WINSON & MODELWORKS NEWS - As it happened (or was discovered!)...
14th July 2002
Today we all had a fantastic time at the Winson & ModelWorks Owners Rally at Ruddington. Full report here.
21st March 2002
Although I have not received a reply from my enquiry to Mark Watkins to confirm it, it seems that Jon Spalding is indeed the man behind Armortek.
15th March 2002
We have had a report from a model engineer to say that he has been burgled and that the following items had been stolen:
Please keep a good look out for these and if you have any information please contact Didcot Police on +44 (0)1235 512929, Crime reference No. 1248.
19th February 2002
I have just heard about a new company with a strangely familiar address - Armortek (see the web site at www.armortek.co.uk) who are based at Geotek's offices in Daventry. It would appear that Mr Watkins is setting himself up as a tank manufacturer. He alludes to this in his answer to question 13 below.
8th February 2002
Following the publication of the article below (6th February 2002) I have been contacted by Mark Watkins who felt that his point of view had not been made clear and in an effort to be fair to him, I offered him the right to reply to the article below. I ended up sending him a list of questions to which he has replied...
6. Do Geotek still own what is left of the models that were bought for £100,000.
If not, who does?
7. Why were we told by Jon Spalding at the Creditors' Meeting that "the
display models had been bought for £100,000" and not that this was by far
the smaller part of the purchase, the greater being the rest of the 44 models
This not really fair. Jon was ask what had happened to the display models and answered that they had been sold to Geotek for £100,000. KPB stated that they had checked the transaction and felt it was fair and reasonable. I am sorry if you feel you were misled. The detailed list was available at the time.
(KBP = Kroll Buchler Philips - the administrators appointed following the demise of Winson)
8. In your opinion, what is the current value of the models that were bought
In my opinion the valuation was about correct. In order to get the models ready for sale, Geotek have employed, full time, an ex-WMT employee. We have estimated the costs involved in carrying out the work. Some are viable some are not. In some cases it depends what people want to buy.
9. You have sold some of these models - how many have been sold and how much
did you get for them?
(I have omitted details of the buyers here) A 57xx and Panther (Tank) were sold for about £7000 plus vat and a Britannia was sold for £5,500 plus vat. I have an offer on the 9F for £5,200 plus VAT.
10. Why did you not make it clear in your advert that you were in fact
selling a lot more than just the three locos that were advertised?
I have only three models that have been checked, completed and are ready to offer for sale. The others will be advertised when they are ready. When visitors come in and asked to buy part completed models I offer a pro rata price.
11. Would you be prepared to sell the remaining stock for the total value
less the sums received for those you have now sold?
Absolutely yes. When my brother-in-law purchased these models, the objective was to release desperately needed cash to help WMT. He does not want them, I don't want them. I gave him my word that I would do everything I could to ensure he got his original money back, that's why I'm advertising and selling them.
12. How do you respond to the opinion held by some that there is a
possibility that you may own some models which had already been paid for by your
former customers? Are you in a position to show that this could not have
I'm disappointed, but not surprised. In these situations people feel they need someone to blame rather than find out the facts. I do not have any models which have already been paid for by former customers or anyone else. I can demonstrate the origins of every model that I have or that has been sold. (please note they are not mine)
13. Are you planning to get going again as a model kit manufacturer or any
other form of model engineering?
I am planning to develop my new business in several areas, I don't ever want to get into the WMT situation again. However bad those customers who have lost money may have suffered it does not compare to my experience of the last year. If I do get involved in model engineering again it will be with a different type of product offered on a cash for goods direct exchange basis.
14. If yes, how do you think the modelling fraternity will view your re-entry
into the market?
To be absolutely honest I really don't care. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions in model engineering, some will try to make trouble some will be pleased to see a new product, who knows. If they want what I offer, they will buy it, if they don't, they won't.
If my maths is correct Mr Watkins has 40 Winson models for sale for around £82,000 - that's an average of just over £2,000 per kit and includes four complete models. Any offers?
6th February 2002
In the past I have tried to steer the course of this web site away from any form of controversy but over the last week or so, information has been coming in to me from various correspondents which I feel should be in the public domain. It all started when one of my correspondents drew my attention to an advert which appears in the back of 'Model Engineer' magazine (Vol.187, No.4161) in which three "new model steam locos" were offered for sale, namely a 5" 9F and a 1400 and Baldwin both in 7.25" gauge.
The e-mail address given on the advert was firstname.lastname@example.org. My correspondent told me that he had called this person who turned out to be Mark Watkins, one of the former directors of Winson Model Technology.
