Chapter 91 – 24/10/2014

91-01This chapter seems like it may be a slightly more enlightening entry in the little list of my rants… So here goes.

After last weekend’s Ipswich Model Railway Show, again, Haskell Co and Wuiske Models have done something completely different. That’s right, we have shown a Pre Production Sample.

91-02Whilst this is not something we would have ordinarily considered doing, a few of you have been commenting that you would like to have a bit more warning of impending product releases. So with that being said, here goes.

91-03Wuiske Models, again and as always, working in partnership with Kieren Haskell of Haskell Co are proud to announce that we will shortly be releasing what may turn out to be the first mass produced RTR locomotive for the Queensland market, the 1550.

Jade, Kieren and I have been working very hard on this project for some time to ensure we could release what is most likely the most obvious diesel locomotive for QR modellers never to have been produced.

91-04This decision was taken as these locomotives were the first of the “dash 2” locomotives ever to run on the Queensland system whilst being one of the most fondly remembered due to the sheer volume of noise they produced in all their tasks. As such, they hold a special place in the memories of most QR enthusiasts.

91-05Class leader 1550 first made an appearance in Queensland on the 19th of September 1972 when it ran to Ipswich for weighing. After a couple of weather induced teething problems, 1550 made her first successful trial run to Toowoomba on the 4th of October 1972. The following day, 1550 returned with an 1,100 ton load test down the main range. This was designed to test the dynamic brake systems.
The 1550 class locomotives were the first locomotives in Australia to use an alternator in place of a generator to produce their electrical power for the traction motors.

91-06These locomotives were used in all forms of traffic from the coal fields of Blackwater and Moura to the general freight and Lander services of the North Coast Line. They frequently spent time on the Western lines as well and proved strong performers throughout the state, wherever a 15 tonne axle load could be used.

91-07Towards the end of their lives as 1550 class units, they were frequently seen hauling the Lander trains, suburban trains and the continual coal trains from Ebenezer to Fisherman’s Island. These trains were usually run as two 1550 class locomotives with a rake of 39 VAO coal hoppers.

Jade, Kieren and I have been working very hard on this project for some time to ensure we could release what is most likely the most obvious diesel locomotive for QR modellers never to have been produced.

91-08The model produced by the Wuiske Haskell team has been carefully researched and designed to allow for maximum variation both now and in the future. We have only had to make one noticeable compromise with this model and whilst no compromise is ever good, I’m sure it will be understandable once pointed out.  But I’ll get to that in a little while.
Due to slight body detail variations between the first 6 members of the 1550 class we have chosen not to produce any of the first six units to keep the long hood as true to the prototype as possible.

Our 1550 locomotive will be released with the following features:
– Dual Brass Flywheels.
– Genuine Kadee #58 couplers set at the correct height for QR rollingstock.
– Adjustable coupler pockets to accommodate those modelling standard gauge.
– Directional lighting in both DC and DCC, including illuminated number boards.
– Era and locomotive specific printing and detailing.
– Highly detailed ABS body and components.
– Fully DCC and Sound ready.
– 8 pin DCC socket.
– Highly durable and flexible Acetyl handrails, air hoses and underframe piping.
– Brass and stainless steel etched details.
– Full Die Cast Chassis.
– Multiple era reflective logos.
– Multiple era Danger Overhead Live Wires logos.
– Moulded fans where appropriate.
– Highly detailed bogie sideframes.
– Brake shoes that line up with the wheels (in both gauges).
– Highly detailed underframe including many individually applied parts.
The list continues but I assume you’d rather see photos to judge the rest for yourselves.

91-09Due to both the small nature of the Queensland market as well as the long term attitude that both Wuiske Models and Haskell Co have always had with regard to supplying QR modellers with products we have incorporated many design features into our 1550 model to allow us to produce many (if not all) possible variations of these 90 tonne
locomotives in the future, if the demand is there. As a result of the above, we have had to make one compromise that we (as modellers) are not 100% happy with. This is the air conditioner on the Original high nose version of the locomotive.

91-10When built, the 1550 class were not fitted with these air con units. We know of at least one unit (1576) which did have this air conditioner fitted to it (and became the first Australian diesel to be air conditioned, yet another first for QR). According to several publications though, a few were later fitted with these air cons though we do not have photos of them.

91-11This form of air conditioning became the standard for all 90 tonners after this on future classes. The plan was to incorporate this system on all members of the 1550 class but this was also at the time that the Driver Only conversions were first being discussed with the unions. The actual Driver Only Conversions did not take place until around 7
years later though once agreements could be reached with the Unions. Whilst this compromise may seem like an odd one to make on a mass produced model, the reasons for doing it are simple…. MONEY! In order to produce the original high nose for the 1550, we would have needed to modify the long hood, window linings for the front wall of the cab as well as all four of the bogies. Not to forget the actual nose modification itself.

1559The bottom line is that these “minor” changes to several tools would have resulted in an additional cost that was WELL into five figures. We had to consider the small nature of the Queensland market and future projects, the fact that all funding has been done purely by us as opposed to trying to pre-sell the model to raise additional funds, and the fact that we REFUSED to allow this model to go over the $300 mark.

1572HAlso, it would have caused us to limit the extensive printing we had allowed for these models as well. Our factory is already not very happy about the sheer volume of printing that is to be applied to these models. Adding these extra modifications would have changed every aspect of us producing this model and possibly have led to us not producing it at all.

1570DWith those reasons outlined, we apologise, and can only say that we are not happy making this compromise but would rather be up front and open about its existence than try and hide it or pretend that it was not an issue. Whether we have done the right thing or not here is for you, the modeller, to decide and we will take it on board for the future.

1557DWith that out of the way, back to what we are actually doing…

Wuiske Models and Haskell Co will be releasing eight different running numbers of the 1550.

There will be no unnumbered versions available.

There will be three
High nose, original QR blue 1550 units;

15651559       1973-1991

1565       1976-1991
(Alva G. Lee. This model will be released with two brass nameplates (A. G. LEE and ALVA G. LEE) for the modeller to decide which version suits their era best.

1573       1973-1991 .

1558DWe will also be releasing two Driver Only locomotives in QR Blue, these will be;

1558D    1989-1998

1570D    1989-1998.

1574HFinally, we will be offering three Driver Only units in the corporate (Broncos) livery;

1557D    1991-1999

1572H    1994-2006

1574H    1994-2006.

1573These numbers cover the greatest possible spread of years to allow modellers the best possible range for their modelling.

As can be seen from the numbers and eras being offered, we have designed our release to allow modellers to run your 1550 locomotives alongside the announced SRM 2300 class. Along this line also, we have made sure that the ONLY running number that doubles up with the 2300s is 1565 Alva. G. Lee (later 2309).

Obviously, we will be showing more details and photos as we get closer to our release.  As always though, we shall see how we go.

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