To the ardent enthusiast, The Model Centre (TMC) needs no introduction; a small family run business, TMC has been operating since 1998 and are today based in the small village of Beck Hole, Whitby neighbouring the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
A stockist of all the major brands across the gauges, TMC is perhaps best known for specialising in custom finish models offering an array of services such as DCC fitting, renaming/renumbering and weathering.
TMC can weather any model in any gauge with finishes varying from a clean high gloss to a heavy in-service. A custom deluxe service is also offered which uses photographs of real locomotives or rolling stock to achieve a truly unique finish.
Tempted by a light preservation finish and following a quick email exchange to obtain a quotation, I despatched my Bachmann Branchline ex-London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) E4 0-6-2T No 32494 (#35-079) - coupled with parts pack installation, the total cost was £45.00 plus VAT and P&P.
TMC completed the transformation in just over a week and the overall result is impressive; the light finish perfectly implying the intended nature of running, simultaneously taking the ‘ready-to-run’ shine away. Each individual buffer received attention, as did the cabwhistle - elements equally important to achieve an overall sense of realism.
To achieve such a finish would take the inexperienced modeller much practice and patience; therefore, for a relatively small cost in return for such quality, it's not difficult to see why TMC are one of the market leaders in model customisation.