In A Manor Of Speaking... 78xx Manor Update July 2022
Following the recent delivery of our Class 55 Deltic locomotives, and news that our Class 92 and Class 37 locomotives are now in production, it is time to check in with our fourth Accurascale locomotive project; the 78xx Manor Class locomotives.
Let's take a look at where we are to date and provide you with a full update on progress so far!
In the past week or so we previewed the first decorated sample of 7820 'Dinmore Manor' in BR lined black livery. This was produced with our first decorated samples of the locomotives that we received and previewed back in December 2021, but after being excluded from the initial parcel, it went walkabouts in the postal system and only recently arrived!
This model will be subject to the same corrections as the other models (correct placement of the tender lining and additional sheen applied to the black livery) as well as the addition of the white line on the distinctive decorative lining.
We also previewed the smooth running characteristics and the DCC sound project recorded for the Manor (as well as showing you the processes behind recording the sound file) with Hornby Magazine. Once again thank you to our friends on Hornby mag team, and our friends at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway for facilitating us. Check out the video below!
Since the video was filmed, (and following our own extensive testing of the locomotives) we have concluded that further refining and tweaking of the sound project and the DCC set up in the locomotives was required.
The first samples of the locomotive (as per the locomotive in the Hornby Magazine video) only featured one speaker in the tender. Production models will feature a speaker in the boiler of the locomotive as well as the tender. We are also improving the housing for these speakers to give better sound quality.
While it may seem that the Manor is a largish tender locomotive, packaging is always an interesting challenge, especially when we are using such a large amount of diecasting to aid pulling performance. The tender itself is used to house the majority of the electronics, such as the DCC decoder and circuit board. This also aids the ease of disassembly for fitting a chip of your own choice.
While the tender space aids in the packaging, it is quite a small space in itself due to the smallness of the tender and our desire to accurately represent the cut out for the coal capacity. We are keen to ensure our locomotives have "stay alive" powerbank capacitors for uninterrupted running over dirty sections of track.
When using the originally specified 21 pin interface, we found that it took up too much real estate in the tender to allow for the capacitors. Therefore, we have changed this to a "Next 18" interface and sound decoder which has a smaller footprint. This means that we have conducted a complete redesign of the printed circuit board (PCB). These changes allow the powerbank and speaker to remain in the model as per the specification.
Further improvements to the models based on the findings from the first decorated samples include improvements to the look and fit of the crankpins, improvement to the firebox flicker, cosmetic improvements to the finish on the surface of the wheels and axles and rerouting of wires within the locomotive for a cleaner, more reliable solution.
These improvements and enhancements of the model are now underway and will be implemented into the finished production models your receive. We want our first steam locomotive to provide quality running characteristics, feature excellent detail, finesse, quality and prototypical accuracy, as well as enjoying unbeatable features such as an industry leading sound file.
The Manor is our first rodeo in the world of steam locomotives, and we have learnt a great deal along the way, reacting positively to feedback and pushing further improvements into the package as we go. We could've just settled for an average model, and almost put on sale the samples as they were, but it is simply not "The Accurascale Way". We certainly do not want to deliver an average model to customers, who we know will appreciate the quality of the final model and enjoy a class leading locomotive on their layouts and in their collections.
With the improvements in mind, production will now begin in early Autumn, and delivery will be in Q4 of 2022. We apologise for this sight delay, but excellence takes time and cannot be rushed. Our model was on cusp of being great, so we will take this extra couple of months to push it into this bracket.
With several variants sold out direct via Accurascale, and retailers also reporting strong pre-order sales, we advise that you place a pre-order sooner rather than later. Don't miss out, it would be simply be bad Manors to go with anything else.
Pre-order yours today via your local Accurascale stockist, or direct by clicking right here!