Next exhibition – ?
I will be attending with my stand and my Inglenook type shunting layout for everone to try their hand at R/C shunting of live steam.
Last updated –
25/01/23 – 2022 News Archived and T3 progress
15/02/23 – T3 & SR Q1 news
17/07/23 – R/C system progress
30/07/23 – ONE only RtR LMS 3F for sale
03/10/23 – Coach construction materials added
& R/C progress on news page
22/01/24 – Production delays and revised targets
2023 News archived – RtR 3F not yet ready
Coach production permanently reduced
14/02/24 – Transfers (including boiler barrels) to now be in laser
printed self adhesive vinyl
21/02/24 – Prices WILL be rising as a result of increased costs and loss of my etcher. I will post the new prices here as soon as I have worked them out. I will try to keep increases to a minimum . See explanation here.
Orion Models makes coaches and live steam locos for Gauge 1 model railways in 1:32 scale (G1 – 45mm gauge). Some older models may still be available in 10mm scale, but my intention is that all future models be in 1:32 (3/8”) scale.
The SECR H class has just been redesigned in 1:32, the Q1 will follow soon.
They will generally be available as kits, but a limited number (10 or so) will be available as ready-to-run as each new model is introduced.
See the News page for latest developments.
GOOD NEWS – despite these troubled times.
The LMS 3F 0-6-0T (still 10mm scale) has gone into production. The LSWR T9 & LSWR Adams Radial Tank will go into production this year. Shortly followed by the GWR 14XX, the LSWR M7, the GWR AEC Railcar (Flying Banana), the GWR Collett Goods and the GWR 3000 gallon tender, hopefully also in 2024.
LSWR T9 – current orders
The T9 will shortly be available in a form that is much improved over what I was previously offering. The price has unfortunately risen somewhat. If you ordered one and are still interested please let me know.
I am not sure yet which exhibitions I will be attending in 2024, but those I will be at I will be taking my usual stand with my Inglenook Sidings style shunting layout attached to it (see here for details). This will enable customers (and others) to have a go at steam powered G1 shunting. I will supply a variety of locos (but you may bring & use your own) and wagons.
I will as usual be alone on my stand so I could do with some volunteers to assist in running the layout and I would like to go looking round the show at some point.
If you would like to assist please email me.
Special offers – see here
I have 2 DEE kits left and have decided to dispose of most of the 10mm scale stuff (part built and ready-to-run). These should be at the next show.
My apologies to those who have been waiting for new models, but I guarantee the results will be worth the wait.
I have taken advantage of the enforced delay caused by the pandemic to further refine the designs and standardise where possible to further speed production. Note no compromises have been made to achieve this standardisation. In fact I have improved the functionality, accuracy and level of detail. You will not find anything of comparable standard and price – particularly if it was made in China. My radio control system provides a unique blend of controllability and feedback that is just not available commercially elsewhere. All very time consuming – I have been putting in about 60 hours a week on all of this.
Buy British – now more than ever, British industry needs your support. Orion Models is a one man business – everything you see on this website has been produced by me, one reason why things have taken longer than expected. Some parts are bought in from very small (often one man again) British businesses – namely the cylinder sets, wheels, etches, couplings & castings. For the castings I now 3D print my own masters. The only foreign parts on my locos are things that are no longer built in the UK – electronic components & servos mostly.
I provide 24/7 support (though I would prefer it if you did not ring in the middle of the night!) from my home phone (see contact page). No foreign call centres involved.
I have been involved with some of the drawings in Tony White’s new G1MRA book on building an electrically powered GWR Bulldog. Consequently the Bulldog (both steam & electric) will follow after that. The tender for it has now been designed and will be available separately.
Radio Control systems
One major change is that all models (starting with SECR H class (1:32 scale), LMS 3F, GWR 14XX, T9 & Adams Radial Tank) will be radio controlled using my new computerised radio control system. This will be controlled through a dedicated controller specifically designed for steam locos. I had intended to use your own mobile phone or tablet – see here for more details. In practice it turned out that these devices are nor really bright enough in strong sunlight so I have reverted to a dedicated controller. Not quite so easy to customise but it does give you real moveable controls. This means you will get full feedback on what the loco is doing – speed, boiler pressure, distance travelled and the status of various control functions. Couplings will be remotely operated so you can conduct real shunting operations and run round coaches at a terminus without manual intervention. The object is to enable small branch line operations in gardens, particularly those that are too small for a full oval layout. You should be able to do everything on a small real steam operated garden line that you could achieve with an OO type layout indoors.
Typical control functions would be regulator, reverser, uncoupling and turning down the boiler (gas or spirit fired) to enable idling whilst waiting for other locos to pass or arrive at stations. Automated functions will include bypass valve operation to enable water level control in the boiler and adjusting the burner so the boiler stays at a specified pressure (saves wasted steam with safety valves blowing off).
