Mark 5 Update - December 2021
We previewed the first decorated samples of our massive Mark 5 project back in late summer, as we unveiled the Caledonian Sleeper variants for the first time. While we revealed the sleeper cars, the factory was scratching their heads and trying a variety of ways to correctly apply the intricate TPE livery to the complex shape of the driving car.
Thankfully, the factory came up with a way to deliver an excellent paint finish on our driving cars, and the TPE samples arrived just in time to be previewed at the 2021 GETS show in Milton Keynes, even operating on the Pete Waterman's "Making Tracks" West Coast layout over the weekend.
Since then, we have been analysing the samples, and working with the factory to make a series of corrections and amendments to both the Caledonian Sleeper and TPE coaches. While the coaches themselves look rather impressive at face value, there are several areas for improvement.
Firstly, there are minor decoration issues on both coaches. The windows should have a thick black boarder around each pane, which is easily sorted. Wheels and dampers etc. should also be painted grey. Some registration and warning label printing (particularly on the sleepers, but across both liveries) also requires improvement and better clarity.
The running numbers on the sleeper coaches should be white, and the swooshes on the windows requires further improvement. Happily these are all simple tweaks and corrections that can be carried out and will make the finished models stand out as models we can be proud of.
Improvements on the TPE coaches include lighter grey for doors, lower body, ends and window strip. We are also amending the look of the destination board on the front of the driving car and also revising the destination boards on all coaches, both TPE and Caledonian sleeper. These changes did require some retooling work which has been taking place in recent weeks.
We have also been testing and evaluating our magnetic couplings between coaches to ensure they perform reliably and look the part. As you know, we do like to innovate and push the hobby forwards, but innovation takes time.
However, we feel that the results are worth it.
So, where does this leave us? The tooling enhancements are due to be completed in the coming weeks, with production commencing post Chinese New Year. Delivery of the finished models will be in summer of 2022.
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