Rapido UK Newsletter No. 14
©2022 Rapido Trains Ltd
Dear Rapido Customer,

Welcome to another Rapido Trains UK newsletter, your monthly splash of modelling Hendo’s to liven up the fish and chips of life. But with the world seemingly gone completely mad since the last newsletter, our usual monthly dose of nonsense seems almost sane by comparison.

ANDY: What on earth are you wittering on about now? Everybody knows that HP is the King of Condiments.

RICHARD: Uh huh…

Anyway, what do we have for you this time? Only ALL this!

  • New tooling announcement!
  • Surprise new tooling announcement!
  • Return of an old favourite!
  • First look at the Class 28
  • Recording the Hunslet sounds
  • Order deadline reminders
  • Say hello to Dan
  • Product update
  • An update from the warehouse

  • A thought about duplication
  • Inspirational real wagons
Click here or on the above image to see our 'Iron Mink' launch video.
New tooling announcement: GWR ‘Iron Mink’

We’re delighted to unveil Engineering Prototypes of our new 'OO' gauge ‘Iron Mink’ van, one of the Great Western Railway’s most recognisable goods vehicles.
Here's an Engineering Prototype of our forthcoming 'OO' gauge GWR Dia. V6 'Iron Mink'. This one has been hand decorated.
Of the various designs of ‘Iron Mink’, we’ve chosen the Diagram V6. These were introduced in 1888 on a 16ft 6in underframe. Over 4,000 were built up to 1901, when the GWR reverted to building vans from wood.

This is another UK-designed product and our designers have been able to include key detail variations. We’re producing 13 'accurate' versions:

  • 908001: No. 11152, GWR grey (early)
  • 908002: No. 57066, GWR grey (25in lettering)
  • 908003: No. 69721, GWR grey (25in lettering)
  • 908004: No. 59217, GWR grey (16in lettering)
  • 908005: No. 57917, GWR grey (16in lettering)
  • 908006: No. 69131, GWR grey (1942 livery)
  • 908007: No. 69627, GWR grey (1937 livery)
  • 908008: No. W69121, BR (W) grey
  • 908009: No. 47528, ‘Salvage for Victory’ blue
  • 908010: No. 47305, ‘Salvage for Victory’ blue
  • 908011: No. 11346, GWR GPV black
  • 908012: No. 58725, GWR GPV black
  • 908013: No. 59061, SR GPV black

ANDY: 'Accurate'? Does that mean that are some inaccurate ones?

RICHARD: Not exactly. You'll need to scroll down to find out...
No. 11152 is one of the few preserved Dia. V6 'Iron Minks' left. After many years in 'Salvage for Victory' blue livery, it has been restored to GWR grey.
Photograph: G Price
To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can buy an 'Iron Mink' in any colour you like… as long as it’s grey.

ANDY: And blue. And the GPV versions are black.

RICHARD: Shh! You’re ruining my flow.

Yes, aside from a couple of exceptions, they’re all grey and we think that this is a little dull.
We've tooled two-, three- and four-brake shoe versions of brake gear for the 'Iron Minks'.
Now, the GWR’s ‘Iron Mink’ inspired similar vans from other builders, many of which became part of the GWR’s fleet after the Grouping. We’ve decided to apply some of the more interesting liveries from these 'other' vans to our GWR model. We’ve also chosen some Departmental liveries too, albeit with a few detail compromises.

We know that these models will not be 100% accurate but we feel certain that their eye-catching colour schemes will more than make up for any minor discrepancies.

ANDY: You'd better get on with telling everyone what these liveries are.

RICHARD: Absolutely! Here's the range:

  • 908014: No. 35374, GWR ‘Sand Van’
  • 908015: No. W292, BR ‘Sand Van’
  • 908016: No. 262 Portland Cement yellow/blue
  • 908017: No. 168, BPCM grey
  • 908018: No. DW100977, BR Departmental
  • 908019: No. W204925, BR grey
  • 908020: No. W482, BR Departmental grey
  • 908021: No. 139, Cambrian Railways GPV red

