The two Australian partners of Ixion Models were together this weekend, as Phil Badger stayed at my place whilst he was running his modelling clinic table at the Newcastle Model Show.
The main discussions out of hours centred around the etched "Hunter" nameplate on lined maroon 3265; how and when to fit it.
Essentially, we have two choices; one is to supply it as an accessory, for fitting by the purchaser. One solution is to have two dimples on the underside of the sandbox, which is cast as part of the metal chassis. Undo two screws, and the body and chassis can be separated; drill the two holes in each sandbox, from underneath, with a 0.5mm drill. Fit the extended legs of the etched plate into the holes, bend them over inside and superglue. Voila!
Sounds easy? Well, yes and no.
The problem is that this solution requires modellers to have the confidence to dismantle and reassemble a brand new loco, and have access to and the skills to use a mini drill, and at least one 0.5mm drill. It can't be done as part of the factory assembly process because the loco can't be disassembled after painting because of the extra time, and cost, this would require.
Alternatively, the loco could include the fitting holes in the design and manufacturing process. Then the nameplate can be installed during factory assembly. The problem with this solution is that the holes would be on every loco, not just 3265. Would tiny holes in the top of the sandbox be visible on the rest of the locos, which are all going to be painted black? We don't know, but we've asked the factory to really step up and see if they can help us find a solution. In HO scale, the legs of the nameplate are just 0.4mm wide, so there's not enough surface area to glue it on. This is all part of the fun of trying to make the most accurate model of the 32 the market has yet seen. We'll keep you posted...