with running demonstrations too, so keep any eye out for that.
Pre-order your Manor via your local stockist, or direct right here!
(Oh, and we're working on more steam projects. But don't worry; we're working on other forms of propulsion from more modern eras too!)
Nuclear PFA Wagons
Nuclear traffic really captures the imagination of modellers, and we have received countless requests to produce the more intriguing low level nuclear waste containers that go atop our lovely little PFA wagons.
Covering Novapak, Nupaks, Dragons and others took a significant amount of research and patience due to a large amount of understandable red tape, but we god what we needed and tooled them up earlier this year. We have since received decorated samples and made some tooling refinements to make these packs really stand out.
Production is now underway and delivery will be Q2 2022. You can pre-order here!
The HAA MGR Family, CDA and MHA
Our big wagon announcement for 2021 was one that had been on our hitlist since we began Accurascale and something that was in the works since 2019; the MGR coal hopper wagon family of HAA, HBA, HCA, HDA, HFA, HMA and HNA, as well as the CDA China clay hoppers and MHA spoil wagons in OO/4mm.
When we debuted in the British market in 2018 we ran a survey asking modellers what models they would like to see tackled, and the runaway leader in the wagon stakes was the HAA and its constituents. It has proven to be a mammoth task, but we have gone above and beyond what has gone before in terms of variants and fidelity with these particular wagons.
We announced these wagons with decorated samples already in hand, which has allowed us to cut the waiting time on these wagons significantly. Indeed, the first batch are almost complete, shipping out in the coming weeks. This will consist of HAA/HOP AB, HCA and CDA.
These will then be followed by the remaining MHA, HDA, HMA and HBA which will arrive in Q2 2022.
Mark 2B Coaches
Our other summer announcement was something that has been badly missing from the British outline 70s-90s scene that we love so much; the Mark 2B coaches.
Pictures say 1000 words, so check them out in action with Hornby Magazine below.
Naturally we are covering a vast range of variants and offering a large amount of liveries and running numbers, including Blue/Grey, NSE and West Coast Railways. Oh, and since these ran in service on the Belfast-Dublin 'Enterprise' trains during the 1970s-1990s, we are doing them in their NIR condition too for IRM, including their unique driving car, grille car and generator car, complete with prototypical wider bogies to account for Irish gauge!
Decorated samples are due in the new year, so look out for them. Oh, and yes, the bogies won't be banana shaped!
As for developments on further coaches in our range? We will just have 2 C about that in 2022...
The NER 4T Chaldrons
In the Autumn we announced the latest (and earliest!) addition to our "Powering Britain" series of coal wagons; the Chaldrons.
We are taking you back to the beginning of the railways, with the design dating from the 1830s and lasting in traffic all the way up to the 1970s; seeing their days out in internal colliery railway usage.
These cute little wagons are now in manufacture and due in stock in Q2 2022. Don't forget to order yours via your local Accurascale stockist, or direct, including our 'Accurascale Exclusives' pack by clicking here.
Our final announcement of 2021 was the much needed inside frame diagram 0.33 diagram, (our variants begin at Lot 1578, starting with 2751, introduced from October 1936) the BR(W) 0.62, the O.59 and M.34 conversions, as well as the BR Newspaper Van conversions of the O.62 (NNV) Siphon G in 00/4mm scale.
Covering a vast selection of differing vans is always a challenge, and one we have taken on over a couple of years now. We wanted to cater for modellers from their introduction on the GWR in the 1930s all the way up to their withdrawal from service in BR in the mid 1980s.
Once again, we dropped along to our friends at Hornby Magazine to go through all the variants and preview some of the 15 differently tooled vans that make up the first run.
Delivery is just over a year away in Q1 2023 and you can pre-order your preferred Siphons via your local stockist or via our website right here!
New Additions to The Team
To meet the demands of delivering our ever growing model range we need a bigger team with expertise and diverse skills. The Accurascale team grew larger this year with a host of new jobs in critical areas of the business.
So, say hello to those who joined us this year!
Steve Nicholls - Product Manager
Steve joined our team in August as Product Manager, with a focus managing the production process of models and our relationship with our factories, as well as creating and maintaining consistent standards across the Accurascale/IRM range going forward, and product testing.
Steve is a well known modeller in 2mm circles with interest in British and Japanese subjects, as well as working in 4mm finscale, and some O has crept in there too!
Tim Elcock - Graphic Designer
Tim also joined us in the summer of 2021 as our Graphic Designer. Tim now works on our decoration artwork alongside our Project Managers for our models, as well as branding and advertising.
As well as being a highly skilled and experienced Graphic Designer, Tim also is a keen modeller, with a particular interest in pre-grouping railways.
Jamie Goodman - DCC Engineer
Many of you will already know Jamie for his excellent DCC sound projects and work on the real railway, as well as being involved with the preservation scene too!
Jamie has now joined the team for DCC testing of new models, ensuring common standards, compatibility, innovation and testing as well as recording sounds for forthcoming models.
Tony Mirolo - Engineer
Tony joined the Accurascale/IRM crew back in the Autumn as a warranty repairs technician for territories outside the UK.
A keen British sectorisation era and Irish outline modeller, Tony is the Chairman of the Model Railway Society of Ireland, the oldest and largest model railway club in Ireland.
Manufacturer of The Year!
So, this happened.....
In all seriousness, thank you to everyone who voted for us as the Manufacturer of the Year in the 2021 Hornby Magazine Awards. We couldn't believe it at the time, and still can't believe it now. We were truly humbled and are delighted you like what we do.
A big, massive and sincere thank you to every one of you who took an interest in us this year. Those of you who placed pre-orders, bought our models, showed patience in delays, gave us your constructive feedback, and support what we are trying to do. We simply couldn't do this without your help, support and custom. Thank you so much!
2021 was a great year for Accurascale, but 2022 is going to be even better, with delivery of the above, and perhaps a couple of new models announced along the way too as we progress these models to delivery.
Keep an eye on our website, our newsletter, our social media and the pages of magazines and RMWeb to keep up to date on all the news as it comes.
We hope you have had a very Merry Christmas and now have a peaceful and safe New Year, and we will see you again in 2022!