Our entire 'Iron Mink' range is ready to order now, direct from ourselves or from your local Rapido stockist. RRP is £32.95. The order deadline is June 1st 2022.
You couldn't miss this van on your layout, could you? All About GWR Iron Minks by the HMRS doesn't record the builder of this particular van but it certainly catches the eye.
Our 'spoof' range of 'Iron Minks' includes liveries carried by Rhymney and Brecon & Merthyr vans as well as the two GPVs built by the Cambrian Railways. We couldn't resist this striking red livery.
Their metal construction made the 'Iron Minks' ideal gunpowder vans during times of war. No. 58725 was turned into a GPV in 1938 and loaned to the Southern Railway. It's now based on the Severn Valley Railway. Photograph: G Price
Here, you can see the three types of door we've tooled: replacement wood, those fitted to gunpowder van conversions and the original design.
We've also tooled long and short ventilator hoods plus the plated over vents installed during the GPV conversion process.
We couldn't leave the 'Iron Minks' without a look at the mock-up of Richard's favourite livery, 'Salvage for Victory' blue. We're doing both versions, one with white roundels and this one with yellow. All our 'Iron Minks' are available to order now.
What do we have here? It's a hand decorated Engineering Prototype of the GWR
Surprise new tooling announcement!

While we were working on the ‘Iron Mink’, we couldn't resist making the GWR Dia. O21 open wagon as well.

These wagons used the same underframe and were one of the GWR’s most common open wagon. To give you an idea of how many were built, when the Board of Trade ‘Either Side’ brake regulations came into force in 1927, the GWR still had nearly 19,000 of these wagons on its books.
Sharing its chassis with the 'Iron Mink' means that the Dia. O21 is available with different brake gear arrangements. We've also tooled two types of door bump stop, which will be available as a customer-fit part.
We’re producing eight versions of Dia. O21:

  • 925001: No. 73721, GWR grey (pre-1904)
  • 925002: No. 41277, GWR grey (pre-1904, as preserved)
  • 925003: No. 74563, GWR grey (large letters)
  • 925004: No. 54156, GWR grey (large letters)
  • 925005: No. 63392, GWR grey (large letters)
  • 925006: No. 73691, GWR grey (small letters)
  • 925007: No. 14432, GWR grey (small letters)
  • 925008: No. W14076, GWR grey (BR lettering)

These wagons are also ready to order now, either from us or your local Rapido Trains UK stockist. RRP is £32.95 and the order book closes on June 1st 2022.
Despite being built in huge numbers, these wagons remained in the shadows for all of their lives. It’s difficult to track when they finally disappeared from the network and if it were not for the GWR 813 Preservation Fund, it’s likely that the Dia. O21 would have slipped unnoticed into history. The Fund has managed to acquire the final three survivors (Nos. 41277, 52137 and 52243) but only No. 41277 is anything more than a rusting underframe. Photograph: G Price
The LNER Dynamometer Car is available to order again... and it's better than ever!
The Dynamometer Car is back!

We’re absolutely delighted to announce another run of the award-winning LNER Dynamometer Car.

Rails of Sheffield has generously given us permission to produce this new batch of models under the Rapido Trains UK banner and this new batch includes two liveries not previously offered.

We were absolutely thrilled with how well the first batch turned out. The underframe and interior detail showed just what Rapido could do. No wonder that Model Rail readers voted it ‘Coach of the Decade’ in its Model of the Decade awards! And it’s no surprise that it sold out.

Given that it’s sold out, we thought that if you missed one the first time, we’d give you another opportunity to add one to your collection. But rather than simply re-run this model, we’re taking the opportunity to improve a few things, such as the lining, the roof colours and the lettering.

Here's what we’re making:
935001: No. 23591, LNER livery with lining. Optional duckets will be supplied so that this model can accurately portray the 1928-1938 glory days of LNER high-speed running, which culminated in Mallard’s record-breaking run.
935002: No. 905202, post-1946 LNER livery and carrying its later number – No. 905202 – as seen during the famous 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.
935003: No. E905202 in British Railways livery with BR Gill Sans lettering. This livery was applied in 1949 and can be seen when the Dynamometer Car was used on trials with Bulleid’s famous ‘Leader’ locomotive.
Again, we wish to thank Rails of Sheffield for allowing us to bring another batch of Dynamometer Cars to market. All three models are available to order now direct from ourselves or from your local Rapido stockist. RRP is £139.95.