I was not surprised to hear that these models were for sale as I had attended the creditors' meeting in Daventry on 15th August 2001 (see that date below) and we were informed there by Jon Spalding (another of Winson's former directors) that a relative of Mark Watkins who was connected with Geotek, a Daventry-based company, had bought the display locomotives for £100,000 in order to help the company continue to operate. I had been to Winson's showrooms and seen their display models several times. At the time I considered the deal to be a reasonable one and none of those attending the Creditors Meeting took the matter further. However, it seems that this was not the whole story. During the call, my correspondent was told by Mr Watkins that he has much more Winson product in his possession than just the display models and that there were in fact a total of over 40 models for sale (some completed and some in kit form) and that these had been bought as part of the £100,000 deal. I can report that he certainly has a large selection of models in various stages of completion although I cannot personally confirm to you the exact number.
At any rate, if Mr Watkins has indeed got over 40 models to sell, then the deal secured by his relative moves from being a reasonable one to one in which he stood to make a quite remarkable profit - on average each model would be costing him just over £2,000, less than half the retail price. I happen to know that he has recently sold a Britannia for £6,500 and if he were able to secure a similar deal on all the models, he would stand to make a profit of over £150,000. If such a clear profit can be made on the assets which were bought by Mr Watkins' relative then this seems to show that they could have been sold for more to someone else.
Furthermore, if it turns out that one of Winson's former directors had indeed sold himself (albeit via a relative) a large quantity of the company's assets 'on the cheap' immediately before its collapse, then this might easily be viewed rather badly by those who had already paid for kits. I am led to wonder whether or not Mr Watkins can demonstrate that none of these models or kits are ones which belong(ed) to customers of Winson.
I have various reports (and written records) from other people who have been in a position to describe the exact numbers and condition of kits that Mr Watkins has on offer as well as other components, but I feel unable to publish these without first-hand or photographic proof. In any event, I leave it to you to decide whether you believe Mr Watkins is guilty of any wrong-doing - I will keep my opinions to myself!
3rd February 2002
Today I received a very kind invitation from Nick Harrison of the Nottingham Society of Model Engineers based at Ruddington to see if we would like to go to Ruddington (on a date to be decided) for a Winson & ModelWorks Owners' rally. Those of you that went last year will remember that the NSMEE very kindly offered to allow us to come along to their track near Nottingham as an alternative to the cancelled Winson event at Barrow Hill. Although only a few could attend at the very short notice that we had, we were very well looked after and all had a great time (see more of the 2001 event here). Anyway, I will discuss this idea with ModelWorks and then e-mail those of you registered with me so that I can gauge the support for this idea. In the meantime, many thanks to the NSMEE for their very kind offer.
29th January 2002
The Wembley Show is now over and a great time was had by all. I won't write a lot about it here - take a look at the show report by clicking here.
25th January 2002
The first day of the Wembley Show and ModelWorks announce their new range of products. See the 'Show Report' (available soon) for full information.
1st January 2002
Several people who visited the Model Engineering Exhibition at Sandown report that it has become more biased towards the trade side of the hobby and that there were less models on display. Nevertheless, I understand that there was a good turnout.
5th December 2001
It is clear to me from the number of e-mails that I have received over the last few weeks containing the 'Badtrans' worm, that many people who access this site are not properly protected against computer viruses. I cannot advise you strongly enough to ensure that you are running a good anti-virus package and keep it regularly updated (which costs nothing except possibly a bit of Internet access time). My own recommendation is Norton Anti-Virus which can be obtained from Symantec for $49.95 and can be downloaded from the Internet. Please protect your system now before it's too late!
20th November 2001
Today I received a very enthusiastic letter from Kate York (Winson's former Event Co-ordinator) which, from its content, I guess is addressed to all of the Winson/ModelWorks clan so I attach it below. Take note of the Barrow Hill event in July next year...
Well I must say how groovy your website is. Iíve not really had much chance with all the chaos over the last 6 months to take a look at whatís going on, although I know thereís an active presence of Winson customers on the web. Iím very impressed!
I just wanted to touch base with all you steam buffs (oops, and military ones too) and say hello. It's nice to know that something positive and a sense of community has sprung from the dreadful events since May.
I am also very pleased with the recent events at ModelWorks International. Might sound slightly callous, and I really donít mean it that way, but I think for the sake of all of you the company needed a new lease of life. Its very difficult to carry on when everyone is so very aware of what happened previously. I wish ModelWorks every success with their future, and Iím sure everyone must by now be familiar with my family connection there Ė my mum Gill is now one of the team in Customer Services (tho I guess you canít tell from the photo on the website!!!).
I am still a nutter for steam. My second reason for writing is to remind you all that the ĎWinson in Steamí event at Barrow Hill is still very much alive. OBVIOUSLY the Winson connection is gone, but those lovely lads at Barrow Hill Roundhouse asked me to run the event for them independently this year and I did just that (got to play on the B12 and watch David Shepherdís Black Prince 92203 in all her glory). It didnít attract the huge numbers that Donington does (!) but itís a great little event, and its planned again for July 21st & 22nd next year. I would love to have some of you folk come along and play miniature choo-chooís with me. We should have a great line up of full size steam again next year, and Iíll keep you informed about that too. If anyone wants more information or wants to get involved, my email is email@example.com or look up www.barrowhill.org.uk for more info.
