It’s the time of year again when, fingers laced over distended stomachs following an over-indulgent Christmas, we look back and take stock of the year that has passed.
Few will remember 2021 as a great year, however despite difficulties in the UK and China we have managed to progress numerous projects, with more exciting news to come.
The year began with us picking and packing hundreds of our eagerly awaited Class 92 locomotives after the consignment arrived just ahead of Christmas. The locomotives were available in RfD, EWS, DB, GBRf and Caledonian Sleeper liveries, with Kernow receiving their exclusive Stobart versions.
One reviewer described the models as ‘the best N gauge locomotive yet produced’ and the reactions of those receiving them on social media were similarly positive.
Other models delivered this year were the Sonic Models GWR 56xx 0-6-2 tank locomotives, PCV Cemflos manufactured for us by Accurascale and the FWA ‘Ecofret’ container flats, all in N gauge, and our first 0 gauge project – an exclusive Heljan 37405 in DRS Compass livery.
Last week – just before Christmas – we received the IWA Sfins-2 vans and Rfnoos timber carriers in 00 and these are being dispatched now.
The N gauge versions are expected to be leaving the factory very soon, but obviously won’t make it before the end of the year.
We had hoped for more models to be delivered over the last 12 months, but the reality of learning to live with the ever-present threat of a pandemic hindered this.
All our models are produced with a combination of processes but the most labour intensive is the fitting of the many dozens of tiny details that bring the models to life. This is all done by hand, on a production line. But if workers have to be socially distanced then the number on any given line can be severely reduced. In practice, if a production line has half the workers it would normally have, then that process will take twice as long. In addition the skilled workers – the production line managers, tampo print masters or CAD designers – may be off sick themselves or isolating.
Add into this the well-documented problems with international logistics and power problems that have seen some factories limited to two- or three-day a week production and it rapidly becomes clear how production that would normally take three months could take twice that or longer.
Models that we had hoped to deliver in 2021 but will now come in 2022 include the Class 320 and 321 units in N, aforementioned IWA vans and timber carriers in both scales and 00 FWA Ecofrets and IPA car carriers. Fortunately, all the indications are that all these models will arrive in Q1 2022.
The PFA container flats and second run of Class 390 Pendolino models are also in development and should be delivered in 2022.
Development on previously announced models has continued; again perhaps slightly slower than we would have liked but for very obvious reasons. These include the MMA/JNA box wagons in N, SR Manager’s saloon Caroline in 00, Mk5 coaches in Caledonian Sleeper and Trans Pennine Express variants and Class 128 diesel parcels car. EP samples of the Class 313/314 PEP units are expected in the next fortnight; some sample mouldings have already been received.
New models announced in 2021 included our Class 59 diesel in N – ideal to go with our HOA hoppers or JNA box wagons, Class 18 diesel hybrid shunter in 00, 1938 tube stock and 1928 ‘K-type’ Pullman coaches in N and Cartic-4 car carriers and BR Borail/YLA/YQA flat wagons in both scales. All these are on progressing as planned, and at various stages of development.
An exciting development has been the emergence of new retailer relationships; as well as the Drax hoppers commissioned by Rails of Sheffield, and scheduled for delivery in 2022, we are producing an caustic soda TUA tank wagon in 00 gauge for Rainbow Railways. We expect to have news of more commissions in Q1 2022.
We have continued our Facebook Live events as exhibitions we would normally attend such as Model Rail Scotland and DEMU Showcase were cancelled, however we were delighted to attend The International N Gauge Show (TINGS) and The Great Electric Train Show later in the year.
The Great Electric Train Show also saw Revolution’s KUA nuclear flask carriers receive Hornby Magazine’s N gauge rolling stock Model of the Year award; in February Revolution had been named N gauge Manufacturer of the Year by the readers of Model Rail magazine, and our KUA nuclear flask wagons voters the best N gauge wagon of 2020.
Readers of Model Rail may be interested to know Revolution’s Ben Ando will be starting a regular column in Model Rail in the New Year discussing aspects of modelling from the point of view of both an enthusiast and a manufacturer.
Looking ahead to 2022 we are obviously very hopeful that the problems of the pandemic begin to recede as the virus mutates into less virulent strains and the global vaccination programme takes hold. As ever, we tend to time new announcements with the delivery of models; once the Class 320/321 models are delivered we are expecting to offer at least two new mulitple units in N gauge, while we also expect to have exciting news about new wagons in both scales.
And last of all, Revolution is growing – as well as new models and shows, we will be unveiling a new addition to the team in early 2022. Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters!!