We have already started making these. To ensure you get the version you want, we recommend you order as soon as possible. Unlike most of our other products, we are not building these to order. This means that some versions will sell out very quickly.
It's a Class 28 hauling 'Condor' - in 'N'! That's our model! Really!
Keep scrolling to see more of this tiny but mighty MetroVick.
Photograph: Dan Hull. Who? Find out later...
Class 28 samples are here!

Here’s the first Engineering Prototype of our ‘N’ gauge MetroVick Type 2 Co-Bo. Looks great, doesn’t it?
Here's the 'Co' or No. 1 end. You can see why enthusiasts called these locomotives 'Wonderloafs'! We couldn't have produced such a great looking model without the help of Adam Booth and the Class 15 Preservation Society, which is restoring sole-surviving D5705.
We’ve given the samples a thorough once over and highlighted a few areas that need improvement. This feedback is already with the factory.

The samples have also racked up many, many circuits of our office test track as well as on our secret test layout. It looks good, is very powerful and copes well with gradients and tight Peco points.

Now that we've received the sample, we're pleased to announce the order deadline: May 1 2022. You can order direct here or from your local Rapido stockist.

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words so enough waffling from me. Time to feast your eyes on this little beauty!
This is the 'Bo' or No. 2 end. One problem with the '28' is that the cab handrails are bars that are held to the body with right-angle holders. That's very unusual on a diesel and
a pain to replicate properly. We're working on a better solution.
The Class 28's shape certainly divides opinion. Richard actually thinks that it's quite stylish. We're going to tone down the bright copper contacts.
Our '28' has working red and white LEDs and analogue users can turn the red lights off hands-free! You'll get a pack of folded and open headcode discs to plug into the holes on the nose.
We've very pleased with the underframe! Look at all that pipework. This is where Class 15 Preservation Society input was invaluable.
One common question we get asked is: what are we doing about the sound file?

The Co-Bo was fitted with the Crossley HST V8 (not that HST) and there are only two locomotives fitted with these engines that work anywhere in the world... and they’re in Australia.

Despite repeated attempts to arrange a sound recording, we’ve drawn a blank. So, our friends at Digitrains have given us access to their Class 28 sound file.

The best way to describe this is a ‘soundalike’. It uses an EMD engine noise, which, while not an authentic Crossley sound, should have that rumbly, lumpy two-stroke V8 noise that will differentiate it from the in-line diesel engines in the rest of your models.

We will continue to search for a more accurate recording but, with the production deadline looming, we have to work with what we’ve got. The Digitrains file is excellent and we are confident that you will love what you hear as well.

Don't forget that you need to place your order for sound (or non-sound) Class 28s before May 1st 2022, either from us or from your local Rapido stockist.
If this doesn't tempt you to buy a Class 28 and a couple of 'Conflat Ps', nothing will! You can order your '28' here and then click here to pick up a few 'Conflats'.
Photograph: Dan Hull
Click here or on the above image to watch BRM's behind-the-scenes video of us recording sounds for the Hunslet.
Recording Hunslet sounds

Remember last issue when we showed you photographs of us recording the sounds for our Hunslet 16in? Remember that we said that we'd been joined by Andy York and Phil Parker from BRM magazine?

Well, Andy has shared with us this rather fine video that he shot on the day. There's lots of wonderful footage of Hunslet No. 3783/1953 Hollybank No. 3 at work on the Chasewater Railway, Andy looking very dapper in his footplate togs and me being very nervous.

ANDY: You really were nervous, weren't you?

RICHARD: Absolutely! There was a lot riding on that day. But we got the sounds we needed and I think the sound-fitted models are going to be awesome. I can just imagine that Hunslet bark echoing around the exhibition halls! Anyway, you can see the video here.
May 1st is the deadline for ordering the 'Conflat Ps'. You know you really need to get hold of some of these little beauties!
It’s order deadline time!

Anyone familiar with Rapido Trains Inc will be aware of order deadlines. If you're new to Rapido, this is the cut-off date for getting your orders in.

Why do we have order deadlines? Well, unlike other manufacturers, we don't want to over or under produce. So, in most situations, we make the number of orders we've received by the order deadline. While we do make a little extra stock, that’s no guarantee that the model you want will be available. The ONLY way to guarantee your model is to order before the deadline and that's either direct from our website or from your local Rapido Trains UK stockist.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, what deadlines are coming up?

April 1st 2022:

That's quite a range of models, isn't it? The only way to ensure that you don't miss out is to place an order now!