In the meantime, may I wish you all the best. I now live in sunny Sheffield and itís great, I just got myself a smashing new job with a great company. Nothing to do with model engines I might add, but that doesnít stop me sorting out the model engineering show at Barrow Hill! Itís nice to keep in touch with it all. Of course, as Jacqui ĎPretty Girlí McEwan mentioned in her letter, Iím in touch with her too!!!
All the very best to all of you who know me. Iíll keep everyone informed of events at Barrow Hill, and if I donít see you at any shows before that then I hope to see you all there.
With kindest regards,
13th November 2001
Today we heard that ModelWorks' new web site was at last up and running - take a look at it at www.modelworks-int.com. The latest news page on their web site said... "ModelWorks would like to advise all itís customers that there have been some organisational changes this past week. Previous Winson Directors Jon Spalding, Gill and Mark Watkins have left the company to pursue other interests. For the past two months, we have had Alan Ryden, an experienced financial and management consultant, helping us to put in place the necessary organisational systems and controls to enable the company to function properly. We are delighted to announce that with immediate effect, Alan will assume the role of General Manager. Tony Trim, who has also been working with us for some time, remains acting as our Production Engineering Consultant, working with our Production Manager, Dean Rodgers, who stalks the factory floor frequently with critical eye, committed to raising quality standards. Tony has many years of engineering management experience having successfully run, and recently sold, his own engineering company. In addition, Ian Adkins will be responsible for technical service and support on current and future model ranges.
Dean, Tony and Ian have shown tremendous commitment to the formation of ModelWorks and getting the company into production. Their efforts are continually appreciated in view of the challenges we have faced.".
10th November 2001
At the Donington show I asked the Chairman of ModelWorks, Ken Burrough, whether he would have time to answer some questions about the new company. I am pleased to report that today I had a pleasant meeting with him and his partner at the firm, Bob Jones. They were able to tell me about how they have got on as well as some of the changes they have made. On a personal note, I established that neither Ken nor Bob are model engineers but they do have an engineering background. They have a range of business interests and it was the advert for Winson placed by the administrators in the Financial Times that caught their attention.
Perhaps the most interesting fact that I gleaned was that Jon Spalding, Mark Watkins and his wife Gillian are no longer part of the company. Until recently they had been employed by ModelWorks but in the last few days the three former-Winson directors have parted company with the new firm. I was unable to find out what they will be doing in the future. However, a new General manager, Alan Ryden, has been appointed and has already started work. Alan, whose background is finance, general management and venture capital, has been involved as a consultant to ModelWorks, setting up the accounting, control and management procedures necessary to enable the company to move forward.
Talking to Ken and Bob it became clear that getting the company up and running has not been easy. The first thing they had to do was to find a new factory which proved a rather drawn out affair. Then there was the stock and machinery to organise and sort out. Finally, all the customers had to be contacted to establish exactly what the state of play was. If you are a Winson owner, some time ago you should have received a questionnaire asking about the state of kits deliveries etc. and it is worth noting that their records are based on the feedback that they received from this survey. If you haven't returned the form, they won't know that you are and active customer.
As you probably know, their strategy has been to fulfil any orders that were previously held with Winson, albeit with an uplift to the price to enable them to cover some part of the costs. They are now in full production at the new factory in Daventry and Ken expressed satisfaction at the level of quality which he says is much improved. I asked about the service that former Winson customers could expect and he said that there would be an advice line open and they would be happy to help as much as they can. However, it is clear that they feel unable to provide free replacement parts as one might have expected Winson to do. There is one bit of good news though which is that they have a large number of assorted spares for various locos which they will, where possible, be able to sell on to Winson customers if appropriate. Considering that they don't have any responsibility whatsoever for Winson affairs, this seems very reasonable.
Finally, I asked them if we were likely to see them at a show in the near future. Although they haven't finally decided their marketing strategy, they are considering attending one of the London shows early next year, possibly with new products for people to see. Their web site is also on the brink of being launched so we wait with anticipation to see what they have to offer!
6th November 2001
Today we received the news that Jon Spalding, Mark Watkins and his wife Gillian are no longer part of ModelWorks. More details soon...
25th October 2001
Today I received a very nice letter from Jacqui McEwan (former Customer Services Manager at Winson) which is really intended for all of you so here it is...
*From:* Jacqui McEwan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I do hope that you do not mind me contacting you - I have just found your site and what a fantastic site it is too. You must have really helped a lot of Winson customers 'keep it together' having such a great forum for them.
