THE IMPETUS behind the launch of Sutton’s Locomotive Workshop (SLW) was a long-running frustration with existing model railway products. This project was initiated at a time when, in contradiction to the upward trajectory of other hobbies, models of my interest period were actually in decline – in quality, in detail, and in accuracy. With 30 years of modelling and railway journalism under my belt, it was easy to spot the unconvincing reasons offered for this inexcusable situation.
That time of general disinterest in product development and detail enhancements now seems to have been replaced by over-optimistic ‘land grab’ announcements with the promise of ‘jam tomorrow’. For too long, BR era diesel and electric enthusiasts have been pushed to the bottom of the pile.
There must be a better way. Better design. Better fidelity. Better craftsmanship. Better quality. Why not produce a premium model by pushing tried and tested engineering principles to their limits and then introducing some simple, long-wanted innovations? By virtue of concentrating on the basic shape and making a ‘proper job of it’ the result should be a definitive, value-for-money product that is effectively future-proofed.
The saying goes: ‘If you want something doing properly, then do it yourself.’ This is exactly what the SLW team has done. Meticulously researched (using only primary sources) and designed in England, we searched out and recruited the very best engineers and toolmakers in Europe and the Far East who, along with our skilled factory technicians, have brought this model to fruition.
This first model - the BR Sulzer Type 2 - has, quite simply, been made to a museum quality standard never before seen in the UK and incorporates an incredibly high element of hand-assembly in order to satisfy the demands of the intelligent modeller/collector and early diesel aficionado. Working to a specification, not to a price, we have endeavoured to reduce the areas of compromise to an absolute minimum and have been amazed at what can be achieved by investing in a world-class manufacturing set-up.
Please support this bold venture into ready-to-run model manufacturing, with its radically different philosophy that flies in the face of current trends. We need the support of every one of you to thrive in a crowded market dominated by large multi-nationals and foreign-owned concerns. Making a success of these first few releases will ensure we can tackle even more projects.