ANDY: You've got this subliminal messaging thing down to a fine art now!
Click here or on the above image to see our video for the SECR Dia. 1426 vans and the Dia. 1744 two-plank ballast wagons.
SECR wagon video

We couldn't let the order deadline for the SECR Dia. 1426 vans and Dia. 1744 ballast wagons pass without offering you another chance to see our video. This was given its debut on our Facebook page.

ANDY: You don't follow our Facebook page? Well, click here and sign up and you'll get to enjoy Rapido UK wackiness 24/7!

RICHARD: Spoiler alert: There's more SECR wagon goodness to enjoy later in this newsletter. And don't forget that the order deadline is April 1st.
Dan Hull is the newest member of the Rapido Trains UK team. As you can see, he also knows his way around a full-size steam engine as well as model ones.
Photograph: Pip Burns
“You need to find a Dan…”

...Jason told us.

So, we did. Say hello to Dan Hull, the newest member of the Rapido family.

Dan joins us as Warranty Engineer and, in the space of just a few weeks, has made huge inroads into our collection of warranty repairs, returning models back to their happy owners.

But, as with his Canadian namesake Dan Garcia, our Dan is already starting to wear many different hats. He’s already shown off his photographic skills, edited video, packed boxes and unloaded lorries. More importantly, as an accomplished ‘N’ gauge modeller, his knowledge and experience has proved invaluable with dealing with the Class 28 and ‘Conflat P’ samples. He can also make a decent cup of tea too!

Sadly for Dan, he’s had to dismantle the layout while he find suitable digs down in Kent. Good for us as it shows that he’s serious about staying!
Didn’t we tell you that Dan was both a great modeller and photographer? Well, we leave you with a shot he’s taken of ‘V2’ at speed on his 1930s LNER-themed layout. Good, innit?
A close up of the 3D printed Wisbech & Upwell tramcar. We're very pleased with how the design is looking.
Product update

Look at this: it’s a 3D print of our forthcoming Wisbech & Upwell tramcar! This project has been much more complicated than we’d originally envisaged and has given designer Linny many a sleepless night. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to send the design off to China in the next few weeks. Please be patient: the order book will open as soon as possible.
The Titfield version also includes the bar. About half an inch lower than The Grasshopper I'd say...
Now for some good news... and some less good news.

The good news is that the first samples of Lion left the factory in mid-March and that the first '15XX' samples are due to ship in mid-April.

The less good news is that the courier companies are based in Shenzhen which was recently locked down due to Covid.

ANDY: Sigh. It never rains but it pours...

RICHARD: We know that you're desperate to see these samples - and we are too! We're keeping everything crossed that it won't be long before we can show these off but, at the moment, it's a case of being patient. Scroll down and we can show you a little bit of progress.
The factory was just putting the finishing touches to the first samples of Lion just as this newsletter closed for press.
There's only one locomotive with this cab... yes, it's the '15XX'!
Here's a freshly moulded '15XX' tank section. Engineers at the factory will turn these parts into a fully operational sample. Hopefully, it won't be long before we can share these samples with you.
The distinctive shape of the 'Loriot Y' coming together nicely in the mould shop. We should see samples in mid-April.
Here, one of the moulds for the Dia. AA20 brakevan is being made.
No matter how diligently you try to get everything ready for a product launch there are always a few unexpected things to catch you out. What was it Robert Burns said about the best laid schemes o’ mice and men?

Several eagle-eyed customers pointed out several things that slipped through the net in our three announcements last time and we’ve now corrected these.
The GWR Dia. AA20 ‘Toad’ brakevans all have the correct colour on the roof ends and
No. 68764 (SKU918005) now has the correct roof colour.
‘VIX’ ferry van No. B787213 (SKU910003) now correctly says ‘British Railways' and not ‘British Rail’.
Unfortunately, the ‘Jones Goods’ needed a little more work than the others. We realised that all three LMS versions were shown with the wrong tender tank and a couple of the wrong descriptions got attached to the wrong models. Also, a new photograph came to light of a locomotive in LMS lined black and we have chosen to amend the running number to represent this locomotive in order to ensure historical accuracy.