I just wanted to say "hi" to everyone. I have thought about each and every one of you since that fateful day, and would love to know how everyone is. How are the kits coming along? Are people now having deliveries?
Since leaving the premises on the Friday 4th May, I have not seen or heard anything from Winson other than a copy of the administrators report (and local paper reports) . Very , very sad. I was there for 4 years, and only live 1/2 mile away, but nothing.
I have a great job now for an IT company in Leicester so I believe I was meant to move, but oh how I wish it was better circumstances. and oh how I miss you 'chuffer nutters'!!!! I never thought I would get so involved with the locos or the people but I find myself watching all the model programmes on SKY and watching for names I recognise!
Kate York and I have kept in constant touch - she has now moved to Sheffield and is working there but keeping her hands dirty with locos at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse!
I'd love you to pass on my warmest regards to all the Winson customers who visit your site and please feel free to pass my e-mail address on to anyone who may wish to contact me. (I am NOTHING to do with Winson now).
My best regards
21st October 2001
Today was the day that some of the Winson Owner fraternity met up at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition. Read all about it here.
20th October 2001
Today, Bob Jones of ModelWorks sent out an e-mail to their customers saying the following:
"You should begin to receive letters regarding the commencement of deliveries.
If there are any differences between the delivery information quoted in the letter and what you are expecting, please let us know asap. The factory is up
and running now, if a little understaffed and we think we can see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel...
I've attached the first of a possible series of offers that have been possible as a result of the post move stock take. If you have any questions, again, please contact us. There should be some more to follow, including various part built sub-assemblies etc, after we've addressed missing and replacement parts issues.
ModelWorks International Ltd
3, Riley Close,
Northants NN11 5QT
Tel: 01327 301030"
View attached letter here
19th October 2001
I have now heard from quite a few people who will be at Donington on Sunday. I look forward to saying hello to you all. Also, sorry I'm late with this (this is old news I'm afraid for those of you 'in the know' - i.e. not me) but Dave Hill has just provided us with the contact details for ModelWorks which are as follows:
General Account Enquiries (payments , deliveries)
Open hours 0930- 1630 Mon - Friday
Technical Customer Services 01327 300284
Open hours 1000-1200 then 1400-1600 hrs Mon- Fri (this service starts on 5th November 2001)
Still no web site for ModelWorks!
1st October 2001
I believe that this e-mail was sent out a few days ago. Anyway, this is the latest from Modelworks...
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sorry if you have already received this - there were some email issues at the weekend:
The move continues to go well, we are looking (slightly) more organised each day now. The machine tools are now all physically in place and powered up. The service company's engineers have just now started working to commission these. The mezzanine flooring has been installed and we now begin trying to sort out materials and other stock prior to resuming production. Most of the building has been rewired with the final work due to be completed this coming week. We are up to some 10 staff with others joining during October and we are hoping to be in a position to commence (limited, at least) production during the latter half of October.
Now that the computer system is up, we've had an accounting specialist in to implement new accounting software. Mark Watkins is collating your questionnaire replies, building a new customer database and addressing the missing parts issues to see how we can help with those. I confess we are holding off on phone lines for the moment - we do have just two and if we publicise these we fear we will be swamped with calls diverting everyone from the crucial task of getting the "show" back up and running.
I also have some further good news for the company - we have an additional new investor, Mr. David Draper, who is also a customer, having recently completed a Ruston tractor. David is an retired businessman who lives locally and whose knowledge and experience we believe will be of great value to the company. Among other things, David is going to address the formation and running of a customer user group. In addition, I am finalising discussions with a Hong Kong based ( but Scottish born ) businessman who has made a commitment to invest and who, during the coming year as we introduce new products, will actively help expansion into the Asia/Pacific marketplace.
I'm constantly aware of the need for us here at ModelWorks to regain your confidence in what we are doing as we continue to build the organisation. By bringing in this, and potentially other outside investment I hope we can also demonstrate our commitment to securing the long term financial security of the company for the benefit of customers, shareholders and employees alike. It's very encouraging for me that independent investors can also see our strong value proposition.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As of today, most of the physical move is complete. The office has moved and is being set up, PC's and phone lines will soon be installed. Raw materials, stock, equipment and everything else is lying around everywhere.... The mezzanine floor is being assembled, there are fork lift trucks, pallets and containers as far as you can see. The production machinery, lathes, CNC machines etc are in the new building but not yet commissioned - we're in the hands of the moving guys here.
The new address will be as follows:
ModelWorks International Ltd,
3, Riley Close
Royal Oak Industrial Estate
Daventry NN11 5QT
There will hopefully be phone / fax numbers soon
Ken Burrough ( Chairman, ModelWorks International )"
2nd September 2001
First of, apologies to anyone who has noticed that this site was down at some time over the weekend...the ISP has been spoken to...!
