Latest update from SLW sent out today
Complete sell-out of SLW Class 24s
New runs approved for production
Unforeseen delays affect projects
We are happy to provide you with a Summer update on SLW activities having, at last, found time to put fingers to keyboard in between development work.
A nice problem to have?
Let’s start with an apology… We’ve failed in our promise to try and keep the ‘staple ingredients’ of green and blue Class 24s always available. A month or two back, we sold out of all our current stock of models, four month ahead of our best expectation!
We continue to express surprise at the number of modellers only now discovering Sutton's Locomotive Workshop and realising what a step-up our specification is compared to what many are accustomed to. You can factor in this increased interest from new customers following the publicity surrounding our Class 25 project.
All this means no less than 17 different version (yes, we had to go away and count) of our Class 24 have sold out and we currently have no locomotives to sell at present! That must count as a win.
More 'Skinhead' Class 24s approved
What’s the solution? Simply put, we are making more models and are pleased to confirm that further ‘skinhead’ Sulzer Type 2 have already been added to our production schedule. This really is no secret, having said as much to anyone who has enquired by telephone or e-mail.
We have been bullish in our quantities but revealing these details sooner than planned will allow us to adjust figures even further upwards for a limited period to avoid disappointment. SLW is not a fan of early ‘reveals’ but it is has become a necessary consequence of our sales success and market forces.
Livery artwork has been approved and samples awaited. Some detail is revealed below. Full information will appear in newsletters and on our webshop later this summer (ready for advance reservation) so as not to detract too much from the new Class 25. This format will allow us to publicise the new variants individually with the attention each deserves.
The additional Class 24s will be well worth the wait - you will already be accustomed to our scale metal handrails and headcode discs as well as separately-fitted bogie pipe runs and roof panels. You can expect even more stunning refinements as part of our continuous improvement policy. Our ground-breaking twin-speaker DCC sound - widely described as the best there is – will take another step-up, to an even higher level.
EARLY DOORS: Because of numerous requests, especially from finescale and transition era modellers, early green will be making a comeback. We are doubling-down with both a Derby 'pilot scheme' loco and an early Darlington product with its characteristic polished grilles which will be reproduced using stainless steel photo-etches.
You certainly deserve some ‘tasters’ so you can at least forward-plan any potential purchases. After numerous requests (and ever-lengthening waiting lists) we are repeating some of our most popular colour schemes albeit with subtle variation.
To the delight of many, early plain (lined) green will return, with locos from both the 1959 Derby Pilot Scheme (LMR/SR) and 1960 Darlington build (ER). The everyday BR green with small warning panels is also to be offered in the slightly simplified ‘economy’ colour scheme applied by Derby during the type’s first serious overhauls. This will livery offer will additionally incorporate a pair of Tyne Dock modified locos with all the relevant detail fittings applied ‘out of the box’!
We have not forgotten BR corporate blue - a late TOPS machine (with Derby re-plated front ends and boiler water tanks) is also included on the list. Additionally, and following repeated calls, BR blue with front doors still in situ will fill one of our few remaining gaps in the range.
We have no ETA yet (see below) but suffice to say most of the hard work has already been completed, so it is not as complex as our other projects.
A not so nice problem to have
All that sounds very positive but, unfortunately, we have to offer up a less jokey apology: We are not alone in now facing issues which are causing delays. The rapid ramping-up of manufacturing after the global lockdown has put a heavy burden on the supply chain and power supplies, even to the extent of factory power cuts. We just wanted to give you the 'heads up' that SLW are caught up in this.
Our manufacturing set-up is small and heavily queued-up, exacerbating the problem. Inevitably, disruption results in every process taking longer than expected. We are doing our best to mitigate this but will avoid any temptation to cut-corners. Despite this optimism, Class 25 production has fallen behind schedule. This is why money is never taken up front.
Most model production is centred in the same province, so you can expect these to be industry-wide issues. It also comes on top of recent dramatic raw material and transportation price increases, so don’t be surprised if you see slow output and price rises across the board
Quality takes a little longer
From recent discussions, some customers are still under the impression we are a mass-market operation! It is worth re-stating that SLW is focussed on quality and has no interest in becoming a big industry player. Despite being a ‘one man band’, our products are a league above those who don’t share our attitude to fidelity.
We’re all about having fun with the detail and enjoying serious modelling. We don't judge ourselves on sales. With the above issues having come to the fore, it really is a case of good things will come to those who wait! So, thank you - in advance - for your patience and understanding.
In light of this, the Class 24/1 ‘Highland’ progress newsletter will follow in a few weeks with some teaser pictures. The advanced reservation of Class 25s has continued (beyond all estimates) to the extent that a further blazing BR blue option will be added in the next few days. We will give you specific information, along with more model images soon, but keep your eyes peeled at at: www.railexclusive.com