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To The Manor Born; Our First Steam Locomotive!

Three years ago, to this very day, we made our debut in the British outline market with our first model, a humble coal hopper wagon. It's been a whirlwind ride since then, with a host of new models landing on the market and many exciting ones in development; the Deltic (look out for VERY exciting news on those beasts next week!) 92s, Mark 5s and Class 37s to complement our growing high end wagon range. 

However, one area had been otherwise neglected by us in these first three years. We have been putting together lots of coal carrying wagons together across as part of our "Powering Britain" series, but what about doing something powered by black diamonds? It was time to do a steam locomotive, and what better one to do that something big, green and pretty? Welcome to the OO gauge GWR 78xx Manor, by Accurascale.

Arguably one of the most attractive locomotives to emerge from Swindon Works, the Great Western Railway 78xx Manor class was the final 4-6-0 design to emerge during the Collett era. Introduced in 1938, the Manors were go-anywhere locomotives. Initially deployed to a diverse selection of sheds, including Banbury, Bath Road, Croes Newydd, Neyland, Oxley, Shrewsbury, St Philips Marsh, Westbury, and even Old Oak Common (albeit quickly transferred away), they were regulars on freight, express freight services such as milk and fish, and passenger duties, in Great Western days. 

The longevity of the class was legendary, possibly related to their relative youth and near domination of services on former Cambrian lines, especially after the exodus of Manors from the West Country after dieselisation. The first withdrawals didn’t take place until 1963 – long after other 4-6-0s had suffered inroads, with the last of the class being withdrawn in December 1965. We will have a full blog on the history of the Manor later this week, so keep an eye out for that!

We decided on the Manor being our first steam model in late 2018 as part of our extensive roadmap of new models, and research quickly began on these interesting and pretty locomotives. Calls for an all-new, highly detailed model had been quite loud on forums, wish-list polls and at shows, so it seemed the perfect place for us to start. 

Working with the Great Western Society, Didcot, preservation groups like the Erlestoke Manor Fund, and GWR experts, we set about building the data to create a new Manor model that truly does justice to Collett’s classic locomotives.

As there has been quite the buzz around Accurascale since our inception three years ago, we thought it would be good to document the process of developing a new locomotive model to show modellers how it all works. Our friends at Hornby Magazine jumped at the chance and followed us on one of our surveys which you can watch below. 

 

Surveys of four different locomotives were undertaken for this project and the data was combined with a 3D scan and a full 1938 and 1952 works drawings to create the most accurate rendering of this class in any scale. 

Our survey trips began at Tyseley Locomotive Works in November 2019 to assess the various tender variations on offer as well as 7812 which was undergoing restoration. We just happened to be in the area for the Warley show, so it seemed rude not to pop in. The staff at Tyseley were very helpful indeed and we are very thankful to them for facilitating us.

Post Warley we made our way to Didcot to conduct a full survey of the beautiful 7808 "Cookham Manor" at the Great Western Society. Over 600 photos and extensive measurements were taken. Our plan was to scan the locomotive too, but the weather was against us. However, the Great Western Society very kindly facilitated our scan at a later date, ensuring we had the best possible data to create a definitive model of these wonderful locomotives.

As diesel fans will attest to, we really go all out when it comes to catering for prototype variations. Our steam locomotives will be no different in this regard! There are a number of detail configurations which makes almost every Manor model we’re offering a bespoke ‘one off’ release, with options for chimney, smokebox and boiler sides, smokebox door/handles and buffers.

The range of tenders is similarly complex with different tender bodies, frames, spring hangers, buffers, and also the frame installed in latter days to remind crews not to climb onto the coal space while on overhead electrified lines. This will all be catered for by our tooling! 

The Manors wore nearly all major GWR and BR liveries from 1938 until their withdrawal at the end of 1965. The first 20 were delivered in unlined GWR locomotive green with the roundel or ‘shirtbutton’ monogram logo on the tender, although by nationalisation they could be seen with tenders wearing GWR initials or GW separated by the company’s coat of arms. Repaints during wartime years would have been unlined black, with unlined green returning once hostilities ended. Unlined black was again applied after the formation of British Railways, albeit with ‘lion and wheel’ crest and smokebox-mounted numberplates. However, the BR-built Manors were released from Swindon in lined mixed traffic black, later being repainted in unlined black. Between 1956-60 all 30 Manors were turned out in lined BR green, initially with the early crest but the majority received the later style totem.

As you can see in the above image tooling is now complete. We are currently awaiting the etched and turned metal parts which will complete the buffers, motion, whistle baffle, chimney and other parts of the locomotive which will arrive shortly for assessment.

Tweaks will undoubtedly be required with any new model and the Manor is no different, with our production team currently assessing the tooling parts to ensure finesse and accuracy. As you can see, diecast parts have been heavily utilised to ensure excellent traction capabilities, with our 78xx featuring a fully diecast boiler, running plate and chassis. High fidelity plastic and etched parts will add that detail quality to ensure an industry leading locomotive. 