The three models affected are these:

  • SKU914004/914504: No. 17920, LMS unlined black (early). This now has the correct short tank.
  • SKU914005/914505: No. 17928, LMS lined black. This was formerly No. 17924 and had the wrong description. It’s now got the louvre chimney, original smokebox and short tender tank.
  • SKU914006/914506: No. 17917, LMS unlined black (late). This now has the correct short tank.

We’ve worked closely with the Highland Railway Society to ensure that the ‘Big Goods’ is as accurate as we can get it but we have found a few areas where we’ve had to make the odd compromise. Firstly, the distinctive guard irons have to be the wrong shape in order for the model to negotiate trainset curves.
A fabulous portrait of HR 'Big Goods' No. 112 at Inverness. The eagle-eyed might spot the curious position of the lamp irons. Photograph: Highland Railway Society
Secondly, the Highland Railway had completely different lamp iron positions to those that the LMS and BR used. The position and composition of the lamp irons means that it’s impossible to offer both and so we’ve had to compromise with the latter style. We’re confident that the rest of the model will wow you so much that you won’t notice.

ANDY: You should have kept schtum… now they’ll all notice!

RICHARD: Well, we pride ourselves on being honest with our customers and feel it’s important to point these things out.
Did you spot it? The lamp iron closest to the camera is at 90 degrees to the normal position.
No. 103's lamp iron in the more familiar position. Unfortunately, with the best will in the world, we're unable to offer the HR version. Photograph: Linny Linehan
Click here or on the above image to download the instruction sheet for the Gunpowder Vans.
Gunpowder instructions

It was only when we started to receive e-mails querying the little plastic parts included with the Gunpowder Vans that we realised that we'd forgotten to include an instruction sheet for them.

ANDY: D'oh!

RICHARD: Exactly. So, we've quickly knocked one - I mean, we've carefully crafted one and it's available to download here. It explains what the small parts are (they're wagon label clips) and how to fit them.

JASON: And please make sure that you include instruction sheets with all our models.

RICHARD & ANDY: Yes boss...
Click here or on the above image to watch how to couple your APT-E successfully.
Coupling video

Now that APT-Es are beginning to be shipped to their new owners, we thought we'd share this video on how to successfully couple the cars together. It's a bit tricky so it's worth spending a few minutes watching this before attempting to run your train.

We've also issued some advice about cchoosing the right controller for your APT-E. You can click here or on the image below to download the advice.
Some advice for ensuring that your controller doesn't fry your APT-E's electrics. If you want to download it, click here or on the above image.
No, not the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark but the Rapido UK warehouse. In this photo, it's full of APT-Es, SECR open wagons plus the remaining stocks of Gunpowder Vans... and BCT 'New Look' Guys.
In the warehouse

Over the last few weeks our attention has focussed on the three lorry loads of product that arrived within six days of each other. The warehouse was, quite literally, full.

The Gunpowder Vans had arrived on March 8th and Andy, Steve and Dan worked flat out to ensure that nearly all orders had been shipped within just over a week.

The APT-Es arrived on March 15th - that was a full container, which didn't fit in our loading area - followed by the SECR open wagons the following day. As you can imagine, the warehouse has been a heaving mass of activity.

Like an ant’s nest.

ANDY: That’s a flattering comparison! We’re working as hard as we can to ship as much as possible and so we also politely ask that you don’t phone us to chase up your order. For every query we answer, it’s one fewer model that we’re packing!
We have very limited numbers of Gunpowder Vans, APT-Es and SECR open wagons left. Order now before they all go!
Limited stock

Now that we’ve finally got our hands on the APT-Es, SECR open wagons and the Gunpowder Vans, we’ve been able to do a proper stock-take and we have VERY limited stocks of all three left.

What do we mean by limited? Well, in some case, fewer than ten pieces.
What products are available? They’re all listed on the website NOW. If anything disappears, it’s sold out. If you want anything, head over to the website now… and then hurry back to read the rest of this newsletter!
A word about postage

Another question that we’ve been asked is can we hold products back so that they can be shipped in one parcel and thus save some postage costs.

We’re really conscious, especially in these belt-tightening times, of the frustrations of having to pay twice for postage. We apologise for this but it’s impossible for the website to cope with collating orders together when they’re due at different times. We never envisioned that we’d have multiple deliveries turn up within days of each other.

We will do what we can but we can’t guarantee that we can hold stock back because we desperately need the space.