Second, a note to say that I have received a brief update from ModelWorks which goes as follows:
"We complete the purchase of the new Factory building on Tuesday next week. We have also secured most of the machinery we want to enable production to begin when we have moved.
As soon as possible after that, we will have telephone numbers and the basic first release of the new web site. Being unable to publish a telephone number has obviously been a problem for us. By the good grace of the landlord, we have remained based in what was Winson's old building while we found a permanent home for the new company. With the demise of Winson, there are no telephone lines there and we are unable to install new lines so we have been operating with mobile phones, which has been most unsatisfactory for all concerned. Any emails for the new company come to, and are answered by, me personally.
We have now almost completed a survey of Winson customers. Whilst clearly, there are understandable concerns about us and a thankfully small number of customers who suffered particularly badly with Winson's demise, generally the response has been encouraging".
30th August 2001
Today I received (rather late I suspect) a copy of the Administrators' report of the meeting of creditors of Winson Model Technology Limited. This confirms that the administrators, following unanimous agreement of the creditors at the creditors' meeting, will petition for a Compulsory Winding Up Order to be made on the company. Other information given included the facts that the administrators were first approached on week commencing 23 April 2001, that the total debts amounted to £1,495,097 (a slight amendment from the original figure) and that a report would be presented to the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) covering various matters "...including wrongful trading. The DTI will consider if further investigations and actions are necessary.". Any customer or creditor who has not received a copy of this document should write to Kroll Buchler Phillips at Aspect Court, 4 Temple Row, Birmingham B2 5HG.
19th August 2001
Nothing to do with Winson really but something you might be interested in...If you want a full-featured, two-dimensional CAD (Computer Aided Design) package for your PC, you can download a copy of TurboCAD version 6.5 completely FREE from their web site at www.turbocad.com. This has similar capabilities to Autodesk's QuickCAD (you may have seen this advertised in Model Engineer magazine) and can use the same files. The size of the file you have to download is just under 8 megabytes. Have fun!
18th August 2001
Quite a few people have said that the Winson owners should meet up for a natter, etc. However, ModelWorks will not be 'officially' attending a show this year so it remains for us to organise something ourselves. After chatting to various people, I have taken the plunge and organised an informal meet up at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition at Donnington on Sunday 21st October. The old maxim 'the more the merrier' always holds true so please come along - my guess is that you will find it worth while. For full details, please click here (removed).
15th August 2001
Today the meeting of Winson's creditors took place at the Hanover Hotel in Daventry. Essentially, nothing surprising came out of this meeting which was attended by only about 15-20 of the creditors. It was agreed that the company would be compulsorily would up and that the administrators would recover what costs they could. Jon Spalding and Gilliam Watkins, both former directors of Winson Model Technology, were present. For a full report, click here.
14th August 2001
It seems that the boiler failure that Dave James reported yesterday was a result of driver error. Apparently, the individual concerned allowed the water level to drop sufficiently to allow the crown of the firebox to be uncovered. However, this does not negate the importance of checking the boiler thoroughly. For instance...
ANOTHER WARNING! Doug Hewson has added the following comments regarding boiler safety "We recently tested three Britannia boilers. One was for the first one which we are building, the second was for a club member and the third was for a friend who's loco we are going to complete. Two were absolutely fine and held 200 lbs for 20 mins without a drop in pressure. However, when we came to fill the third one it would not hold water, let alone any pressure. One of the boiler stays had not been silver soldered but the boiler was nevertheless delivered with a valid boiler certificate to say that it had passed the hydraulic test. We rang Winson to report the problem and it was something which we could have fixed on the day but they insisted on having the boiler back at the works to repair and it was dealt with satisfactorily very quickly. The warning is obvious, don't believe your certificate and make sure the boiler is tested by your local Society or yourself BEFORE you assemble the loco. Imagine if the loco had been completed and professionally painted and then a fire lit in it! Need I say more."
The recent explosion of a full size boiler at the Medina Fairground in Ohio serves to illustrate the enormous importance of checking your boiler thoroughly. Being inexperienced with this area of model engineering, I took a club member to Winson to see the boiler being checked myself and it will receive another test at the clubhouse before it runs.
13th August 2001
WARNING! Dave James has just posted the following message on one of the bulletin boards..."I have just heard of a failure which occurred this weekend with a Winson Ruston boiler. Apparently, as the owner was raising steam he noticed a great deal of water and steam coming from inside the firebox. Upon investigation the top of the tube plate had cracked and the tubes had distorted. The reason for this failure is being investigated and I will inform you of the details as soon as I find out. As a footnote the boiler had been passed by a club boiler inspector (both hyd. & steam test) and also approved by the national traction engine trust." I will post any further news on this matter as I receive it. <see 14th August for a follow-up to this story>
If anyone is interested in learning to drive a loco, you may be interested in a course being run by Lindsey Model Society. For more details, click here.
