17 June 2021
Accurascale reveal more prototype samples of their forthcoming Class 37 and provide a project update as the models progress through development.
The first sample of these eagerly awaited locomotives was revealed in late 2020 with the original, as-built condition locomotive on display. The sample is now joined by some stablemates: the car headlight-fitted Class 37/0, Class 37/6, modern Class 37/4 and Network Rail Class 97.
On display are hand-assembled samples of the locomotives used to examine the fit and finish of the models, which will be much improved on the production variants modellers will receive.
Painstaking checks against 3D laser scans, a plethora of works drawings and an extensive library of research photographs have taken place over the past number of months to confirm the accuracy of the forthcoming EE Type 3.
An area Accurascale are incredibly happy with is the crispness of the tooling, the fidelity of the grilles and other areas, the etched details used in those areas are especially effective.
Improvement will be required in some areas of fit and finish in areas such the exhaust panel, the fitting of the nose doors and other parts, too. These points have since been raised the factory and will be amended.
There are also missing rivets around the cantrail grilles, radiator fan panel and other areas. However, these are usually added later in the development process, so this was to be expected. There is a missing hole for the engine room door hinges which must be added, and fitting of these parts shall be improved. One other element that is missing is a blade on the radiator panel on some versions, which will be added.
Other areas which are being refined are the glazing as well as flash, parting lines and particularly mould sink. The production models will have accurate wheels with correct profile central section with holes. This will of course be replicated in the EM and P4 wheelsets which will be provided separately and will be available to buy when the locomotives arrive in stock. The firm are also investigating alternatives to the plastic radiator fan keeper part to give it that extra bit of prototype fidelity.
Evident on the modern Class 37/4 prototype are turned brass horns atop of the cab roof which is one such area of elegant but robust detail. With the added ETH equipment, the stance on its bogies and the variety of buffer heads across the Class 37 range, it makes for a potentially very accurate model.
The Class 37s have been heavily modified over their six decades on the network, and Accurascale set out to cover specific variants previously unavailable to modellers with these high-fidelity Ready-to-Run models. This has proven very successful, with pre-order sales exceeding even their greatest expectations, resulting in two extensions to the size of the production run already.
There is a wealth of differing features between the more modern subclasses of 37s, such as the 37/6 and the modern Class 37/4. This results in a tremendous amount of time going into research and a massive tooling suite. However, Accurascale felt that this time and expense was imperative to create the definitive Class 37 in OO/4mm scale.
As other manufacturers have reported in recent weeks, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on supply lines with factories and distribution, resulting in delays on all Chinese-made products, not just model trains.
These samples were assembled locally from scratch due to understaffing at the factory caused by the pandemic. Travel restrictions has resulted in less migrant workers travelling to the industrial cities from rural China, causing a shortage of workers and every hand is on deck to catch up on items currently in production so new projects must wait their turn. The Class 37 is no different.
These difficulties, coupled to a desire to see deliver as perfect a model as possible, as well as an increased production run to facilitate demand, means a revised project schedule. Tooling tweaks are underway and have been for some weeks now to correct the models based on Accurascale’s feedback. This is due to finish next month.
Another point to be taken into account is the extensive tampo printing process for some modern class members with complex livery fades, logos, warning and information panels and more. That, coupled together with there being 20 distinctly different locomotives in the first run means the production process will take longer than envisaged.
Decorated samples will be provided by the factory in October, with production commencing following sign off and being complete in late Q2 2022. With this in mind, Accurascale will not further increase this first production run as it will add further delay, and with 85% of the production already sold at the pre-order stage, some variants are likely to sell out before arrival.
Of course, while these delays are not ideal, they do give Accurascale more time to add in extra effort, including into their sound recordings, and to ensure all bases are covered several Type 3s have been recorded with more to follow. A Class 37/6 shortly, along with a Class 37/4, will be recorded in the coming weeks, and to make their DCC sound fitted models the very best they can be, Accurascale now have a dedicated sound engineer with a wealth of experience on their books. With a twin speaker setup and Stay Alive capacitor pack, the factory fitted DCC sound fitted Accurascale Class 37s promise to be very impressive sounding and performing locomotives indeed.