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Coopercraft business put up for sale


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Given everything I've seen posted before about CooperCraft I'm not sure how much of the material that's there would even be useable, I believe it was mentioned the masters for much the Blacksmith range would need extensive restoration before they're fit for use again.

I feel better waiting for hard facts in that regard, and am very thankful Isinglass have stepped up to the plate as regarding LNER coaches!  I have one of the Coopercraft Quint Arts, barely made a start on it before realizing how much would need modification and replacement, seemingly only good for the body sides, ends and floor now.

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1 hour ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Your critique would be interesting. I've always found that, with the exception of the Bedford lorry, they assembled very well. The tools and platform trolley kits are superb - but if everyone believes they are rubbish, it might depress eBay prices so I can stock up!

 

The 16mm scale wagons are definitely missed.

 

I still have some GW cattle wagons and Minks in the stash.  Far too light without added weight but beautiful models when built... not mine but I've seen some ;)

Cheers 

 

Edited by Tim Dubya
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On 13/09/2021 at 15:18, Tim Dubya said:

 

I was wondering whether Mr Dunn would be willing to sell parts of the Cooper Craft empire separately.  I understand he has some artwork from the Blacksmith/Mallard kits and was purely thinking out loud about whether they could be split. 

Cheers

 

The original hand drawn Mallard/Blacksmith may not still exist. That may not matter as the etch tools presumably are still okay and in use as he has been selling sets of etches, even if the other parts (cast w/m, etc) can't be produced. For many of the kits those other bits may be available elsewhere (Wizard?Comet, LRM, SEF, etc,). It would therefore appear that the Blacksmith part of Coopercraft might be worth absorbing by another manufacturer.

 

The plastic moulded kits would need to be in the hands of someone who has experience in this field. Peco and PPP being two that come to mind although I think Peco would be the best option as they have more "capacity" to deal with it.

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1 hour ago, Synch said:

Given everything I've seen posted before about CooperCraft I'm not sure how much of the material that's there would even be useable, I believe it was mentioned the masters for much the Blacksmith range would need extensive restoration before they're fit for use again.

I feel better waiting for hard facts in that regard, and am very thankful Isinglass have stepped up to the plate as regarding LNER coaches!  I have one of the Coopercraft Quint Arts, barely made a start on it before realizing how much would need modification and replacement, seemingly only good for the body sides, ends and floor now.

 

I think that you are confusing Coopercraft with Ian Kirk - the Quint Art was one of the latter's products.

 

The fact that both ranges came under the control of one incompetent person should not detract from the reputation of either excellent range when they were under their original ownership.

 

CJI.

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Given Coopercrafts previous, will the person/company who buys him out have to wait for ever after parting with their money, with more and more evasive emails/phone calls/pigeon post (delete as applicable) citing more and more exotic answers as to why he cannot deliver?

 

Very much tongue in cheek

 

Regards

 

Ian

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I don't believe there's such a thing as an "etch tool". Surely etching is a photographic and chemical process? Or it was when I was producing kits many years ago. The actual etching is done in an acid bath of sorts.

 

So many people over the years have wanted to "wait for someone" to produce their favourite bit of railway as a kit, but few are prepared to pay the price for what they would actually cost to develop and produce with enough left over for the maker to invest in future products let alone make a living out of it.

 

Then whatever kit is made, someone always finds fault with it, so sales don't go as expected. OK, there's been some bloody awful kits around over the years (MTK tube train anyone?), and some excellent kits. Few have sold in numbers that could earn the maker a living.

 

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6 minutes ago, roythebus1 said:

I don't believe there's such a thing as an "etch tool". Surely etching is a photographic and chemical process? Or it was when I was producing kits many years ago. The actual etching is done in an acid bath of sorts.

 


I believe what is generally referred to as the ‘etch tool’ is the final negatives, which used to be lithographic sheet when I did all this for a living in the distant past as a technical photographer, but how it’s done in these digital days I have no idea. Only needs one set of drawings, the ‘tools’ being reproduced at the final size/scale required.

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The etch tool is a pair of films, one for the front, one for the back. The sheet to be etched is coated and put between them then exposed to light, the unexposed coating washes off and the sheet is etched. These films are normally kept by the etchers, what matters is the original artwork if they don't and the permission to use them if they do. Almost all etching artwork is now done with digital files but early stuff was all hand drawn and a lot of of it effectively worthless now.

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Chemical etching of course started off as a one sided affair, and how many printing plates are/were originally made. Both sided through etching requires some extra care with regard to accurate registration so things line up ( why ‘registration’ makes are often seen on un-trimmed one sided multi-plate - 4-colour - printed stuff) along with correct bath/dipping time to ensure the etches aren’t given too long, producing undercut edges, or not enough, and large ‘cusp’. These days it’s down to a fine art from the etchings I’ve handled compared with the distant past while digital files will overcome the stretching problems that can occur with both prints and negs when multiple reductions are required for a given repro size. This is where poor/wrongly sized uneven etchings can come from. Localised stretching or over the whole sheet in just one or both directions.

 

The copy camera I used to play with, (along with stuff like step& repeat cameras etc.) was the size of the average small car - like an SLR upended onto it’s lens so you stood on a high platform - and used up to 16”x20” sheet negative taped to it’s ground glass screen although it might be as small as just an inch square, with a 3x enlargement/reduction capacity. You can imagine the size of the darkroom it was in, one of two I had. Those were the days…….(!).