If you’ve ordered directly from us, you’ll receive an automated e-mail link with instructions on how to pay the balance of your order. Please check your spam and junk mail inboxes if you haven’t received yours yet.
Nigel Roberts receives his raffle prize from fellow MBF member George Marcar MBE on March 12th.
Bus prizes

Model Bus Federation member Nigel Roberts is now the proud owner of this Rapido WMPTE Fleetline, which he won at a raffle held at an MBF Member’s Event at Ruislip on March 12th.

If you’re into your model buses –

ANDY: Let’s face it, you’ve signed up to the Rapido newsletter so you probably are!

RICHARD: - then it’s worth checking out the Model Bus Federation, which is the world’s leading society for all things bus modelling. Click here to learn more about the Federation.

ANDY: And if you're already an MBF member and haven't yet added a BCT 'New Look' Guy to your collection, you can now do so.

RICHARD: You don't need to be an MBF member to do that!
Our 'Iron Mink' was a classic case of 'unwitting duplication'. Happily, quick action by all parties avoided two products reaching the market at the same time.
Thought for the Month
By Andy

If, like me, you spend time browsing model railway forums or social media pages you will very quickly come across two perennial topics of discussion: ‘price’ and ‘duplication’.

Jason has already talked about price and cashflow in previous newsletters.

RICHARD: Click here to have a read.

ANDY: But only after you’ve finished my much more interesting piece on duplication first!


ANDY: Like it or not, duplication does and will happen. To my mind, there are three types of duplication:

1 Unintentional duplication. This genuinely happens occasionally when manufacturers don’t let on to each other what they are working on and both have committed too much resource and finance to the project to just throw it away. A good, honest example of this is the 'Iron Mink' project launched today. More on this in a bit.

2 Intentional duplication. This happens when a manufacturer (whether they make ready-to-run models or kits) thinks what they can offer will be better than what’s currently available. 'Better' could mean more detail or more technology. There are lots of examples out there and even our SECR wagons would fall into this category.

3 Finally, there’s malicious duplication. What can we say about this? Sometimes a company just wants to duplicate something because they can and they want to compete with you. I’m sure you can think of your own example.

The main bug-bear for modellers who decry duplication is that “there are so many prototypes that haven’t been done yet”. Sometimes I agree with this and, other times, I don’t.
'Intentional duplication': the ex-Mainline GWR '43XX' was crying out for a 21st Century version with finer detail, better chassis and 'plug and play' DCC. Such a model now exists.
There are lots of prototypes that have never been offered RTR before that I really want us to produce but they are not viable for us right now.

Now, it’s probably fair to say that the low-hanging fruit from the prototype tree has all been picked, leaving the tree a little bare. More effort is required to reach the remaining fruit.

Some of the low-hanging fruit that was picked ten, 15, 20 years ago is lagging behind in terms of detail and functionality. So, to continue the analogy, the prototype fruit tree is actually re-growing fruit and there's a fresh crop that’s looking very tempting for a small company like ours.

Rapido Trains UK is still relatively new and we need to make every penny that we spend count. We need to invest in projects that will give us a good return and more importantly develop the steady cashflow as Jason described. This will avoid the financial peaks and troughs that are the bane of the model railway company book keeper’s life.

Stable cash flow allows a greater variety of regular projects. To achieve our immediate goals, we are always looking for new, commercially viable projects and that sometimes means duplication.
'Malicious duplication': surely another manufacturer wouldn't try to offer The Titfield Thunderbolt products to compete against our officially licensed range of models?
How do we, therefore, avoid upsetting people with duplication?

Most manufacturers, particularly smaller ones such as ourselves, talk to each other. We have a rough idea of the areas we are all working on and things we would each like to do in the future. We make phone calls to ask others if we might tread on toes and likewise also receive calls. We have certainly avoided clashes on several wagon projects and one locomotive project this way in recent months.

Sometimes it works to the advantage of another project. A call in late January resulted in us dropping plans for one 0-6-0T locomotive which enabled us to accelerated the LBSCR ‘E1’ into the now empty slot in our schedule.

Despite our best intentions, we can't be in communication 24/7 and sometimes we find out about a duplicated product that’s too late for either party to do much about.

When that happens, we try our best to work with everyone involved to produce a sensible outcome.

