Dave Jones of DJ Models attended the Watercress Line’s Autumn Spring Steam Gala, giving the opportunity for model railway enthusiasts to see some forthcoming products from the youngest ready to run model railway company. Although the company is the “new kid on the block”, Dave Jones is no stranger to model railways. A former employee of Dapol, Dave made the brave move to set up an independent company. I was looking forward to meeting Dave and seeing progress being made on some of the models.
The model railway business is an interesting industry. For some time now, models are almost all exclusively produced in China and the market (myself included) demand high quality products at relatively low prices. It is so easy to make an error or compromise too far when making a model. Handling the logistics of an international production schedule for an audience who expert much can not be easy. Even giants like Hornby struggle to get it right! Dave Jones’ approach is unique, but simple – he is open and honest with every step of the process. Meeting him was a real pleasure and I have to say that I was very impressed to hear the depth of research and the thought of the end-user in all he does. I think we can expect great things from DJ Models.
Back in September I rather flippantly remarked whether Hattons and DJ Models might re-consider producing a new 00 scale King class after Hornby announced the same. I have to say that having met Dave Jones, I wonder if Hornby should be the ones having second thoughts.
Anyway, on to the models! Pre-production samples of four Hunslet Austerity/J94 00 scale models were on show and looked very promising. I am quite a fan of the humble saddle tank and often feel that they are undervalued (click here to read more.) Yet they are effectively the backbone of standard gauge steam in the UK. Hornby’s ex-Dapol model is ok but looking a little dated these days (click here to read the review.) As you can see from these pictures, the new tooling caters for many variations of this class. It already looks far more refined than Hornby’s model, but still has some way to go before being complete, so criticisms at this stage would be premature.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable differences between the old and forthcoming models was something that I can not share here. Dave played a video with a new SH Models austerity in action. It had a quiet mechanism, perhaps not silent but still a lot quieter and smoother than the old Hornby model.
Of interest to digital users was the DCC socket, which in common with the Kernow Beattie well tank can be found by opening the smokebox. It looks very easy to fit a decoder, perhaps too easy as no one will come to this website looking for a DCC fitting guide!
Also on display was one of Kernow Model Rail Centre’s LSWR Adams 02 0-4-4T model. This also looked great (note that this example had suffered a little from a bent wire connecting the air tank to the pump.)
The character of this tank engine has been captured remarkably well. Interestingly, whilst chatting to Dave Jones, he mentioned that the average tooling costs for a new model locomotive is around £100,000. Quite a sum of money really and it shows how popular our hobby must be, a reassuring thought.
Kernow’s 02 tank looks every bit as good as the Beattie Well Tank (click here for more.) Speaking of which, Dave Jones has tweaked the mechanism for a new production run (this time DJ Models will be producing these models, rather than Dapol.)