 

Know this is a bit OT but might be of interest to some.

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11 hours ago, roythebus1 said:

I don't believe there's such a thing as an "etch tool". Surely etching is a photographic and chemical process?

 

Any process like this needs "tooling". In the case of etching it used to be "photo-tools" which were the films that were laid against the material being etched to block or let through the UV light.

 

Etching in the PCB industry is all computerised these days and the tooling is all digital. Physical films are no longer required. I don't know how the etching companies supplying the MR etches operate.

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I can assure you that we still use physical films, even though they are created from digital files. For most of our work I get the films made, sent to me, checked and then sent to the etchers. I imagine most others in this business use the same process but without necessarily seeing the films themselves.

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Do we have the word of anyone more reliable than the notorious Mr Dunn himself that the company is actually for sale?

I've just spent a while on Google, searching every combination of wording I can think of, hoping to learn more but have found precisely nothing.

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Just now, Denbridge said:

A friend of mine has made several enquiries about buying the range, particularly Blacksmith, most recently in the last couple of days. He has yet to even recieve the courtesy of a reply.

 

There could be other bidders for the ranges.  I suspect (or rather if it was me), he'd want shot of the whole lot for as much as possible + he's not exactly known for his speed, is he?

 

I hope your friend is successful with the Blacksmith kits at the very least :good_mini:

 

Cheers

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I was thinking about trying to buy a set of Blacksmith etches (Bulleid 4-SUB) from Paul before it all 'closes', but I'm wondering if it's worth the risk of sending him £200!

 

That's assuming of course that he has a set in stock or he has the will to continue to trade.

 

Has anybody had any success with contacting him by phone?

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18 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Your critique would be interesting. I've always found that, with the exception of the Bedford lorry, they assembled very well. The tools and platform trolley kits are superb - but if everyone believes they are rubbish, it might depress eBay prices so I can stock up!

 

The 16mm scale wagons are definitely missed.

Agreed, the AEC lorry, trolleys, PW tools, GWR cattle wagon were up there with the best of Parkside and comparable with Tamiya, Hasegawa, Airfix on a good day etc. Not sure what went wrong with the Bedford lorry though !

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39 minutes ago, Re6/6 said:

I was thinking about trying to buy a set of Blacksmith etches (Bulleid 4-SUB) from Paul before it all 'closes', but I'm wondering if it's worth the risk of sending him £200!

 

That's assuming of course that he has a set in stock or he has the will to continue to trade.

 

Has anybody had any success with contacting him by phone?

 

Would paying by a credit card guarantee your money back (ball ache not included) if he didn't deliver the goods?

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42 minutes ago, Re6/6 said:

I was thinking about trying to buy a set of Blacksmith etches (Bulleid 4-SUB) from Paul before it all 'closes', but I'm wondering if it's worth the risk of sending him £200!

 

That's assuming of course that he has a set in stock or he has the will to continue to trade.

 

Has anybody had any success with contacting him by phone?

 

I would never send him any money under any circumstances.  If this business is really up for sale then I'd make an educated guess on past performance that there is little to no stock.

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1 hour ago, Re6/6 said:

I was thinking about trying to buy a set of Blacksmith etches (Bulleid 4-SUB) from Paul before it all 'closes', but I'm wondering if it's worth the risk of sending him £200!


Forgive me for I know nothing of SR EMU’s but Worsley Works do a couple of Bullied sets it seems and wondered if they might be a better proposition.

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50 minutes ago, Wheatley said:

Agreed, the AEC lorry, trolleys, PW tools, GWR cattle wagon were up there with the best of Parkside and comparable with Tamiya, Hasegawa, Airfix on a good day etc. Not sure what went wrong with the Bedford lorry though !

Quality of the mouldings is one thing (and Coopercraft were good) , the accuracy of the model, and the design of the kit can be rather different.  The cattle wagon end was incorrect (too high), the open wagons had floors that were too high (but easily corrected, if a bit time consuming, provided you were prepared to take a razor saw to the 'fat strips' that came fixed to the top of the solebars), some of the ends, such as the 4 plank had incorrect headstocks - again easily corrected.  With desk top CAD (and 3d printing) now commonplace I'm not sure that even if the moulds are good and can be made to work in an injection machine some of the plastic kits in the range will be worth the effort, but for other kits in the range (such as the Mk 1 coaches) it might be a different story, as indeed for the ex Kirk coaches he were absorbed into the range.  If I were to want accurate kits of the GWR wagons I think 3d printed resin masters and then white metal might be the way ahead.

 

Blacksmith is probably the bit worth saving and again desk top CAD and production makes the replacement of missing white metal masters for casting much easier than it was even 5 years ago. So if the photo tools are correct and available this could be the bit of the empire that can be resuscitated more painlessly and quickly.

 

Duncan

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32 minutes ago, Tim Dubya said:

 

Would paying by a credit card guarantee your money back (ball ache not included) if he didn't deliver the goods?

 

As you are aware that it would be highly unlikely you would receive anything the card supplier (assuming they found out) might well use that as an excuse not to?

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