Our ‘Iron Mink’ project was already in tooling when we discovered that Rails of Sheffield already had one in production. This could have been a PR disaster with a manufacturer seemingly going head to head with one of its own retailers.

After a few frantic phone calls, we agreed to halt development of our own model to allow Rails to get its to market first. A happy compromise all round.
When we got wind that another manufacturer was working on a Scottish locomotive, a quick phone call established that there was no duplication and we could carry on with our Highland Railway 'Big Goods' with confidence.
Lots of projects we would like to do have already been produced in one form or another. Does that mean that we should not produce them? Of course not!

Our Rapido Great Model Railway Survey revealed that there is a considerable market for people who want to just run trains and don’t want to build kits. We also know that modellers continue to want higher quality models to replace dated tooling and don’t mind paying modern-day prices for it.

We take an awful lot of data into consideration when we think about new models. Prototype data such as how many were built, longevity and geographical spread can be very important deciders. Other manufacturers think the same way and that’s why something already exists in some type of model form.

We also look at the history of models or kits that are readily available alongside data from our own market research. Essentially, will what we make be markedly different from what’s already available. It’s at this point that we decide if we wish to intentionally duplicate another item without causing too much upset.

But we don’t stop there.
Another whisper suggested that an 0-6-0T that we were working on was duplicating something someone else was doing.
We dropped our project and switched attention to the 'E1'.
Take our SECR open wagons. Their common chassis would give us lots of future options and their longevity and geographic spread offers a wide net for potential customers. They’re a good project and offer a healthy return.

I was aware that kits were available and the last thing I want to do is negatively impact a fellow manufacturer, despite internet conjecture that we were going after this manufacturer. So, we asked several retailers who stock both if they had noticed our announcement impact kit sales. The answer was no.

The reason was, they believed, that some modellers still like building kits, either for the pleasure of building them or because they’re cheaper than a ready-to-run equivalent.
Duplication occurs in other markets. Here's a collection of Ford Escort Mk 1s in different scales and in both off-the-shelf and kit form. There are even two 1:43 scale models, from Vanguard and Trofeu.
The $64,000 question is: has any harm been done by our announcement or has our release actually benefited the market? Based on the feedback we’ve received, we feel it’s the latter.

‘Malicious duplication’ is something we cannot help, no matter how hard we try. It will continue to happen although maybe modellers voting with their wallets might just cause a little reluctance for others to do it again.

Duplication is not unique to the model railway world. How many Spitfires or VW Beetles are there to choose from, in either kit or die-cast form? Is it a problem?

In theory, all model manufacturers are in competition with each other. We’re all businesses at the end of the day. But, in reality, we are, for the most part, genuine modellers and friends who want to see our hobby develop and blossom and are happy to work together to complement the fantastic models we all produce.
SECR Dia. 1426 van No. 15750 freshly outcropped after an overhaul in 2004. Sadly, it doesn't look like this now... but maybe not for much longer.
All photographs: Richard Salmon/Bluebell Railway
And finally…

It's always gratifying to know that your actions have positive consequences. We received an e-mail from Richard Salmon, a member of the Bluebell Railway's Carriage & Wagon team.

One of the team's charge is sole-surviving Dia. 1426 van No. 15750. Last overhauled in 2004, the van has become very tatty recently. In fact, it was promised another overhaul but that decision was made, Richard says, five years ago.

However, Richard added that that overhaul might now be on the cards, "in honour of the new model of it".

We're keeping everything crossed! In the meantime, enjoy Richard's photographs of other SECR vehicles that we're making in 'OO' form.

And remember that April 1st is the deadline for getting your orders in!
Replica SECR Dia. 1744 two-plank ballast wagon No. 567 looks splendid after completion in 2012.
Who could resist a look at SECR seven-plank open No. 16194, fresh from a re-paint on August 25th 2021. We have a limited number of these models in stock whereas the order deadline for the SECR van and ballast wagon is April 1st 2022.
I can't believe that that's it for another newsletter. The next one is due in April! Where is the year going?

Until then, enjoy the spring sunshine.

Best wishes,


Richard Foster
Sales & Marketing Manager
You can write to us at Rapido Trains UK, Unit 3, Clinton Business Centre, Lodge Road, Staplehurst, Kent TN12 0QF. Alternatively, you can call us on 03304 609496 or you can
e-mail us at [email protected]