9th August 2001
I forgot to mention that a few days ago, I asked ModelWorks if they were thinking of attending any shows this year - a number of people have asked me if I had considered organising some sort of get-together and synchronising such an event with the new company seemed like a good idea. Anyway, the official line is that ModelWorks probably won't be able to attend any public events this year but there is a possibility that they might organise an open day at their new offices once they have got themselves sorted out.
6th August 2001
Nothing much to report over the last few days other than the fact that several Winson owners have been experiencing problems with computer viruses. As software has become more sophisticated, so have the viruses which means that constant vigilance is essential. Please make sure that you have installed a good virus checking program on your PC (e.g. Norton Antivirus) and keep its virus database updated frequently (this can usually be done automatically over the web). Believe me, the relatively small cost of one of these applications can save you a lot of heartache!
30th July 2001
Ken Burrough has now answered the questions that I put to him. You can see his answers by clicking here. Please also note that the e-mail address given below is not working at the moment - instead you can use Modworksint@aol.com.
28th July 2001
About now you should receive a copy of the first letter from ModelWorks (previously published here) which included their new logo (see below). The new company can now be contacted on e-mail at email@example.com (see later notes above).
27th July 2001
Kroll Buchler Philips are sending out details of a creditors meeting to be held at 11:00am on 15th August 2001 at The Hanover Hotel, Sedgemoor Way, Daventry, Northampton, NN11 5SG. The purpose of the meeting will be to consider the Joint Administrators proposals under Section 23(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986, to consider the establishment of a creditors' committee and to approve the administrators' remuneration. After a cursory glance at the documentation, it seems that there is little in the way of funds to remunerate creditors. In any case, I will be at this meeting and will be reporting back on its conclusions. (PS I would be delighted to meet any Winson owners who attend the meeting.)
26th July 2001
After some thought, it was my original plan to make all the documentation from the court hearing on July 16th available to everyone registered with me as a Winson owner. Both the court and Irwin Mitchell Solicitors have confirmed to me that these documents are now in the public domain. However, the fact that they contain the new company's business plan made me hesitate to publish them in an place where they could so easily be viewed by their competitors. I therefore decided only to make them available to the restricted group. Just as I was sending an e-mail informing the Winson owners where to find them, I received an e-mail from and then spoke to Jon Spalding (former Managing Director of Winson and current employee of ModelWorks) who expressed great surprise that I had these documents. I had a long discussion with him, emphasising the fact that ModelWorks had not answered any of the questions put to them regarding their future intentions and challenging him about issues such as the cashing of cheques in the run-up to the closure of the company (which he categorically denied) and the fact that they are busily engaged in contacting people from whom they can easily extract money. Unfortunately, he was not able to specify a time when these questions would be answered. Regarding the court documentation, I have asked him to confirm that these are in the public domain - a fact that he seems keen to establish himself. As usual, I will let you know what happens...
25th July 2001
I have obtained and will shortly be publishing a copy of the full report which was made by Kroll Buchler Philips to the court on 16th July. This report includes a progress report by KBP, the formal offers* that were made for the company, Jon Spalding's business plan for ModelWorks and the agreement that was made for the sale of Winson Model Technology to ModelWorks. Watch this space...
*As a matter of courtesy, I will not publish the offers that were made by other companies - this seems the polite thing to do.
17th July 2001
I'm sure that many people were keen to see the answers to the questions that I posed to the directors of ModelWorks and which they had originally planned to answer today. However, I am sorry to say that I was contacted this afternoon by Ken Burrough who said that they were not yet in a position to give out this information. He did however say that they now have a web site address for the new company which is www.modelworks-int.com although this doesn't work yet as it is yet to be set up.
14th July 2001
Today I received a letter from the directors of Winson Model Technology explaining, in their own words, what went wrong with the company. To see the letter, follow this Link. In return I sent them a series of questions about the new company which they have agreed to answer on Tuesday. When I get the answers back I will post them here.
13th July 2001
As at 07:30pm: I have just received a letter from the new Chairman of the new company telling me that Trentmere has been renamed 'ModelWorks International Limited'. He also gives an outline of the company's intentions. To see the letter, follow this Link.
As at 11:30am: At last it has been officially announced that Winson has been bought by a company called Trentmere Limited, a private consortium of individuals including Jon Spalding, the former managing director. I have placed the official statement and a Q&A from the administrators on a separate page. To see them, follow this Link. I tried ringing the old company number and it doesn't work any more. However, I rang Cleo who is now working for the new organisation and she filled me in with a few more facts. Essentially, Trentmere have bought the assets of the company and not taken it on as a going concern This means that if you paid by credit card, you should definitely try to claim your money back. Trentmere does not intend to keep Winson at the old Daventry plant but intends to move the manufacturing plant to somewhere in the area. It is intended that manufacturing will re-commence in September. All customers will be receiving a letter informing them of the company's intentions. Customers with part-built kits will be offered a deal in which, for a cost of 25% extra, their orders will be fulfilled. This will apply to all models. I have asked the company to let me know of any 'frequently asked questions' so that I can publish them here. More details as they emerge.