High specification is another rule for us, so the Accurascale Manor locomotive will feature a wonderfully smooth operating motor with flywheel that offers an exceptionally low starting voltage. Electrical pickup is from all tender and locomotive driving wheels and there is a 21-Pin MTC Socket in tender for the decoder of your choice, or you can choose our DCC Sound-installed option. DCC operators can enjoy our by now standard PowerPack capacitor for uninterrupted power and sound and three speaker arrangement, which includes a sugarcube mounted in the smokebox. There is also a flickering firebox light in the cab and in DCC this employs ESU’s intelligent flicker to synchronise the effect with the sound from the speakers.

 

10 locomotives will be released in our first run:

GWR (original chimney)

  • 7801 Anthony Manor in GWR plain green with monogram (Flush tender body/Narrow hornplates)
  • 7818 Granville Manor in GWR plain green with G-crest-W on tender (Riveted tender body/Narrow hornplates)
  • 7819 Hinton Manor in GWR plain green with GWR on tender (Flush tender body/Narrow hornplates)

BR (original chimney)

  • 7814 Fringford Manor BR unlined black with large early crest (Riveted tender body/Wide hornplates)
  • 7820 Dinmore Manor BR lined black with early crest (Flush tender body/Wide hornplates)

BR (redraughted chimney)

  • 7800 Torquay Manor BR lined green with late crest (Riveted tender body/Narrow hornplates)
  • 7810 Draycott Manor BR lined green with early crest (Riveted tender body/Wide hornplates)
  • 7812 Erlestoke Manor BR lined green with late crest (Flush tender body/Narrow hornplates)
  • 7824 Iford Manor BR unlined black with large early crest (Flush tender body/Narrow hornplates)

Preserved (circa 1974-present)

  • 7808 Cookham Manor GWR plain green with monogram (Flush tender body/Wide hornplates)

Specification

Common Features:

  • Highly-detailed OO gauge model, 1:76.2 scale on 16.5mm track
  • Based on 3D scan of 7808 Cookham Manor and full works drawings provided by GWS, Didcot
  • Surveys undertaken with assistance of Erlestoke Manor Fund, Dinmore Manor Loco Ltd and Tyseley Locomotive Works
  • Smokebox and chimney correctly represents as-built GWR condition or post-1952 BR redraughting
  • Fully-detailed cab interior with many separate parts
  • Scale width wire handrails
  • Etched metal/plastic and lost wax detail parts, incl. grab handles, steps, drain cocks, etc
  • Etched metal pre-painted name and numberplates
  • Etched metal ‘Cambrian Coast Express’ and ‘Pembroke Coast Express’ headboards
  • "Plain" or "webbed" driving wheels as appropriate
  • High-fidelity dummy screw couplings
  • Fully sprung metal buffers and factory-installed pipework
  • Tapered or straight buffer housings where applicable
  • Brake blocks in line with wheels
  • Front mini-tension lock coupler can be replaced by accurate front pony truck moulding

Tender details:

  • Churchward 3,500 gal tender with numerous variations including riveted and flush sides, narrow or wide hornplates, three different styles of spring hanger and underframe-mounted water scoop
  • Fully sprung metal buffers, factory-installed pipework and high fidelity dummy screw couplings
  • Early tapered, tapered or straight buffer housings where applicable
  • Optional overhead warning plate bracket on late-BR examples
  • Kinetic NEM coupler mounts on tender at correct height with mini-tension-lock couplers
  • DCC decoder socket in tender (tender roof accessible by lift out section secured by magnets)
  • Choice of lift out sections: empty or simulated ‘coal’ load

DCC / Electronic Features:

  • DCC ready [21-Pin MTC Socket in tender] or factory-installed DCC Sound options
  • DCC Sound locomotives have speaker mounted in smokebox and dual speakers in tender
  • PowerPack capacitor for uninterrupted power and sound
  • Flickering firebox light (synchronised with sound on DCC installed models)
  • Electrical pickup from all tender and locomotive driving wheels

Traction Features:

  • High-quality 3-pole motor with flywheel, low starting voltage and smooth power delivery
  • Minimum Radius 438mm (2nd Radius Set-track)
  • Die-cast metal chassis, running plate and body with sprung centre driving axle
  • Gearing arranged so locomotive can achieve a scale top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h)
  • RP25-110 profile OO gauge wheels

So, as you can see, we are doing everything to ensure our first steam locomotive is yet another landmark model, both for us and our hobby. Prices will be £169.99 for DC/DCC ready locomotives and £259.99 for our DCC sound fitted with ESU Loksound 5, representing excellent value for money considering the high specification, extensive detail variation and widespread use of diecasting, turned metal and etched components.

You can reserve yours with your local stockist, or direct with us, with a £30 deposit securing your order. We are anticipating decorated samples for assessment in May 2021, with delivery slated for Q4, 2021, COVID19 dependant.

Browse the full range by clicking here.

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