Anbrico Scale Models: Hand Built History

Anbrico Scale Models produced the first ‘OO’ models of the new British Railways DMU type about to be supplied to the Leeds/Bradford area in the early 50’s. These were powered by a motorised bogie in one of the coaches with un-powered versions available to make up longer trains as required. Any destination and/or route number was one of the options available when ordering direct. A model shop in Leeds centre bought the first batch of Six Twin Units just weeks before the prototypes appeared in service. As a result of this order and adverts at that time more orders came during the following weeks from model shops in Manchester and London. Over the next few years the DMU range increased until all types of DMU’s and Rail buses that had been introduced by British Railways were produced in ‘OO’ scale with an option of the type of power bogie.

Early 60’s saw the introduction of a ‘OO’ range of the ‘Big Four’ coaches (LMS, GWR, LNER and SR) and part time staff was employed to make up parts for the Under frames and Interiors for the DMU’s and Coaches and other unskilled jobs. Later pre 1923 coaches were introduced covering rolling stock from both large and small operators. The range from introduction was inclusive of finer detailed items such as screw couplings, sprung buffers and braided vac pipes and of course the lining found on these earlier carriage types. Around this time a well-known model firm dealing in the larger scales asked if Anbrico could supply them with a range of ‘O’ gauge Pullman Coaches. Later this work was undertaken and a range of Pullmans was produced for them over several years. In later years they were produced only to special order as required for individual customers.

Over the years the DMU’s had become very popular and production methods were changed and improvements made to give a more detailed appearance from experience gained from the range of ‘OO’ coaches being produced. A number of un-powered versions were supplied to various firms including an order for B.U.T. (British United Traction, suppliers of the Leyland/AEC diesel engines for DMU’s) that called for 100 ‘OO’ twin car units each mounted on a scale length of track on a wooden plinth (50 were the Derby design and 50 Metro-Cammell) with four others, two of each type to be the motorised versions. All were intended to be given to potential customers throughout the world as ‘Christmas presents’ that year from British United Traction. In later years after being ‘handed on’ these turned up from various places to be motorised by Anbrico for use by the new owners for on their model railways. 

A range of ‘OO’ Diesel Locomotives was being built up as a result of numerous requests from model railway enthusiasts. It was decided to introduce a limited range of the most popular types from firm orders and requests received and this grew as the years went on to cover numerous types with the option of the inclusion of extra detail as required by the individual customers.

In early 1965 an order was received from British Railways Scottish Region for a ‘OO’ model of the three car Glasgow Suburban Electric ‘Blue Train’ to be mounted on a length of scale track on a wooden plinth with posts and overhead wires. The completed model was to be presented to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to see the line in Scotland in July 1965.  As a result of this initial work the Glasgow ‘Blue Train’ was later added to the lists.

In early 60’s a small range of Ready to Run Trams was produced in ‘OO’ which came as a result of a Trade order which so expanded as to take a great amount of our small skilled staffs time as it became popular with both customers in U.K. and abroad as they were available on either the ‘OO’ or ‘TT’ gauge chassis. The range was reviewed in several magazines such as Modern Tramway and Railway Modeller as it then meant the British outline double-deck tram was now available to enthusiasts who had hitherto only had trams of Continental manufacture or design available for purchase.

The hand built model section was closed some time later after the completion of some outstanding orders for models and patterns for firms in the Model Trade. The Pudsey premises containing the model side of the business and showroom were sold and converted into a four bed roomed house as the Video business which had been established in the late 70’s had been set up in some other premises only a short distance away. All items connected with the Scale Model business were sold off to other firms and private collectors when the old premises were emptied for the conversion. All the models from the showcases in the Pudsey showroom were added to the private collection of one of the business partners to be retained to illustrate the history of the firm since the original models were made in 1932. Most of the range of bus kits pioneered by Anbrico have now been introduced in complete form in various liveries by several Die-Cast firms and are to be seen in model shops throughout the U.K. and in various other Countries.

Since production ceased there has been a sharp rise in the second hand sale prices of all the hand built models, with EBay prices in particular showing this when unopened kits appear for sale, with the built up and painted by the customer models fetching as a rule a lower resale amount. However the range of ‘ready to run ‘OO’ railway coaches and DMU’s very rarely come up for sale. Collector’s adverts. are still seen each month in most of the popular model magazines asking for Anbrico coaches and DMU’s, but doubt if they receive much response as most of the original customers seem to hold on to what stock they have purchased.


Site updated: 19-09-2015

Contact details:

- Anbrico Felixjaz - Felixjaz House - St Giles Way - Copmanthorpe - York - YO23 3XT -