12th July 2001
An issue has come to light over the last few days which I find rather worrying
and therefore I will publish it here in the hope that no one is 'caught
out'. Several Winson owners have been contacted by a person calling from a
mobile phone who claims to be from a company "which has bought
Winson". This person has offered to fulfil the remaining kits in
their orders if the owner pays a further 20% for the parts. There are
several concerns about this. First of all, today I contacted Winson's
administrators Kroll Buchler Philips and they flatly deny that the company has
been sold. They also stated that there are no Winson employees engaged in
any form of trading at the moment. (Having said this, KBP will not confirm
or deny that the company in question is in negotiations with them so it is
difficult to clear the matter up.) In any case, please be extremely
careful before dealing with anyone claiming to own Winson. At the moment,
before any official statement has been made, I would advise that you gain
confirmation from the administrators that any vendor that you are dealing with
is bona fide.
Note: Regarding the above, it seems that the calls that people received were from Trentmere (see 13th July above).
6th July 2001
Nope, still no news.
5th July 2001
First of all, WATCH THIS SPACE. A 'little bird' tells me that I will have some news for you very soon regarding the Winson saga, possibly tomorrow...(I know, I know, don't hold your breath!)
Secondly, today I found out an interesting fact which I guess has been public domain for some time but which no one seems to have spoken about so far. At Birmingham District Registry (Chancery Division) on 16th July at 10:30am, Kroll Buchler Phillips (KBP) will be reporting progress to the court (His Honour Judge Boggis QC presiding). Taking place about 2 months after they had been appointed as administrators of Winson Model Technology Limited, KBP are apparently duty bound to report progress of the order. I rang the court to confirm this (the telephone number is 0121 681 3032) and apparently one of three things will probably happen. KBP will either a) ask for an extension to the administration order, b) announce that they are in a position to sell the company or c) apply to wind up the company (apparently they will require a further order to do this). Furthermore, I understand from the court that Stephen George of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors (telephone number 0121 212 1828) will be acting on behalf of the three directors of Winson Model Technology Limited, namely Jonathan Spalding, Gillian Watkins and Mark Leslie Watkins. I have two reference numbers for the case '653 of 2001' and 'SGEAH605607-10(LB)'. Please bear in mind that I am not a legal expert and that the above is what I have gleaned from my conversation with the court.
4th July 2001
Still no news I'm afraid although Carol Mulloy at KBP said today that they were getting "very close" to a final agreement with the potential purchasers of Winson. I hope to have some news for you within the next few days.
27th June 2001
Unfortunately we still have no firm news as of today regarding the potential new owners of Winson. According to KBP, they are still in negotiations with the party and are hopeful that they will buy the whole company including the order book, stores, etc. However, there is still no news about whether they would take on the obligations to Winson's customers. One thing they did say was that the administrators would not be writing to tell customers the outcome of the sale and therefore it seems that this site will be the only source of breaking news for the time being.
20th June 2001
In a brief statement today, Winson's administrators Kroll Buchler Phillips (KBP) said that they had completed the initial proceedings for the sale of the business and that they were now in discussions with one of the bidders. Unfortunately however, they were unable to give us any details of the potential buyer or under what terms the sale was likely to take place. KBP added that further details were unlikely to emerge until the middle of next week.
14th June 2001
Someone has just pointed out to me that Kroll Buchler Phillips have an ad for the sale of Winson on the web at http://www.insolvency.co.uk/sales/0521krol.htm. To view a copy of it (it may get deleted), follow this link.
13th June 2001
There has been precious little to report recently because Winson's administrators have been waiting for the last bids to come in. In theory, even the new owners cannot know that their bid has been successful until Saturday morning at the very earliest. I know that this has been very frustrating for everyone but hopefully we will be put out of our misery soon. As a point of interest, over the last couple of weeks I have been contacted by several potential owners who were seeking general information about the company - a healthy sign I think and confirmation of the high level of interest. Anyway, I am sure that I will have something to report by the end of next week (Friday 22nd) - keep an eye on this page!
On a different note, I hope soon to be able to publish some building notes for one or two of the Winson locos. However, I am completely dependent upon you for this sort of article so, if you have built/are in the process of building a Winson loco, please consider writing up your experiences - other owners find this sort of information very helpful.
8th June 2001
Yesterday, Kroll Buchler Phillips said that they had a number of parties interested in Winson Model Technology and that they would be closing the bidding for the company at 12.00pm on Friday 15th June 2001.