All locos (tanks as well as tender locos) will have a fully detailed backhead (see here) that reproduces the appearance of a real loco – no more intrusive regulators. Tank locos will still use poker burners but they are low down in the cab and can be disguised by adding driver and fireman figures. Ceramic burners are not really practical on most tank locos as I need the below boiler space for all those servos. How about linking the driver’s head to the reverser so he looks in the direction of travel? No prizes for the first to do it though. The ARM1G design of boiler has been improved by adding a functional dome (feeding a remote SV where applicable) giving a greater water capacity. The regulator has been moved to below the cab floor to improve the appearance. The steam dryer tube has been moved into the flue – giving a degree or two of superheat.
The bad news is that the Covid-19 panic had caused some of my suppliers to stop working, but this is now returning to normal. It is having no effect (yet) on my producing new designs. It has actually given me more time to work on new designs. My supply of etches is returning to normal, but my old supplier collapsed and I am currently looking for a new one.
Considerable time, effort (and experience) has gone into making the models as simple as possible to build. Two reasons for this – firstly to make it easier for novice builders to put together, secondly that I am expecting to put a lot together myself and I expect to solve problems once and not have to worry about them again. Models are designed for solder assembly or (mostly) glue assembly. Not all joints have sufficient area for a glue joint, but every effort has been made to minimise or redesign these.
I now have my own 3D printers – high resolution, using a high strength UV curing resin. These are proving most helpful in both reducing costs, speeding development and allowing me to do things that were previously impossible, too time consuming and/or too expensive.
These models are entirely designed, manufactured and assembled in the UK, with the unfortunate exception of some of the electronics. I know of no-one in this country who still makes servos and electronic components. There would have been a higher UK content – I originally designed the R/C system around the Raspberry Pi Zero W. However, it turns out that it is official Raspberry Pi Foundation policy to sell no more than 1 RPi Zero to any customer because they lose money on each one sold. Why not increase the price? They are ludicrously cheap. They will sell me 500 at 3 times the normal unit price, but it would become obsolete before I had used even 5% of that number. The Chinese Banana Pi equivalent had to be substituted but had the advantage of a built-in connector for a remote WiFi antenna which made it easier to fit to tank locos. Rant over.
I have now replaced the computers at both transmitter and receiver with ESP32 based units – much more functionality at a lower price and a much smaller size that will fit into a tank loco bunker.
This is basically a one man business using a small number of bought in parts from excellent suppliers – primarily etches, wheels, cylinders, castings and parts that are too big for my lathe. I do all the design for the models myself including the etches, the R/C system, the 3D design and the instructions, but the cylinders are often based on designs by Dick Moger. Software used to help the design process includes primarily TurboCAD, Solidworks (now being replaced with the Community Edition of Solid Edge), (PySimpleGUI was used for the original R/C interface but will not work on an ESP32) and various others.
See here for more details about my model designs.
As a one-man business, production can occasionally get disrupted, but I intend to run this as a full-time concern – you can ring me at any time of day including weekends and evenings – click here for the number.
Coach production is largely a matter of getting the sheets etched, the interiors laser cut (ply) with my own 3D printing of non-flat interior parts, running off some CNC parts, then packaging it all up. Sounds simple but an awful lot of effort goes into the initial production – research, design, CNC setup, test build, writing instructions (now downloadable via the relevant model page on this website – including exploded drawings). The effect of this is that coaches can be produced as required. I have decided to reduce coach production (2024) as there is now such a large selection of laser cut ply kits available – consequently I am limiting myself to just the ones I have already researched and done the 2D drawings for.
Loco building is a somewhat different matter – similar initial design issues, but a lot of CNC production. The result here is that locos will be built in batches so they will not be continuously available. Batch production will be prioritised according to both whether the design is ready and how popular it is. Some of the complex shaped parts that are in non-vulnerable positions (e.g sandboxes) will now be 3D printed instead of folded etches or brass castings. This reduces costs and in the case of sandboxes is much simpler to assemble.
I have had to rebuild the website with WordPress as support for my existing software is no longer available, following termination of it’s development a few years ago. A problem recently arose with updates to the website wiping out most of the website, consequently there has been change to the website (including the news page) since last November. Getting some new etches ready to go to the etchers further delayed the rebuild in WordPress. See the news page for the latest developments.
I intend to keep the news page updated with further progress of all model development at least once a month.
Please come back and check again if what you want is not yet ready – or email me – click here.
If the loco you want is not in the list – again email me. It would help to know what customers actually want.
I welcome feedback on this revised website – call me with your comments – probably easier by phone than email – though my hearing is not too good these days (even with hearing aids).
Let me know what you think – is it easy to use and find what you are looking for? How can it be improved?
More impotantly, why does this website not appear in some Google G1 related searches? Same seems to apply to the majority of other G1 suppliers websites. It would seem that Google and other search engines prioritise popularity over matching the search terms you put it, which inevitably means that G1 gets swamped by OO and other small gauges.