Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Day Return to Hattons

My kit-built Class 14 is to receive a new chassis and bodywork repairs

Yesterday was spent on a jaunt to Hattons of Liverpool to return their sample of their splendid Class 14 model (see earlier posts). It was a pleasure to be treated to a guided tour of the shop and storage premises by Chris McCann and Richard Davies. The various floors of warehouse space are certainly packed to the rafters with model railway stuff and is testament to the company's organisation that the mail order and shop business runs as smoothly as it does with such space constraints of the elderly building.

However, I've been informed that Hattons are close to finalising a lease on a more suitable warehouse building on the outskirts of Liverpool which would streamline operations significantly while allowing the existing shop to become more of, well, a shop! Something that I must admit has been lacking since the move from the old Smithdown Road premises where customers could browse.

Anyway, many thanks to the Hattons crew for showing me around. As for the Class 14, my pragmatic side won the day and I came home empty handed despite agonising over whether to treat myself to a model (either BR green or NCB blue). If I didn't have a house to renovate and an elderly car in need of repairs... The Heljan/Hattons '14s' are selling fast following coverage in the model press this month so if you're prevaricating, now's the time to make up your mind.

I did unearth my kit-built Class 14 from storage (featured in Model Rail Issue 105) and I shall have to build a new chassis to replace the damaged original. As the image above shows, this model has been the victim of a couple of rough shunts and needs a bit of TLC. Thankfully, Dave Alexander (of Alexander Models - the maker of the kit) let me have a new set of chassis etches at a reasonable price, so this now sits in the 'to do' queue. I still think it would be nice to have a pair of these, though. Maybe I'll reconsider a Hattons version after pay day!!

The latest crop of arrivals for reviews and features

Arriving home from Merseyside, there were a few parcels waiting for me with new review samples and stuff for upcoming features. Amongst these was a new cordless Dremel multi-tool, some aerosol weathering dyes (as seen demonstrated at Warley and Glasgow shows - anyone who saw these demos will rememeber them!) and a modern etched brass bus shelter-style waiting room from Ten Commandments. The other interesting kit in the above photo is a Golden Arrow resin body for a S&D 7F 2-8-0, designed to fit onto a Hornby 8F chassis. A Comet Fowler tender kit has also been obtained to complete this. Keep an eye out for this project in Model Rail very soon.

Yet more signals to build! And a very handy book from Liverpool library

The Postman also brought me some signal kits from Wizard Models, also for an upcoming Model Rail feature. Signalling is a bit of a mystery to me (apart from the very basics) and I also managed to find a very useful guide book on the subject in Liverpool library yesterday, just before getting my train back home.

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