Who makes the best 7mm GWR coach kits now?

Discussion in 'Coaching stock' started by vonmarshall, 22 October 2019.

  1. vonmarshall

    vonmarshall Active Member

    I have decided to start to build some GWR coaches for my planned garden railway. I have about 10 year until my children grow up and I can take back over the part of the garden that is currently filled with a trampline and climbing frame and I have a plan for a lovely long S curve to sit and watch the trains go by.

    I figure this 10 year window gives me the time to build 10-20 coaches! I have spent time on GWR 7mm coach kits and non-passenger-carrying coaching stock ('brown vehicles') but have discovered that Just Like the Real Thing are no more, that Blacksmith Models seem to have disappeared and that Haywood Railway are not answering emails, I feel I may be a bit late to the party!

    I will be modelling mainline express trains from the 30's so wanted a mix of Toplights, Collets and a Dreadnaught or two in 57' and 70'.

    Keen to get any input into what kitmakers are still out there. I have come to terms with the fact that most suppliers seem to have limited online presence so keen to know what I may be missing.
  2. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Slaters's Plastikard for GWR Dean / Churchward era four wheel and clerestory coaches... difficult to do better if these prototypes tug your (whistle) chain. Thereafter look at CPL for etch bodies, underframes and many of the bits and pieces to complete them.

    Try talking to Laurie Lynch at MM1 Models who has (some of) the rights and moulds for the JLTRT range. My understanding is that he intends to run small batches as and when there is a demand. There are etch and cast GWR bogies available at this time.
    simond likes this.
  3. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Haywood do exist, they were at Telford and are listed as attending Reading on December 7th. Another “reticent” kit maker is Orion whom I am trying to chase down. I’ll come back to this thread if I get positive news.

    it’s a shame Malcom Binns never introduced a range of Western coaches, his Sidelines LMS range is excellent.

    vonmarshall likes this.
  4. lankytank

    lankytank Western Thunderer


    I believe Orion are in the process of 'winding down' - if they haven't already wound down - if this statement proves to be incorrect them I apologise now. Geoff Gill, of Haywood, are very much in existence - again, one of them phone calls might prove better than email (I realise that this is a little old fashioned but strangely, I find that it works...…:thumbs: )
    vonmarshall and Focalplane like this.
  5. Stewart

    Stewart Western Thunderer


    If you go to the GWR Showcase website, you can get an email link to Jerry Colbrooke of Orion, but as I posted before, he is not producing the coach kits anymore, and is in the process of selling the range of kits.

    Best regards
    vonmarshall likes this.
  6. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I may know something more on Orion after November 1st. I'll post any results then.

    Geoff Gill was supposed to email me after Telford with a postage quote to France for a kit. I have been too busy to worry about it but as I now plan to attend Reading Show, I will be in touch with him. I need two non-corridor 3rds and he had one RTR in GWR livery (I model late 1950s WR). I did buy several of his magnetic couplers and they are working really well. I have a 2017 Haywood catalogue from Telford 2018 - lots of GWR kits!

    vonmarshall likes this.
  7. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    CRT do clerestories.
  8. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

  9. vonmarshall

    vonmarshall Active Member

    I must admit I do find the off-line nature of this hobby quite frustrating! I also build 1/35 models and RC cars and they are all so well served online.

    When you click on the Haywood Railway link on the GoG traders website, all I get is the email address. Shall try to track down the phone number. thanks for the tip. If you do have their number to hand, please PM me with it!

    I was really taken by the JLTRT range so shall contact MM1 to see what their plans are.

    It does seem that the 1930's corridor mainline coaches are now no longer served with full kits. CPL and Worseley both offer sides and ends so I would be looking to scratchbuild from there...

    Makes me rethink switching to O from a planned G1 track. I am blessed to have enough space for either in my garden and maybe I should just bite the bullet and go large!
  10. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Haywood's do not have a website, their phone number should be on the GOG traders list.

    Edit to post number
    01889 881610
    vonmarshall likes this.
  11. vonmarshall

    vonmarshall Active Member

    Many thanks
  12. vonmarshall

    vonmarshall Active Member

    For anyone who is interested I have talked to MM1 and they are able to offer any of the old GWR range as a one off. They have no plans to fully release them but for £360 you can get the full kit.

    Left a VM for Haywoods so will feedback when I hear from them.
  13. NickK

    NickK Member

    Dick at Westdale is still offering coach kits. Yes, they are basic but you can always add components from CPL, Ragstone and others to get them up to scratch.

  14. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    This subject has gone rather quiet after an interesting opening; if you can, please tell us what you decided (a) was available or going to be available and (b) what you acquired for the project.
  15. vonmarshall

    vonmarshall Active Member

    Hi Dog Star

    Things did indeed go quiet. I seem to have hit an impasse.

    My problem is that I want to model the Ocean Special trains including the Ocean Mails from 1928-36.

    My goal was to have 4-5 possible rakes, 1 for 1928 made up primarily of 70' stock, 1 for 1929 which includes the Pullmans the GWR had at the time, once from 1932 which introduces the Super Saloons with added kitchen car and one from 1936 which now has a remodelled Saloon with the kitchen now included.

    I have found a lot of information about these services but photos, working coach plans etc, are very thin on the ground. But between the Harris books, the books on Plymouth in the 30's, the GWR Potal services and a wonderful detail of the Dining Cars from Backtrack, some great detail on the Pullmans from GWR Journal and a few other little gems I have found, I think I know what I want.

