I’m not very good with computers – can I order over the phone?
The best way to place an order is to use our website.
Our online ordering facility is linked to our stock control system, which enables us to run the business more efficiently. As the shopping cart requires all relevant product options to be filled in before placing the order, this reduces the chances of human error and improves delivery times. If you have any problems with the site, leave a message and we'll do our best to assist you.
How Do I Download The Instructions?
Our instructions are free to download from our DOWNLOADS page.
Using the index, click the link which should make the PDF file appear on your screen. Save the file to your device - one a computer, you may be able to do this via the browser's menu at the top of your screen: File/'Save Page As' and save the file somewhere you can find it. Some browsers will also have a download option.
If do you loose the file then just return to the site and pick it up at any time....
I notice you don't offer free postage like some firms do - why's that?
Obviously, we need to cover our costs (and losses) when we send goods, but we don't look to make a profit from postage. We don't offer free carriage because the cost of postage would have to be built into the list price of the product which wouldn't be fair to customers who buy at shows.
Do you supply spares for your kits?
Yes we do.
Some pieces seem to get lost, damaged or sucked into the vacuum more frequently than others so you can buy these from our SPARES PAGE. Components for cog-swapping (to change gearbox ratios) are also available.
Other parts - screws, bushes etc. - we can usually supply on request. For lost wax sprues, you may have to wait until we have the next batch made as they’re usually assigned to complete kits.
Items like etches ,which are part of a larger, complete fret.. it can depend... but there’s usually some workable, economical solution.
Our aim is to enable, help and inspire you to do your best work, so you end up with a finished, running model you're proud of and not an expensive headache or a pile of scrap!....
How difficult are your kits to build, I mean, could I build one?
We frequently get asked this...
Some kits are more difficult to build than others but, more importantly, individuals’ skill levels differ greatly so it really is impossible to answer, especially as we don’t actually know you! It’s true, a degree of skill (and patience) is necessary, along with a few essential tools - and building kits definitely comes easier to some than others - but taking your time and reading our comprehensive instructions thoroughly will go a long way towards achieving a good outcome. We advise anyone who’s unsure to download these before buying.
Mastering basic hand skills and the use of tools is down to the individual and this learning process can be a big part of the fun and satisfaction. Model railways is a very sociable hobby, populated by people who are more than happy to pass on their knowledge, so we do recommend joining one of the many model railway clubs (or on-line forums) in the UK.
Could I have one of your kits professionally made and, if so, how much would it cost?
The answer is yes, but it won't be cheap for the above reasons. Professional builders generally charge a very reasonable hourly rate for highly skilled work, but the number of hours involved bumps up the price.
Do you supply ready-made models or gearboxes?
No, because they weren't designed with this in mind, so they may be time-consuming to build and therefore costly. We try to make our kits as user-friendly as possible, but quick assembly is not high up our list of priorities - we like to think the customer will enjoy the building process and therefor won't be in any great hurry.
What is reduction ratio!... am I being offered discount?...
Not quite!... the reduction ratio is the speed options offered for all gearboxes, as well as most of the chassis and bogie kits. The ratio actually refers to how many motor revolutions it would take to turn the wheel axle once.
For a low ratio box of, say, 30:1, the motor turns 30 times for every one revolution of the wheels. The higher the
ratio, the slower the wheels will turn for a given motor speed. Think of a high ratio box being like first gear in a car and a low ratio is like top gear.
Can any gearbox be used with any motor?
Technically yes, but it's best to choose them as a pair so you get the best overall performance.
Big, slow, high-torque motors, when coupled to low-ratio (fast) boxes, will give you a decent top speed but also good slow-speed performance - the motor has the power to handle the loads, but also turns smoothly at low revs, so it doesn't need to be geared down.
Smaller, less powerful motors, rev much higher, with less low-end torque and overall power. Using a high-ratio box will reduce the overall track speed whilst improving both low-speed peformance and haulage capabilities.
That planning stuff looks complicated – can’t you just tell me what I need?
With so many variables involved, we can offer only generalised advice using educated guesswork.
As you have the actual model in front of you and/or a drawing to work from, you’re best placed to work out a solution, based on your own specific requirements and preferences.
The planning process is actually a lot easier than many imagine, with no technical theory or complex calculation involved. Once learned, it’s a valuable skill to have. . .
Do you, or can you, supply wheels with your kits?
Almost all of our models can be built to OO, EM or P4 gauge, which makes it impractical for us to keep so many wheel types in stock
Our instructions state the correct wheel for the kit, along with the manufacturer's reference.
You keep mentioning ‘Compensated' Chassis. What does this mean?
It’s an arrangement of beams and/or pivots which distribute the loco’s weight evenly across the axles, whilst also allowing the wheels to rise and fall as they follow the undulations of the track. As the wheels are in constant contact with the rails, electrical pick-up, road-holding and haulage capabilities are improved. It’s popular in EM gauge and even more common in P4 because the wheel flanges are so small.
The CSB system is another way of achieving the same goals and you can read all about this HERE
Why should I pay more for a coreless motor when they don’t even work with some controllers!...
Used with feedback-type controllers (particularly older models where the feedback is quite coarse) there may be problems, but with both analogue and digital equipment, our precision-engineered, HLPower Coreless Motors will deliver superb performance - they're massively powerful for their size with bags of torque and silky-smooth slow speed control.
This issue of compatibility is a matter on which you must decide. If you take into account the performance benefits offered by coreless motors, as well as their ever-increasing popularity in ready-to-run products, then a controller upgrade may make a lot of sense...
What on earth is Illusodrive!?
We use this system on our jackshaft diesels to make them run more smoothly.
Both the jackshaft and the wheels are gear-driven, but not actually physically connected via the siderods (that's the 'Illuso' bit). This makes compensation (see above) simpler because the rods don't need to be articulated and also prevents ‘locking up’ which can happen occasionally, even with non-compensated chassis.
Just a thought, I'm in your neck of the woods - Can I call in and pick my stuff up?...
Because we don't have an actual shop, our business insurance won't allow this, so regrettably not. We do attend a few trade shows each year and these are a good opportunity to meet us and discuss specific projects.