Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

Bagnalls and Elephants

kits model-railways narrow-gauge new-products

Over the last few months it seems like interest in 5.5mm scale has really started to pick up. While Malcolm Savage continues to update the original GEM range of kits – to include a new version of the classic Ffestiniog double Fairlie – two new kit ranges are also in development.

Bruce Green of Inscale Models in South Africa is an established manufacturer in 4mm and 7mm scale, but has decided to diversify into 5.5mm based on his personal interests. Two of his loco kits are currently in the process of being rescaled.

County Donegal class 2 4-6-0T
Photo © Bruce Green

Furthest along is the County Donegal class 2 4-6-0T. This is a distinctive Irish 3′ gauge loco, and as such is intended for 16.5mm gauge track, although with outside frames it should be possible to create a (large) 2’/12mm loco. The photo above, supplied by Bruce, shows a 5.5mm kit in brass with a completed 4mm model for comparison.

Bagnall 0-4-2T
Photo © Bruce Green

Also on the way is this Bagnall 0-4-2T, based on an example in industrial use in South Africa.
The photo is of a 7mm kit but the 5.5mm artwork is currently in progress.

While Bruce is producing these kits as part of his own interest in the scale it’s brilliant to see the options available to 5.5mm modellers diversifying. It has been – perhaps not unreasonably – been labelled the “Ffestiniog scale”, with prototypes outside of the North Welsh sphere of influence generally requiring scratchbuilding.

The second range is the White Elephant Mining Supply Company, which is the creation of Francis Stapleton. Initially Francis will be producing etched kits for the Armstrong-Whitworth diesel used at the Penmaemawr quarry, a collection of Ffestiniog carriages and an explosives wagon. If the initial kits are successful then further projects are likely. White Elephant will also be supplying re-scaled versions of Black Dog Mining’s 7mm resin wagons.

While the target audience for these kit ranges is currently small, there is a tangible sense that 5.5mm scale is developing into something that more modellers may be tempted to have a go at. If you are, then the 5.5mm Association website is a great place to start. I wish both Bruce and Francis the best of luck!