    The idea is to have 3 x 70' stock (still to be decided what Diagrams) , 3 x Pullman, 3 x Saloon as original and 2 x Saloon with the Kitchen. A total of 11 Passenger vehicles.

    I then need a Kitchen Car from the 1929 Riviera sets which was included when the Saloons ran pre '36 and an H22 12-wheel Diner for the 70' stock.

    To complement these, I need M15 / M9 in "Ocean Mails" lined livery and another Brake in lined livery. There is reasonable evidence that they were still in pre-27 livery into the early 30's

    And then I need a couple of Full Brakes or Vans in the 1929-35 livery.

    And finally a Siphon G.

    These 11 coaches, 2 Kitchen / Diners, 4 Brake / Vans and a Siphon mean that I could create the following realistic variations with 17 coaches.

    1928 Star pulled rake with 70' Ocean Mails, 3 x 70' Passenger coaches, H22 Diner, Siphon G and another Brake / Van
    1929 Star or Castle pulled rake with 70' OM, 3 x Pullman (ideally the 12 wheel wooden bodied Brake /1st called Arcadia with 2 of the steel bodied 1928 stock, probably Zena and Ione, all of which were photographed at Millbay. It would alos be prototypical to mix and match, using some Pullmans and some 70' stock.
    1932 Castle pulled rake with 70' OM, 3 x Super Saloons, 1 x 1929 Riviera Kitchen and then a Siphon and another Brake
    1936 Castle pulled rake with Brake, 5 x Saloons, Siphon and another Brake

    I feel that this would give me tremendous variation and a real treat to watch any of them rolling along a huge S bend in the garden!

    Kits are few and far between though.

    Goldenage Models are apparently still going and I talked to Quentin only last week. He confirmed that the Super Saloons are the first project to go live later this year now that the business is functioning again so I shall hopefully source all 5 Saloons from him.

    The Pullmans are not insurmountable. The "White" Pullmans from 1928 steel bodies stock (the GWR received about 10 of them including Zena, Iona are possible to source and a repaint from the Umber livery is not impossible to achieve. I have not found a 12-wheel kit for Arcadia though so that may have to go.

    The 70' stock is a problem.

    Blacksmiths made an H22 and they also made M14 which is basically identical to M15 so that would cover one of the 2 Kitchens and one of the Brakes.

    They also offered a selection of 70' Toplights including an A11 First Brake which would probably have been seen in the late 20's, 3rd (C29), Brake 3rd (D48).

    Westdale also made some of the 70' Collet stock, namely a Composite, a 3rd and a Brake 3rd.

    But try finding these kits! I have sourced a couple of the Westdales but am hanging out for the Blacksmith Toplights, but have not had any luck at all!

    So in summary, my research of this niche has been progressing very well, but the kids are still using the planned route for their trampoline etc and finding the coaches has proven to be much harder than I thought.

    I have thus been mulling over the step to Gauge 1. The attraction of a live steam Aster Castle holds strong and I have been in touch with the charming Peter Rogers. By simplifying the above and focusing more on the 1923-36 period I would be able to get away with less coaches and there seems to be more of a scratch-build culture in G1.

    Quentin at Golden Age claims he will release the Saloons in G1 after the O gauge release, so that would solve that problem.

    All I would need then would be M15 in post-29 livery, a nice 70' Brake, a Siphon G and a Kitchen Car. Peter reckons he can build these for me and frankly, the price differential between O and 1 is oddly minimal.

    Either way, I have commissioned the M15 because even if I suddenly find all the O gauge coaches and stick to O, it is such a beautiful coach in its own right that it would sit very nicely on a shelf.
    Last edited: 20 July 2020
    Rob Pulham and SLNCR57 like this.
  16. Hobbyhorse

    Hobbyhorse Western Thunderer

    I'd have a word with CPL, lots of etches in the range.

  17. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    O gauge still looks loco-centric to me. I'm sure the investment in coach kits and bogie kits was made years ago and found to be not-practical or profitable. Some very good LMS coach kits about though. People probably go for rtr Mk.I's even if they do not represent most train formations we saw in the 1950's.
  18. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    The Blacksmiths range may be available as etches only from kits in Somerset. Paul Dunn attends Railwells with etches. DO NOT under any circumstances try and buy anything online, there is a large black hole into which monies are paid and nothing comes out. I believe there is at least one CCJ outstanding. For full info there are several locked threads on RMweb.
  19. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    From a GW point-of-view, it’s a shame that both Blacksmith and JLTRT are not as available as they once were, as they did offer a route to a significant range of stock, and as Von Marshall has noted, it would have been more-or-less possible to assemble scale rakes of main line stock from some time before grouping right up to the Mk1s being common.

    Slaters’ clerestories & 4W stock kits are available for lesser (or older) trains, and Dapol have produced rtr 2- and 4- car sets, and autocoaches. There’s a kit for the steam rail motor too (Severn?) and I think there’s also one or more for the diesel railcars, and Ian Kirk has various kits for suburban stock, and there’s CPL etches, and a few others, so overall there’s quite a lot out there. Can’t comment on other Groups or Pre-Grouping as I simply don’t know.

    I guess there’s always the Jenkinson method, which seems rather easier with the arrival of CNC drag-knife cutters such as the Silhouette, or using laser-cut paper/card overlays. I did scratch-build a 70’ newspaper van in PK, which I was quite pleased with, but in general I find coaches very hard work. They’re big, they’re fragile, there’s lots of visible (and repetitive) detail, the paintwork needs to be really good, they’re probably lined, and the livery may be complex, and you need lots of them for every loco.

    I guess your views might differ :)