7th June 2001
More news about news...in its latest edition, Heritage Railway Magazine carries an article about Winson laying off staff (No.26, June 2001, May 22 - June 21, Page 8).
4th June 2001
Model Engineer announced the Winson problems in its 18th May issue (Vol. 186 No. 4146) but made no editorial comment.
Just for fun I have added a small 'Winson Literature' gallery. You can see it by following this link -> Winson Gallery If you have any bits of literature to add, please send them to me (in .JPG form) and I'll be happy to add them.
31 May 2001
Just in case you missed it, there is an article in 'Steam Railway' magazine (May 25-June 21, Page 10) about the Winson story.
29th May 2001
For any of you who are building a Britannia, I am pleased to announce a handy photographic resource, the Britannia Photo Album - a series of 107 detailed digital photographs taken at Crewe. Hopefully this will help anyone building a Britannia to get information on constructional details that might be difficult to find elsewhere. To see the album, follow this link -> Britannia Photo Album
One little snippet of information that I think will be of interest to some people regards the ownership of the designs for the models. Today I spoke to Carol Mulloy of Kroll Buchler Phillips who confirmed to me that the designs for the models were in fact owned by Winson Model Technologies and not, as had been rumored, by Winson Design. I'm not sure if this is good or bad news but it certainly gives some clarity to the intellectual property rights issue.
If you have anything to offer or want anything for your Winson kit, let me know and I'll post it on this Notice Board
28th May 2001
Today some of us attended the Bank Holiday event at Ruddington. For a report, follow this link - Ruddington Report
25th May 2001
Today I received the standard letter that has gone out from the joint administrators to all Winson's customers. If you haven't seen it yet, follow this link (305kb) -> Letter.
24th May 2001
Do you want to come Ruddington this Bank Holiday Monday? Details for this event are now available. Click here -> Ruddington Meet for details.
Today I spoke to Ian Hamer at BRG Couriers. This is a company that Winson used to distribute their kits to customers. This company currently has around 70 kits waiting for despatch but it cannot send them out until they have received payment for the delivery. Ian says that any owners who believe that BRG may have one of their kits waiting for delivery should contact them on 01327 300517 (or fax on 01327 706953) and for the sum of £11.75 (UK only) they are prepared to fulfil the order. (You may feel that you have already paid for the delivery and that it should be done FOC however, please bear in mind that BRG are waiting for payment for over 2,500 shipments from Winson as are feeling rather out of pocket at the moment). This is a fantastic opportunity for the 70 kit owners that it concerns and I strongly urge you to contact them. Owners outside the UK mainland who are waiting for the despatch of kits may have to pay extra.
23rd May 2001
Today I have spoken to a number of owners regarding the show at Ruddington this weekend. This was to have been a follow-up to the 'Winson in Steam' weekend that was held last year. I would like to suggest that, if it is agreeable to all, that we agree to meet there on Monday 28th May 2001. Sorry for the short notice. I'm not sure what this will achieve other than to give us the chance to have a chat and to discuss the Winson situation. I am also informed that Winson owners will be given the opportunity to run their locomotives at the event but I have yet to confirm this with the organisers.
More info (including full details of the event) tomorrow
night. (see above)
And also...today I spoke to Ian Kitts (the PR man for the administrators) who told me that there has been considerable interest in the Winson sale and that until negotiations with prospective buyers are complete, there is unlikely to be any further 'official' news. In passing I said that I had heard that there may be a meeting of creditors and asked if I might be allowed to attend so that I could report on the proceedings. If and when I'm allowed to go I will report back.
18th May 2001
Following a very helpful conversation with representatives of Kroll Buchler Phillips on the 18th May I was given the following statement to place on this web site -> Statement. In addition, I was given some explanatory notes which may help those who (like me) are unfamiliar with legal matters. They can be found here -> Notes.
17th May 2001
The first message was changed on the 17th May and can be heard by following this link (550kb) -> Second Message. This one says that "W J Kelly and G S Johal were appointed joint administrators of Winson Model Technology Limited by the High Court of Justice on 16th May 2001. Any queries should be directed to Kroll Buchler Phillips on 0121 212 4999. Thank you."
15th May 2001
The automated message given when I rang the factory on the 15th can be heard by following this link (650kb) -> First Message and said that they have "...petitioned for an administration order and that our premises will remain closed until discussions on restructuring and sale of the business have been concluded. It is intended to seek a continuation of the business at the soonest opportunity - all customers will be written to shortly with further information as to the status of their kit delivery."
11th May 2001
As you may be aware Winson Model Technologies Limited (Company Profile), manufacturers of miniature steam engine kits as well as more recently model WW2 tank kits, has experienced business difficulties and is, at the time of writing, closed until satisfactory arrangements can be made for the disposal or sale of the business.