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Gaiety

Gaiety logo

Gaiety models, marketed by Castle Art Products of Birmingham, entered the model railway world in January 1950 with an LNER N2 0-6-2T and GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank. This company predominantly supplied the Rover Car Company with castings; the firm also made other diecast products including a good model of a Morgan 3 wheel car. The tank locos are marked with the initials JVM below the tank tops, and I understand that JVM refers to J V Murcott & Sons Ltd, Borman, Lichfield Road Industrial Estate, Tamworth, UK.

J V Murcott & Sons Ltd are specialist die-casters, and indeed supplied car makers with all the cast chromed items for cars and motorbikes, such as door handles and badges etc. They currently make the castings for people like Triumph MotorCycles (the new company), and other such specialist trades.

The supplier of the information regarding JVM goes on to say 'I have no connection with the company, but had heard years ago that they made the Castle Arts items when I worked for Hamblings Model Railways. I believe JVM made the die cast track gauge and wheel press that Hamblings marketed at the time'.

When first on the market the locomotive models were advertised as 'a scale model locomotive in your goods yard' that could be fitted with a motor. It appears that the loco bodies were available on their own at the time of announcement as the prices varied from 5s 6d body only to 8s 3d complete for the pannier, and 4s 11d to 7s 2d for the N2. Both locos were available with Gaiety's own motorised chassis (fore-and-aft motor; spur and contrate drive) in choice of 2 rail or 3 rail versions; or as painted body only, to fit your own chassis. In Gaiety motorised versions, the body is removed by unscrewing the four buffers: as supplied, the body won't immediately fit to either Hornby Dublo or Triang chassis without some modification.

Early advertisments show the N2 fitted with a Romford motor and wheels at a price of 6.00 . By December 1950 the models in both 2 and 3 rail were launched with their own 5 pole armature motors at a price of 3 1s 10d for the pannier and 2 19s 10d for the N2.

The Gaiety Pannier was the source of the character of 'Duck' in the Thomas the Tank Engine books.

The N2 was regarded as a "freelance" model basically because of the running number 46917 cast onto the cab sides, and "British Railways" being cast onto the side tanks. It is possible that the running number was taken from the 'wrong' number of the old Hornby Dublo LMS tank (6917), to which someone added 40,000 having cleverly deduced that, following nationalisation, ex-LMS numbers were increased by that amount.

The pannier came in for less criticism because it was regarded as nearer to scale than the N2 but did have an oversize safety valve casting and rectangular cab windows which only applied to the 97xx class.

At the time of release these models were obviously popular with the trade (being presumably both plentiful and cheap) and before long many distributors were offering motorised versions as their own. Numerous variations of these two bodies seen over the years include push-along locos (the N2 is most often found) with both 0-6-2 and 2-4-0 wheel arrangements, in various colours and liveries. Gaiety's only other railway product was a splendid GWR style brake van in plastic.Eleven variations of the N2 body have been found - including coloured ones which are very rare.

Peter Corley has identified 3 other locos possibly by Castle Art Products: a green LNWR "Jumbo" no 790, a GNR 4-4-2 in green, and an early 0-4-0.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Pat Hammond , (Model Railway Express Magazine) Peter Gurd (Arkwright Models) and Peter Corley, who have contributed the information above, via the newsgroup uk.rec.models.rail, and the Train Collectors Society. Stephen Wallin kindly spoke about his involvement with J V Murcott.

Models

The two known model locomotives manufactured by Gaiety :


57xx Tank

57xx Tank

57xx Tank

57xx Tank

N2 Tank

N2 Tank

N2 Tank

N2 Tank

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