Why 15mm to 1ft scale?  Well it allows modelling the 3ft gauge Isle of Man railways at a precise scale using readily available 45mm gauge track. It's also expressed as 1:20.3 scale, or Fn3 scale by American model railroaders.

Garden railways dominate this scale, with a choice of Live Steam, battery electric or DC track power being used.

Locomotives, carriages and wagons of Isle of Man prototypes historically have been scratchbuilt in 15mm scale by a handful of skilled and hardy modellers/model engineers, although some very limited edition models of the Beyer Peacock engines were commercially made in the 1990's by DJB Model Engineering (Live Steam models of MONA, FENELLA, THORNHILL & KISSACK amongst others) and Accucraft UK (DC electric models of LOCH, MONA & PEVERIL) in a variety of liveries.

  DJB Model Engineering live steam "Fenella"
(Photograph courtesy of Geoff Munday, Lightline)
  Accucraft UK - DC Electric "Loch"

DJB Model Engineering
also produced in the 1990's a range of IOMR rolling stock kits covering a limited number of the small 'F' bogie carriages, covered goods 'G' vans, livestock 'K' wagons and a late-type 2-plank ballast 'M' wagon.

DJB Model Engineering Carriage Kit - Brake Composite F.13

Much wider interest and enthusiasm in 15mm scale modelling of Isle of Man railways resulted from the introduction by Accucraft UK in 2008 of a DC track powered model of ex-Manx Northern Railway engine CALEDONIA (subsequently made available in Live Steam and in three diffierent historical liveries) together with models of two of the original types of 4-wheel IOMR passenger carriages, followed in 2010 by three variations of what are known as the 'Pairs' bogie carriages. In 2009 Accucraft also produced a limited edition commission for Victors Models of the IOMR Schoema Diesel No.17 VIKING, a finely detailed DC track powered model.

Accucraft UK DC track powered - MNR No.4 'CALEDONIA'

Complementing these exciting developments from Accucraft UK, the fleet of goods wagons and other vehicles which once operated on the IOMR also became the attention of 15mm scale model development by IP Engineering, renowned for their excellent range of laser cut plywood & white metal fittings carriage and wagon kits. Introduced in early 2011 was their first offering, a 'G' Van (covered goods) kit, which was followed at the end of 2011 by a 'K' Wagon (covered livestock) kit.

IP Engineering 'K' Cattle Van Kit, fully detailed

In response to interest from IOM15milgroup members, DJB Model Engineering 'dusted off' the patterns for their small 'F' bogie carriages, offering these in 2012 as complete kits now with laser cut plywood body / roof panels. New to the carriage kit range were the small 'Half-Brake' (F.19 & 20) and the 'Empress' Luggage Vans (F.27 & 28).

DJB Model Engineering Carriage Kits
Half Break F.20 (Top), Brake Third F.17 (Centre), 'Empress Luggage' F.28 (Bottom)

Also in 2012, Accucraft UK released a re-developed model of IOMR engine No.6 PEVERIL in both Live Steam and DC track-powered form, both versions carrying the popular Indian Red livery introduced by the IOMR in 1946.

Accucraft UK Live Steam - IMR No.6 'PEVERIL'

Separately developed on the other side of the Altantic by The Train Department were limited edition kits of the three original types of 6-wheel Cleminson carriages (with working underframes) which were of Manx Northern Railway origin and continued in limited use by the IOMR after 1905 amalgamation. The initial kit released in 2012 was the 'All First' carriage, followed in early 2013 by the 'Brake/Composite' carriage and the 'All Third' variant late in 2013.

The Train Department's Carriage Kit - MNR Cleminson Brake/Composite

Available in early Autumn 2015 was the first IOMR wagon ready-to-run, an early-type 'M' Ballast Wagon, commissioned by TrackShack IOM and produced by Accucraft.  Quickly to follow from TrackShack IOM was a limited edition 'private owner' 'M' Wagon for the Mona Chemical Company once based in Peel.

Accucraft UK / TrackShack IOM early-type 'M' Ballast Wagon

A 7/8ths inch scale model (for 45mm gauge track) of the Groudle Glen Railway's diminutive Bagnall locomotive SEA LION in Live Steam, commisioned by TrackShack IOM from Accucraft, arrived in Autumn 2015, with profits from retail sales going to the GGR's replica Bagnall locomotive appeal fund. Laser-cut plywood kits, with white metal components, of the GGR carriages and battery-electric locomotive POLAR BEAR have been produced by IP Engineering and Yatton Model Engineering, both in 7/8ths inch scale and 16mm scale.

Accucraft UK / TrackShack IOM Live Steam - GGR 'SEA LION'

Back across the Atlantic, The Train Department continued its development of IOMR / MNR rolling stock kits and released in Autumn 2015 a comprehensive kit of the MNR type of 4-wheel Brake Van, complementing their previous Cleminson carriage kits. The IOMR type 'E' Van was also offered. Both versions could be built with or without the look-out duckets.

https://4e03ca68-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/iom15milgroup/warehouse/traindepartment/E1%20web.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7crHsHqpgXYM5KV3qGUTjlsVi8WwcqwLEa8lFjtaIhm75Hom3ln0D_tDYb6oZAUKLpf6NoKyF-f8BxkxwcJxY91AJgkfCTpJhadr1nARvnskbLX-uOE3dWJW0pbin1e_3bsCYM5nelBwQc-xm1yc1x5HoTBlG_ZURgZt3Q8s8x9SqvI0YnyRgZzxTpzSY9M2WEQXC1xz6cOVb901gv74kUNIbDfqHzl_uchQdrSAg5aW1E_lJ5XT5ou3SeUovVielf8pF7ao&attredirects=0The Train Department's MNR 'E' Brake Van Kit

In summer 2016, the Accucraft UK models of IOMR engine No.16 MANNIN (in both Live Steam and DC track-powered form, early Holly Green and later Indian Red livery variants) arrived on retailers' shelves with bigger boiler and more traditional square cab and were quickly despatched to customers. The full size prototype in the Port Erin Railway Museum was able to celebrate its 90th birthday with the 15mm scale model alongside. 

 Accucraft UK Live Steam - IMR No.16 'Mannin'

In 2017, Accucraft UK announced production of IOMR engine No.5 MONA  (in Live Steam and DC track-powered form, Ailsa Green and Indian Red liveries), together with a ready-to-run model of the IOMR 'E' Brake Van to match their popular 4-wheel carriages, available in either maroon & cream or green & cream liveries.

Accucraft UK Live Steam - IMR No.5 'MONA' (pre-production sample)

Accucraft UK 'E' Van in the Maroon & Cream livery

Accucraft UK continue with the development of further ready-to-run Manx wagon prototypes for future production, including the early-type Ashbury / Metropolitan covered goods 'G' van. A number of other body / chassis frame kits for historic 4-wheel wagons and vans are available from or under development by individual IOM15milgroup members.

A model of ex-CDR Railcar No.20 is on Accucraft's factory production line and expected in 2019. Developed in conjunction with TrackShack IOM, DC track-powered and R/C battery-powered versions will be available in the IMR red livery with cream band.

Keep checking the Station Noticeboard on our Home Page for more exciting news and views on products coming down the track.